Author Archives: Mr Cook

Neil Gunn Writing Competition

Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2021/22

We are pleased to be able to give you information about this year’s Primary competition, which is now going ahead after having been postponed last year.

The theme will be: “It is a terrible thing to be bursting with a secret you can’t tell” from Young Art and Old Hector by Neil Gunn

As usual the chosen quote can be interpreted in any way the pupils wish and entries can be in the form of a short story or a poem. The actual words of the quote do not have to be used in the entry. For a short story the word limit is 500 words and for a poem 40 lines. The competition is open to pupils in P5-P7.

Below is a competition entry form, a copy of the rules, a Primary poster and the poster with details for every age group, for your convenience. Entry forms, rules and all the information about the competition is now on the High Life Highland website, The closing date for entries is Friday 04 March 2022 and the lead judge is James Robertson.

We look forward to being inundated with entries from your pupils for Highland Schools’ own writing competition!

CLICK HERE – Neil Gunn Competition Rules

CLICK HERE – Neil Gunn Competition Entry Form

CLICK HERE – Neil Gunn Competition Primary Poster

A whole-school approach to literacy, language and communication – the elements worth considering

The Emerging Literacy area of the site has been redeveloped. In taking a developmental approach to literacy, language and communication, there are four elements to consider (click the links below):

Taking a developmental approach to Emerging Literacy in Early Learning and Childcare (ELC).  Taking a developmental approach to Emerging Literacy in Primary 1 (P1). Supporting children beyond the Early Level with gaps in foundational literacy skills. A whole school approach to literacy, language and communication – the elements worth considering.

Today we launch the final section of the Emerging Literacy suite of resources – the Whole School Literacy, Language and Communication Toolkit

Schools, through their curriculum rationale, and ongoing professional learning, enable staff to understand the following elements of pedagogy. Through ongoing self-evaluation, schools identify areas of continuous development. By clicking on each of the nine images below, you will be taken to a suite of professional learning that you can develop with the whole school team, built into your school improvement plan.

Northern Alliance – Raising Attainment in Literacy, Language and Communication – End of Year Report – July 2019

Today we are pleased to share the progress of the Northern Alliance Emerging Literacy Workstream through the 18/19 end of year report (July 2019). The summary (pgs. 2 – 3) details the key points drawn from practitioner and pupil level data, as well as the future recommendations.

CLICK HERE – Emerging Literacy Report – July 2019

The Highland Literacy Progression – June 2019

The Highland Literacy Progression Framework – Steps to Success was published in 2015. This has been updated in June 2019 to incorporate the Early Level Literacy and English Progression Framework and the CfE Benchmarks for Literacy and English.

The 2019 version of Steps to Success (June 2019) – The Highland Literacy Progression, including the CfE Benchmarks, is available to download by clicking the image above.

The aims of the Progression are to:

  • enhance planning and assessment, using skills, knowledge and understanding
  • provide staff with a framework to promote progression in learning and teaching
  • support moderation and Achievement of a Level as part of the Moderation Cycle.

The document is structured using each of the Literacy and English organisers. These are then sub-divided further using the CfE Experiences and Outcomes. The document details the learner’s progression within and through each of the Levels.

CLICK HERE – Steps to Success – The Highland Literacy Progression – June 2019

What does taking a developmental approach to Emerging Literacy look like in…?

Following on from the Emerging Literacy in Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Toolkit that was launched earlier this week, two pieces of guidance have been put together to support ELC settings and schools embedding a developmental approach to Emerging Literacy across the Early Level. This will sit as part of the whole-school literacy, language and communication toolkit that is due to launch at the beginning of the new academic session.

CLICK HERE – What does taking a developmental approach to Emerging Literacy look like in ELC?

CLICK HERE – What does taking a developmental approach to Emerging Literacy look like in P1?

Summer Reading Challenge 2019

Prepare for lift off as we travel across the galaxy on a very special reading mission. The Summer Reading Challenge 2019 is nearly upon us and this year’s theme is Space Chase.

Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, the Challenge which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, encourages children to discover new authors and read books!

Starting on Saturday 22nd June 2019, The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read six library books during the long summer holiday. Sign up in your local library.

What is the Summer Reading Challenge?

The Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays. You can sign up at your local library, then read six library books of your choice to complete the Challenge. There are exclusive rewards to collect along the way, and it’s FREE to take part!

The Summer Reading Challenge website helps you keep track of your reading all year round: find new books to read, take part in competitions and and play games.

Emerging Literacy in Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Toolkit

Today the Emerging Literacy in Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Toolkit has been launched, designed to support ELC settings through self-facilitated professional learning in taking a developmental approach to Emerging Literacy.

The online toolkit includes a suite of professional learning online modules in:

The adult/child interaction module takes between 1.5-2 hours, and the others take around 45 minutes to 1 hour to work through in a group. It is recommended that practitioners engage with the adult/child interaction module first, and then the others in an order that is most appropriate to the setting.

The online modules are designed so that settings can work through them at a pace that is appropriate to them as part of their ongoing self-evaluation and improvement planning. Each module is designed to be engaged with individually, with practitioners exploring the principles of that module in practice in the weeks following engagement with the online training.

CLICK HERE – Taking a developmental approach to Emerging Literacy in Early Learning and Childcare (ELC)

Education Endowment Foundation – Improving Literacy, Language and Communication

The Education Endowment Foundation have seven recommendations for supporting children’s literacy, language and communication. These dovetail with our approach to taking a developmental approach to literacy, language and communication through Emerging Literacy. Check out the graphic below.

CLICK HERE – EEF – Improving Language, Communication and Literacy

Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Looking ahead to next session you may wish to consider how you could support the development of children’s listening and talking skills, their sequence and narrative skills and their retell and creation of text through the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) 2019.

This is taking place between Monday 2nd September 2019 and Monday 2nd December 2019. The SISF website has links to resources, storytelling contacts and details of funding to support with the costs. The Beyond Words School Resource also has further information.

CLICK HERE – Scottish International Storytelling Festival Website