• members@msa-scotland.net


Members’ Area is up and running – create an account now

Earlier this year, we announced that the Modern Studies Association (MSA) had set a new membership record. This announcement clearly encouraged colleagues the length and breadth of Scotland to join the MSA to ensure that our voice is heard at all levels of the Scottish education system.

This much welcomed rally of support brought down our website, meaning delayed membership applications and a non-functioning Members’ Area. Since then, our website administrator, Scott Campbell, has been hard at work, and the problem has now been resolved. In order to be GDPR compliant though, previous Members’ Area accounts have been deactivated, meaning members are invited to create their own accounts via the ‘Join’ page on our website.

Thank you to all members for your patience as we worked to resolve this issue and provide the best website possible for our 600 members. You can create your own account through the ‘Join’ page on our website.

Upcoming CLPL events for Modern Studies Teachers

Upcoming CLPL opportunities for Modern Studies Teachers in the image below. Please note, the Modern Studies Association has not organised these events, nor we do endorse them – it shared for information purposes. If you’re interested, please apply directly.


MSET highlights 2018 Modern Studies exam successes

Congratulations to Roisin Craig, a pupil at Stewarton Academy, who achieved the highest mark in Scotland in the SQA Higher Modern Studies exam. Roisin was presented with a certificate from the Modern Studies Educational Trust by her class teacher Ms MacGlade and Head Teacher Mrs Hegarty.

Congratulations to Phoebe O’Toole who achieved the highest mark in the SQA 2018 Higher Modern Studies exam. Phoebe was presented with a certificate from the Modern Studies Educational Trust by her class teachers. Phoebe was one of nine pupils across the country who scored full marks in the Higher Modern Studies exam.

Bookings open for 2018 MSA Annual Conference

The Modern Studies Association (MSA) Annual Conference is the highlight of the MSA’s calendar. This year’s Annual Conference will return to Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Union (QMU) on Saturday 3 November 2018.

As ever, the event will start at 10.15am (with registration open from 9.30am) and run until 3.30pm, with a variety of topic-specific keynote addresses and hands on workshops that aim to provide Modern Studies Teachers with a great CLPL experience.

As part of this year’s event, we are delighted to announce that lawyer Aamer Anwar will be our keynote speaker, while several workshops focussing on international, political and social issues will offer Modern Studies Teachers a fantastic CLPL opportunity. Make sure you book your seminar option as you go through the booking process.

Make sure that you buy your tickets quick – a reduced rate applies until 15 September 2018, and after this date, only general admission tickets (£75) will be available. Those who are currently PGDE students at any University can purchase a special student ticket, costing £15, when they go on sale at the end of August. Please note that tickets will need to be shown on the day while PGDE students will be asked to present their valid student ID cards for access to the Conference.

If your establishment or local authority will be paying for your ticket and they wish to pay via invoice, then this is possible. Just click the green ‘Tickets’ button at the top of the page, select your desired ticket type and quantity, before hitting ‘Checkout’. When the page loads, scroll down to the ‘Payment’ section and choose ‘Pay by invoice’ from the drop-down menu next to ‘Payment method’. When you have completed the booking process, an invoice should be attached to your booking confirmation e-mail, though this might arrive in your Spam or Junk folder(s).

European Global Citizenship project

The following update is published on behalf of ScotDec.

This is an exciting professional learning opportunity and a chance to get involved with a European Global Citizenship project. It’s a chance to explore how you can embed Learning for Sustainability with a Global Citizenship focus into your subject area while working with like-minded peers. It’s a chance to network with colleagues in other parts of Europe and take part in international sharing meetings. The project is launching and January and we are currently looking for a small group of teachers to take part in the initial project activities.

Project summary

This project will be delivered by 10 partner organisations across Europe and is only for secondary
schools and teachers. Activities are focussed on developing national, subject specific teaching materials (produced by teachers) and providing training to support Global Citizenship in key curriculum areas. There will be an overarching theme on how to explore controversial global issues (such as migration, refugees, climate change, etc) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within these activities. Teachers will have an opportunity to network with teachers from across Europe at international seminars and a conference.

Further activity is focused on work with pupils, supporting them to take action on local / global issues which are important to them. The young people will raise awareness within their local communities about the SDGs and other current issues which are important to them. The impact of this work will be evaluated specifically using specially developed participatory impact assessment tools.

A final strand of the project looks at creating a supportive environment for teachers to develop this work and advocating for the importance Education for Global Citizenship.

Teacher working groups

In the first year of the project Scotdec will recruit 2-3 teachers from the following curriculum areas: Maths, Science, MFL, English and Social Subjects. The teachers will work within these groups to identify opportunities for developing Global Citizenship within their curriculum area and developing some support materials to exemplify this. The information below gives you an idea of what is involved. It is anticipated that the working groups will start in March / April 2018 and run for a year. There is financial remuneration available either to cover time out of school or personal time working on the project.

Indicative timetable and approximate time commitment

  • Initial training – 2 x days
  • 3 further face-to-face meets in individual curriculum working groups plus email communications
  • Midterm training – 1 x day
  • International – there are some opportunities for collaboration with colleagues across Europe:
  • 1 teacher to attend the methodological framework meeting in Warsaw (3 x days)
  • 1 teacher rep from each curriculum working group to attend international, sharing good practice in Bratislava.

Main task of working groups:
Identify opportunities within your curriculum area to include GC with a particular focus on controversial issues and the SDGs

Develop general approaches guidance material for peers

Create, trial and revise 15-20 ready to use activities for peers to use in the classroom

Follow up:

In years 2 and 3 of the project there will be a role out of training and the materials. Teachers from the working group will have an option of leading professional learning with colleagues during this role out. This includes becoming a mentor for teachers participating in online learning programmes. If you are interested in finding out more about the project and to register your interest, please contact charlotte@scotdec.org.uk

About Scotdec
Scotdec is a Global Learning Centre which has been supporting global citizenship education for
nearly 30 years.

Our vision

Our vision is that young people in Scotland are able and motivated to challenge global inequality – creating a fairer future for all.

Our values are based on a commitment to social justice and sustainable development and belief that people can bring about change.

We aspire to work in an inclusive and participatory way and have a creative and responsive approach to learning.

Our work
Scotdec staff work towards our vision by providing quality professional learning opportunities and resources to support global citizenship across all sectors of education. We gather evidence to demonstrate the social and educational value of global citizenship to educators and policy-makers across Scotland.

Our team
Scotdec has a small but very professional staff team with many years of experience. Our professional Learning Advisers are all qualified teachers and youth workers supported by financial and administrative expertise built up over many years. Our management committee are dedicated to ensuring that Scotdec is a professional and effective organisation, supporting global citizenship in Scottish education.

Free MSA CLPL event in January for Modern Studies Teachers

Attention ALL Modern Studies teachers!

The MSA is delighted to be able to provide this free ‘Career Long Professional Learning’ event. This is designed to fit in with the following Professional Update requirements;

  • Professional Values and Personal Commitment > Professional Commitment
  • Professional Actions > Pedagogy, Learning and Subject Knowledge
  • Professional Actions > Curriculum and Assessment
  • Professional Knowledge and Understanding/Professional Skills and Abilities > Professional Knowledge and Understanding and Professional Skills and Abilities

We plan to offer one hour of professional discussions involving the Stevenson Trust on their Citizenship agenda as well with John Porter (SQA) the Principal Assessor at Higher and Ian Millar (SQA) the Principal Assessor at Advanced Higher and the Modern Studies Subject Implementation Manager.

The second part of the event is dedicated to interactive activities including the use of Benchmarks, with advice from Education Scotland as to what is being looked for in upcoming inspections, as well as the opportunity to work in groups to design, produce and verify assessment and prelim questions.

Attendees are invited bring their own BGE units of work and any assessments for verification and benchmarking, or just work with the materials provided in a relaxed and supportive environment, with tea and coffee provided.

The Soutar Theatre is part of the AK Bell Library and is less than 500m from Perth Railway Station or from long-stay parking at the Dewar’s Centre. Some parking is available at the venue itself.

To book your tickets, use the form via this page.

Survey on 2017 Modern Studies exams

The Modern Studies Association invites Modern Studies teachers across Scotland to participate in our survey of how practitioners feel about the recent diet of Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exams. The survey is open to both members and non-members, and can be completed below. Please be aware that all survey sections are optional to allow those teachers who do not teach a particular level to avoid answering unnecessary questions.

This survey is now closed. Thank you for your participation.

Record membership for the MSA

The Modern Studies Association (MSA) is proud to announce that as of today (31 August), we have surpassed what was our highest membership level on record.

As of this update’s publication, the MSA has over 450 members – all of whom are current Modern Studies Teachers, working in schools the length and breadth of Scotland.

Founded in 1971, the MSA aims to provide Modern Studies Teachers with advice, collaboration, support and opportunities to participate in CPD events, membership of the MSA is completely free.

Once signed up, MSA members can expect to receive regular news updates, invitations to CPD events such as Annual Conference and a login to a Members’ Area with hundreds of ready-to-use resources.

Anybody wishing to join the MSA can do so by clicking this link and filling in the form.

Confessions of a Probationer

Confessions of a Probationer: Helpful advice and tips

Having gotten my first week of ‘real’ teaching out of the way and under my belt, I felt it best to share some advice that upcoming Modern Studies probationers might find useful.

Pre-Summer: Visit your school before the start of the Summer holidays and find out what topics each of your classes will look at, and where they will be when you pick up the lessons. Try to get copies of lesson materials for your reference.

During Summer: Enjoy Teacher’s New Year. Take the holidays off to unwind and relax. Get your mind off of teaching and begin to think about yourself for a short while.

End of Summer: Take time in August to prepare. Taking time in the two weeks preceding the start of the new school year will save you no end of issues when you start. Consider buying a Teacher’s Planner to structure your lessons.

Day one: Day one is important. Usually, day one is an Inservice Day, and this day offers you several opportunities. You’ll meet your new colleagues and soak up some great CPD. Enjoy it and take the settle to settle into your new surroundings.

Day one: Find your way around. It’s important to know where in your classrooms materials are kept. Knowing where the new jotters and key supplies are is always a must. Of course, knowing the school estate is good too – you’ll find an appreciation for the pupils who, upon occasion, might have to travel one the opposite end to your classroom.

First day of teaching: Nerves are good. Always remember that all teachers are constantly learning, so being nervous is never a bad thing. Once the first class is over, the nerves will subside.

First week: Download and work through the GTCS New Starter Checklist. This checklist can facilitate great discussions between you and colleagues, and you will quickly find out more about your school.

First week: Speak to colleagues you can trust. Teaching is never the same; every pupil in every class is different every time you see them. The sands upon which our career is founded are eternally shifting. Therefore, seeking support and advice can always be a great help.

First week: Have time for yourself in the week. Whether it’s each night, one weeknight or the whole weekend, build time into your schedule to relax.

Have you got a reflective article you’d like to submit? Click here to find out more about the submission requirements.

Confessions of a Probationer

Confessions of a Probationer: A liberating experience

So I’m four days in to actually teaching my own classes now (its alot easier without someone breathing down your neck that’s for sure!) and I feel a sense of empowerment and liberty. One thing I am finding difficult to grasp or at least get my head around is teaching an integrated course which incorporates all three social subjects as opposed to teaching your own subject in a rotation.

The thing I am finding most difficult is teaching a subject that I know nothing about (i.e Geography), even if I am looking over the lessons and doing my own research. To an extent I feel that I am short changing students as I may be unable to answer any questions that a specialist may be able to answer. Though as I said I’ve only been in the classroom for four days, it may (and hopefully will) change over the next few weeks.

Have you got a reflective article you’d like to submit? Click here to find out more about the submission requirements.