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VSCS Newsletter


Development Opportunities Special points of interest:

Becoming a Reflective Leader module starting soon Update seminar at Victoria Quay in March Education Committee world café on Curriculum for Excellence Revamped Glow site for ADES Mentoring and Job Shadowing Opportunities

Inside this issue:

Becoming a Reflective Leader

This newsletter contains information about current and upcoming VSCS activities. VSCS is the professional development arm of ADES. It exists to help meet the needs of ADES members and it provides a range of opportunities for personal and professional development. The staff college is is part of ADES and has a board made up of ADES members who are listed at the back of this newsletter. Administrative support for the staff college is provided the by VSC (England) based in Manchester. VSC provided the original model for our staff college and we have gained immensely from this connection. As well as the excellent support of the admin staff we have had regular access to intelligence about developments in England and Wales. Colleagues who have attended VSCS

management modules or the annual summer school will have had the chance to learn about the range of deveiopments in the delivery of integrated services which have been taking place in the rest of the UK in recent years. There is no other organisation in Scotland which has conducted such an in-depth and sustained examination of the development of children’s services across the UK. The key function of the staff college is to provide opportunities for professional reflection to allow senior leaders time to review the ways in which they are working and how that might change for the benefit of children and young people in Scotland. This newsletter is intended to help as many ADES members as possible learn about the opportunities which are available to them.

We are always keen to hear from colleagues with ideas about how VSCS can de-

ADES President Leslie Manson addressing the AGM a t the annual conference 2009

velop and improve the work which is does. Please post comments on the discussion board on our Glow site or email directly to


Curriculum for Excellence 2 ADES Annual Conference


Update Seminar at Victoria 3 Quay Annual Summer School


Mentoring, Job Shadowing 3 and Difficult Conversation Leadership Development


Finding ADES info on Glow If you are an ADES member you can find up to date information about all aspects of ADES, including the virtual staff college, on Glow. The pages are currently being revamped to make them easier to navigate. You can use the site to see news updates, coming events,

responses to consultative documents etc. You can also contact other ADES members or open topics for discussion. There is a virtual meeting room where you can hold video conferences with other ADES members. To access the site you need a Glow log-in and you need to be an ADES member.

If you have a Glow log-in but cannot find the ADES site in “My Glow Groups” contact Kirsty at and we will arrange for you to be included as a user.

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Becoming a Reflective Leader

Leadership Retrea t a t Ardoch 2009

VSCS runs at least one module per year from its suite of 3 management development modules (MDP) which are accredited by the University of Strathclyde. These modules were designed with the help of ADES members (link officers) and specifically tailored for those working at or aspiring to leadership roles within education and children’s services. We are about to begin work with a new cohort on “Becoming a Reflective Leader” which is intended for colleagues with some experience of working in education and children’s services with

“The best professional development experience I have had in the last ten years” Participant in “Leaders of Tomorrow “Management Module December 2009

some line management responsibility. The aims of the module are to enable participants to critically analyse and reflect upon the nature of leadership and management in education and children's services, particularly in a changing environment, and to begin the analysis of their own professional development needs. A module group is usually about 10 people and we meet for three sets of two days over about six months. Many colleagues have found these opportunities have

provide precious time out from the pressures of the day job to reflect on and consider their priorities and how the nature of children’s services is changing and will develop over the next few years. There is still time to join this group which is due to meet for the first time on 2/3 March. If you are interested please phone David on 0161 838 5764 or email

Curriculum for Excellence VSCS continues to be extremely active in supporting ADES colleagues prepare for the implementation of CfE. The ADES Education Committee is leading a one day seminar for ADES members on 18 March at The Westerwood nr Cumbernauld. There are two places reserved for each Council and details have been emailed to every Director and copied to link officers.

The day is intended solely for ADES members and will provide an opportunity to take stock of progress towards implementation and identify what is still required to be done and how that might be commissioned. The ADES-led Implementation Partnership is supported by VSCS and the next full meeting of the Partnership takes place on 26 February at The Radisson in Edinburgh.

The various thematic subgroups of the Partnership met on 11 February and they will be reporting on progress at that meeting. Further information about the Partnership is available at the Glow group ADES CfE

Planning for ADES Conference 2010 Planning for the ADES Annual Conference 2010 is about to begin. The conference will take place on 25/26 November at The Westerwood. Young Scot presen ting at the ADES Con ference 2009

For many ADES members this is their main CPD opportunity of the year and we are always keen to make the best possible use of the time available.

We have had an excellent response to a recent email seeking volunteers to join the planning group and the first meeting is taking place on 4th March in Edinburgh. If you did not want to join the planning group but have ideas about how the conference programme could be improved then please send an email to and

we will ensure that your views are considered by the group. We are particularly interested in whether you feel the move away for major keynote speaker to more seminar time (which happened in 2009) is something that you would like to see continue.


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Annual Summer School at North Berwick Each year in August VSCS runs a summer school for ADES members. The sixth annual summer school will take place on 12/13 August once again at The Marine Hotel, North Berwick. Each year the theme has focused on an element of leadership relating to the changing nature of children’s services. In 2009 the theme was “GIRFEC: Towards an Integrated Approach.” A number of guest speakers are invited to present but the

unique aspect of the summer school is the “swap shop” sessions which allow colleagues a short period of time to present on an interesting piece of work from their own Authority. Lots of exchanges of interesting practice have occurred as a result.

Details will be published soon and early booking is advised.

Summer School 2009

The atmosphere at the summer school is relaxed but purposeful and we have almost always enjoyed excellent weather at a fabulous setting. The theme this year will be Leadership for New Service Delivery.

Mentoring, Job Shadowing and Difficult Conversations For a number of years VSCS has been organizing mentoring opportunities for colleagues recently appointed to senior posts. This year the scheme has been extended to include the chance to shadow a colleague from another Council either to learn more about your current area of responsibility or to gain knowledge about an area that is outside your remit. Jim Anderson (formerly Di-

rector of Education in Angus) is looking after this part of the staff college and he has written recently to Directors with information about what is available. He is also keen to identify colleagues who are interested in becoming mentors as our list is in need of updating. Jim will then organise training for mentors and mentees. There is no doubt that this has been an invaluable cpd

experience for many colleagues whether as mentor or mentee. Jim is also organising a one day workshop called “Difficult Conversations” on 16 March in Glasgow. There are still places available on this practical workshop which is delivered by Garth Associates.

Hugely useful. Time to move away from essential day to day nuts and bolts and think. (Summer School Participant 09)

For more information contact events@virtualstaffcollege.c

Update Seminar at Victoria Quay Every six months VSCS organises a (free) seminar at Victoria Quay with the huge assistance of colleagues in Scottish Government, HMIe, LTS and others. The original idea was that this was an induction seminar for those new to local authority leadership but when we noticed several people coming back for repeat visits we opened it up to all ADES members to attend! It is an excellent opportunity

to meet key people working on major policy initiatives at VQ and also to network with ADES colleagues from around Scotland. The seminar lasts only for a morning with some brief presentations and then a choice of workshops on current topics of interest and finishes with lunch. The next seminar is planned for the morning of 26th March but numbers are low at present and we will cancel

if there is insufficient interest. If you would like to attend please respond as soon as possible to events@virtualstaffcollege.c Co-coaching at A rdoch Leadership Retrea t


VSCS VSCS 3rd Floor The Triangle Exchange Square Manchester Phone: 0161 838 5755 Fax: 0161 838 5756 E-mail:

Developing People-Building Capacity

Glenn Rodger Scottish Borders Council (Chair) Leslie Manson Orkney Islands Council (ADES President) Yvonne McCracken Scottish Borders Council (Treasurer) Sandra Love West Dunbartonshire Council Anne Marie Knowles South Lanarkshire Council Gillian Hunt Edinburgh City Council David Craig North Lanarkshire Council Hugh Fraser Highland Council Chris Shirley Argyll and Bute Council Aileen McLean Edinburgh City Council John McCarney RM Ann Grieve University of Strathclyde Anton Florek VSC John Stodter ADES General Secretary


Leadership Development For four years VSCS has been organising Leadership Retreats for Directors, Heads of Service and senior civil servants. These gatherings over 24 hours have been led by Norman Drummond and have been very popular. The Scottish Government grant-funded this work to allow these opportunities to be free of charge to our members and in 2009 three retreats took place at Ardoch on Loch Lomond. In February of this year a special gathering took place of senior office bearers from ADES along with their counterparts in the Association of Directors of Social Work. On the second day we were joined by the Cabinet Secretary and the Minister for Children and Early Years. It is our hope that in the coming year we will be able to extend our leadership work to engage more closely with colleagues from ADSW. More information as soon as it is available.

Apologies that th e website has not been updated for several weeks. Our web provider Stormid has transferred the site to a new platform and it has not worked since!! I am assured that it will be up and running very soon. The Glow si te is working however and is upda ted regula rly

VSCS Newsletter February 2010  

VSCS Newsletter for ADES members

VSCS Newsletter February 2010  

VSCS Newsletter for ADES members