Campaign for School Gardening Courses

rhsCampaign for School Gardening Courses, Royal Horticultural Society
The RHS are running teacher training courses in Scotland this year, alongside their Campaign for School Gardening.

A Year in your School Gardening Club, Edinburgh -28th Sept; Renfrewshire – 14th Oct
This course is full of fun projects and activities to help you keep your gardening club flourishing in all weathers and seasons throughout the year. Click here for more details.

– Apply Primary Level Maths and English skills through the Outdoor Environment, Edinburgh, 26th Oct
Have you ever thought about taking your pupils outside for maths and English lessons? Being in the school garden or a beautiful local green space will inspire your pupils to learn, enjoy and achieve in these subjects. Please click here.

– Cultivating a Healthier School (Grow, Cook and Eat your own produce), Glasgow, 21st Nov
RHS horticulturists have teamed up with Chefs @ School to provide a practical course to enable you to put pupils’ health and wellbeing at the centre of your school with an ethos and culture of great food. Please click here.


Gardening and Woodland Courses

owlOutdoor & Woodland Learning Scotland (OWL) Gardening and Woodland Courses OWL will be running a series of courses on Gardening for Biodiversity , which will include a practical introduction to the Wee Green Fingers resource. Dates and Venues:

– Saturday 15th October (morning) – Hidden Gardens, Glasgow.

– Saturday 12th November – The Bield, Perthshire.

– Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, date tbc.

The courses will be free and open to all OWL members, teachers and educators. Please email to provisionally book a place:

Coming soon: 2 workshops on Scotland’s Native Woodlands. For more information subscribe to the OWL Scotland bulletin.

Important – Our Websites are Changing

webPreparations are underway for a major update to the Education Scotland websites to ensure we continue to meet the needs of practitioners as Scotland’s education system evolves.

By November, four sites will be available, which will be search-driven to help users quickly access the information they seek.

  • Corporate website – with information about Education Scotland, policy and legislation, news, Scotland’s education system and our role in it
  • The National Improvement Hub – the dedicated source of education improvement materials and resources for education practitioners
  • Parentzone Scotland – the dedicated information site developed for, and with, parents
  • National Qualifications site – providing practitioners with support materials for qualifications.

In preparation, we have been reviewing the content on our current sites. Education improvement materials and resources that remain relevant are being moved to the National Improvement Hub. Some topic-specific content is being moved to partner organisations and will appear on their websites. Other content is being archived for future consideration, and may be deleted or re-worked and used again. Where content has already been moved, site visitors will find a relevant link or message.

The websites with sciences and learning for sustainability content will be affected as follows:

STEM Central – core content is being migrated to the National Improvement Hub. The site in its current format will no longer be available beyond end of October 2016.

Weather and Climate Change – core content is being migrated to the National Improvement Hub. The site in its current format will no longer be available beyond end of October 2016.

Exploring Climate Change – core content is being migrated to the National Improvement Hub. The site in its current format will no longer be available beyond end of October 2016.

NQ Higher Sciences – content is being migrated to the new National Qualifications site. The site in its current format will no longer be available beyond end of October 2016.

Giant Pandas – the site in its current format will no longer be available beyond end of October 2016. In time, some of the content will appear on the Beyond the Panda website developed by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

Schools Global Footprint – this website is being deleted and will no longer be available beyond the end of October 2016.

Ready for Emergencies – the site in its current format will no longer be available beyond the end of October 2016. The content is currently being migrated to Scottish Government’s Ready Scotland website.

NQ Course Material Glow site – materials that have been developed for NQ Sciences by Education Scotland will appear on the new National Qualifications site. Most of the other material developed and shared by local authorities will not be available beyond the end of October 2016.

Sciences and Learning for Sustainability pages on Education Scotland’s Corporate site – core content will remain but there will be a significant reduction in content in the resources and sharing practice sections. Some content will be migrated to the National Improvement Hub.

National Assessment Resource – sciences content will no longer be available beyond the end of October 2016.

Due to the volume of content being migrated there may be a period of time at the end of October where some content being retained may not yet be available on the National Improvement Hub or partner websites.

If you have any further questions then please email:

Game of Cones

protreeWe really need to encourage a new generation of plant health professionals. Just think what life would be like if the resources we get from plants like food, timber and medicine were to be in short supply. Trees in Britain provide us with some stark examples of plant health problems. Since the 1970’s a fungus called Dutch elm disease has killed between 25 and 75 million elms. Today it is still spreading in northern Scotland. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example. The Forestry Commission website lists seven pests and 13 diseases that currently threaten British trees. The problem continues to grow and the rate at which new problems arrive has been accelerated through accidental import as a result of global trade. Recently there has been considerable media coverage of tree health problems, often with dire predictions for the future.

Rather than just wringing our hands we need to do something about this situation. This is why a group of Scottish researchers have taken the unusual step of working with a computer games company to develop CALEDON a survival strategy game about tree health. Their aim is to switch on the younger generation to tree health through the very popular medium of computer games. Any biologist will tell you that diversity of species and diversity of genes within species creates resilience. The old saying about the dangers of putting all your eggs in one basket is absolutely spot-on in the context of plant health. So why is it that our forestry practices have for so long focussed on single species plantations that are often of restricted genetic diversity?

This question is at the hearth of CALEDON which has been developed as part of the outreach and education programme of the PROTREE project and has seen project scientists from seven Scottish research institutes working together. Designed to be an enjoyable game, inspired by the popularity of virtual worlds, CALEDON challenges players to keep a forest thriving under a series of different scenarios with different objectives that include tree species diversity and forest cover. Players choose what trees to plant and have to work within the limits of available funds. Income can be generated by tree felling and pest and diseases have to be contended with. The learning to develop an effective strategy in the game comes from prompts that appear during gameplay and from exploration of the games encyclopaedia.

CALEDON is aimed at early teens and has good links to the curriculum at Level 3 and 4, but experience has shown that much younger players enjoy the game and do understand how to develop successful strategy. Although it is a single player game small group discussion around how to keep the forest thriving is possible as the player is completely in control of the pace of the game and clicks a button to advance time by five years after making as many changes as they like or can afford to do. The game can be played online at and can also be downloaded for offline play. An iPad version of the game is available at the App Store.


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