What Is e-Sgoil?
e-Sgoil is a many faceted initiative that aspires to improve equity and access across the Western Isles.
The evidence has demonstrated that the Department of Education and Children’s Services has kept up with the pace of change and in some key areas is sector leading as well as demonstrating transformational change in service delivery with improved outcomes in areas of:
- Sustained and Positive Destinations
- Personalisation and Choice
However, this success combined with financial challenges and teacher shortages has resulted in:
- More students are seeking equality of opportunity across the Outer Hebrides.
- Lack of teachers in certain disciplines.
“...working together to achieve the best outcomes for learners where digital learning is used….”
(Jim Fanning, Education Scotland)
These problems are not unique to the Outer Hebrides as all island and rural authorities are experiencing similar difficulties. The only practical viable solution is to use technology to connect schools and pupils throughout the Western Isles. This, in addition to curriculum redesign at primary, secondary and further education, will enable students to access the opportunities that are available in any school or educational resource in the Outer Hebrides or elsewhere in Scotland.
The physical hub for e-Sgoil will be the building vacated by Museum Nan Eilean when it moved to new premises at the Lews Castle. Work commenced at the beginning of October and should be completed in November. £150k from the Scottish Government is targeted at the renovations to the Francis Street Building which will create an office space for e-Sgoil staff and five main teaching and learning spaces. On the 24th of August, the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney also announced £400k for ICT equipment and infrastructure to deliver the eSgoil programme. Bord na Gaelic have also committed £150k to e-Sgoil, bringing into the Western Isles over £700k of external funding.
On the 21st of September the Scottish Government published its Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland titled Enhancing Learning and Teaching Through The Use Of Digital Technology (») (Opens in a new window or downloads a file). Page 13 of the document highlights the work, aspirations and context of e-Sgoil.