Supporting learners during conflict and war

This webinar will provide opportunities for practitioners working in a range of sectors to discuss how they can support children and young people who may be anxious about what they see or hear in the news.

Target Audience – the target audience for this event is professionals within the Education, Creative and Cultural Sectors in Scotland. To register for the event please enter either a school/establishment/Glow/local authority, a company or personal email address.

Wednesday 23 March 2022
16:00 – 17:15

Register here.

Personal Reflections of COP26 as a DLO – Gary Johnstone

Captains Regent delivering San Marino’s National Statement

Many months ago I expressed an interest in being involved in supporting COP26. Partly driven by my background as a teacher of geography and modern studies, I have maintained an interest in the environment and geopolitics. But my motivation was of course more fundamental; there are few of us that can’t have been moved and therefore called to action recently as we have witnessed the awful impact of global warming on people and our planet. Added to that, I hoped that COP26 would be a real success and game changer. As a proud Glaswegian, Scot and Brit, I hoped that we would be remembered positively by the thousands who attended. I was very fortunate to be offered the role of Delegation Liaison Officer (DLO) working with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Each DLO was there to prepare for the arrival of world leaders and their delegations. I was assigned the San Marino delegation and it was a pleasure to work with the country’s leaders and ministers. San Marino, for those who might not know, is a small enclave within Italy. It is the oldest republic in the world, dating back to around 300 AD. My life as a DLO was made more interesting as this little nation is unique – it is the only country in the world with two Heads of State (Captains Regent) – a fact that very few people are aware of – and this meant that in any meetings or photo opportunities I had to ensure that this was realised and respected. The Captains Regent (sounds much better in the Italian – Capitani Reggenti) could never be separated and never one treated more important than the other. Whilst San Marino is the oldest country in the world, it has the youngest Head of State (joint), Captain Regent Giacomo Simoncini who at a mere 27 makes other world leaders like Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau look like old men! Captain Regent Francesco Mussoni makes up the other half of the joint Heads of State for the Republic.

Captains Regent Preparing for Glasgow Declaration Family Photo

For a number of weeks prior to the World Leaders’ Summit I was involved in ensuring the logistics of travel, border control, airport greeting, Covid testing, accommodation and security was tailored appropriately for the delegation. The two days of the summit were frenetic. I had the privilege of access to all areas including the VVIP lounge where World Leaders spent their down time. As a DLO I had to facilitate bi-lateral meetings and brush-byes with presidents, prime ministers and ministers all within a time-restricted yet fluid situation. This also meant guiding leaders to the correct location at precise times throughout the two days. A huge moment was the delivery of the National Statement when each country was given three minutes to tell the world about their commitment to change. As they say in the musical Hamilton, I can honestly now say “I was in the room where it happened.”

San Marino was one of the 40 original countries to sign up to the Glasgow Leaders’ declaration on forest and land use. This demonstrates a commitment to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. It is so pleasing to think our city’s name will be associated with this huge initiative.

The role of DLO was challenging in a number of ways for us. Can you imagine the power of persuasion required to convince over 100 World Leaders that it was a good idea to go from the SEC (blue zone) to Kelvingrove Art Gallery for the evening reception by way of an electric bus? Or how to tactfully choreograph the timing and order of such an unusual experience – each of us with the tickets to allow our leaders on the bus!

Captain Regent Francesco Mussoni , President Joe Biden, Captain Regent Giacomo Simoncini and Minister Luca Bercalli relaxing at Kelvinhall

It was for me a real honour to be involved in such an historic event. Who would have thought that an opportunity would present itself allowing one to literally rub shoulders with cardinals, presidents and prime ministers. Fighting with the world’s press was a regular white-knuckle ride and I am afraid at one point I came off the worse for wear under the scrum of photographers chasing down President Macron. The job was physically exhausting (my commute started at 5.47 am in Bishopton station each day and lasted well into the night), exhilarating and rewarding. To my colleagues I would reflect that many of the skills we develop as HMI stood me in good stead for this role. Resilience, diplomacy, managing expectations, receiving huge amounts of information and presenting it accurately and simply, keeping calm and responding positively – they are all in our tool bag. A younger me might be tempted to pursue a career with the FCDO!

In finishing, Her Majesty The Queen urged world leaders to earn a place in history by answering the call of future generations. I hope COP26 galvanises our leaders, yes – but more than just our leaders – businesses and civic society too including our own organisation to re-double our efforts to make COP26 the defining moment it needs to be.

 

 

 

Educate on Climate day, New York Times Climate Hub, 5th November

Mark Irwin reflects on his visit to Educate on Climate day at COP26.

Every Saturday growing up, I would visit my grandparents in their flat in Govan.  I would peer out of their kitchen window, looking across the graving docks and the Clyde to the gothic tower of Glasgow University high on the hill, and ask questions about all that I could see.  Today I look back towards their flat from the train window as I head to the New York Times Climate Hub.  The tented expanse of the COP 26 Blue Zone covers the riverbank from the SEC to the Riverside Museum.  The graving docks are lit up with letters 7m high and 70m long. The text “No New Worlds” faces the leaders and delegates across the river, a reminder to all of the climate  emergency we face.

 

I pass through the layers of security at the Climate Hub and stand in the foyer to get my bearings.  Instantly I bump into people I’ve been working with these last few months online and it really is a fantastic feeling to finally meet in person.  I listen to a panel discussion from the World Health Organisation on the impact of climate change on health and mortality around the world.  It is a stark message, and one that needs to be heard more.  I bump into more teachers and we head for a table to talk about what we have heard, and what we can do to move Learning for Sustainability forward post COP 26.  Words that feature often are empathy, humanity, empowerment alongside the need to make deeper connections across Scotland and the world.  I listen and reflect on how important it is to listen to those on the frontline, and hope that the delegates in the Blue Zone are doing the same.

 

It’s a Friday.  It’s the world’s biggest summit on climate change. So of course there is a Fridays for the Future climate march, the global movement started by Greta Thunberg.  It has grown from Greta sitting solo in strike outside the Swedish parliament in 2018 to over 14 million strikers worldwide in 7,500 cities. The Glasgow march leaves from Kelvingrove Park, only 10 minutes from the Hub.  I head over to meet some young people and to chat to them and their parents about the March.  About 30,000 protesters head off towards George Square to hear young climate activists from around the world.  I head back to the Hub feeling exhilarated by these conversations.

 

I’m back in time to grab a coffee and head in to the Forum for a session on Future Proofing pupils for the Changing world of work.  It’s a lively and fascinating panel, including Chris van de Kuyl of Minecraft fame, and AI researcher Professor Rose Luckin of UCL.  However it is a comment from Professor Dave Reay of Edinburgh University that really strikes a chord with me.  It’s not about making our young people “Future Ready”, its actually supporting them to be “Now Ready”.

 

Professor Reay’s comment solidified a feeling I’ve had since COP 26 began.  We use the word future all the time when we talk about climate change and its impacts. But does the use of this word give decision makers a get-out to put off the actions urgently needed now?  Hearing from people from across the globe, and in particular young people who are already living with the effects of climate change, it’s clear that delivery of actions needs to happen now.  If it is left to the future, then it is too late.

 

 

COP 26 blog – A step out into a new world

STEM Education Officer Mairi Thomson reflects on her visit to COP 26 and its legacy.

Leaving for the launch of the New York Times Climate Hub I was struck by the poignancy of the moment: this would be the first time I had been on a train since the pandemic began. Like many, my ‘working from home’ life had quickly adjusted to the daily commute to the back room. It had been easy, all too easy, to avoid the city these last 18 months, managing to strike a balance of working, dog walking and family but the forgotten jacket on the train quickly transported me to the present reminding me this was different!

 

The city was strangely quiet. I had expected to see scenes of activism just like the ones that had filled my television in the days before. I don’t think people had wearied – just that the carefully curated road closures had led me a different path. The hum of helicopters, the chatter of languages, the green lanyards and the camera bags told me I had reached the Climate Hub.

Through security and COVID checks, inside was an oasis of calm. A reverence for nature greeted me through the living art installation by ES Devlin.  197 trees and plants temporarily installed to represent the 197 countries who ratified the United Nations Framework on Climate Change.  The art cleverly nudged me to breathe in the importance of this COP and to pause and reflect on not only the enormity of the crisis facing humanity but also the urgency.

Each of the evening’s contributors offered up something unique from their perspective.  The New York Times editor in chief spoke of journalists seeking truth to tell the most urgent climate change stories of our time, how they use drones to go places people can’t and how using local photographers shows both intimacy and fear. Describing Greenland’s ice sheet as Swiss cheese reminded me (in case I had forgotten) that climate change is devastatingly real.  Nicola Sturgeon reflected on the significance of COP being hosted in Glasgow, a city at the forefront of the industrial age, how the science shows us we are running out of time, how we need to reduce emissions and reach net zero but without leaving people and communities behind. Beattie Wolfe performed her song from Green to Red as we were treated to a visual representation of 800000 years of carbon emission using data from NASA.

By all measures the night was a success but what measures are our leaders, our activists or indeed am I using to determine whether this COP has been successful?  Big announcements are one thing but important action happens at a local level.  Dave Reay, expert in Carbon Management. says that the most powerful thing anyone can do in terms of taking climate action is to talk about it. Talk with family, talk with community, talk with peers. Yes! This is something I can do (and those of you who know me know I love to talk!).  So with this in mind I am stepping out into the soon to be new and post-COP world and I am filled with hope and possibility about what we can achieve together.

COP26 – Use Data Science to reduce your school’s carbon footprint

Just launched  – a new live lesson for learners P7-S4.

The event ‘Use Data Science to reduce your school’s carbon footprint’, which is free, will be held on 9th Nov (2pm) and aligns well with COP26. Each live lesson focuses on a data science topic and brings together a YouTube livestream event with a series of guided web-based activities.  The first live lesson, ‘Defend the Rhino’, focused on machine learning (training cameras to spot poachers and save rhinos!).  The second ‘Data Selfie’ live lesson supports learners to explore data visualisation.

You can access both lessons from the events page in the Data Education in Schools website: Events for data education – Data Education in Schools (dataschools.education)

Details of ‘Use Data Science to reduce your school’s carbon footprint’ can be found here: Data Skills Live: Use Data Science to reduce your school’s carbon footprint Tickets, Tue 9 Nov 2021 at 14:00 | Eventbrite

The live lesson format has been developed in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and Digital Skills Education.  It’s proven to be very popular with 9643 learners (to date) having engaged in the first two activities. The 10,000 learner isn’t far off now!

Communities Stories Fund – Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022

The Communities Stories Fund has opened for applications, as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 (YS22).

The fund is directed at providing an opportunity for communities across Scotland to put on events that tell the stories that are unique or important to them.

With £300,000 available for awards of between £500 and £5,000, the fund will provide an opportunity for new, creative events, activities and programming. Applicants are invited to respond to any of the five, cross cutting Year of Stories 2022 programme strands:

  1. Iconic Stories & Storytellers
  2. New Stories
  3. Scotland’s People and Places
  4. Local Tales and Legends
  5. Inspired by Nature.

The deadline for applications for this round of funding is 1st October 2021. A further round of funding will open on 24 January 2022.

Full details of the criteria and how to apply can be found here: https://www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/funding/year-of-stories-2022-community-stories-fund/

Applications must be made through the Museums Galleries Scotland website, and applicants must first register online to create an account before making an application. If applicants have any questions in relation to their application they should get in touch with the MGS team by contacting grants@museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk

Young Citizens – Resources to support a mock G7 Summit

The 47th G7 summit is scheduled for 11–13 June 2021 in the United Kingdom while it holds the presidency of the G7. The attendees will include the leaders of the seven G7 member states as well as representatives of the European Union.  

What is the Mock G7 Programme?

Aimed at students aged 14-18 years this resource will provide teachers with the tools they need to run an immersive, active learning programme in the classroom around the G7 2021.  Over three lessons students will explore what the G7 is before being challenged to take part in a mock G7 Summit.

  • Part 1 – What is the G7/Y7? A lesson plan to introduce the concept of the G7 and Y7 to the students
  • Part 2 – Research – students are split into 7 different groups (each group representing a different country) and then are allocated a role (world leader, Sherpa, Finance Minister and Youth Minister). They research their country’s position on ‘ocean action’, using ‘country packs’ and videos from real-world diplomats
  • Part 3 – Negotiation exercise – the students take part in a simulated negotiation exercise to mirror the G7 Ministerial/Leader level dialogues. At the end of this, they produce a ‘communique’ of their top three recommendations on ‘ocean action’.

Impact

The Future Leaders Network and Young Citizens piloted the pack in 5 schools across the country in April, and the feedback was hugely positive:

  • 100% of the teachers stated that they would recommend this resource to a colleague.
  • 100% of the teachers either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement ‘the learning objectives from the lesson were met by the majority of students’.
  • 100% of the teachers reported that through participating in the programme students gained the following skills and benefits: communication, presenting, listening, debating, team working and critical thinking skills.

How to get involved

If you’d like to host a Mock G7 between 7 – 25 June (or even better, alongside the G7 itself, from 11 – 13 June), all you need to do is register your interest here: Mock G7 Pack | Young Citizens. The pack is provided to them absolutely free of charge, as the development of the materials was funded by the G7 Outreach Programme Budget.

Earth Day 2021

 

22 April has been designated by the United Nations as International Mother Earth Day. This is a global day of action on climate change and biodiversity. Education Scotland is committing to doing even more to embed Learning for Sustainability into its plans and we’re inviting education settings across Scotland to do the same. This will help us prepare and make the most of the UN COP26 Summit which is being held in Scotland in November this year.

Check out the Earth Day video message from Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive of Education Scotland and Chief Inspector of Education: https://youtu.be/TS0IGUhC6SY 

Share your Earth Day plans with @EdScotLfS using the hashtag #EarthDay2021 #ThisisLfS

Further support, resources and ideas:

Happy Earth Day!

Image by David Mark from Pixabay 

Issue to action: Science

 

Global Citizenship provides a wealth of real-life contexts for learning Science.

Issues of sustainability, gender and health are explored in this series of lessons.

These materials were created by Science teachers in Scotland and are designed for use at BGE levels 3 and 4. All the activities connect to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and you can find some introductory activities to the goals here.

The materials explore 3 themes – plastic waste, gender balance in Science and health and hygiene – with short introductory activities as well as a series of lessons exploring the topics in more detail.

The lessons and worksheets in the booklet are supported by PowerPoints which you can download. All activities are mapped to ‘Experiences and Outcomes’ as well as the relevant Sustainable Development Goal.

 

https://scotdec.org.uk/resources/issue-to-action-science/

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