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Funding available for digital devices to support learning programmes across Scotland

Posted 21.08.23 by Alice Hinds

Community-based organisations can apply for a grant of up to £15,000 to purchase digital devices

Provided by the Scottish Government and managed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), applications are now open for funding to purchase essential digital devices.

Open to all community-based voluntary organisations in Scotland, the Community Learning and Development Device Fund provides capital funding to purchase items such as laptops, cameras, tablets and monitors for use in learning programmes, including staff-delivered group sessions and lending libraries.

Social enterprises, voluntary organisations and registered charities, which have been delivering community learning and development services for at least one year, can apply for up to £15,000 to support every demographic; children and young people, women and girls, and those within economically or socially disadvantaged communities.

Open from 21 August 2023, applications close on 29 September and decisions on funding will be made by 16 October. Successful applicants will then receive grants by 3 November, and any funding must be spent by the end of March 2024.

For more information and to apply, click here to visit the Grantmaking website:

Photo. A number of different cancer awareness ribbons are laid out on a white background, including a red ribbon, blue ribbon, orange ribbon and pink ribbon.

News: New research seeks to better understand the experiences of young cancer patients

Posted 22 January, 2023 by Jennifer Drummond

The groundbreaking work will look to build a new evidence base of the needs of young cancer patients and identify gaps in how the system currently supports them.

The work is being conducted by leading cancer charities Young Lives vs Cancer, the Children’s Cancer and Leukemia Group, the Ellen McArthur Cancer Trust and Teenage Cancer Trust across the whole of the UK.

Dartington Service Design Lab, a charity which aims to improve children’s outcomes through research, systems thinking and co-design approaches, has been commissioned as the research partner. In partnership with Edge Hill University, Dartington will undertake experience-led research, co-designed by young people, parents of children with cancer and key stakeholders.

The project will bring together the voices of children, young people and families, as well as new evidence and systems thinking that will help inform developments and ultimately improve the outcomes for the young people the charities work with.

Scottish cancer rates

Each year in Scotland, around 330 children and young people under 25 are diagnosed with cancer, according to the latest statistics from Public Health Scotland - almost one person every day.

Speaking specifically about the involvement of Scottish young people and their families, Nathan Sheach, Strategic Lead for Service Design at Dartington Service Design Lab said:

“This research seeks to align the service provision of care, advice and support to the true needs of the young Scottish people (and others across the UK) with experience of cancer and their supporting peers, guardians or families' experiences.

“Scotland is unique in its positioning in terms of what’s available to young people with cancer. Large third sector organisations, National Health Service trusts and local peer-to-peer and community support groups are heavily spread out across the country. Each person's experience, needs, support around their cancer diagnosis will be different among what is quite a complex system of support services available.“

Young people’s views will be crucial

The project is seeking participants who are 14-25 years old, with experience of cancer in the last five years, to participate in workshops between now and May to help better understand the needs of young people in Scotland and strengthen the evidence about the support available.

Parents and guardians who have supported a young person with cancer are also invited to participate to share their experiences and insight into strategies for this vital area of work.

Research will be taking place during the first half of 2023, with findings expected in the autumn.

Click here to read more about the project

Two hands holding a smart phone, the person is out of focus looking at the screen

News: Student helpline set to open as Scottish results day looms

Posted 27 July, 2022 by Nina Joynson

With thousands of young people soon to receive SQA exam results, Skills Development Scotland is opening its careers helpline to support students in deciding what to do next.

More than 140,000 pupils in Scotland are set to receive their National, Higher and Advanced Higher results on Tuesday 9 August 2022.

Those pupils, along with their parents and carers, are being offered support with results through the dedicated helpline established to offer impartial careers advice.

Created by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the helpline is marking its 30th anniversary of helping students over the phone this year.

The helpline – 0808 100 8000 – will be live from 8am on results day to assist anyone who needs support on their next steps.

Staffed by more than 50 careers advisors, pupils can get advice on colleges and universities, Confirmation and Clearing, apprenticeships, jobs and volunteering options.

The helpline aims to curb anxieties that many students face after receiving their results. After calling in 2021, one pupil noted that:

“This was just incredible. I went from worrying and panicking about what my next step would be and all my doubts were cleared plus more, thank you very much for that.”

Sharon McIntyre, Head of Career Information, Advice and Guidance Operations at SDS, said:

“We know that receiving results has been a very different experience for young people and their families over the last couple of years, and although a sense of normality prevails, there is still a lot of anxiety and uncertainty at this time for pupils, parents and carers.

“It’s important to reassure people that whatever their results are, our advisers are there to provide support and expert advice on their many options, no matter where you are in Scotland.”

The helpline will be open until Thursday 17 August, after which time students and their parents or carers are urged to visit their local SDS centre, visit the My World of Work website (link below), or speak directly to a school advisor.

Click here to find support from My World of Work

An icon of black balancing scales

News: Co-created resource offers advice on navigating youth justice system

Posted 28 January, 2022 by Jennifer Drummond

A new website, launched by the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ), is intended to help children, young people and families navigate the criminal justice system using the voices and experiences of young people.

‘Just the Right Space’ was co-created with young people who have experience of the justice and care system. It offers information and advice about the criminal justice system and what to expect, children’s rights, stories shared by those with experience of the justice and care systems and where to look for further support.

Reaching a wider audience

The intention is that the site will benefit a wide audience and will be especially of use to those who may not be familiar with the justice system.

Fiona Dyer, Director of CYCJ, said:

“We are excited to share this new website that we hope will help children, young people and those supporting them, better understand the justice system, who can help, and the rights they’re entitled to. CYCJ is committed to working with and not just for children and young in conflict with the law. Whilst this has included adapting our research into child-friendly formats, we are aware that our website is not accessible to those who may not have knowledge of the justice system and associated terminology.

“By working with young people from the very start of this creative process, we hope we have designed a website that will help a wider and younger audience understand what it is we do at CYCJ, why we do it, and access information that can help them with their journey through the journey system.”

Co-creation: ‘I wasn’t just a box-ticking exercise’

Paul was one of the people sharing his experience to help build the site. He said:

“Working on this project has been an interesting experience. Having the opportunity to share my ideas right from the start meant I felt fully involved and included, and reassured me that I wasn’t just being asked my views as part of a box-ticking exercise.

“More projects should be done like this – including young people with experience of the systems in the project from start to finish – as it means the result will be something that really works for young people, and not just what professionals think might work.”

Resources and support information

Along with the inclusion of first-hand experiences, the new website includes a number of resources, including adaptations of CYCJ’s ground-breaking research on children’s rights in the justice system and the UNCRC, as well guides to the Scottish justice system and young people’s rights in custody.

It also signposts to groups people can get involved with to influence change in the justice and care system and organisations offering support.

Click here to visit the Just the Right Space website 

CYCJ is keen to receive any feedback on the website, including anything that is missing or needs to change. 

Why our third sector deserves first class support

26 May 2020

In advance of next week's launch of our new Supporting the Third Sector Project, Vicky Wan explains why we want to support organisations to become equal partners in Children and Family Services – and be ready to respond to any future crisis

In her recent blog (click to read), our Head of External Affairs Jacqueline Cassidy reflected on the vital role of the third sector during the health pandemic and its phenomenal response to the challenges of COVID-19. This was later evidenced in the Scottish Government’s COVID-19: Supporting vulnerable children and young people – data intelligence report (click to read). The large range of examples in the report clearly demonstrate the third sector’s ability to sustain its local and national services by changing the model of delivery within a short space of time.

In her 8 April open letter to third sector organisations , Iona Colvin, the Interim Director for Children and Families of the Scottish Government, emphasised the critical role the third sector has in supporting the needs of children, young people and their families (click to read). But she also recognised that the third sector has an enormous amount of knowledge and intelligence about the communities it serves.

“Third sector organisations are uniquely well placed to help us to understand the nature of the challenges that children, young people and families are facing in their homes and communities at this time" - Iona Colvin, Scottish Government Interim Director of Children and Families

One of the reasons why third sector organisations are able to respond to the emergency rather efficiently is largely because of their long-established relationships with the local communities and their understanding of the challenges families continue to face.

Third sector organisations use their professional knowledge to swiftly adjust their own services. They know what the families need and more importantly what will work. Not only that, they share their skills and expertise with partners in the statutory and in the third sector, so together they are able to offer support in a whole-family holistic approach.

A support worker of a charity told us:

“I’ve been supporting this disabled young person for a while. The family was coping well before the outbreak. Since the lockdown, mum became very anxious that her disabled son would be infected with COVID-19 if he fell ill and had to go to the hospital. Dad is a key worker. Her younger son is now home-schooling but she doesn’t have time to help with his learning because she has to care for her older son nearly 24/7. She feels very guilty and stressed.

Through the local children’s services forum, I found out about a befriending service. Mum is now being supported on the phone every day. I also found out about a peer learning group organised by another charity. The younger son is now learning with other children of similar age.”

The benefits of collaborative working are apparent. However, an effective collaboration takes time to develop. Organisations need to have good awareness of services available in the area, a reasonable level of trust in the quality of each other’s work, and referral protocols without unnecessary bureaucracy.

In Scotland, we already have structures in place to support partnership working for many years.

The local children’s services networks, which are usually facilitated by the local Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs), bring organisations together so they can support their peers, exchange good practice, share resources, develop collaborative working arrangements and help shape local services.

Thanks to this established relationship before the outbreak of COVID-19, we can quickly and efficiently mobilise the third sector to deliver and maintain support to children as part of multi-agency plans during the pandemic. Also due to the communication channels already established via the networks, local organisations can continue to feed their experiences and concerns to inform strategic planning at national level, while they concentrate on meeting the needs of families at this difficult time.

Taking the learning from this, while it is important to continue to invest in the frontline service delivery to children and families, we should not undermine the importance of the structures that support and strengthen the third sector. If we do not resource and fund the local networks sufficiently now, are we confident that we will be able to respond as well, if not better, in any future emergency situation?

Our role

Children in Scotland is committed to supporting the Third Sector Interfaces and third sector organisations to become equal partners in Children and Family Services. This includes increasing local third sector engagement and strengthening local support structures through our new Supporting the Third Sector Project.

Supporting the Third Sector

Vicky Wan is Project Manager and part of our PPP team

Click to read about us

Strengthening the sector: learning online

We're running a series of webinars covering all your CPD needs

Click to browse training

Confronting the crisis

Jacqueline Cassidy asks if the sector is punching above its weight during the pandemic

Click to read the blog

Latest podcast

Discussing the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and planning the best way forward

Click to listen

Responding to the need for connection

Karin McKenny on how we've adapted our training to support the workforce

Click to read Karin's blog

Our services

From ASL advice to ELC inclusion funding, find out about what we offer

Click to explore

Additional support service strengthens its online offer to children and families

Enquire, Scotland's advice service for additional support for learning, has re-launched its website.

The new site, available from today, offers families advice and information on education and additional support for learning, as well as practical tips about working in partnership with schools and local authorities.

Enquire has also extended its support to professionals, offering a new dedicated area of for those working with children. The section contains information about their duties towards children with additional support needs, alongside policy and legislative developments and advice on communicating with parents and carers.

Catriona Thomson, Enquire’s Senior Development Officer, said:

“We’ve listened to the views of parents and carers from the thousands of calls we’ve received over the last 18 years, from feedback from our regular evaluation surveys, and from 500 responses we received to our parent information needs questionnaire.

“The result is a website which will help provide parents and carers with the information they need to ensure children are getting the right support in school.”

Enquire also published a number of resources for parents, carers and professionals, including advice on finding a local support service, usedul local authority contacts, and links to relevant policies, legislation and guidance.

Visit the new website

No-one is out of reach

Enquire manages Reach a website for young people, by young people. Reach offers advice to pupils who may be struggling at school, It includes practical tips on what can help and young people sharing their views and experiences on all sorts of life issues.

Visit Reach

Enquire is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Children in Scotland.


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Physical appearance, sexual identity and learning disabilities ‘the key factors’ in bullying at school

Children experiencing bullying and harassment in Scottish schools are targeted on the basis of physical appearance, sexuality and identity, and the presence of an additional support need, a Children in Scotland report has found.

The report, Children’s and Young People’s Voices and Experiences of Bullying and Harassment in Schools, is part of evidence being discussed at this morning’s meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities & Human Rights Committee attended by Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney.

The report identifies protective factors such as good relationships, peer support and strong participation mechanisms to ensure children and young people are listened to.

An overview of existing research, it draws on the voices of children and young people who have experienced bullying at school and adults who work with them. Comments include:

“They call me fatty and chubby, and push and pull me around. I have not eaten much since it started a few weeks ago. I feel like I need to change so I have put myself on a diet. I want to lose weight so they stop bullying me.”

– Child, NSPCC, 2016

“I attempted suicide because I had been bullied since I started high school, because I am gay and more feminine than other boys.” 

– Young person, Time for Inclusive Education, 2016

“I just want to have someone to help me. Mummy goes to meetings to try to get me more help but they don’t do anything. It is making me sad and I feel like I am bad at school ... I am in P2 now and I don’t want to go to school anymore.”

– Child, Enable, 2016

“Confidence which may already be fragile can be further eroded if we do not listen to or take children’s concerns seriously.”

– Practitioner, Children’s Parliament, 2016

Further factors identified as reasons for children and young people experiencing bullying were: race and faith, with the report citing 981 counselling sessions on the topic delivered by the NSPCC across the UK in 2016; the transition from primary to secondary school; and the identification of a talent others didn’t know about.

Children in Scotland’s Head of Policy Amy Woodhouse said:

“Our report finds that sadly bullying and harassment remains a huge issue for children and young people in Scotland, with far-reaching and often devastating impacts.

“Concerted effort is required within families, schools, communities and at societal level to substantially strengthen the support mechanisms that are already available to children and young people.

“But we must also ensure we are listening to and collaborating with children through ongoing meaningful participation to identify mechanisms that would help but are not yet in place.”

The report makes a number of recommendations about what would reduce instances of bullying and harassment in schools. These include:

  • Emphasising preventing bullying as opposed to tackling it, starting with a child rights approach throughout education, health and public services
  • Building on children’s opportunities to speak to people they trust within their circles of support, and ensure these are widely available to all children
  • Creating judgment-free environments where young people feel empowered to discuss issues openly, facilitated by staff who are skilled in participation techniques
  • Addressing the issue of the bystander. Children need to understand they can help by being aware of deteriorating relationships and how others feel, and that they have the power to act on behalf of others
  • Supporting children and young people with additional support needs. Budgets within school settings must be protected to support children in response to their individual needs
  • Ensuring high quality, rights-based, accessible and ongoing training and support for all practitioners working with children and young people – shaped by the experiences and voices of children and young people
  • Developing better understanding of the digital world across generations. In order to develop effective bullying prevention strategies, it is vital that adults understand how children and young people interact with and conceptualise the online world
  • Recognising that gaming is often a pathway for young people to be bullied, but also is seen as a key support mechanism
  • Collecting more information about how children and young people are experiencing bullying rooted in racism, xenophobia and gender in order to provide a more accurate picture and evidence-based recommendations.

The report suggests that positive relationships, often with one trusted adult, and built on a foundation of human rights, can mitigate bullying and harassment.

Jeni Bainbridge, Children in Scotland’s Senior Policy Officer (Participation & Engagement) said:

“Children have the right to be safe from bullying and should know that adults will listen to them and act in solidarity with them.

“Our report makes clear that the most important protective factor in the lives of children and young people are relationships. We as a nation must do more to ensure that children and young people experience, and receive support to develop, healthy and respectful relationships.”

Download a copy of the report (PDF)

Media contact:

Chris Small

0131 313 8824

Notes for editors

About the report

Children in Scotland’s policy team identified what they considered to be most relevant high-quality reports that would give the committee an understanding of the key issues facing children and young people in Scotland in relation to bullying and harassment. They focused on identifying evidence that was Scottish in its origin, and published within the last three years, to ensure its relevance. The list of reports can be found in table 1.1. on page two of the report.

Evidence from reports was extracted and coded according to five key thematic areas to provide the basis for our recommendations:

  • Why are children and young people being bullied, i.e protected characteristics
  • What form is bullying taking
  • Impact on wellbeing
  • Mechanisms of support, including both positive examples and a lack of support
  • Children and young people-led solutions

Prominence was given to the voices of children, young people and adult practitioners over a discussion about the other findings from the reports. The findings from these themes are synthesised in the discussion section of the report to identify the variety of impacts of bullying and why this is occurring and also, importantly, how young people can be better supported to deal with bullying and harassment.

All the reports aside from the NSPCC’s What Are Children Telling Us About Bullying 2015-16 focused directly on Scotland; the NSPCC report considered the UK as a whole including counselling sessions in Scotland. The findings have a direct correlation with those in the Scotland-only studies.

Children in Scotland is the collective voice for children, young people and families in Scotland, and organisations and businesses that have a significant impact on children’s lives in Scotland. It is an influencing and membership organisation, comprised of representatives from across the voluntary, public and private sectors.


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Children in Scotland calls become pledges in party manifestos

Calls from Children in Scotland to promote and strengthen the rights and experiences of children and young people are supported across the local election manifestos of Scotland’s main political parties.

Included in at least one party manifesto are pledges to:

  • prioritise early learning and childcare
  • ensure all families receive the benefits and support they are entitled to
  • provide adequate resource for additional support for learning
  • put children and young people at the heart of decision-making
  • make better use of school estate facilities to serve community needs; and
  • protect mental health services are included in at least one party manifesto.

These are calls we sent to all local election candidates last month.

The only call not reflected in at least one party manifesto is a commitment to provide better support for children and young people who have experienced trauma.

Amy Woodhouse, Head of Policy at Children in Scotland, said:

“We are pleased to see focus across the political spectrum on the key areas of early years and childcare, education, health and social care, housing, and local devolution.

“We will work hard to ensure that the specific issue of providing better support for children and young people who have experienced trauma is brought onto local authorities’ agendas following the election.”

Comment and analysis

Local Election Manifestos: Children in Scotland Comment and Analysis

Read more


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Children’s intimate healthcare needs in schools must be met. So who’s responsible?

Children in Scotland is calling for clearer guidance on the role of school staff in meeting pupils’ healthcare needs.

Enquire, the Scottish Advice Service for Additional Support for Learning, has received calls from parents who go into school to administer medicine or meet their child’s intimate care needs on a regular basis.

Amy Woodhouse, Head of Policy at Children in Scotland, said:

“There is evidence that intimate care, for example meeting toileting needs and administering medicine, is an issue of concern for both school support staff and parents of children who have additional support needs.

“Some parents have told us that they have to take time off work to go into school to meet their child’s needs, and in some cases are unable to work as a result of this.

“It also has a negative impact on the child’s capacity to develop greater independence.

“The Scottish Government’s new guidance on meeting children’s healthcare needs in school is an opportunity to clarify the role and responsibility of school staff to meet pupils’ healthcare needs in an appropriate and respectful way.”

Children in Scotland and Enquire have submitted a joint response to the Scottish Government’s Consultation on Guidance on Healthcare Needs in Schools.


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Focus on quality in childcare welcome, but "smarter thinking" required on school start age

Following the announcement today by Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald on the expansion of free early learning and childcare,
Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock said:

“We welcome the focus on quality and support for the workforce in Mark McDonald’s announcement today.
Children in Scotland is keen that this contributes to a sense of momentum for expansion to 1140 free hours.

But the emphasis must be on improving the quality of the experience for children, whatever their childcare setting.

In combination with this, we need to see an ongoing commitment to affordability and flexibility whenever that is required by parents.

We have strongly supported the development of a simpler and more transparent route through which all public or private money intended to pay for, or subsidise, childcare is channelled to providers.

For that reason we were encouraged to hear today that ‘funding will follow the child’ – but will look for evidence to see that this principle is being borne out in the experiences of children, families, and providers.

The Scottish Government’s pledge of £2million towards improving access to nursery education for children with additional support needs is a step in the right direction; we look forward to hearing more details about the form this will take.

On the issue of the current anomaly which means children born in August receive two years of free nursery provision but a child born in January gets just 15 months, we believe this expansion provides an opportunity for a smarter and more child-focused solution.”

By 2020, capacity should not be a credible reason for setting any boundaries around a child’s third birthday nursery start date.

A more important consideration should be the impact this would have on a child’s wellbeing and on their transition process to primary school.

Currently, funding is a factor in deciding a child’s access to two years of nursery. This is defined by the school year as opposed to their age.
We call on local authorities, their partners and the Scottish Government to set aside any marginal financial considerations in sticking to a rigid two-year entitlement and ensure that the date of transition to primary school is based wholly on the child’s best interests.”


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