Teacher learning communities and educational change in Scotland: the Highland experience



Priestley M, Miller K, Barrett L & Wallace C (2011) Teacher learning communities and educational change in Scotland: the Highland experience. British Educational Research Journal, 37 (2), pp. 265-284.

This article discusses the issue of the sustainability of educational change, in the light of findings from research undertaken in tandem with a development project initiated by a Scottish Education Authority, The Highland Council. The project aimed to promote self and peer assessment practices, as well as other participative pedagogies associated with Scotland’s new Curriculum for Excellence, in secondary schools. The article reviews some of the key themes that have emerged from recent literature on educational change, before drawing on the project data to address two key issues: the factors that have helped to promote and sustain changes within the schools; and the barriers to innovation experienced in these schools. We conclude the article by identifying a range of considerations that should be taken into account by those seeking to innovate, and we suggest that, while the Highland model for change has enjoyed a degree of success in inculcating change, more needs to be done to address systemic issues, such as the pervasive influence of a narrow attainment agenda in shaping classroom practice.

curriculum change; formative assessment; teacher networks; Curriculum planning Scotland; Curriculum-based assessment; Educational change

British Educational Research Journal: Volume 37, Issue 2

Publication date30/04/2011
Publication date online26/02/2010
Date accepted by journal01/01/1990
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge) / British Educational Research Association (BERA)

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Professor Mark Priestley

Professor Mark Priestley

Professor, Education