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Yopa extends partnership with Children in Scotland during 30th anniversary year

Award-winning estate agents, Yopa, will be extending its partnership with Children in Scotland for another six months including sponsorship of the upcoming 30th anniversary networking event.

Since the partnership began in September 2022, Yopa has offered significant support on a number of projects including being one of the sponsors for the return of the in-person Children in Scotland Annual Conference in November 2022, Children in Scotland’s Mental Health Conference 2023, as well as the work of Changing our World, the organisation’s children and young people’s advisory group.

The six-month extension to the partnership will include Yopa’s support of Children in Scotland’s 30th anniversary networking event which will take place at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre on Thursday 30 November. The event, which will bring together more than 100 representatives from across the children’s sector, will include speeches and a performance from a musician working with Drake Music Scotland, plus networking opportunities.

Verona Frankish, CEO of Yopa, said: "The Yopa Scotland team works at the heart of our local communities, and many of us are parents too; we all want the best for our young people and the places they grow up in, and we're delighted to be able to support an organisation working for the same goal. Like Children in Scotland, we believe that every young person should have equal access to art, culture, education and opportunities, and live in a world free from discrimination.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership and supporting Children in Scotland’s 30th anniversary event. Bringing together some of the individuals and organisations who have helped to make meaningful change for children and young people in Scotland over the last three decades, we expect it will be a very inspiring evening.”

Simon Massey, Head of Engagement and Learning at Children in Scotland, said: “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Yopa and to work with an organisation who shares our vision that all children in Scotland have an equal chance to flourish. Yopa’s contributions have already made a huge difference to our work at such a critical time given the challenges children, young people and their families currently face in Scotland.

“Looking towards the next six-months, we look forward to working with Yopa on our 30th anniversary networking event. The event provides an important opportunity to celebrate all that has been achieved over the past 30 years, while also setting a course for our work in the future.”

About Yopa

Yopa is an award-winning national estate agency providing all the services of a traditional agency but for a fair fixed fee. From our exceptional agents and extra services to our simple online tool for booking and hosting viewings, Yopa is great at taking some of the worry, stress and hassle away from selling or buying your home. Having been launched by customers for customers just a few years ago, Yopa is already a top 10 UK estate agency brand with more than 160 local estate agents.

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Find out more about the award-winning estate agent and the services they offer

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30th anniversary networking event

Children in Scotland's 30th anniversary event will take place on Thursday 30 November

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Changing our World

Find out more about our children and young people's advisory group Changing our World.

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Corporate Opportunities

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Children's Sector Strategic and Policy Forum Elections 2023: a member's reflections

We are now accepting applications for election to the Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum.

The Forum, which brings together sector leaders to discuss issues of strategic importance for the children’s sector, meets at least four times per year and takes a pro-active and evidence-based approach to improving children’s lives at a national level.

A member of the Forum for more than seven years, Christine Carlin, Board Trustee of Voluntary Health Scotland, shares her first-hand experience of the collaboration, influencing and knowledge-sharing that the Forum has facilitated between leaders working across the children's sector.

Why was it important for you to become a member of the Forum?

Working in smaller charities, where resources are tight, the Forum has offered me an invaluable gateway for keeping up to date about wider challenges being faced across our sector. The policy updates have been superb. The Forum offers opportunities to engage with Ministers and other speakers; to debate key issues with colleagues; to shape joint responses; and, at times, to influence Scottish Government thinking on future policy, legislation, or funding.

During the time you have been a member what have been some of the key areas you have worked on with the group?

We have covered a lot of ground over the years, and I’ve been privileged to contribute my tuppence-worth on many topics. Lots about our sector’s funding of course. But over longer periods of time, I was involved, with other group colleagues, in working with (and challenging) the Scottish Government on supporting young people with Additional Support Needs in Education; and, more recently, on Family Support, including the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund.

The Forum is made up of 30 members working across different areas of the children’s sector. Is it valuable to be able to discuss issues with such a wide range of expertise between the members? 

That range of expertise, and the opportunity for discussion and genuine debate, really is a strength of the Forum – plus the fact that we are working jointly for the benefit of the whole sector, not in opposition to each other’s organisations.

How is the Forum different from other groups you have participated in?

It is one of those groups (and yes, there are a few others) where I really look forward to the meetings. Every participant is going to learn something, and everyone has a real chance to contribute, no matter how small their own organisation. Plus, as Judith Turbyne (Children in Scotland's Chief Executive) sits on the National Leadership Group, we are updated on the latest thinking, and are able to feed in our joint thinking to the debate.

Have there been any other benefits to being a member of the Forum that you perhaps did not expect?

Not unexpected (we are a friendly bunch) but a huge bonus to have built some lovely friendships along the way!


Children in Scotland members who are interested in applying for the Forum, should confirm that they meet the eligibility criteria, which can be found in the Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum Election Process 2023 documents. Click here to view the document

The application process will remain open for three weeks until Wednesday 29 November. To apply for election, please contact Hannah Priest at confirming your eligibility along with a 200-word statement outlining your reason for standing and why you think your input will be of value to the Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum.

If you have any questions about the election process, please contact Hannah Priest:


About the Author

Christine Carlin is the Board Trustee of Voluntary Health Scotland.

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2023 Election Process

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Listen to young people to help stop bullying

From 13-17 November, schools, organisations and youth groups across Scotland will be participating in Anti-Bullying Week 2023.

Lorraine Glass, Interim Director at Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service respectme, explains how this year’s #ListenUp campaign encourages adults to actively listen to children and young people so that they can provide effective responses to bullying.

Bullying is an issue that leaves few of us untouched, whether we have seen it, done it, or had it done to us.

The impact of bullying can be profound and can have serious short and long term effects on the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of children and young people. Children need to be protected from bullying behaviour so that they can survive, develop and participate in a fulfilling life.

When we respond to bullying incidents, children and young people are watching and listening intently. Are we taking it seriously? Do we take time to listen, or are we too busy? Will we listen to and include what they want to happen in any action that is taken? Will we consider the full consequences of that action?

In helping us to co-design our latest anti-bullying campaign, young people shared their own experiences of not feeling heard when they reported bullying to an adult. They wanted to adults to actively listen, to take children and young people seriously, to know that bullying is a violation of children’s rights, and to place those rights at the heart of all effective responses to bullying.

As an adult, your response to a bullying situation is an opportunity to show the young people in your life that we are there to support them, and to tell them that bullying is never acceptable – it is not a “normal” part of growing-up and it is not something they need to put up with. On behalf of respectme and the members of the Youth Action Group, we are calling on adults involved in the lives of children and young people to ‘Listen Up!’ and take action for Anti-Bullying Week 2023 by pledging to our ‘5 Step Action Plan’.

Click here to access the pledge, toolkits and learning resources:

About the author

Lorraine Glass is Interim Director at respectme, Scotland's Anti-Bullying Service

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Listen Up!

Find out more about the 'Listen Up!' campaign ahead of Anti-Bullying Week 2023

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Celebration, recognition and connection for the befriending sector

1 Nov 2023

Today marks the start of Befriending Week, a seven-day national campaign offering the opportunity for celebration, recognition, and connection for the befriending sector. Angus MacLean, Quality Officer at Befriending Networks, which co-ordinates the campaign, explains how befriending organisations are providing invaluable support to children and young people across Scotland.  

Befriending Networks provides support, resources and training to 53 member organisations across Scotland with a focus on children and young people, as well as a larger network of nearly 400 befriending services across the UK. Befriending offers supportive, reliable relationships through volunteers, and provides invaluable support for children and young people, helping to reduce social isolation and loneliness and facilitate positive social connections across communities.

Our recently published Befriending Statistics Report (click here to read the report) estimates that in the past year, 2,268 volunteer befrienders provided 115,884 hours of support to children and young people across Scotland. This supported 7,245 children and young people to reach their potential and contributed an estimated total of £1,877,313 to the economy, supporting 7,245 children and young people to reach their potential.  

We run quarterly free network meetings, providing a platform for members to share best practice, support each other and receive national and local policy updates. As well as facilitating these network opportunities, we also publish a monthly Children and Young People Newsletter (click here to sign up to the newsletter), highlighting good practice, sector news, and funding and campaigning opportunities. This helps our members and supporters to stay up to date with the latest from across the sector.

Staff and volunteers can benefit from the wide range of training opportunities and toolkits delivered by Befriending Networks and we also offer the only award in the UK specifically tailored to befriending services. The Quality in Befriending Award (click here to find out more) promotes good practice in the sector and is valued by referrers, commissioners, befrienders and funders.  

We are proud to provide a voice for befriending across platforms such as Cross-Party groups and the Children in Scotland Voices Forum. We gather and analyse the feedback we receive through surveys, meetings and events and use this to deliver an up-to-date account of the successes and challenges faced by organisations operating across the befriending sector. In doing so, it is our aim to influence policy and increase funding and recognition for befriending services. 

From today, we begin a national campaign raising awareness and celebrating befriending. Befriending Week is a chance for organisations, volunteers, service users and funders to share their successes, raise awareness of their challenges, and increase funding and volunteer recruitment. This year’s Befriending Week theme is Befriending is Support.  

Click here to find out more about how to get involved with Befriending Week 2023: 

About the author

Angus Maclean is the Quality Officer at Befriending Networks

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Befriending Statistics Report

Read the findings from Befriending Networks' Befriending Statistics Report, published in October 2023.

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Befriending Networks' Training

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An imaginative reframing of education in Scotland

Ahead of Sightlines Initiative's study week in October its Director, Robin Duckett, explores different approaches to early education, drawing inspiration from the preschools of Reggio Emilia in Italy.

“This is the best life I ever had”, was the blissful exclamation of a six-year-old in one of our ‘Learning to Learn in Nature' projects, during a weekly school session in a nearby bluebell wood.

Surely we should be hearing this kind of accolade from all children, if we were to get our places of education ‘right for children'.

Since 1997, Sightlines Initiative has been active in early childhood education, through action-research projects, national networking and international exchanges,  to ‘get education right for children’, so the girl’s exclamation was the best kind of endorsement we could have.

Our starting principle has always been that children are born capable, sociable, creative enquirers and places of education should be lively and intelligent enough to work with these capacities, not squash them.

Some regions of the UK are really beginning to attend to what this could mean, and how to ring the changes. Scotland and Wales have both recently produced very positive, human-focussed policies. This is very heartening, but everyone knows the tendency to pull back to ‘the old story’, to do what has always been done, because it seems safe and uncontroversial.

Our mainstream history of education, and unfortunately the UK political push during the past twenty or so years has been to treat education as a collection of programmes of instruction and constant achievement-measuring, rather than for research and enquiry. For recent generations of children and parents, this has been the experienced reality: we are beginning to lose the sense of possibility that anything could be different – and what that ‘different’ could look like.

So it is incredibly energising for educators, policymakers, and parents to be able to visit places of education where things are done differently and where the whole atmosphere is full of enquiry, collaboration, deep learning, excitement, and imagination.

The place I have in mind, because of my long-term connection, and visiting during the past twenty-seven years with thousands of UK educators, is Reggio Emilia in Italy, and the preschool services developed there ‘from the bottom up’, since WWII.

I write this ahead of our upcoming visit opportunity this October, knowing both of the possibilities there currently are for an imaginative re-framing of education in Scotland, and of how effective these encounters are for injecting passion, ideas and determination into the lived worlds of educators, schools and absolutely, of children.

The preschools of Reggio Emilia have for more than a half-century been an international beacon for educators seeking to form enlightened education.

The vision and determination of a local community to create places of warm convivial learning for their children, enriched by a tenacious, researchful vision for education is a lasting and powerful contradiction to the idea of sitting children in an environment of passive instruction.

Multitudes of educators, headteachers, parents and advocates are striving to protect and develop possibilities for educational experiences with children’s rights, wellbeing and proclivities for natural enquiry at the heart. Internationally we can see the development of education with principles informed by the exuberant work of Reggio’s preschools.

Loris Malaguzzi, the philosopher-educator and psychologist who worked closely with the founder-parents of these innovative schools, said,

“One of our strengths has been to start out from a very clear, very open declaration of our ideas about the young child.

It is a highly optimistic vision of the child: a child who possesses many resources at birth, and with an extraordinary potential which has never ceased to amaze us; a child with the independent means to build up its own thought processes, ideas, questions and attempts at answers; with a high level of ability in conversing with adults, the ability to observe things and to reconstruct them in their entirety.

This is a gifted child, for whom we need a gifted teacher.”

And we need passion informed by possibility too, as educators in Scotland, in Wales, and yes in England, strive to slew off old norms of rote-learning regimes and ‘realise the ambition’ (click here for a link to Scottish Government's Realise the Ambition strategy) of supporting all children in fully being themselves.

‘Nothing’, as Malaguzzi proclaimed, ‘without joy.’

And as a young UK preschool educator said this year at the close of a study visit in Reggio, ‘if not now, when? If not me, who?’

Click here to read about the preschools of Reggio
Click here to find out about Sightlines 2023 October Study Week in Reggio Emilia

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About the Author

Robin Duckett is the Director of Sightlines Initiative

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Building blocks for change

Book now for Children in Scotland's Early Years Conference 2023 - 6 November, Glasgow

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Back to school resources

A series of practical resources for education staff created by the Inclusion Ambassadors

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The Learning Guide July-December 2023

Our latest guide includes a range of learning opportunities to meet your needs

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Vision and Values

Our values set out Children in Scotland's beliefs and qualities

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