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Photo of a young man dancing. He is mid-leap with one arm in the air. He is on a roof top with buildings in the background, and there are netted sheets surrounding him.

News: Dance film created by 17-year-old choreographer in response to the climate crisis

Posted on 28 February, 2023 by Nina Joynson

Dance film 'elemental' explores our interaction with the natural elements in a narrative on climate change, choreographed by a young person supported by the Access All Arts Fund

As a response to the climate crisis and a way to encourage boys and young men to pursue dance, young neurodivergent choreographer Ross Hoey created the dance film with filmmaker Lewis Landini. 

elemental shows the character of Human, as they meet and bring harm to the Earth’s elements, before finding out that they have not been completed destroyed. This leads to repercussions for Human as the elements resist.

The film is accompanied by an educational resource for teachers and dance instructors. It includes discussion and movement activities that relate to the performance, and provides information for young people to learn more about the climate crisis. 

Ross' dance film was produced by Overdrive Dance Company, a community-based organisation that was established for male-identifying young people. 

Overdrive works to address the stigma of boys’ participation in dance and overcome the financial barriers that people often encounter across the arts. 

Funding creativity

Ross was a successful applicant to the Access All Arts Fund, a fund managed by Children in Scotland. The film was supported by investment from Creative Scotland as part of its youth arts initiative. 

The project was one of 106 funded in 2021-22. Earlier this month it was announced that the second phase had gone on to support a further 162 young people with their creative pursuits.

The fund was established to help children and young people who experience barriers to accessing creative opportunities to support their wellbeing. The first phase was focused on young people with disabilities or additional support needs. 

On the film’s release, David Mackay, Access All Arts Fund project lead and Policy & Projects Manager at Children in Scotland, said:

“The Access All Arts Fund supported Ross to create this wonderful new film and stretch himself as a choreographer, which is great to see. We know that many young people face barriers to taking part in the creative arts – whether it’s simply for their own enjoyment or to realise ambitious creative projects. 

“We must ensure that we open up arts opportunities for children and young people, because everyone has a story to tell.”   

Click here to watch the film

A woman wearing a large rucksack and holding a cardboard sign with a whale painted on it. She is standing up to her waist in the sea and has a concerned expression

News: Climate-conscious theatre performance tours Scottish schools

Posted 22 February, 2023 by Nina Joynson. Photo credit: Andrew Perry

Activism and the climate crisis is the focus of 'Maya and The Whale', a new theatre production touring Scottish schools in February and March.

Aimed at upper primary and lower secondary classes, Maya and The Whale follows a young climate activist who comes face-to-face with a dying whale.

Creator Hazel Darwin-Clements plays Maya the teenage activist while the school audience takes on the role of the whale, creating an interactive experience for pupils. 

First shared during COP26, the play is a response to the youth climate strikes and explores activism and the climate crisis as experienced by young people. 

The creators are also providing schools with learning resources and contacts for local projects to encourage them to continue discussions on and engagement with climate resilience after the performance. 

The play is suitable for P6-7 and S1-2 and performances are taking place in Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Lothians until Friday 3 March, before the show tours more widely across Scotland until the end of March.

Produced by Theatre in Schools Scotland – the schools touring project managed by National Theatre of Scotland and Imaginate, the show is created and performed by Hazel Darwin-Clements with live music from Nik Paget-Tomlinson.

Climate-minded touring

The climate crisis is a central theme of Hazel Darwin-Clements' work, prompting her to develop a more sustainable way of touring her theatre performances.

All props and costumes for the show have been borrowed or bought second-hand with consideration of ethical supply chains and product longevity.

The performer and accompanying musician are also travelling to schools exclusively by e-bike and public transport, and the play was written to be performed without a stage set or lighting so that time usually spent in set-up can be given to longer travel times, and equipment doesn't need transportation.

Everything for the performance is small and light enough to fit in bike panniers or a backpack.

The company is also booking dates in Scotland with travel and distance in mind, to reduce the tour's carbon impact.

Early reviews

Having started its tour on Monday, Corstorphine Primary School in Edinburgh has been one of the first to see Maya and the Whale.

"I thought it was amazing how the actor told the story using all the different characters!", one P5 pupil said.

While Tanya McLaughlin, a teacher at the school, said:

"The show deepens the impact of the curriculum and the children's learning about climate change and its impact on the world in an engaging, entertaining way.

"It captured the imagination of all the children and allowed them to access their learning out of the classroom."

Click here to learn more about Maya and the Whale


Photo of the Riverside Museum with a blue sky in the background. The building's visible wall is entirely glass, with a jagged metal framework outline.
Riverside Museum, Glasgow

News: Pupils challenged to design new ways of tackling Clyde sea litter

Posted 27 September, 2022 by Nina Joynson. Image: Ronnie Macdonald, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

West of Scotland school pupils have been tasked with engineering new and innovative ways of reducing sea litter in and around the River Clyde.

The STEM the Flow campaign asks young people to tackle the issue of Source to Sea litter through an engineering-based design challenge. 

Open to pupils from Primary 6 to S3 in the eight local authorities that comprise the West Partnership, teams can choose to look at ways of collecting litter that is already in the Clyde, or ways of preventing it from entering waterways in the first place. 

Marine pollution

It's estimated that over 12.7 million tonnes of plastic is dumped in the sea annually, impacting our own food and air quality and threatening native habitats and killing wildlife. Sea litter also contributes to climate change, with greater production of greenhouse gases due to damaged ecosystems.

Led by Keep Scotland Beautiful, young people are encouraged to investigate the issue in their school grounds or local area and collect evidence to inform their solutions. 

The challenge is open from October 2022 until February 2023, when teams will be invited to showcase their projects at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum for a judging panel and the general public.

Industry insights

STEM the Flow is supported by Scottish Water, BAE Systems and Jacobs Engineering, who will lead workshops and provide professional advice to the young people as they work on their projects. 

Jaimie Cunningham, STEM Development Officer, Glasgow City Council, said:

“STEM the Flow is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to apply their engineering and problem solving skills to real life problems. They get to interact and work with STEM professionals and gain an insight into hitherto unknown careers in industry – helping them see that their opportunities and options in STEM really are innumerable.”

The challenge is part of Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Upstream Battle initiative, which focuses on changing littering behaviours to reduce marine pollution. The initiative offers a catalogue of resources to build young people’s awareness of sea litter, with learning programmes for both educators and children. 

STEM the Flow is open to school pupils across East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.

Click here to learn more about STEM the Flow

Pakistan's flag flying with a grey sky background. The flag has a white strip on the right, with a moon and star on a green background on the right.

News: Campaign for school-based fundraising for Pakistan floods

Posted 6 September, 2022 by Nina Joynson

A Scotland-based initiative has developed new school materials to teach pupils about Pakistan and encourage fundraising to aid relief efforts.

Following mass flooding that has devastated Pakistan in recent weeks, Global Citizenship Education (GCE) has launched new educational materials to help schools to teach pupils about Pakistan and raise money towards relief work in the country.

The new resources help to teach pupils about modern-day Pakistan and the country's history while combatting stereotypes. It also connects with the Sustainable Development Goals, detailing how Pakistan has been affected by global warming.

Schools are also being encouraged to take part in fundraising throughout September and share their campaigns with GCE through email or social media. All monies raised will go towards the official appeal for relief efforts.

Two days after rolling out the latest campaign, GCE's founder Nuzhat Uthmani announced that Glasgow City Council had agreed to launch the materials across its schools, meaning thousands of pupils will start fundraising and learning about Pakistan in the coming weeks.

2022 floods

Pakistan has been devastated by flooding that began in June. It is now estimated  a third of the country, an area equivalent to the size of the UK, is now under water.

A state of emergency was declared on 25 August, with over 30 million people affected by flooding as a result of heavy monsoon rainfall. The severe consequences to homes, food and crops, livestock, infrastructure, and sanitation have overwhelmed rescue and aid agencies and international assistance has been called on to provide relief.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) formally launched an appeal on 1 September to generate donations towards the rescue and aid mission.

Learning through a global citizenship framework

The resources focused on Pakistan's recent flooding is the latest from the GCE initiative, which compiles resources to help educators to embed the values of global citizenship, sustainability and antiracism in their teaching activities.

Founded in Scotland by Uthmani, the materials are aimed at a primary school audience in a Curriculum for Excellence framework, with guidance towards appropriate materials for older classes.

Click here to learn more about the GCE campaign and start fundraising

Click here to donate directly to the Pakistan Floods Appeal

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets young people from at a special edition of Scotland tonight.
For details see press release
Pic Peter Devlin

News: Young people present key issues to Scottish Cabinet

Posted 1 March 2022, by Jennifer Drummond. Image from Children in Scotland event, September 2018.

Young people across Scotland met today with the First Minister and her Cabinet in the sixth annual Cabinet Meeting with Children and Young People (Cabinet Takeover).

The meeting, which took place online, represents a key opportunity for young people to communicate the views of their generations to some of the most senior politicians in Scotland.

At the Cabinet Takeover, key decision-makers from across areas of the Scottish Government listened to speeches delivered by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) and Members of the Children’s Parliament (MCP).

With a strong focus on children’s rights the meeting was particularly timely, taking place the day after it was revealed Deputy First Minister John Swinney has written to the Secretary of State for Scotland vowing to reintroduce a Bill to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots Law.

Issues of importance

Issues raised covered a range of topics including rights, education, climate emergency, health and wellbeing and more. Amongst the speeches made today:

  • Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) Chair, Josh Kennedy, spoke about the need to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots Law
  • MSYP Wiktoria Orlicka called for more protection of LGBT rights
  • SYP Trustee Sophie Reid spoke about female safety, calling for more action and improvements to physical spaces
  • Cameron Garret, Convenor of the SYP Education Committee, spoke about the need for a better education system for young people, including meaningful participation and involvement in decisions about their educational future and adopting a rights-based approach as standard
  • SYP Trustee Mollie McGoran focused on the climate emergency, highlighting the enthusiasm and passion of her generation.

Passionate presentations from representatives of the Children’s Parliament focused on gender equality in education, children’s mental health and wellbeing and adults realising children’s rights. 

Next steps

Both the children and young people present, and those they represent, will be looking for some activity from the First Minister and the Scottish Government in the coming months in direct response to the meeting and the issues raised today.

Cathy McCulloch, Co-Director of the Children’s Parliament said:

“[Our MCPs] are keen to see some real action taken in response to their Calls to Action.

“They feel very strongly about the issues they are raising and we fully support these as represent many issues children have raised through Children’s Parliament programmes across Scotland.”

Josh Kennedy, Scottish Youth Parliament Chair added:

“Today's meeting is an opportunity for Ministers to hear about these topics, and more, directly from children and young people. But it will only matter if we see action to address the issues raised and I'm looking forward to seeing what's done to ensure young people's views are taken into account in the year ahead."

For more information from today search click here to search #CabinetTakeover on Twitter.


A photo on a bus, with a person's head in the foreground as people are sitting on the bus seats.

News: Free bus travel arrives for under-22s in Scotland

Posted 2 February, 2022 by Nina Joynson

Children and young people can now access free bus travel, with the Scottish Government hoping to provide wider access to education, job and leisure opportunities and encourage climate-conscious decisions.

Those aged 5-21 are now eligible for free bus travel under a new scheme delivered by the Scottish Government in partnership with the Improvement Service, the National Entitlement Card Programme Office and Young Scot.

The scheme's rollout 

From 31 January, all children and young people living in Scotland are now entitled to free bus travel. With a card, anyone under 21 can use  registered buses across the country freely. A few services will be exempt from the scheme, such as premium-fare night buses and City Sightseeing services. 

The change means that over 2.3 million people now benefit from free bus travel in Scotland. 

Children and young people will need a new National Entitlement Card (NEC) or a Young Scot NEC. These can be applied for online or directly with local councils, while some schools are coordinating the applications on pupils’ behalf.

Application criticism 

Applications for the scheme opened on 10 January with messaging that encouraged only those with an essential travel need to apply due to the pandemic. All 5-21 year olds are now being encouraged to sign up as of Monday.

However, the application process has been criticised by some users as being lengthy and difficult to complete, with many facing subsequent rejections on the basis of wrong documents or missing or incorrect information.

The process has since been revised to improve ease of application. 

Greater opportunities & sustainable travel

With the cost of living having increased in recent months, the new scheme will help relieve some of the stresses faced by young people amidst rising energy and fuel prices.

Free bus travel widens access to education, work and social opportunities whilst encouraging, and facilitating, use of public transport should help reduce pollution and congestion and improve air quality, especially for those living in cities. The government hopes that, through the scheme, making climate-conscious decisions will be engrained in people from a young age. 

Jenny Gilruth, Scottish Government Minister for Transport, said:

"Extending free bus travel will make public transport more affordable, and help give many young people wider access to more education, leisure, and work opportunities. It will also support the choice to travel sustainably early in their lives."

Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, said:  

"Today’s start line for free bus travel to under-22s shows how we can tackle inequality, respond to the climate emergency and improve the lives of young people through decisive government action."

Click here to learn more about applying for the scheme 

Close-up of two footprints in sand, with grass growing from the print
Image: Village Footprint, Shilpi Kumari

News: Carbon footprint is focus of new digital art installation

Posted 3 November, 2021 by Nina Joynson

A digital art installation project asking children and adults in Scotland and India to ‘bare their sole’ has gone live in time for COP26, reflecting on lived experiences of climate change.

The National Theatre of Scotland has collaborated with ThinkArts, a Kolkata-based children’s arts engagement organisation, to explore lived experiences of climate change through art, science and digital technology.  

Bringing together leading Scottish and Indian artists and scientists with participants of all ages in both countries, the collaboration has culminated in an interactive digital art installation: Millipede – the shoe shop that doesn’t cost the earth (click here to explore). The exhibition launched on 1 November to coincide with the beginning of COP26, with virtual exhibits in a variety of media showing participants’ responses to climate change and their own carbon footprints. Disguised as an online shoe shop, ‘customers’ can browse the footwear with the price displayed in earth terms. 

School and community groups in India and Scotland got involved to craft their ideas, with the website showing one hundred shoes along with their context and price. The designs are paired with analysis from scientists and experts on climate change at Edinburgh Science (Scotland) and Science Gallery Bengaluru (India) to examine the materials, lifecycle, and footprint that each shoe will leave.  

The project has brought young participants into discussions of climate change in an artistic context, encouraging conversation around these serious ideas through a playful medium. 

A live event will take place on 6 and 7 November at the Landing Hub in Glasgow with two of the contributing artists, Sarah Rose Graber and Ruxy Cantir, hoping to encourage would-be shoe shoppers to think differently about their carbon footprints.  

Lead artists and award-winning Scottish theatre makers Shona Reppe and Andy Manley said:  

“Our aim is to encourage people to stop and think about their carbon footprints without lecturing or chastising. It has been a joy to curate these personal, thoughtful and fantastically creative contributions. Hopefully this will be the first step for many in addressing what we have to do to protect our planet.” 

Millipede  is supported by the British Council's  Creative Commissions (click here to accessprogramme, a series of creative commissions exploring climate change through art, science and digital technology as part of  The Climate Connection (click here to access global initiative. 

Wind turbines on green fields, with a large blue sky with clouds above them.

News: COP26 brings opportunities for young people to get involved

Posted 27 October, 2021 by Nina Joynson

The spotlight is on the climate emergency as COP26 approaches, and recent reports provide evidence for the crisis’ impact on children, highlighting the importance of engaging young people in climate action

With Glasgow soon to play host to the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), conversations throughout Scotland are focused on the climate emergency, while recently published reports demonstrate that the crisis is inextricably linked to children’s rights.  

In an August report, UNICEF introduced the Children’s Climate Risk Index to provide insight into the climate risk from a child’s perspective and the specific vulnerabilities faced by young people to events resulting from climate change. Soon after, Save the Children published Born into the Climate Crisis, a report outlining the intergenerational impact of climate change and its infringement on children’s rights. 

The report calls for the recognition of children as equal stakeholders and principal key agents of change, with child-friendly mechanisms and platforms necessary to facilitate formal engagement in climate policy.  

The research published by both organisations shows that children have contributed the least to climate change but stand to lose the most, and those in low- and middle-income countries face the greatest consequences of environmental damage.  

With COP26 comes a meaningful avenue for the inclusion of children and young people's voices and views.

The Conference of Youth (COY16) takes place from 28 to 31 October, preparing young people for participation in COP26 and giving them a voice in the climate negotiations of the Conference. COP26 itself offers teaching materials to discuss climate change in the classroom, with the ambition of engaging young people in discussions on the climate emergency from an early age.  

The Conference also brings opportunities for children in Glasgow to get involved directly with matters of sustainability and the environment.

To form a ‘living legacy’ of COP26, eight Wee Forests will be planted in Glasgow spaces, led by Earthwatch and NatureScot. On land donated by Glasgow City Council, each forest will include 600 densely packed native trees that will become home to over 500 plant and animal species in its first three years. 

The project provides rich opportunities for young people to engage with the environment, improving access to green spaces in the city. These new spaces offer children a place to play, and equip young people with the knowledge and skills needed to protect the environment and inspire climate action. 

The Wee Forests will have lasting connections with children in Glasgow, as Earthwatch plans to involve young people in collecting scientific data to assess the forests’ environmental benefits and their impact on the wellbeing of people in the local area.  

With COP26 just around the corner, engaging young people in climate emergency discussions and negotiations is instrumental to their future, and the Conference brings with it a wealth of opportunities to galvanise a young generation towards action. 

Click here to read UNICEF’s report  

Click here to read Save the Children’s report  

Click here to explore teaching materials from COP26  

A group of young people holding a cardboard banner that has Strike written on it. There's blue sky behind them.

News: Young climate activists plan day of protest

Posted 31 August, 2021 by Jennifer Drummond. Main image: Belinda Lawley

Young people up and down the country who are concerned about the state of the environment will participate in a Global Day of Action in a bid to demand greater progress on the climate crisis.

The global protests have been organised by Fridays for Future, the youth-led global climate change movement established in 2018 after the then 15-year-old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks, to demand action on climate change.

Planned for 24 September, the strikes will be held just five weeks ahead of COP26.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently warned of a ‘code red for humanity’ if urgent action does not take place.

The young people involved in the movement are calling for governments worldwide to commit to a series of actions to ease the climate crisis, including:

  • committing to a just transition to renewable energy, and
  • ‘concrete plans and detailed annual carbon budgets with roadmaps and milestones’.

They also call for a recognition of the tangible threat to humanity posed by the climate crisis.

Fridays for Future Scotland is planning strikes in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Ullapool where organisers have committed to safety measures including mask-wearing and observing of social distancing.

Click here to find out more about the Fridays for Future planned day of action on September 24, 2021

Click here for information about our 2021-26 Manifesto, which features a series of calls about the environment, including protecting children from air pollution

Damage to environment children's top concern in report for Crown Estate Scotland

14 May 2020

Children and young people's views on the environment have been captured in a new report for Crown Estate Scotland published today.

Click here to download and read the report

Last year Children in Scotland was commissioned by the Crown Estate to ensure that the voices of children and young people are reflected in Crown Estate Scotland’s plan for 2020-23.

The views of seven to 25 year olds on Scotland's land, seabed and coast were gathered through direct sessions and an online survey during November and December 2019. Engagement work took place in three local authority areas – Midlothian, Argyll and Bute and North Ayrshire.

Young people raised concerns about marine pollution; efforts to protect the natural environment; animal welfare; and the need for communities to be heard in the debate about environmental protection. 

As part of the work, we also made some recommendations to the Crown Estate Scotland about how it could meaningfully engage with children and young people in the future.

These included developing a more accessible Corporate Plan; encouraging young people to apply to be non-executive board members; and partnering with children and young people-focused organisations. 

Jane Miller, Policy and Participation Officer, who led the project alongside Elaine Kerridge, Policy Manger (Participation & Engagement), said:

“Through this work children and young people highlighted their concerns and worries about damage to the environment and the impact that this has on how they were feeling.

"Children highlighted that they felt better when they were empowered to take action on this issue. As a result we are pleased that children and young people were able to share their views and inform the direction of the Crown Estate’s work and plan for 2020-2023.”

The Crown Estate Scotland is responsible for the management of all land and property owned by the Monarchy.

Crown Estate Scotland report

Read the results of the consultation with children and young people

Click to download the report

Participation Guidelines

Our refreshed publication can help children's voices to be at the heart of participation work

Click to read

Crown Estate Scotland

Find out more about the Crown Estate Scotland and read their press release about this work

Click to visit the website