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Taken from a Scottish Government campaign poster, the image features a young person with blonde hair. They are wearing a generic school uniform and a hand, make of vape smoke, is touching their shoulder

Scottish Government launches Take Hold campaign to raise awareness of vaping harms

Posted 24.11.23 by Alice Hinds

The Scottish Government has launched a new marketing campaign to inform parents, carers and school pupils about the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.

As well as making use of radio and outdoor advertising, the Take Hold marketing campaign will see schools around Scotland provided with digital guidance packs and resources for posters, reinforcing the key message that vapes may quickly become harmfully addictive for children and young people, affecting everything from concentration and mental health to overall mood.

The information campaign comes as a new Tobacco and Vaping Framework is published, setting out key actions to create a tobacco-free generation by 2034, including raising the age limit for sales of cigarettes, and improving services to help people quit.

In addition, the Scottish Government will continue to review what further action is needed to limit the appeal of vapes to children, young people and non-smokers during the first phase of the framework, which will run until November 2025.

Public Health Minister Jenni Minto said: “Smoking damages lives for people across Scotland, and is responsible for one in five deaths – more than 8,000 lives a year. It causes preventable ill health and loss of life of loved ones, is a significant burden on our NHS and social care services, and is the leading preventable cause of health inequalities and costs the economy millions each year in lost productivity.

“Although we have seen smoking rates decline, and Scotland has already introduced a range of world-leading tobacco control measures, we want to do more to help us achieve our goal of being tobacco-free by 2034. This framework will provide direction for a decade and allow us to be more responsive in dealing with a variety of nicotine and tobacco products.

“E-cigarettes are one of a range of tools for adult smokers to quit smoking, but should never be used by young people or adult non-smokers. We must take action to prevent young people using vapes and becoming addicted which will damage their health, and that’s why we’re launching a marketing campaign. It is much easier to never start than it is to give up.”

Changing our World (click here for more), Children in Scotland’s young people’s advisory group, recently produced an evidence paper sharing views on vaping, exploring topics such as the impact of vaping on health and wellbeing, and how the names, packaging and flavours of many vapes are attractive to children and young people. It will be published in November 2023.

Two children in outdoor coats each holding a stick and playing in leaves

Schools in Scotland encouraged to join LEAF programme

Posted 24.08.23 by Sophie Ward

Environmental education programme expands after successful pilot

Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful has announced the expansion of its Learning about Forests (LEAF) programme (click here for more) after more than 50 establishments participated in the pilot programme.

LEAF, a programme from the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) (click here for more), advocates outdoor learning and hands-on experiences, resulting in pupils gaining a deeper and more involved understanding of the natural world.

The key aims of the LEAF programme are to reconnect children and young people of all ages with natural environments while promoting and expanding outdoor education and improving their knowledge of forest-based ecosystems.

LEAF is an extension of Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Climate Action Schools, a framework of education initiatives to support Scotland’s educators, young people, and children to progress Learning for Sustainability and climate change education.

The Scottish Government’s recently published Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023-2030 (click here for more) stated that learners “asked for more opportunities to learn outdoors and be in nature and to be empowered to make actionable changes in their educational settings to fully embrace the ethos of LfS.”

The LEAF pilot programme, which ended earlier this year, was a fantastic success with 53 schools and nurseries across 21 local authorities taking part, undertaking a variety of nature-based activities, including identifying trees and wildlife that depend on their local nature, working with local councils to make schools better for wildlife, and planting trees, flowers, bulbs, fruit and vegetables.

LEAF increases opportunities for pupils to learn outdoors, while allowing students to take the lead in improving their school grounds and local community for the benefit of nature. The programme can be adapted to fit with learners in nurseries, primary and secondary schools and to pupils with additional support needs.

Nicola Davidson, Education and Learning Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “LEAF is a fantastic opportunity for schools and nurseries to get involved in a project that supports mental and physical health of pupils and teachers, as well as giving pupils the opportunity to expand their learning in an outdoor environment.

“Outdoor learning and nature connection are not an extra to be fitted in, they are key components of education that are being demanded by pupils, as seen in the recently published Learning for Sustainability Action Plan.

“Our LEAF pilot was full of enthusiastic participants, from those delivering the programme to the young people learning from it, and we’re excited to now be able to offer this to even more schools across Scotland.”

Annette Valentine, teacher at Midlothian’s St Andrew’s RC Primary School, said: “It was lovely to have a reason to be outside. As our outside time was contributing to our LEAF award we made a point of going out and not putting it off until next week. Our playground has been transformed, we have an area outside each classroom where pupils can garden and observe wildlife. We have also cleared an area of woodland on our grounds to become an outside classroom. The buzz about the gardens and wildlife was something we did not have before and is there in abundance now.”

Numbers for second LEAF programme are limited and schools are encouraged to enroll early to avoid disappointment. Registration forms must be completed before the beginning of October.

For more information about the LEAF programme, click here to visit the dedicated webpage on the Keep Scotland Beautiful website:

Green, pink, blue and red bikes sit in a row

UCI Cycling World Championships 2023: events programme gets underway with free activities for children and families

Posted 04.08.23 by Alice Hinds

As thousands of professional cyclists from around the world arrive in Glasgow for the UCI Cycling World Championships, families can also get involved, via a free programme of events running until 13 August

Designed to promote cycling and wellbeing to children and young people, and encourage healthy and active lifestyles across sport, culture and the arts, the citywide GO LIVE! programme features everything from “come and try” sessions to trail races, as well as book events at local libraries.

Making cycling more accessible for the local community, while inspiring children to get on their bike and have active fun, here’s just a few highlights of the programme, all of which can be enjoyed for free:

Tollcross, Saturday 5 August

Open from 11am until 5pm, this family-friendly event has activities for all ages and abilities, including Play Together on Pedals (click here for more) sessions for pre-school children, music workshops, a family sports zone, and stunt performances. Plus, there will be a free bike repair service to get your wheels ride-ready.

Family Football Fun with Danny Scott, 10 August

Pop along to Baillieston Library, where Scotland Stars FC author Danny Scott (click here for more) will give a talk on the beautiful game and read an extract from one of his books, while interactive challenges, quizzes and penalty shootouts keep children engaged. Suitable for children aged six to 10.

Cathkin Braes, Saturday 12 August

As well as more “come and try” sessions and live entertainment, Scottish Cycling (click here for more) will hosting the Ride The Worlds Pump Track Finals, which sees youth riders up to the age of 16 compete for the series title.

Official fan zone, George Square, every day until 13 August

George Square will be a centre of excitement, hosting road race finishes, medal ceremonies, live music, cycling taster sessions, and lots of other sporting activities – perfect for getting children interested in active fun.

With around 2,700 riders competing for rainbow jerseys across seven disciplines and more than 200 world titles, the UCI Cycling World Championships is a “first-of-its-kind mega event", which organisers hope will encourage people of all ages to get on their bike.

Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Building on the legacy of previous sporting events that also offered complementary cultural and activity-based programming, GO LIVE! gives us an opportunity to support, grow and develop cycling in our communities.

“The free performances, events, activities and ‘come and try’ elements of the programme widen the appeal of the UCI Cycling World Championships and let us host more local, community-led, events in wards across the city. The festival atmosphere in the city is going to be amazing and I would urge everybody to get involved.”

For more information on the free events available across the city, click here to visit the GO LIVE! website:

A group of young children play outside on grass with a multi-coloured parachute

Charities set to benefit from £550,000 in outdoor play funding

Posted 21.07.23 by Alice Hinds

Thousands of Scottish children living in deprived areas will soon have access to more community outdoor play spaces, as the Scottish Government announces more than half a million pounds in funding for local charities.

Organisations providing outdoor play initiatives will receive a share of £550,000 to expand their projects throughout the year and during school holidays, benefitting an estimated 14,000 children across the country.

Children’s Minister Natalie Don announced The Outdoor Community Play Fund during a visit to Renfrew YMCA (click here for more), one of the 32 charities that will benefit from the investment.

The Minister said: “Outdoor play has an incredibly positive impact on our children’s mental health, wellbeing and confidence. It can teach them how to solve problems, assess risks, boost their physical activity and provide opportunities to meet and interact with others.

“However, options for children to play safely outdoors can be limited, especially for children in deprived areas. At a time when families are struggling with the cost of living crisis, it is even more essential that we provide this vital support to ensure there are outdoor play options available, free of charge, for families across Scotland.”

Other charities set to receive funding include Glasgow’s Concrete Garden (click here for more), North Edinburgh Arts (click here for more), and Under The Trees (click here for more) in Falkirk.

Inspiring Scotland Director of Funds Julia Abel added: “All children have the right to play – not only is it vital for their mental health and wellbeing, but is also supports children to learn social and emotional skills while boosting their physical activity.

“The beauty of outdoor community play is that it’s child-led, enabling children to use their creativity and imagination to develop their own ways to have fun, overcome barriers, while teaching life-enhancing skills that will make positive effects all the way into adulthood.”

Photo of school classroom, with children at tables looking towards a teacher who is speaking at the front

News: Programme launches to engage youth workers in STEM and build wellbeing

Posted 21 March, 2023 by Nina Joynson

Science Ceilidh is launching a new project to explore the impact of STEM on both youth work and on young people’s confidence and wellbeing.

The two-year Curiosity In Action programme will explore the use of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in youth work by building an evidence base and country-wide network.

The project is facilitated by Science Ceilidh in partnership with YouthLink Scotland, with funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The project is now looking for ten youth groups to pair with STFC researchers in a collaborative research process. The groups will investigate ways in which participatory STEM activities can support youth work and enhance young people's confidence, resilience and wellbeing.

Learning from the research phase will shape free training opportunities and resources for science educators and community learning and development (CLD) practitioners.

Working from evidence

The programme was born from research for Education Scotland on structural barriers to STEM engagement in schools, highlighting that youth workers lack confidence in teaching with STEM.

The research found that challenges to education include levels of scientific literacy, a need to connect STEM to other parts of the curriculum and how STEM relates to the real world and societal challenges.

Building a network 

An event will take place next week to launch the wider Curiosity In Communities network, to bring science educators, researchers and CLD practitioners together to connect and share learning.

The 28 March event will introduce the programme with a panel discussion and workshops, with all network meetings and training opportunities free to access through STFC funding.

A Curiosity In Action steering group member said:

“We hope to make youth workers feel more comfortable using creative STEM in their work, without feeling intimidated because of them not being a “specialist” in it, and to be able to support young people's wellbeing.

“Youth workers will no doubt already be using STEM in their practices without realising it - this project will hopefully just show them that STEM is everywhere.”

Click here to learn more about the programme

Click here to learn more about the launch event on 28 March, 10:30-16:00, Edinburgh

Research reveals almost half of secondary school pupils are missing out on hobbies

Media release

10 February

New research reveals that almost half of young people of secondary school age are missing out on out-of-school activities or hobbies, with young people living in areas of high deprivation even less likely to take part. 

New Ipsos research commissioned by Children in Scotland asked 1500 young people aged 11 to 18 about the clubs and activities they took part in after school or at the weekend.  

It found that only 54% of young people of secondary school age said that they take part in a club or activity outside of school. This dropped to 45% among secondary school aged children living in the areas of highest deprivation, compared with 65% in the most affluent areas. Those living with a physical or mental health condition were also less likely to take part in clubs or activities out of school.  

Children in Scotland commissioned the research to support the call to government for a national hobby premium to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland have free access to a hobby or activity of their choosing.

Click here to read our policy briefing: “Why Scotland should introduce a Hobby Premium: The Right to Play”

Click here to read our Manifesto for 2021-26 which includes the call for a Hobby Premium.

Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have a right to leisure and play. Hobbies are a way for children to play, explore their interests, build skills, make mistakes and grow.  

Evidence from countries where support for hobbies is in place, for example Finland, shows that taking part in hobbies has a hugely positive impact on children and young people’s confidence, wellbeing and learning. Benefits can be both immediate and longer term. However, barriers such as cost and availability can mean that not all children have equal access to hobbies and their associated benefits.

Survey results

Providing data on the current Scottish context, responses from 1533 secondary school pupils as part of an Ipsos survey, conducted between September - December 2022, revealed that: 

  • Overall, about half (54%) of secondary school aged children (S1 to S6) say they are currently taking part in an out of school club or activity 
  • Less than half (45%) of secondary school aged children living in the areas of highest deprivation are taking part in an out of school club or activity. This compares with 65% in the most affluent areas.  
  • Young people with a physical or mental health condition are less likely to take part in a club or activity than those with no physical or mental health condition (51% and 62% respectively)  
  • Slightly more children who identify as white take part in clubs and activities than those who identify with another ethnicity (56% and 52% respectively) 
  • Rates of participation in clubs and activities are broadly the same for girls and boys (54% and 55% respectively) 
  • Rates of participation in clubs and activities are broadly the same for those living in rural and urban areas (52% and 54% respectively) 

The call for a hobby premium

On the results from the survey and their implications for children and young people’s health and wellbeing, Head of Policy, Projects and Participation at Children in Scotland, Amy Woodhouse says:

“It’s of real concern that a significant proportion of young people are not taking part in a club or after school activity.  That participation is less common for those living in areas with high deprivation or with a physical or mental health condition adds to evidence from elsewhere that barriers relating to cost and accessibility can be an influencing factor.  

Given the importance of hobbies to physical and emotional wellbeing, we need government to take up the call for a hobby premium and invest in increasing access to hobbies for all children living in Scotland.  

For more information about the Hobby Premium: 

Click here to read our Policy Briefing on the call for a Hobby Premium: Why Scotland should introduce a Hobby Premium: The Right to Play

Click here to read a blog from includem’s Tuisku “Snow” Curtis-Kolu on what we can learn from Finland about establishing a Hobby Premium 

Media contact: Catherine Bromley – email

Notes for editors

Project background 

Children in Scotland launched the call for a Hobby Premium for Scotland within its 2021-26 Manifesto, published in November 2020. The call is supported by Children in Scotland’s members and its partners across the sector including Play Scotland, Early Years Scotland, Children 1st, YouthLink Scotland and Together.


2021-2026 Manifesto

Our Manifesto outlines key suggested changes in policy and legislation - it contains 10 themes and 33 calls

Click here to access

The call for a Hobby Premium

Read our policy briefing: “Why Scotland should introduce a Hobby Premium: The Right to Play”

Click here to read

Consultation responses

Our members' expertise informs positions we take on child policy and legislation

Click here to read

Children's Rights and the UNCRC Training

Bridging policy and practice: bespoke children's rights training tailored to your organisation’s needs

Click here for more
A newborn baby being held by their mother. She is looking down them with the father nearby.

News: Perinatal mental health services receive £1m funding boost

Posted 31 January, 2023 by Nina Joynson

A fund that has supported more 7,000 individuals with perinatal mental health issues has received a new round of investment for 2023-24

The Scottish Government has announced additional funding for the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) Fund, to support charities that provide one-to-one and group support and care.

Estimates suggest that up to 20% of mothers and 10% of fathers are affected by poor perinatal mental health, and 10-22% of babies and young children also experience mental health difficulties.

Between April 2023 and March 2024, £1 million will be invested in 34 charities that help new families in the early stages of parenthood.

The PIMH Fund was launched in October 2020 with a £2.5 million investment over two-and-a-half-years. An extension to the existing Fund at the current level was announced by Kevin Stewart, Minister of Mental Wellbeing and Social Care in January 2023.

The Fund is managed by Inspiring Scotland and distributed amongst charities that support parents, carers, infants and families through the provision of counselling, peer support, parenting support and training.

More than 7,000 individuals have been supported by the Fund, through charities including Dads Rock, Starcatchers, MindMosaic and Home-Start branches across Scotland.

Celia Tennant, Chief Executive of Inspiring Scotland, said:

“We’re delighted the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund has been extended for another year. This will enable us to work alongside our charity partners to continue offering their essential perinatal services that support families with babies.

“This support is needed now more than ever, and these organisations are a lifeline to parents and families, offering empathetic support with trusted relationships right at the heart of their services.”

A greyscale image of a smiling person with hair to their shoulders and wearing a dark-coloured top.

Comment: It’s time to get talking about mental health

Posted 27 January, 2023 by Jennifer Drummond

Ahead of Time to Talk Day on Thursday 2 February, Wendy Halliday (pictured) highlights the need to normalise discussions around positive mental health.

It’s been a difficult few years for Scotland’s young people.

As we slowly emerge from a global pandemic of uncertainty and loss, including missing out on all of the typical experiences so many take for granted, we’re deepening into a cost-of-living crisis. This means even more worry and anxiety for children and young people, as well as their parents, carers and adults who work with them.

While we did get better at talking about mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic, that’s not to say that everyone is comfortable joining the conversation.

Stigma around mental health

In recent times, our politicians, news editors and celebrities have been giving mental health the platform it deserves, but there is still stigma around mental health and mental health problems – particularly among our young people.

Our most recent research into young people’s mental health showed that 72 per cent of young people have struggled with their mental health – but more than half (51 per cent) wouldn’t tell someone if they were struggling.

Stigma continues to be a big barrier for young people. Two thirds (67 per cent) agree that families can be dismissive when a young person says they’re struggling with their mental health.

The research also found that just under four in ten young people (39 per cent) think teachers take them seriously when they say they are struggling with mental health.

Something needs to change so that our young people feel comfortable talking about how they’re feeling and don’t miss out on getting help when they need it.

Making space to talk

We’ve seen through our See Me See Change programme for secondary schools (click here to access) that there’s a real appetite to tackle mental health stigma in schools – from both young people and staff – and our upcoming campaign provides the ideal platform to ensure those important mental health conversations happen

Time to Talk Day, which takes place on Thursday 2 February, encourages people across Scotland to make space in their day for a conversation about mental health.

Talking about mental health reduces stigma, helping to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we are struggling.

Every year, we see schools, colleges, workplaces and community groups across the nation bringing people together and hosting a range of events, from coffee mornings to mental health information sessions, check-in-and-chat events to pledge walls, setting out how they’ll take action against mental health stigma.

It’s really easy to get involved – and we’ve got lots of ideas for different activities you can try out on our website (click here to access).

Starting the conversation

Talking about mental health doesn’t have to be scary – and you don’t have to be an expert to start a conversation.A simple, “How are you?” or, “Are you okay?” could be all that someone needs to hear to help them admit that things aren’t so good.

People often worry too that they won’t know the right thing to say or do – but time and again, our volunteers tell us that, in most cases, listening is enough. Lending an ear and letting people get it off their chest can be really powerful.

By talking openly about mental health we can bust the myths and break down barriers which continue to cause people of all ages to hold back from talking about what’s on their mind.

A simple conversation really can be life changing – so don’t hold back and make space in your day for a conversation about mental health on 2 February and whenever it is needed.

Wendy Halliday is the Director of See Me, Scotland’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

Thursday 2 February 2023 is Time to Talk Day.
Click here to find out more about how to get involved

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, the See Me website has a number of resources and sources to help.
Click here to visit the See Me website

greyscale image of a smiling person with short dark hair and a moustache and beard. They wear a shirt.

Comment: We know what’s wrong, so what will we do?

Posted 25 January, 2023 by Jennifer Drummond

We need a radical shift and long-term prevention measures to genuinely improve outcomes for Scotland’s most deprived communities, writes David Finch (pictured)

Our Health Foundation report ‘Leave no one behind: The state of health and health inequalities in Scotland (click here to access)’ was published earlier in January. It is the summation of a multi-stranded review undertaken over the past 12 months, focusing on how Scotland has fared on health and health inequalities in the two decades since devolution.

The most glaring predicament revealed by the review is that the fortunes of those living in our most deprived communities are peeling away from the rest.

Compiled from research commissioned from the University of Glasgow, the Fraser of Allander Institute, Nesta in Scotland, and the Diffley Partnership, with the help of our expert advisory group, it has revealed some particularly worrying trends.

Poor childhood health, rising infant mortality rates and a persistent attainment gap

Early childhood development and the school years play a crucial role in determining future health. Poor outcomes in childhood can continue to have significant implications in life. For example, school readiness affects educational attainment, eventual access to job opportunities, lifetime income and ultimately health. Yet there are a number of concerning trends that risk the perpetuation of health inequalities for children now and later in their lives.

Infant mortality is a good indicator of societal health. The rate at which children die before their first birthday is rising for people living in the most deprived fifth of areas but is static or falling among the rest.

Since 2000 infant mortality has declined overall. However, from 2014 infant mortality rose in the most deprived areas and fell in the least deprived 60% of areas. Between 2016-18 infant mortality rates in the most deprived areas were 2.6 times the rate in the least deprived areas.

In the past decade, inequalities have also widened for infant immunisation uptake, low birth weight and childhood obesity. The overall proportion of children at risk of obesity has remained stable over the past 20 years in Scotland, with around 1 in 10 children at risk of obesity at the start of school. But the risk of childhood obesity has gradually fallen in the least deprived areas and gradually risen in the most deprived areas. By 2018-19 children living in the most deprived fifth of areas were twice as likely to be at risk of obesity, than those in the least deprived.

Further evidence of the rise in health inequalities is seen in Early Years. The proportion of 27 to 30-month-old children of development concern from the most deprived areas in 2019-20, only matched outcomes of the children from the next most deprived fifth of areas recorded in 2013-14.

The significant poverty-related attainment gap for primary school pupils in Scotland has not closed over the past two decades. The pandemic has reversed any progress in closing a similar attainment gap for secondary age children.

Life expectancy already varies greatly across Scotland. In the most deprived areas, men are dying more than 13 years earlier than their peers in the least deprived areas – and women almost a decade earlier.

Action is needed now to improve outcomes through childhood to support future health and reduce such inequalities.

Building blocks for a healthy community

A healthy community derives from a range of factors: stable jobs, good pay, quality housing and education. Poor health is almost inevitable when some or all of these factors are absent.

Scotland's wide and sustained health inequalities are being driven by the accumulation of severe multiple disadvantages, a lack of improvement in living standards and public service fragility due to the ongoing impact of austerity.

So, we know what is wrong now, in more detail than ever. The question is, what can we do about it? Because, if we fail to change course, Scotland’s most deprived communities are likely to continue suffering from poor quality of life and to die younger.

A radical shift in approach is needed. The Scottish Government, local authorities, businesses and the third sector must come together and collaborate closely with communities. Ultimately, we must shift focus from short-term measures to longer term preventative interventions. This is a wiser use of the funding available which will create a healthier nation.

Our review has shown that the public will support a longer-term approach, and that existing approaches can be adapted to have greater impact. This includes Local Child Poverty Action reports which can be used more effectively to build collaboration across sectors and drive action on underlying causes of poverty which in turn will support better health.

This is no longer about plans and strategies. It is about political will, and decisive action.

David Finch is Assistant Director of the Health Foundation’s Healthy Lives team

Children in Scotland conducted participative research with children and young people about health inequalities from 2019-2020. Click here to find out more about our health inequalities peer research project. 

Greyscale headshot of a woman with long hair, looking at the camera. She is wearing a fluffy jumper

Q&A with Lorna MacPhail: Bringing mindfulness to education

Posted 24 August, 2022 by Nina Joynson

Ahead of her webinar, 'Big emotions in the classroom', Lorna MacPhail talks to us about how to better support wellbeing in schools in order to create supportive spaces for both children and teachers.

What do we mean when we talk about ‘big emotions’ in a classroom setting?

It’s important to mention here that all emotions are welcome. They are part of our human experience and provide insight into what is going on for the individual. Everyone responds differently to situations – some individuals could be loud and expressive, while others may be quieter and more withdrawn. It is important for anyone working with children to recognise emotions at both ends of the scale.

The big emotions for me are the ones that sit at either end of the scale. The aim is to support the child to notice their experience and have the strategies to bring themselves back into homeostasis or equilibrium.

Your work often focuses on mindfulness and the emotional and social needs of children. Do you think we’re lacking empathy towards these needs in schools?

I wouldn’t say those who work with children lack in empathy, but we do need to develop a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma and stress on the body, mind and heart.

We also need to equip teachers with confidence to deliver effective strategies to help children find the middle ground. When children are calm and at ease, they focus more easily and can take on and process information. It is extremely important that classroom practitioners are well-trained in good mindfulness practices to implement these strategies effectively.

I do think there can be a lack of empathy between adults. There is so much pressure on everyone at every level of the education system and people feel overwhelmed and exhausted. For me it is about finding ways to be more considerate in our communication and more compassionate towards ourselves.

The pandemic has meant children and teachers have had to radically shift their understanding of the classroom, and in many cases, their approach to teaching a class full of children again. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges?

What I notice the most is children’s ability to focus has worsened during the pandemic. We know one of the factors which impact the ability to focus is stress and children will have absorbed the stress of their family and teachers, perhaps watched the news and of course been aware of everything that has been going on around them for the last few years.

On top of this, the range of needs in a classroom seems to be getting bigger with more children requiring individualised educational programmes. The biggest challenge for teachers is meeting the needs of all children in their class, which then adds to the level of stress they’re already experiencing.

Teachers and children need strategies to support them in managing stress and connecting to calm, now more than ever. There is already great work going on in Scottish schools, however integrating effective strategies of mindfulness and compassion can offer both children and those who work with them the tools to navigate the challenges of modern life more effectively.

Big emotions in the classroom takes place in September. Who is the workshop aimed at? What would you like them to take away from the session?

This workshop is aimed at headteachers, educational leaders, heads of department, primary and secondary teachers and anyone who is connected to educating children.

I will aim to help school leaders and teachers think about how they can integrate an effective whole school mindfulness-based approach to wellbeing. I will address common misconceptions of what mindfulness is and demonstrate simple ways teachers can integrate these strategies in their classroom to help children with focus and concentration. We will also explore how compassionate practices can develop resilience, self-belief and pave the way for communication that empowers all.

Delegates will leave with strategies that they can implement straight away and build confidence in delivering these strategies effectively.

Lorna MacPhail is a wellbeing consultant and embodiment coach. Click here to visit her website

She will be leading the online session 'Big emotions in the classroom: tools to navigate' on Wednesday 14 September. Click here to find out more and book