Category Archives: Uncategorized

Highland Council Literacy Training Sessions

Literacy Training Sessions

Over the next two terms, we will be running weekly training sessions on areas of literacy for Highland Council staff.  These sessions will include;

  • Wraparound Spelling
  • Morphological Spelling
  • Assessing spelling and planning for change
  • Phonics from the beginning and as an intervention
  • Organising the learning and teaching of reading
  • Assessing reading and planning for change
  • Planning for change in writing
  • Developing independence in writing
  • The use of benchmarks across the curriculum

There is no need to register for these training sessions through the CPD calendar.  To access the training, copy and paste the link given into your chrome browser.  No register will be taken, so you must record this in your own CPD log.  A google form will be sent out a couple of weeks after training to assess the impact training and how we can support you further.

To access the full information, click here.

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, www.highlifehighland.com/neilgunn. 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

Book Badge Challenge

Every year we put together a reading challenge to encourage children to read.

This year’s challenge is the Book Badge Collection.

There are eight book badges to be earned:

  • The Night Owl
  • The Early Bird
  • The Weekend Warrior
  • The Professor
  • The Bite-sized Bookworm
  • The Marathon
  • Librarian
  • The Seven-day Stretch

Every time that a child fulfils the requirements of a badge, they get a badge to stick onto their record sheet. Each well-earned badge can be celebrated with a certificate.

To download the challenge, click here.

To see the previous challenges go to:

The Genre Pizza

Around the World in Eighty Days   Passport

Challenge 20/20

Getting started in P1

Just a reminder that everything you need for getting started with emerging literacy in P1 can be found on this site!

There are a lot of support materials here, so a good way to get orientated is the Where to Begin Guide, which also has links to short training videos


Support networks

For practitioners in Highland, there will be some support networks offered throughout the session, led by teachers along with speech and language therapists and occupational therapists

Dates will be on the CPD calendar and on Digital Schools in a few days time

Talk for Writing

Dear Colleagues,

The Talk for Writing trainer will be conducting training on the inset days on the 13th and 14th of September.

This training is for Highland Council staff only.

On the 13th of September, she will be working with teachers who would like to receive initial training or a refresher session in the Talk for Writing process.

On the 14th of September, she will be working with teachers who have already started using the Talk for Writing process and would like to deepen their understanding.

There will be a cost of around £35 per person, but this will depend on how many people attend.  Please ask your line manager for permission before applying for this course through Highland Council’s CPD page.

It would be helpful to have all applications registered by next week.

The code and resources will be sent out prior to training to all those who have registered.

Talk for Writing Training (For Highland Council Practitioners)

We have the Talk for Writing Training coming to work with us again next session.

She will be with us on:

13th September – Introduction (and recap) of fiction

14th September – Digging deeper with fiction – for people already working with Talk for Writing who want to learn more.

23rd February – Introduction (and recap) of non-fiction.

The trainings will now be on CPD.  You will need to ask your Head Teacher for permission to attend as there will be a cost per person.

Emerging Literacy: Getting started in P1

Wednesday 23rd June, 4-5pm

Emerging Literacy is Highland Council’s developmentally appropriate approach to literacy in P1 and beyond.

P1 teachers are supported through networks through the year to implement differentiated teaching and learning in literacy.

This hour-long course is to help teachers new to the approach, or who want to refresh their knowledge, to get started in August.  It will cover the model behind the approach, and how it is put into practice in phonological awareness, phonics and pre-handwriting learning.

Attendees will find it useful to have watched the short film at Emerging Literacy: Training Video 1 – Theory – YouTube

The training will be on Google Meet and can be accessed at https://meet.google.com/kbg-qrqh-zuy

Any questions welcome to James McTaggart, Early Years Educational Psychologist

PM Benchmark Assessment 2

Are you interested in learning more about the new PM Benchmark Literacy Assessment 2?  Julian Duncan a trainer for PM Benchmark will run training on the 15th and 18th of March 2021.

The training is suitable for School Managers, ASN teachers and class teachers.

It equips teachers with accurate and robust assessment tools to identify students’ instructional or independent reading levels. The resource offers a complete literacy assessment, allowing teachers to conduct reading records to effectively capture students’ progress in reading fluency, retelling abilities and comprehension within and beyond the text.

When                      Monday 15th March at 15:30 to 16:30

                               Thursday 18th March at 15:30 to 16:30

To access the training link, please sign in through CPD.

Poetry Packs 3 and 4

We know how busy you all are, so we are continuing to put together some resources that may help.

We now have Poetry Packs 3 and 4 ready to go! Poetry Pack 3 is based on ‘Street Talk’ by J.K Annand and Poetry Pack 4 is based on ‘The Hill We Climb’ by Amanda Gorman. Both poems have a Scottish connection…read on to find out more!

The poetry packs can be accessed below –

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Nnw9Uyg8Wtin1FM6Uau2cJ9uB_WigCWWP2A36S2zw_E/edit?usp=sharing

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1XPOMySWikQnlrlk5S8KJ2Y0g00rpfLQQ4tb6m6289RU/edit?usp=sharing

Sharing Good Practice in Highland – Talk for Writing

Many teachers in Highland are planning, teaching and assessing writing using the Talk for Writing framework. This is not a one size fits all approach and needs to be adapted to suit your class.

We thought we’d share this example of good practice from Tore Primary School. Sally Thorne, class teacher, shares how she teaches writing while linking with other curricular areas and contexts.

Sally used ‘The Abominables’, a class reader from Pie Corbett’s reading spine as the stimulus for this unit of work. The unit was introduced with free writing on ‘If I met a yeti he….’ along with accompanying art work. This was successful in hooking the pupils, generating interest and excitement.

Sally shared the next steps…

“After group planning sessions, which includes building up word banks, I took one of the more successful plans, with tweaks and phrases from all groups and we created a class text that we could use for reading as a class. We pulled this apart for literacy techniques which could be used in the pupil’s writing.  

This was then the basis for the pupils to plan and create their own story, a section at a time.  As it’s a multi-stage writing process, some pupils are able to run with the idea, some need more support.  I try to create texts that contain as many of the T4W techniques as possible: repetition, power of 3, starting with adverbs etc.”

Click here for the Class Yeti Story