Glasgow Psychological Service

Putting Psychology into Practice

March 12, 2019
by David Patrick

Inspection Highlights

A decade of success in Glasgow schools has received an excellent report card today (Monday 11 March 2019) from Education Scotland for improving learning, raising attainment and achievement across the city and making excellent progress in closing the national poverty related attainment gap.

The report – one of 9 Attainment Challenge Local Authority inspections carried out in Scotland – is a huge accolade for Glasgow’s schools, young people, teachers and school staff and recognition of the commitment, dedication and the ‘relentless drive to reduce the impact of poverty on the outcomes of all children and young people’ in the city.

Education inspectors have highlighted five key strengths – witnessed and evidenced during their time spent in schools speaking to staff, young people and parents:

  • The very strong council-wide vision focused on reducing the impact of poverty on children, families and communities
  • The relentless drive of the Executive Director in improving the educational outcomes of children and young people living in poverty in Glasgow
  • The exceptional progress made in reducing the impact of poverty on educational attainment and achievement of children and young people
  • Outstanding approaches to career-long professional learning and leadership which have strengthened the skills and knowledge of staff and, as a result, improved children’s and young people’s attainment
  • In-built sustainability through capacity building is at the heart of the professional learning approaches undertaken across the city.  Education Services has strongly promoted the importance of long-term sustainability across all aspects of their universal and targeted approaches to permanently reduce the impact of poverty outcomes for children and young people






January 22, 2019
by David Patrick

LGBT Youth Scotland Bronze Chartermark Awarded to GPS

GPS are proud recipients of the LGBT Youth Scotland Bronze Chartermark. This award, achieved in 2018, recognises our commitment to inclusion and equality in every aspect of our work. We ensure that all our staff and anyone we work with feels safe, supported, and included, irrespective of their gender, sexuality, or any other protected characteristic. We continually support and promote diversity for the benefits it brings to us all.


January 18, 2018
by David Patrick

LGBT Scotland Chartermark

GPS are currently embarking on a journey to gain the LGBT Scotland Chartermark. We want to make sure our service is accessible to all and celebrates gender and sexual diversity. Gaining the Chartermark will validate the values we hold of inclusion, equality, diversity and fairness as well as allowing others to see that we value and support our LGBT colleagues, friends, and service users.  We have already held an awareness raising session for all staff, planned goals for ensuring our service is inclusive for transgender people and engaged in training led by LGBT Youth Scotland. Watch this space for further news……

The website to link to is:


Raising awareness and knowledge


November 4, 2017
by Jenni Kerr
1 Comment

The Lost Generation

In Athens we have had the opportunity to meet a range of professionals working in a variety of contexts.
All have spoken about ‘the lost generation’. This is the group of young people who are refugees aged 15 to 18. There is great concern that this age group is very difficult to engage in formal education. In Greece school is compulsory to age 15 and services offered to adult refugees, such as Greek lessons, are not generally provided to this age group. Many of this group can be unaccompanied minors, staying in a range of provisions such as the camps or shelters.

Going to school aged 15, sometimes for the first time in years, and not speaking the language leads to a high drop out rate. Then finding work is more difficult. Reflecting on the needs of this population will be a key factor in our project to help get this right for refugees of this age group in Glasgow. We have found out in Athens that support to learn the language and training for work is crucial and this group may benefit from a more flexible approach to education and training for work. It would be advantageous to find examples of good practice in engaging this group to ensure this generation does not become ‘lost’ in Glasgow.

November 2, 2017
by Jenni Kerr

Education is the land of resilience

The Accommodation and Services Scheme for Asylum Seekers of Athens believe that educating this population is a priority. At the workshop we attended the team shared best practice ideas they had collected from headteachers in 2016/17 to help inform educators. Here are some key findings from the research:

* Offer supported language classes. This helped children to engage and remain in school
* Build a sense of belonging to help children feel that they will be accepted and the world is an inclusive place
* Good collaboration between community organisations linked with refugees and school
* Acknowledge cultural diversity e.g. organising a multicultural feast to help share cultural information
* The children who have already successfully integrated acting as good role models for new children
* Focus on building resilience
* Classroom activities are structured inclusively

This was helpful to hear these ideas and I am sure there are great examples to collect in Glasgow.  A job for when we get back!

November 2, 2017
by Jenni Kerr

Open the curtains – you exist again

Workshop with the Accommodation and Services Scheme for Asylum Seekers of ADDMA (Athens Development & Destination Management Agency – City of Athens)

We visited this interesting project that helps asylum seekers in Athens. It was set up in 2015 to support accommodation and integration needs. The team includes social workers, psychologists & social scientists.
It is a very good example of a mediation service which helps refugees to more fully integrate into their new community. They have in-depth understanding of the needs of the population with whom they work.

The team explained that sometimes there can be difficulty with refugees accessing local services. It is not enough to just give details of schools and health services and expect every family to engage right away. There can be language, cultural, social and psychological barriers. Their stakeholders can be very disoriented after what has happened to them leading to feelings of insecurity. The team can help people understand their situation and begin to develop independence skills again.
For example here is a psychological barrier to integration. Families may have a plan to move on to another destination and they see Greece as a transition stage  so they do not want to invest in local services, such as education. The team explained that even when a family has been told they will be staying in Athens, this was not their original plan and they are still holding on to moving. Also, this population can have mental health needs, as result of experiencing trauma. They describe going to houses and the curtains are shut, the family are not able to engage in their new community. Therefore a key role of the project is to help families see they have a new opportunity, they can exist again in a new place, they can ‘open the curtains’ to see their new life.

Key points from the visit:
* Staff who work with this population benefit from training which is experiential as well as knowledge based
* Mediation is key in helping families to access services
* There are ideas for good practice when creating an inclusive ethos in schools – coming up in the next blog!




October 31, 2017
by Jenni Kerr

Visit to the 33rd district of Athens Nursery

In Athens early years education is not only a crucial support to the development of children, it also acts as a social structure to help the community. We visited a nursery in the 33rd district of Athens which had a number of refugee children. All children in Athens are offered a free place at nursery from 6 months, and refugee children are no different. The nursery is open from 7am to 4pm, with the majority of children arriving between 7 and 9am. Some children will be in for 2 hours, others longer but there is a flexible approach to time spent in nursery to allow parents to work or access community services.


There are many similarities between the Greek and Glasgow early years establishments.  There is an emphasis on inclusion with the majority of children who have ASN being included in day to day life. As with Glasgow only a few children would be supported outwith mainstream. The play rooms are arranged according to chronological age and have a range of resources to support play. There is an emphasis on outdoor play including a covered area but to keep out the sun in Greece, instead of the rain in Glasgow!
Another feature of the nursery is the dining room. Eating is a social time and the children are encouraged to sit together to enjoy the Mediterranean diet.

Children of refugees are welcomed in the nursery. There can be many nationalities in a class. The enrolment process of refugee children is very important, not only to help settle the children into nursery but to help identify need. The children are assessed by the GP before coming to nursery. Once the children are in nursery they can be assessed by other services if required. Nursery staff work hard to ensure good communication between parents and staff. We saw a good example of a welcoming resource to use during enrolment which had key phrases in different languages to help educators communicate more effectively with parents.

Our next visit is to a refugee camp to help us understand more about how children are supported to enter education when they enter Athens.

October 30, 2017
by Jenni Kerr

GPS linking with Athens to support refugee children into education

Glasgow Psychological Services (GPS) are developing links within Greece, specifically Athens, to identify good practice when supporting refugees into education.
In the last 4 years Greece have had around 2 million people arrive. The majority move on to other destinations but while in Greece there is a huge effort to support this vulnerable population.
GPS are keen to learn about how this population’s educational needs are addressed.
With funding from ERASMUS, GPS have been given the opportunity to learn in context about the Athens experience with a view to informing practice in Glasgow.

Keep reading our blog updates to find out what we have learned….


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