Teachers perfect their practical skills at Understanding Standards events

Teachers of Hospitality, Cake Craft and Fashion courses have been brushing up on their skills at a number of recent practical training events.

Newly qualified teachers took to the kitchen where they participated in a series of hands-on workshops to develop their knife and pastry skills. They also picked up some top tips from Gary MacLean, Senior Lecturer at City of Glasgow College and Scotland’s national chef.

The event focused on developing cooking skills for the practical elements of National 3, National 4 and National 5 Hospitality: Practical Cookery courses.

Speaking about the event, Graeme Findlay, Qualifications Manager at SQA, said: “The day provided an opportunity for new and less experienced teachers to develop their confidence in teaching practical skills to candidates.”

The event has received positive feedback from attendees. One teacher said, “It was a fantastic CPD session. The lecturers were very knowledgeable but kept it relevant and applicable to what we could do in the classroom.”

Willie McCurrach, Curriculum Head, Food, Faculty of Leisure and Lifestyle, said:  “It was a fantastic day, with various skills workshops where teachers developed a variety of preparation skills and cookery methods, along with rolling, lining, blind baking, whisking, filleting and piping. The buzz in our kitchens was amazing; the teachers really enjoyed their day, and made lots of useful contacts with regard to towards working together in the future. We’re looking forward to working with SQA on the next successful day!”

SQA hosted a similar practical skills event for teachers of National 5 Hospitality: Practical Cake Craft, facilitated by City of Glasgow College’s Bakery Lecturers (see picture, right). Over 60 delegates learned skills in crimping, modelling, icing, piping, stencilling, texturing and embossing.

Amanda A Davis, Curriculum Head of Food at the college said: “The teachers were enthusiastic, inquisitive, and eager to learn new skills. They all decorated a cake, which they will take back to their schools to inspire their pupils.”

Most recently, new and potential teachers of National 4, National 5 and Higher Fashion and Textile Technology gathered at St Aidan’s High School in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire.

Every delegate created a handbag, and at each stage of the process they were advised of the standard required at the various qualification levels.

Kirsty Williams, Deputy Principal Assessor and Verifier for Fashion and Textiles, said: “It’s important for SQA to deliver Understanding Standards events so that we can upskill our teachers to provide the best possible opportunities for our students. Things change all the time in the Textiles industry and we need to be keeping people aware of what’s current.”

Attending the event was Carol McGurk, a Home Economics teacher at Whitburn Academy in West Lothian. She found it a useful opportunity to speak with colleagues who have a wide range of skills. She says: “I will go back to my own Centre with the confidence to be able to deliver the courses. I would definitely recommend Understanding Standards events to other teachers.”

Sharon McCully, a Textile Technology teacher from Dalziel High School in North Lanarkshire, says that she had gained an assurance from the event that she is assessing her pupils to the correct standards: She adds: “I can go into my class next week with a fresh perspective. Now I know that I’m on the right track.”

These subject-specific events form part of SQA’s Understanding Standards programme. Through events, webinars and support materials, the programme aims to help to build the confidence of teachers and lecturers in preparing learners for assessment in National Qualifications. We are currently running a programme of events, until January 2019, for Higher courses with new or significantly revised course assessment components.

Find out more about our full programme of Understanding Standards events.

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