What I’m doing

Alison and I thought it might be useful for staff to see what I’m up to at the moment.  Here are the headings for the work I’m currently involved in or have recently completed.  If anything is of interest to you, please get in touch.

  • Life and Broadcasting skills with young school leavers
  • Visiting mAIRwaves FM @ Isobel Mair School
  • Visiting mock court case participants @ St Thomas’ Primary
  • Senior alcohol awareness session @ St Luke’s High
  • CPD in RSHPE to school staff
  • CPD in substance misuse to school staff
  • Presentation to Strathclyde Uni BEd3 students
  • CPD in Being Well, Doing Well to childminders
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • CPD in sexual health to NQTs
  • Smoking cessation student support in St Luke’s High
  • Holiday Programme
  • HWB good practice on air @ Pulse Community Radio

On living stress free..

I’m sure the title has got your attention.  Someone suggested I visit this blog – the writer, Roger Terry,  has delivered  NLP training in the authority before.

Here is an interesting and perhaps useful technique he suggests for quieting your mind.  It’s called the wide-angle technique.


Let me know if it works for you – or if you have any others?

SouperDouper learning with Wholefoods

As part of last years FeastRen, Wholefoods Market in Giffnock designed a challenge for our schools, to help them explore food and health.  The project was called the SouperDouper Challenge and led to some fabulous, creative healthy learning in our primaries and secondaries.

The primary challenge was an art competition, with pupils being asked to invent a healthy soup and create a drawing to go along with it.  Our schools really got behind this challenge – it was so successful that Wholefoods decided to make a calendar with the winning soups.  13 pupils and their schools were awarded with their calendars just in time for the Christmas break.   

A special mention must go to OLM primary.  They got so involved in the challenge that every single class – from P1 to P7 – made soup in school!  This really is a perfect example of the Curriculum for Excellence.  Nicola Cochrane, who leads on HWB in OLM was kind enough to have a chat with me about the project when I visited the school.  Click the link to hear her inspirational words. 


I was also lucky to come across a winner in Springhill & Auchenback, a delightful and very smart P3 pupil.  Listen to him tell me all about his soup making skills.  He must make his teacher and his mum very proud indeed.  


Here are some of the pictures from the colourful primary calendar.

Our secondary Home Economics departments were given the opportunity to take a class on a visit to Wholefoods for a tour and to choose ingredients to take back to school and design and make their very own soup.  Four of our secondaries took part – St Luke’s, Williamwood, Eastwood and Mearns Castle.   Alison and I were lucky enough to visit a few of the school kitchens as cooking and judging was taking place.  The skill and invention the students showed was fantastic!  This is what they made:

  • St Luke’s – Sweet Potato & Chilli Soup.
  • Williamwood – Spicy Carrot Soup with Yoghurt.
  • Eastwood – Warmin Pumpkin Soup.
  • Mearns Castle – Creamy Tomato & Basil.

The winning soup, as judged by the Wholefoods panel, was Williamwood’s Spicy Carrot Soup with Yoghurt, made by students in Hillary McKelvie’s class.  All 4 soups were magnificent – I was lucky enough to taste them.    Here they are, just before judging.


The winning Williamwood soup was recreated, using the same recipe,  by Wholefoods chefs and sold in store. The winning students from Williamwood were invited to the store to meet the chef and see their soup in the hot food section.  What a thrilling prize!

And just incase you’d like to make the soups yourself..

Williamwood Spicy Carrot Soup with Yogurt ( wholefoods recipe)

mearns castle creamy tomato and basil

St Luke’s Sweet potato & Chilli soup Recipe

Eastwood High warming pumpkin soup 

Wholefoods Market are a wonderful addition to our range of partners who work with schools to bring the curriculum to life.

A big thank you to all the schools who took part – taking the time to develop an idea that enriches learning for your students is never easy, but always worth it. 

Special thanks to the secondary Home Economic’s teachers – Jackie Stead from St Luke’s; Philippa Craig from Eastwood; Sarah Robinson from Mearns Castle and Hillary McKelvie from Williamwood – you are all wonderful and an inspiration to your students.

If you have any ideas for next year’s FeastRen project, please get in touch.

Happy Friday!

In a recent YouGov survey, 59% of British adults said they found life was more stressful than five years ago and nearly half of people surveyed said they felt stressed every day or every few days. A little stress every now and again can make us more alert and stimulate us into performing more effectively, but prolonged stress can be detrimental to both mental and physical health.

That’s why, this January, the Mental Health Foundation have launched a campaign to help everyone cope better with the physical and emotional effects of stress. They’ve put together a guide with the key facts and 101 tips to help reduce the symptoms, sourced from mental health professionals and the general public.

Click on the picture above to take you directly to the website.

If you resolve to do one thing this year, why not learn to manage the stress in your life.  It’s bound to make you happier and healthier.

MHFA – new dates for 2013

Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid is a 2 day, certificated course that equips participants with the knowledge and skills required to recognise people who may be having mental health difficulties and gives them the confidence to intervene.

I’ve been delivering this course for 5 years and I’m delighted to say that I will be joined this year by two brand new trainers – Nick Smiley, Senior Educational Psychologist and Wendy Jenkins from the Pupil Support Team @ Eastwood High. 

Our dates for 2013 have just been finalised and will be appearing on the CPD site very soon.

  1. Mon 25 Feb & Mon 04 Mar
  2. Fri 03 May & Fri 10 May
  3. Thurs 31 Oct & Thurs 07 Nov

I think this course is interesting, relevant and a crucial addition to any practitioners toolkit for supporting fellow staff and students.  Don’t just take my word for it, here are some testimonials.  I interviewed a Pupil Support teacher and a Depute Head on the importance of MHFA for a presentation I did for Education Scotland last year.  Thanks to Alison McGillivray and my daughter Wallis for voicing the audio.



I also received an email from a primary head, not long after she had completed the training.

May I just say that I found myself in a situation where I was able to support a parent who presented to me in a very vulnerable state.  Due to the MHFA training I received, I was able to ask the difficult question (suicide) with confidence and refer to agencies to support from that point on.  You never think that you will be in that position, it just shows you how valuable this training is for professionals.

If you are interested in finding out more about MHFA before signing up for the training, please get in touch with me.

All rise for the court stars of St Thomas’ Primary

St Thomas’ Primary P7s recently took part in a national “mock court case” competition.  It was the first time the school had entered the competition and they did exceptionally well.  From 66 national entrants, they were placed 3rd overall – a brilliant result for the rookie professionals. 

The team had to take on the roles of solicitor, witness, researcher, journalist, robe maker and court artist and had to present their case to a real judge, in a real court, in Edinburgh.   And they had to leave their residential trip to Castle Toward early and travel directly to the court in Edinburgh.  How’s that for dedication – no wonder they did such a great job.

I spent some time recording their story to air on Pulse Community Radio and here it is.  Take the time to listen to this impressive, motivated, bright young bunch and watch out for them.  They are surely the solicitors, journalists and teachers of the future!



If you’re interested in finding out more about the competition, get in touch with Marion Johnson @ St Thomas, who will happily give you more info.

Check out the link to a BBC news story about the competition.