On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to visit the remarkable Middleton Park School, which is setting new standards of excellence in education for Scotland.
Leadership, forward-thinking initiatives and creative learning are the ingredients which provide a strong, multi-dimensional education for our young people.
And I witnessed these practices in abundance at Middleton Park School.
Both the nursery and primary schools received top marks across the board in an inspection report from Education Scotland this week.
The children there were an inspiration. Talking Mandarin, communicating with their young counterparts in China, sharing their animation movies with pupils all over the world, and outdoor learning were just some of the features which put this school in a class of its own.
They have made 200 ‘movies’ through the Live learning programme which allows pupils to share their learning experiences with other young people. With such an incredible school on our doorstep, we have to think carefully about how we harness all this talent and ability to ensure that other schools in the city do equally amazing things. Of course, many already are.
The vision and leadership of head teacher Jenny Watson is something to behold and we are now looking at ways to provide even greater support which will enable her to take her school to the next level and help others do the same.
Of course, it’s not simply about handing every child a tablet.
Technology is the tool to greater learning, but without true vision and a sense of purpose, the great strides made by Middleton Park could not be achieved.
We are excited about the idea of possibly creating an ‘innovation hub’ and ‘media lab’ which would improve the school’s digital infrastructure and allow the pupils to use technology to even greater affect.
This hub would become a centre for digital learning to be used by the wider school population to offer similar creative opportunities for pupils across Aberdeen.
Aberdeen City Council is embarking on a wider digital programme to ensure we meet future needs of our communities.
This initiative shows that the best innovation can come from our communities and schools – and we are looking at the best way in which we can enable further use of technology to unlock the potential of every pupil in the city.
The staff, pupils, parents and the wider community at Middleton Park School, who have all worked together over the past year, should all be very proud of themselves.
We, as a local authority, have made a firm commitment to providing a holistic education for our young people.
We look forward to liaising with the school and with those from Education Scotland to discover how the innovative learning I saw this week can be brought forward for the benefit of all pupils in all our schools.