All posts by Miss McKenna

Speakers for Schools Newsletter


In response to Covid-19, Speakers for Schools launched our Virtual Talks (VTalks) and Virtual Work Experience (VWEX) programmes to help speakers continue to engage and support young people studying at home and those still attending school across the UK.

Since our first VTalk two months ago, Speakers for Schools has delivered over 50 VTalks to almost 55,000 young people. We continue to deliver insightful and engaging talks from some of today’s most inspiring figures across business, arts, politics, journalism, STEM and more, to help young people fuel their ambitions and open their minds to different ideas and career paths. Speakers coming soon include Britbox Group Launch Director Reemah Sakaan, Oscar Nominee Writer / Director Armando Iannucci, Tik Tok General Manager Richard Waterworth and John Frieda Creative Director Zoe Irwin.

Our VWEX now works with 56 leading employers to offer Virtual Work Experience to young people across the UK. These include PwC, Bank of England, Google, Spotify and Cisco.  We were thrilled to hear that Gatsby now recognises Virtual Work Experience toward Gatsby 5 & 6.

View the full Vtalk schedule here

Taylor’s Lockdown Cookbook

We are proud to present our delicious recipes in our doughtastic Taylor High School Lockdown Cookbook! We have been working on our best quarantine recipes to share with you. Many thanks to both teachers and pupils who contributed their recipes to the cookbook. We hope you are ready to cook up a storm!

We have attached our Lockdown Cookbook below. Click on the front page to see what’s inside!

There are starters, mains, sides and sweet treats to choose from. We would love to see your creations, please tag us on twitter @TaylorHS1982       @taylorlibrary       @HETaylorHigh.

Many thanks to Mr Russell and Mrs Leslie for their time and effort in collating these wonderful recipes!

Ready, Steady, Cook!

Speakers for Schools Schedule

The schedule for the Speakers for Schools virtual talks for this week is below. The interesting talk subjects range from apprenticeships to film and animation. Don’t miss out!

Mon 15th June 10am Baroness Lola Young, Independent Life Peer & Consultant Baroness Lola Young is joining SFS to share her life lessons and advice with a KS3/S1-3 audience and to discuss the importance of the arts in society.
Mon 15th June 2pm Julian Baggini, Editor-in-Chief, The Philosophers’ Magazine Join Julian Baggini, Editor-in-Chief, The Philosophers’ Magazine to explore the philosophy of personal identity – what makes us who we are. This VTalk would suit KS5/ S5-6 students and students who are interested in Philosophy.
Tues 16th June 10am Dan Snow, Historian and Broadcaster Why History matters? Join us as historian, author and broadcaster Dan Snow discusses the importance of studying history and the lessons you can learn.
Wed 17th June 2pm Dean Beswick, Film and animation company founder, Gorilla Gorilla! Film and animation company founder Dean Beswick is joining us for this virtual talk to discuss his career as a producer and commercial filmmaker, sharing his top 3 life lessons to help you prepare for your future.
Thurs 18th June 2pm In collaboration with Penguin Talks: Mohsin Zaidi & Jessica Kellgren-Fozard How to embrace your Intersectionality
Fri 19th June 10am Charlotte Stacey, Head of UK Apprenticeships Programme, BP Interested in learning about apprenticeships? Join us as Charlotte Stacey, Head of UK Apprenticeships Programme with BP discusses the practicalities of apprenticeships, how they’re structured, the benefits of completing an apprenticeship and the opportunities that exist at BP.

We hope you enjoy some more inspirational talks this week!


Letter from Derek Brown, Executive Director, Education and Families

Letter to Parents/Carers – 8 June 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

I am pleased to have the opportunity to write to you to outline the progress we have made in planning for the return of children to school from August 11 onwards. It is anticipated that we will clarify arrangements in more detail in June, but what follows is an outline of our planning and a description of the steps we are taking to consult with various groups of stakeholders.

Planning Assumptions
In August, we have to plan, first and foremost, on the basis of safety. We need to ensure that your child and the staff in schools are as safe as possible and that the opportunity for viral transmission is reduced as far as possible.

In addition, due to government stipulations on physical distancing (2 metres squared, being used as a basic stipulation for schools, and anticipated guidance on smaller groupings in early years settings) it is likely that the capacity of settings to welcome children and young people will be between 40%-50% of current volumes.

We also have a reduction in staff capacity due to the continued need (under Scottish Government guidance) for staff who are part of the shielding programme to continue to work from home, as has been the case during the emergency lockdown period. It is difficult to
quantify this absolutely at present, but the service is planning on the availability of 80-85% staff being able to attend work as a basic assumption.

Therefore, as Scottish Government advice makes clear, there will need to be models deployed in local authorities and in private settings which incorporate what the First Minister has called,
‘partial delivery’ and ‘blended learning.’

Opening Schools
It likely that all young people, with the exception of the children of key workers and designated vulnerable groups will receive between 40%-50% of pre-lockdown education and childcare
provision in the recovery period.

While this is enormously challenging for staff in schools and settings, as well as for the young people and those who care for them, it is an absolute requirement if Scotland is to recover its services fully in a way that prioritises health and safety and minimises viral transmission.

In schools, most pupils will experience a partial in-school timetable, equivalent to a minimum two days most weeks, supplemented by an enhanced online digital learning offering and the potential for wider community based support. In primary, the priority will be to take a familycentred approach, overseen by head teachers. In secondary, due to the need to align the senior phase with the offering of key partners, such as New College Lanarkshire, there will be a focus
on key year groups attending on particular days.

Importantly, further consultation on how this will operate in practice will take place in June, and the precise detail will be clarified before the end of the school session, in plenty of time for August.

Early Years
In Early Years, the Scottish Government decision to pause the roll out of the 1140 Hours Expansion programme, due to the need to reduce staff:child ratios, means that it will be likely that most parents will receive 600 hours, which they are entitled to by statute.

This is based entirely on the prioritisation of critical child care for the children of key workers and vulnerable children as set out by the Scottish Government. Where local authorities make a critical childcare offer to key worker families and vulnerable families, this should be free at the point of access during the emergency response period.

To ensure settings are as safe as possible for children and staff, there is an expectation that all settings will put in place arrangements to accommodate physical distancing. This will also potentially reduce capacity within individual settings.

How this all works in the recovery period will depend on further advice and guidance from Scottish Government, due to be published on 15 June on arrangements for early years’ settings, including private funded providers. Following this, further dialogue will take place with partner providers regarding how they can adapt their settings to comply with guidance and draw down funding from the framework and further communication will take place with parents and carers.

Consultation and Communications
We hope to enlist the support of the members our representative parent groups for the approach we are advocating, which is grounded in clear national guidance and the professional
advice of our own central officer teams.

Any plans being brought forward are being done with reference to existing council policy and we will continue to communicate with you as things develop.

We understand you will have questions, many of which we are unable to answer at this point. We are working as hard as possible to manage all of the details and we will keep you updated
by letter and at

Yours sincerely
Derek Brown
Executive Director, Education and Families

Speakers for Schools Virtual Talks


Another week, another amazing selection of virtual talks for you to choose from. The line up for this week includes a singer/songwriter, a radio presenter and a film director! Get involved and become inspired! The schedule is detailed below:


Mon 8th June 2pm CeCe Sammy, Vocal Coach & Asher Knight, Singer/Songwriter If you can speak, you can sing! Join Vocal Coach to the stars, CeCe Sammy and Singer/Songwriter Asher Knight to discuss how music has helped people overcome barriers and learn some singing techniques to help students focus too!
Tues 9th June 10am


Julian Jessop, Economist Should the voting age be lowered to 16? Economist, Julian Jessop will discuss the debate with students. This talk would suit any student interested in politics.
Tues 9th June 2pm Dr Funke Abimbola, Solicitor, Business Leader and Diversity Campaigner Dr Funke Abimbola is joining SFS to discuss ‘Climbing mountains’ – a session that reflects on Dr Abimbola’s personal leadership journey, her journey to becoming a senior healthcare executive and lawyer and sharing top 5 tips for success!
Wed 10th June 10am Charly Classen, Vice Chair, Special Olympics A session on how sport has the ability to impact lives with a focus on demystifying the sports sector in terms of careers and jobs available across the wider sports industry.
Thurs 11th June 2pm In collaboration with Penguin Talks:

Maya Jama and DOM&INK

How to Build Confidence

British television and radio presenter, Maya Jama, joins freelance illustrator and author of Free to Be Me, DOM&INK, to discuss what confidence means to them, the barriers to developing confidence and how we can build our own confidence.

Fri 12th June 10am In collaboration with Into Film: Sarah Gavron, Film Director British, feature film Director, Sarah Gavron, who’s film credits include the film adaptation of Monica Ali’s award-winning novel, Brick Lane, Suffragette, and the upcoming teen drama, made in collaboration with the creative team and the young people in the cast, Rocks, out later this year, will be answering questions and discussing her career, future projects and influences. Sarah has dedicated her career to accurately telling female stories and hopes to inspire more young women to enter the UK Film Industry.

We hope you enjoy some more inspirational talks this week!


Speakers for Schools Schedule

The Speakers for Schools virtual talks are continuing to take place with some fantastic guests! This week, the topics range from science to sports. The talk schedule can be found below:

Mon 1st June 10am Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard In this interview, Ann Cairns will be asked about her top tips and advice for young people in preparing for their future careers.
Mon 1st June 2pm Kev O’Sullivan, Creative Director, FleishmanHillard Fishburn What does it mean to work in the creative industries? How can young people develop their personal brand and repuation? Creative Director, Kev O’Sullivan will share his insights and answer student questions!
Tues 2nd June 2pm Philippe Sands, Lawyer, Matrix Chambers & Professor of International Law The Ratline: hunting a Nazi, a story about love, lies and justice. In Philippe’s VTalk he will discuss how he came across the story of his book and podcast, The Ratline. Students who are keen on learning more about this story or any budding historians should definitely watch!
Wed 3rd June 10am

Add to calendar


Gisela Abbam, Chair, British Science Association In recent times, the world has learnt that public health is vital for a functioning society. Gisela Abbam, Chair of the British Science Association will discuss with students why it is so important and how students can pursue careers in the health sector.
Wed 3rd June 2pm Dan Connolly, Sports Marketing Executive, Consul Sports Club Passionate about sports? Think you’d be a great marketer or what to know more about what they do? Tune in to Dan Connolly’s VTalk to hear more about how he turned his passion into a career and what a a career in Sports Marketing could be like.
Thu 4th June 10am In collaboration with Penguin Talks: Elif Shafak, Author and Afua Hirsch, Writer, Journalist and Broadcaster


Students who wish to submit questions to Elif and Afua should email

How to challenge inequality

Award-winning British-Turkish novelist, Elif Shafak, joins writer, journalist and broadcaster, Afua Hirsch, to discuss the widening inequalities across the world how we can challenge them.

Fri 5th June 10am John Vary, Futurologist, John Lewis Partnership Passionate about sports? Think you’d be a great marketer or want to know more about what they do? Tune in to Dan Connolly’s VTalk to hear more about how he turned his passion into a career and what a a career in Sports Marketing could be like.


We hope you enjoy some more inspirational talks this week!

Holidays at the Hub!


This morning at the hub, we went on a virtual trip to France. We made passports, edible Eiffel Towers and French themed empire biscuits. Here are just some of the amazing creations.


Despite the weather, we also went to space this afternoon. We took part in a rocket experiment which was thrilling! Look how much fun we had cheering on the rocket in the video below.

We also did a fun experiment yesterday watching more rockets zoom up into the sky!


It was a very busy day for us at the Hub, as we also managed to fit in some more Van de Graaf generator fun. A hair raising time had by all as you can see!


We hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

Hilarious Hair at the Hub!

Today at the Hub, we were generating some fun . Mr McCormick shared his Physics knowledge in a lesson for pupils (and staff) using the Van de Graaff generator.

A shockingly fun activity enjoyed by all! Here are some recognisable faces feeling ecstatic.


A huge thank you to all our volunteers and supporters of the Hub who provide fun and engaging learning activities for the young people who attend each day.


Speakers for Schools Schedule

We hope that you’ve all been enjoying the Speakers for Schools talks so far! If you’ve not watched one yet, this is how you can join the spectacular virtual talks:

  1. Decide whether this talk is for you by finding out about the speaker:
  2. You don’t need an account, click the link to find out how to join:
  3. Join 10 minutes before the talk starts

There are 8 talks this week covering subjects ranging from engineering to football. Don’t miss out! Important info about each talk can be found below:

Mon 18th May 10am Aleida Rios, Group Head of Engineering, BP.


Why choose Engineering as a career? John, a graduate who works at BP, interviews BP’s Group Head of Engineering, Aleida Rios on how she got into Engineering and how students can build a career they enjoy.
Mon 18th May 2pm Penguin VTalk Featuring: Malcolm Gladwell, journalist, author, and public speaker How to Talk to Strangers

Author of five international bestsellers, Malcolm Gladwell, joins academic and author of Don’t Touch My Hair, Emma Dabiri, to discuss the consequences of mis-communication, how to interview others and the art of storytelling.

Tues 19th May 10am Robert Peston, Political Editor, ITV Join Robert Peston, Political Editor, ITV and Founder, Speakers for Schools in his very own Virtual Talk!
Tues 19th May 2pm Kathrina Mannion, Director of Environmental Policy, BP Kathrina will discuss her career and current role in Environment and Policy. She will also discuss her motivations and career progressions. Kathrina used to be a Senior Advisor for the government so has a really interesting career story.
Wed 20th May 10am Dr. Maria Faraone, Director of the RIBA Studio, Royal Institution of British Architects What does an Architect do? Dr Maria Faraone will explore with students more about the career, what it might entail and how students can pursue the career.
Wed 20th May 2pm


David Dein, Former Chairman of Arsenal and the Football Association David’s presentation is aimed at 15-18yr olds and features the phenomenal success of the Premier League since its inception. David will also impart inspirational messages about how to be successful.
Thu 21st May 2pm Peter Mather, Group Regional Vice President, Europe & Head of Country, UK, BP Carbon emissions need to fall fast to meet the Paris climate goals. At the same time, the global population continues to grow – and demand more energy. By 2040, another 2 billion people are expected to be in the world, while energy demand is projected to rise by around a third, equivalent to adding another new China and EU’s worth of energy demand on top of what’s required today. How can we tackle this dual challenge?
Fri 22nd May 10am Tom Dore, Head of Education, British E-Sports Association Tom’s session will talk about the transferable skills that can be gained from playing esports, Tom’s session will aim to demystify the esports sector and let students know about the opportunities that exist.

We hope you enjoy the talks and are inspired by the spectacular speakers!