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The Tes Scotland podcast brings you in-depth interviews with some of the most fascinating, inspiring and influential people working in Scottish education.
7 Sept 2021
Vineet Lal │ #17
The late Saroj Lal was a pioneering teacher in Edinburgh in the early 1970s, as one of the Scottish capital’s first BAME teachers. Her son, Vineet Lal, talks about a remarkable career, the challenges she faced, the progress (or lack of it) made in the half century after she entered teaching, and the campaign to leave a lasting legacy to Saroj’s life.
27 Aug 2021
Ruth Stout | #16
Fair Isle Primary can lay claim to being the UK’s most remote school. Headteacher Ruth Stout talks to us about the joy and unique challenges of a long career on island halfway between Orkney and Shetland in the North Atlantic – and the essential qualities for whoever replaces her later this year.
11 Aug 2021
Billy Burke | #15
Headteacher Billy Burke speaks to us the day after an SQA results day like no other. He talks about how the assessment process differed this year – for better and worse – and what the changes brought about by the Covid pandemic might mean for Scottish education in the longer term.
30 Mar 2021
Adam Black | #14
Teacher Adam Black tells us about being awarded a British Empire Medal for raising awareness of stammering, why his stammer makes him a better teacher, his love of the unpredictability of working in a school, and why his favourite fictional teacher would – you’d hope – never be found in a real school.
18 Dec 2020
Tes Scotland’s 10 people of the year 2020 | #13
Henry Hepburn, Emma Seith and Julia Belgutay chat about the 10 Tes Scotland people of the year. The full list was revealed today – and, with Covid-19 casting a shadow over every last aspect of Scottish education, there could only be one choice for person of the year.
5 Oct 2020
Living in the time of Covid, with Bruce Adamson | #12
We speak to Scotland’s children’s commissioner, Bruce Adamson. He tells us about this year of Covid being the hardest time of his professional life, why it was “hugely important” to get children back to school, and why August’s exams debacle was “unjust” and contravened human rights. The children’s commissioner also tells about his own schooldays in New Zealand – where marching and shooting were compulsory – why Scotland should be proud of its education system, and how schools have provided an “amazing anchor point” during the coronavirus pandemic. You’ll also learn how decades of work can lead to a “beautiful” legal document.
18 Sept 2020
Looking back on six months of Covid | #11
It is exactly six months since the Scottish government decided to close the doors of schools and colleges to stem the spread of coronavirus, and Scottish teachers and pupils have been back now full time for a month. Tes writers Henry Hepburn, Julia Belgutay and Emma Seith reflect on their experience trying to keep up with the news over the period, at the same time as coping with the impact of lockdown on them personally, including home schooling.
8 Sept 2020
Back to school with Blair Minchin | #10
We speak to Scottish education’s “video guy”, Blair Minchin. Blair is a primary teacher in Edinburgh and is one of the few Scottish teachers to become a regular vlogger, sharing what goes on in his classroom – from making silent movies, to using circus skills to explain data. He talks about his experience returning to school during a global pandemic, what makes for a good vlog, why he has no time for those who extol zero-tolerance approaches to behaviour management, and his strongly held belief that teachers have a duty to share their practice.
6 Jul 2020
Reopening schools with John Swinney | #9
The Scottish government has made it clear it is planning to run the “traditional exam diet” next year but the education secretary John Swinney reveals in this edition of the Tes Scotland podcast that he believes there is “a really strong argument” for the way senior pupils are assessed to be reformed. Mr Swinney says the expectation for the coming school year is that the exams will be sustained but adds that he believes “there is every need for us to openly explore whether exam diets are the way of the future”. Mr Swinney also reveals during the podcast – which was recorded on 3 July – that it is “likely” school staff will have to follow “physical distancing requirements” when schools return after the summer and that for most pupils “there is no tangible case for wearing face masks in school” – although he adds that it may be appropriate for some senior pupils who are “essentially young adults” to wear marks and there are “questions about staff”. He says the government is waiting for guidance from its scientific advisers on the issue. Face masks are due to become mandatory in shops in Scotland on 10 July. During the podcast Mr Swinney also speaks about his family’s experience of home schooling; making parliamentary statements remotely from his son’s bedroom and the time his nine-year-old appeared in the background of a meeting of the Covid-19 Education Recovery Group – which is responsible for planning how schools will reopen – in his snorkelling gear. His son, Matthew, was going on a virtual school trip.
25 Jun 2020
Ollie Bray | #8
Ollie Bray, a former secondary head in Scotland who is now the LEGO Foundation’s director of global programmes, talks about his unusual career trajectory, how educators have responded to coronavirus, the essentials of digital learning, giving Covid-19 “the boot”, why professional learning is more important than ever just now, why play is crucial for learners whatever their age, and the most important quality in a teacher.
25 Jun 2020
Carrie Lindsay | #7
Carrie Lindsay – the director of Scotland’s third largest education authority and the president of education directors’ association Ades – talks about what has happened in the two weeks since UK schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. She discusses the Herculean effort it took to get childcare hubs for key workers up and running in just two working days, why the public now more than ever need to help councils identify children at risk, and the Fife school that has set up its own TV channel.
25 Jun 2020
Khadija Mohammed | #6
Teacher, academic and award-winning advocate for black and minority ethnic educators – Khadija Mohammed talks about growing up in Glasgow in the 1970s and 1980s, the impact of teachers not pronouncing her name correctly, why some teachers turn a blind eye to racism, BAME children ‘playing white’, what a pupil said to her the day after 9/11, and the unique power teachers have to make a difference.
1 hr 20 mins
25 Jun 2020
John Swinney | #5
Education secretary and deputy first minister John Swinney talks about his most ‘magnificent’ teacher, why he joined the SNP as a schoolboy, what he does on his son’s parents’ night, why education is so different from his old finance brief, the criticism he regards as ‘total rubbish’, and the biggest successes and shortcomings of his time in the job.
1 hr 3 mins
25 Jun 2020
Chris Smith | #4
Former teacher of the year Chris Smith tells us about the quality every teacher needs, bombing in front of 600 pupils, the perfect class size, how everyone can succeed in maths, why more teachers should open up about their own mental health, and the false dichotomy between ‘traditional’ and ‘progressive’ education.
1 hr 15 mins
25 Jun 2020
Maureen McKenna | #3
Glasgow education director Maureen McKenna tells the Tes Scotland team why she didn’t like school, the best thing that ever happened to teaching in Scotland, why she rejects recent criticism of Scottish education – and the astonishing sexism she faced as a basketball referee.
1 hr 1 min
25 Jun 2020
Rowena Arshad | #2
Join Henry Hepburn and Emma Seith as they talk to Professor Rowena Arshad about growing up in Malaysia, racism in education, why we must cast the net wider for teachers – and what schools can learn from Kung Fu Panda
25 Jun 2020
Welcome to the Tes Scotland Podcast | #1
In this first episode of the Tes Scotland Podcast, we introduce the Tess team -Henry Hepburn and Emma Seith. Henry and Emma talk about their most memorable stories for Tess, their favourite fictional teachers and what’s on the horizon for Scottish education in the next year. “Seize the day!”