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Cancer survivor Erin McCafferty with David Walliams at Britains' Got Talent auditions

COURAGEOUS teenager Erin McCafferty who beat cancer has been chosen with her twin sister Nicole to launch the 25th birthday celebrations of Race for Life in Scotland.

The twins shared almost everything together growing up but never the same birthday. Despite entering the world just 25 minutes apart, they were born on separate days with Erin arriving at 11.50pm on November 1 while Nicole was born in the early hours of November 2, 2000. But after Erin was diagnosed with leukaemia only three days before her 15thbirthday, Nicole vowed to do everything she could to share that heartache, standing by her every step of the way through treatment.

Cancer survivor Erin McCafferty with David Walliams at Britains' Got Talent auditions

Now Erin has been given the all clear, the twins are marking another milestone – the 25th birthday of Cancer Research UK Race for Life in Scotland. Scotland’s first Race for Life event was held in Glasgow in spring 1995. Since then, millions of pounds have been raised to fund vital research in to gentler and more effective treatments for cancer. Thousands are set to take to the streets again to take part in Scotland’s biggest Race for Life at Glasgow Green on May 19. Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease, helping save more lives.

And there’s a chance to join the Race for Life 25th birthday celebrations at a special event on Argyle Street, Glasgow on Saturday March 30 between 10am and 5.30pm. Shoppers can decorate a sign to say who they’ll join the Race for Life for this year as well as submit their entry for this year’s event and take part in some fun glitter face painting.

Erin, now 18, said: “I’ve just celebrated the first year of being cancer free and it’s been the best year of my life.

“Nicole may be my little sister by 25 minutes but she’s also been like a best friend.  I’m lucky to have a twin sister who I’m so close to. When I had my hair shaved off after I was losing it due to the side effects from chemotherapy it was Nicole who held me for ten minutes as we cried in the toilets. But I didn’t actually cry the first day I was told I had cancer. I think I was just in shock. When you’re a teenager you feel that you’re invincible. Cancer was something that happened to other people. It didn’t even enter my head that I might get the disease.

“Cancer made Nicole and I grow up very quickly. We got through it and now if we can help other people get through it then we’ll do everything we can.”

Every day, 88 people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland and the number of people being diagnosed with cancer has now reached around 32,000 people every year.*

Erin of Carluke, South Lanarkshire, knows exactly how vital the power of research is. Erin was in her fourth year at Carluke High School when she first started feeling unwell, developing unexplained bruises and fainting on the way to school. She recalls vividly the moment her life was turned upside down on October 29, 2015, at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow after tests revealed she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Erin endured two and a half years of treatment including eight cycles of chemotherapy in total. Her lowest point was in May 2016 when a chest infection led to pneumonia and Erin was in the intensive care ward, watched over anxiously by her parents, Yvonne McCafferty and Vincent Mooney, both 47.

Erin in Race for Life tshirt

Erin said: “I thought I was going to die.

“I felt so terrible. I remember even saying to my mum that if this was really it then she should just let me go. I felt so unwell then but my consultant Dr Brenda Gibson was amazing, very calm and explained what we were going to do to get me well again.”

As Erin slowly recovered there were good days too. Her twin Nicole rallied family and friends to raise more than £31,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was fixed up for the twins to meet the Britain’s Got Talent stars including Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and comedian David Walliams and they also jetted to London to a gig where they met singer Olly Murs. But the greatest highpoint was on February 27 last year after Erin took her final chemotherapy pill and was able to ring the ‘End of Treatment bell’ at hospital. Now Erin is keen to train as a nurse to help others.

Erin said: “I was very scared in the early days when I got cancer and there were some really special, highly skilled nurses who stepped in to help me saying just the right thing at exactly the time I needed them to.

“I’d love to be that special person for someone else in the future and to give something back.”

Cancer Research UK has funded pioneering research in to understanding different types of childhood leukaemia, which has improved the way children are treated today, meaning more survive.

Organisers are appealing for Scots of all ages and abilities to stride out to help beat cancer with Scotland’s first Race for Life 5K and 10K events of the year kicking off in Stirling and South Queensferry on May 12, closely followed this spring by events across the country, everywhere from Edinburgh to Irvine, Falkirk to Fife. Scotland’s biggest Race for Life event is on Sunday May 19 at Glasgow Green.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “We’d like to thank Erin and Nicole for helping us celebrate Race for Life Glasgow’s 25th birthday this spring.

“Our Race for Life events are fun, colourful, emotional and uplifting. They help people with cancer by raising money for research, including clinical trials which give patients across Scotland access to the latest treatments. You don’t have to be sporty to take part. You don’t need to train or compete against anyone else.  All you need to do is go to the Race for Life website, pick an event, sign up and then have fun raising money in whatever way you like.

“Taking part in our Race for Life events enables like-minded people to get together and remember loved ones lost to cancer or celebrate the lives of those who have survived.  At the same time, they are helping to make a difference to people with cancer, right now.  Our Race for Life events were women-only when they started, over 25 years ago.  But we now feel the time is right to open them up so that everyone – women, men and children – has the chance to participate together.

“One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer, at some point during their lifetime.  Sadly, this means nearly everyone is touched by the disease, either directly or through a loved one or friend.  To make a significant difference in the fight against cancer we need to harness as much energy and commitment as possible – so what better way than involving everyone in the community in our events.

“This spring, we’re urging mums, dads, nans, grandpas, brothers, sisters, friends and workmates to show their support by joining the Race for Life.  It’s a perfect example of everyday people doing an extraordinary thing – uniting in a common cause to beat cancer.”

Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity was able to spend around £38 million last year in Scotland on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research. Glasgow is home to the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute where a thriving community of cancer scientists and doctors are working to reduce the impact of this disease around the world. An exciting programme of work has been established to look for ways to tailor treatment for pancreatic cancer. Our scientists in Glasgow first manufactured the brain cancer drug, temozolomide. Thousands of people now benefit from treatment with this drug worldwide.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

To enter Race for Life today visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.

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Roll out of Chatty Cafe Scheme in Glasgow venues helps tackle loneliness


Simply passing the time of day with a stranger could bring some longed-for human contact to someone’s day.

That’s the premise of the Chatter & Natter table, within the café at St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art.


The museum’s café, run by Encore Hospitality Services, has joined The Chatty Café Scheme that is looking to include chatter and natter tables in establishments, as part of our everyday café culture.

The table, in the café, is marked with distinctive signage indicating that customers who sit at it are happy to talk to other customers, while they enjoy their refreshments.

Part of the city’s support for The Campaign to End Loneliness, a Chatter & Natter café creates a space for people to talk; whether it’s for five minutes while you have a quick cuppa, or half an hour of good conversation.

Since its inception, around six months ago, café staff noticed that the table was particularly busy during peak tourist season when tour guides and Glasgow Cathedral staff take to sitting at the table talking to visitors and residents alike.

Ann Cameron, Encore Catering Manager at St. Mungo’s, said “When we introduced the Chatter & Natter table we didn’t quite know how it would be received.

“Some days are busier than others at the table, but if it’s quiet and staff see someone sitting at it, we always make a point of going over to have a conversation with the person.

“We know that our five minute chat might just have a big impact on someone’s day.

“Recently, I also spoke to a mother visiting with her daughter, whom she cares for, who had come specifically to the cafe to sit at the table and were looking for other venues to visit.”

The scheme is now being rolled out to other Encore cafes in Bellahouston Leisure Centre, Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Kelvin Hall and Tramway in Glasgow.

The move to include other venues comes as last year The Campaign to End Loneliness revealed that more than two-thirds of Glaswegians had experienced loneliness at some point in their lives. With nine in 10 people in Glasgow believing loneliness in older age is now “more likely than ever.”

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£155m Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre Fully Operational


Glasgow’s unique energy-from-waste plant has become fully operational.

The £155m Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) is now diverting 200,000 tonnes of the city’s waste from landfill and generating enough electricity to power 22,000 homes.

Delivered through a 25-year partnership between Glasgow City Council and recycling and low-carbon energy company, Viridor, the GRREC has the ability to extract recyclable material from general waste and boost Glasgow’s overall recycling rates, diverting 90% of council-collected waste from landfill and  saving 90,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.


With national restrictions on sending biodegradable waste to landfill due to come into effect on January 1, 2021, the GRREC is pivotal to Glasgow’s efforts to meet the forthcoming landfill ban.

Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, is convinced the GRREC will turn around Glasgow’s environmental performance following years of disposing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste at landfill.

Councillor Richardson said: “The GRREC is a unique piece of technology that will transform how we think about and deal with waste in Glasgow. With the GRREC becoming fully operational we can take a giant stride towards our objective of Glasgow becoming the most sustainable city in Europe.

“This new plant is an environmental success story in a number of compelling ways. The GRREC will help to ensure the days of simply dumping our waste in the ground will quickly come to an end. This provides a massive carbon reduction bonus for the city as we play our part in tackling climate change. Generating enough clean energy to power 22,000 homes also shows that sustainable solutions are within reach if we look for them.

“Our commitment to the GRREC reflects a bold but necessary move away from landfill as the primary method of waste disposal in Glasgow. Our partners Viridor deserve great praise for delivering this highly impressive facility.”

Viridor Managing Director Phil Piddington said: “The GRREC epitomises Viridor’s vision of attaching a purpose to all waste – separating valuable recyclable material, food and organic waste and giving residual waste, which cannot be recycled, a crucial role in generating low carbon electricity. In this way, we contribute to Glasgow and Scotland’s goals in terms of both resource and energy efficiency.”

The GRREC comprises three main technologies and is unique in bringing all of these under one roof:

  • a smart recycling facility that extracts recyclable material from general waste to create a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) which can be further processed to release energy.
  • An anaerobic digestion facility which uses bacteria to break down organic waste and release methane which is used as a fuel to generate renewable electricity.
  • Finally,  an Advanced Conversion Facility (ACF) heats the RDF in very low oxygen concentrations to synthesise a gas which is then captured and fully combusted within a secondary chamber. The high pressure steam generated by this process in turn drives a turbine to produce renewable electricity which is then exported to the national grid.

Further information on the GRREC can be found in the committee paper due to be presented at the council’s Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Committee on March 19.




Glasgow City Council is seeking views from local groups and voluntary and third sector organisations around the city, on a new grants fund.

The new fund, being introduced in April 2020, will be used to tackle specific city priorities, allowing resources to be directed where they are needed most and can make the biggest impact on the lives of our citizens.

The council have committed to look at how it will fund third sector and community groups to deliver these priorities, as set out in the Council’s Strategic Plan and this is underpinned by the Concordat developed with Third Sector Interface Network in 2018.

As partnership structures within the city have changed including the founding of the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), the establishment of the Community Empowerment Act and the development of the council’s community plan, the establishment of the new fund come at a timely juncture.

Stakeholder engagement events are being organised at the end of March to consider the priorities for the new fund while looking at increasing access, improving evaluation and measuring the outcomes and sharing of best practice.

Part of the discussion will also focus on how the fund can be used more flexibly to take account of or be redirected towards addressing emerging issues in the city. It will also look at how the council can support projects for longer than a year, which is the current funding period.

Councillor Jennifer Layden, city convener for equalities and human rights, said: “The development of a new fund gives us an opportunity to take a fresh look at what matters to people in their local areas and where we need to target our support to really make a difference.

“We already have strong relationships with a number of third sector and community groups around the city but we are aware that since the IGF was introduced in 2010 there are maybe new groups that want to have their say and assist us in jointly developing ambitious new plans.

“This is their chance to become involved and have a say in what we should be funding and importantly how we can widen access to the fund.

“We are greatly encouraged by the many organisations that have already expressed their willingness to be involved.”

Places at the events were all booked up by local groups and voluntary and third sector organisations within a very short period of time but work is being done to look at holding a third event to make sure that a wide range of views are gathered.

Anyone who is still interested in attending should register their details on the wait list at https://grants2020.eventbrite.co.uk

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The story begins for two teen Glasgow writers

Scottish Book Trust announces new participants for What’s Your Story?

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has today announced the seven teenage writers and illustrators who will join the What’s Your Story? programme. Now in its fourth year, the scheme has so far assisted over 20 young people from across Scotland to develop writing, illustration and performance projects.

Two young writers from Glasgow have been selected for the What’s Your Story? programme. Ailbhe Murphy and Skye Ailun Peng, both 15 years old, were selected by a judging team, which included one of the previous What’s Your Story? participants, and representatives from Creative Scotland, The National Library of Scotland, The Gaelic Books Council and Scottish Book Trust. Participants were selected on the enthusiasm and dedication they expressed for teenage participation in creative and literary culture.

Ailbhe Murphy, a writer of Gaelic short stories, applied for the What’s Your Story? programme because she often finds it hard to express her love of writing with other people her own age. Ailbhe also wants to demonstrate that Gaelic is not an ‘ancient’ language but one that can still be used to express modern thoughts and ideas. Maureen Macleod, author of Banais na Bliadhna (The Wedding of the Year, Sandstone Press) will mentor Ailbhe on her Gaelic short stories throughout the programme.

Skye Ailun Peng, a novel writer, is particularly interested in the Young Adult contemporary and fantasy genres. She applied for the programme as she would like to develop her writing skills and style. Alex Nye, author of Darker Ends and For My Sins will mentor Skye, assisting her with plot and novel planning.

The young people received an induction programme with The National Library of Scotland, where they had the opportunity to research their chosen subject and gain inspiration for their personal creative works. They have also recently taken part in a week-long retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre, where they had dedicated time with their mentors.

As part of the What’s Your Story?, the participants will plan and host StoryCon 2019, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for young people. Last year, this took place in Glasgow and was attended by over 100 young people.

The young people will have the opportunity to preview their creative projects at a showcase event, wrapping up the work they have completed during the What’s Your Story? programme. Industry experts will train the young people to express their work in front of a live audience, with the use of music and images.

Organised and run by Scottish Book Trust, What’s Your Story? was originally funded by Time to Shine, Creative Scotland’s national youth arts strategy and is the first nationwide programme of its kind in Scotland.This year it is funded by Badenoch Trust, Kiran’s Trust and The Hugh Fraser Foundation, as well as other trusts and private donors. What’s Your Story? is free to take part in and travel expenses will be covered for all participants. The Gaelic Books Council also funds a Gaelic-language place.

Ailbhe Murphy said:


“I’ve often found it hard to express my love of writing with other people my own age, and What’s Your Story? is truly creating a network for me and all the other young people to do exactly that. It enables us to make connections that really will benefit us in the future.”


Skye Ailun Peng said:


“I applied for What’s Your Story? because I want to be able to develop my own ideas and writing style, but also to share my ideas with other likeminded people, and be able to talk with them about something I am very passionate about. I think this is a great opportunity for me to explore my creative side and to interact with people who love writing as much as I do.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:


“Scottish Book Trust is pleased to launch the fourth year of the What’s Your Story? programme, highlighting new and upcoming talent in the Scottish literary scene. We are grateful to our funders, for making this programme possible, and also to our mentors for providing life-changing support and advice to the young people. We look forward to seeing the work they produce throughout the year.”

Alison Lang, Director of The Gaelic Books Council, said:


“Comhairle nan Leabhraichean is delighted to be supporting another young Gaelic writer on this year’s What’s Your Story? programme, and it’s exciting to discover new voices among a generation of Gaelic-medium pupils who have grown up with Gaelic books and aspire to add their own stories to the contemporary canon. We are grateful to Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland for supporting our work in promoting Gaelic literature, and pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate once again with Scottish Book Trust.”


The full list of the What’s Your Story? participants is as follows:

Performance poet, Beccie White, from Edinburgh

Performance poet, Devin McRoberts from Paisley

Short story writer, Nicole Foreman, from Dornoch

Illustrator, Sara Oussaiden, from Isle of Skye

Author, Skye Ailun Peng, from Glasgow

Author, Andrew Pettigrew, from Hamilton

Gaelic writer, Ailbhe Murphy, from Glasgow


Notes to editors:

For all press queries, please contact PR and Marketing Manager, Keara Donnachie:

keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com or 0131 524 0184


Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.

www.scottishbooktrust.com   @scottishbktrust   www.facebook.com/scottishbktrust


Creative Scotland

In addition to general fundraising, Scottish Book Trust receives Creative Scotland support through Regular Funding. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.  Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland


The Badenoch Trust

The Badenoch Trust has made grants to a wide-range of UK organisations since its inception.  It is a long-standing supporter of the arts, community, education and sports, and seeks to raise the aspirations and improve the life chances of young people.



Kiran’s Trust

Kiran’s Trust was founded in 2009, in memory of Kiran and celebrating the creative arts and sports, which she held dear. The Trust recognises this passion in other young people and provides support to help them advance in further education and participation in these areas.

Kiran’s Trust provides support to young people through schools and organisations to learn different types of art. Some of this support is in creative art, specifically to introduce ideas, techniques, skills and media which helps students to visually express themselves. Other support is in performance arts, providing opportunities for writing, music, drama and dance participation.


Gaelic Books Council

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation with responsibility for supporting Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers, and for raising the profile and reach of Scottish Gaelic Books in Scotland and internationally.


National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots – an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture.

The Library’s collections are of world-class importance. Key areas include digital material, rare books, manuscripts, maps, music, moving images, official publications, business information, science and technology, and the modern and foreign collections. The Library holds more than 26 million items dating back over 1000 years. This includes over fifteen million printed items, eight million manuscripts, two million maps and over 45,000 films and videos. Every week it collects around 4,000 new items. Around 80% of these are received free of charge in terms of Legal Deposit legislation. Further information is available at www.nls.uk


Council to consult on Notre Dame High School entry criteria

A consultation has been launched to seek opinions on the future entry criteria and catchment area for Notre Dame High School.

There was cross party support from elected members at today’s (Thursday 7 March) City Administration Committee for the consultation to start on Monday 18 March.

The consultation with parents, children, young people and all interested parties in the wider community will run for six weeks as per The Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and three options have been proposed by council officers following pre engagement with a range of stakeholders and school groups and to reflect their views:

  • Leave the Notre Dame High School entry criteria as is, that is, no change.
  • Retain the all-girl status, but change the associated primary school configuration; and thereby alter the catchment area.
  • Change to be a co-educational denominational secondary school and alter the catchment area

Four denominational learning communities in the city would be directly affected by any changes to the entry criteria at Notre Dame High – John Paul, Notre Dame, St Roch’s and St Thomas Aquinas.

Following the decision to consult today a council spokeswoman said: “The consultation is the ideal opportunity for all interested parties to make their views known as part of the consultation process.

“Public meetings are being held during April and May and we would urge people to come along and hear about the proposals and from the various campaign groups before submitting responses by the 26 May.”


Local Artists Take Design Inspiration from Imaginative St Anne’s children

Local Artists Take Design Inspiration from Imaginative St Anne’s children


East End based artists Bespoke Atelier, have taken inspiration from creative pupils at a Calton primary school when designing decorative plaques set to be laid beneath each of the recently refurbished The Barras signs.


The celebrated steel arches are looking resplendent, having undergone a programme of repairs and repainting as part of major works to regenerate the Barras Public Realm which is funded through the £27m City Deal Collegelands Calton Barras infrastructure programme.


This artist-led project involving St Anne’s Primary School has seen local surface designers Bespoke Atelier take inspiration from material produced by the children following their visit to The Barras and subsequent participation in workshops; as stimulus to create the final four designs.


Today (8 March) pupils from St Anne’s took up the artists’ invitation to an exhibition at the nearby Barras Art and Design (BAaD), which showcases how the four plaques will look and how their own artistic endeavours inspired the intricate final designs.


Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realmsaid: “The Barras Public Realm project, funded by the Glasgow City Region City Deal, is significantly transforming this important part of Glasgow. Improvements already delivered have had a hugely positive effect, acting as a catalyst for further investment and activity in the area.  The Barras signs are looking like new and the addition of decorative plaques, the design of which has been influenced by local schoolchildren, will be a welcome addition, further contributing to the much improved amenity of the area.


Marion Parola, Designer and Director at Bespoke Atelier said; “The children from St Anne’s have been integral to the creative process and their keen observations of the Barras inspired many of our design ideas.  I was delighted to see them again and I hope that they are proud of the influence they’ve had on what will be part of the streetscape in an area close to their school”.


Marie Hamilton, Depute Headteacher of St Anne’s Primary School said; “Our children had a wonderful time seeking inspiration from their visit to the Barras and they came back to the classroom full of ideas and enthusiasm which translated into exceptionally thoughtful artwork.  It’s lovely for them to be invited along to BAaD to see how their creativity has influenced the final designs”.


The exhibition by Bespoke Atelier which includes the four decorative plaque designs is open to the public at Barras Art and Design between the hours of 12:00-21:00 from 8 March 2019 until 17 March 2019 (excluding Mondays).


The City Deal Barras Public Realm project is increasing the attractiveness of streets and spaces as well as improving travel connections. This project has already delivered high quality resurfacing and pavement widening in the area as well as improved lighting and CCTV. Future work planned will improve key streets and junctions adjacent to the Barras and enhance connectivity with the city centre by prioritising pedestrians and cyclists, and reducing the dominance of vehicles.


These projects were identified in the Calton Barras Action Plan, approved by the Council in 2012, the main focus of which is on the physical regeneration of the Calton Barras area in recognition of the challenges it faces and its strategic importance to the city. The Barras Masterplan (GCC, 2016) sets out the guiding principles for the Public Ream works and included wide public consultation, through a series of workshops and interviews.


Outstanding recognition for Glasgow’s Education Services

A decade of success in Glasgow schools has received an excellent report card today (Monday 11 March 2019) from Education Scotland for improving learning, raising attainment and achievement across the city and making excellent progress in closing the national poverty related attainment gap.

The report is published on the back of Glasgow’s highest positive destination figures last week (92.3%) which saw more of our young people than ever before going to further and higher education and for the first time – more than the national average.

The report – one of 9 Attainment Challenge Local Authority inspections carried out in Scotland – is a huge accolade for Glasgow’s schools, young people, teachers and school staff and recognition of the commitment, dedication and the ‘relentless drive to reduce the impact of poverty on the outcomes of all children and young people’ in the city.

Education inspectors have highlighted five key strengths – witnessed and evidenced during their time spent in schools speaking to staff, young people and parents:

  • The very strong council-wide vision focused on reducing the impact of poverty on children, families and communities
  • The relentless drive of the Executive Director in improving the educational outcomes of children and young people living in poverty in Glasgow
  • The exceptional progress made in reducing the impact of poverty on educational attainment and achievement of children and young people
  • Outstanding approaches to career-long professional learning and leadership which have strengthened the skills and knowledge of staff and, as a result, improved children’s and young people’s attainment
  • In-built sustainability through capacity building is at the heart of the professional learning approaches undertaken across the city.  Education Services has strongly promoted the importance of long-term sustainability across all aspects of their universal and targeted approaches to permanently reduce the impact of poverty outcomes for children and young people

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills & Early Years has welcomed the excellent inspection report and what it means to the city.

He said today: “The improvements in the learning and teaching in our schools over the last 10 years are nothing short of remarkable and the report today is proof of these achievements.

“Children and young people are at the heart of everything we do and there is no such thing as poverty of aspirations in our schools anymore.

“This is despite the fact that almost half of our pupils live in the 10% most deprived areas in Scotland.

“No one in education uses this as an excuse – we don’t hide behind these barriers– we tackle these challenges head on and as highlighted in the inspection’s key strengths – our children and young people are reaping the benefits in our pursuit for excellence.

“Glasgow’s attainment, achievement, attendance and positive destination figures are the highest they have ever been – our schools are constantly raising the bar and what shines out bright throughout the inspection report is our passion, commitment and relentless drive.

“We will never be complacent and will continue to support our schools to keep delivering for our children – giving them every opportunity we can.

Annemarie O’Donnell, Chief Executive, Glasgow City Council said: “Today’s excellent report card for our schools and nurseries is something to be celebrated by everyone who has been a part of our journey of improvement and who is dedicated to Glasgow’s children.

“This is an excellent endorsement of their hard work, dedication and determination to make sure we nurture our children and young people and give them the opportunities to be the best they can be.”

Education Scotland Inspectors spent two weeks in Glasgow as part of a new model of inspection of local authorities.

HM Chief Inspector of Education Gayle Gorman said: “This report is a real tribute to the teachers and support staff for their outstanding commitment to improving learning, raising attainment and reducing the impact of poverty on learners.

“I’m very pleased to see that staff are well supported and challenged to own and deliver the aspirational goals they have created for all children, young people and families across the city.

“Outstanding approaches to career-long professional learning and leadership have further strengthened staff skills and knowledge.”

Education Scotland Strategic Director of Scrutiny Janie McManus said: “What stood out in this report were the approaches to targeting, selecting and evaluating the impact of initiatives.

“This is particularly well illustrated by the fact that headteachers are now confidently using data to make decisions on how additional funding can have the greatest impact for children in their local context.

“In fact, school staff across the local authority are overwhelmingly positive on how the quality and use of data has improved their work.”

The report is supported throughout with comments from school staff, pupils and parents in the city including:

“Not only are classroom doors open but school gates are open for collaboration.” Class teacher, Glasgow.

“I know what I want to do when I am older – I want to make all schools as good as mine.” Secondary pupil.

“My son is a different person now. With the support of everyone here he just loves maths.” Parent of primary pupil in relation to Glasgow Counts.

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Glasgow Aims to Lead the Way in Asylum Reforms


Glasgow could become the first city in the UK to pilot changes to the asylum process after a multi-agency taskforce recommended a number of proposed reforms.


The city is keen to lead the way on proposed changes to the existing system agreed by partners on its Asylum Taskforce, which includes the Home Office.

The proposals would make the process easier – both for people seeking asylum and for local authorities in the towns and cities where they hope to build new lives.

Reforms which Glasgow is championing include:-

  • Allowing asylum seekers dispersed to Glasgow to work here – from six months after their asylum claim has been submitted until final determination of their application. This would afford people dignity and enable them to use their skills to support themselves, as well as easing pressure on local social care services. (Currently a very limited number of asylum seekers with specific skills can request permission to work (if their claim takes over a year to be processed) and permission is rarely granted)
  • The creation of a Regional Partnership Board with members including Glasgow City Council, Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership, the Home Office, Mears, Serco and COSLA. This would commission, monitor and report on ongoing work on asylum in the city.
  • The taskforce also wants asylum seekers to be able to register in regional centres like Glasgow – instead of having to travel to Croydon to do so, at their own expense (after being dispersed to Glasgow) Currently only families and vulnerable people can register in regional centres.
  • An end to people being required to travel to Liverpool to make further submissions. The taskforce believes this is unnecessary and could be more efficiently delivered in Glasgow.

Annemarie O’Donnell, Chair of the Asylum Taskforce and Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council, said: “When people come to our city looking for help, Glaswegians want to ensure we do everything we can to assist them. This piece of work has been carried out in an open and honest environment and I want to thank colleagues from the Scottish and UK governments, COSLA, Serco, Scottish Refugee Council and the West of Scotland Housing Forum for the way in which they have approached this.

“I am confident that the recommendations in this report, and the work that we will now do together, will allow us to do much more to support some of the most vulnerable people seeking asylum in the UK and in our city.”

The taskforce, which included Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Refugee Council, COSLA, the Home Office and Glasgow and West of Scotland Housing Forum, was set up last summer amid concerns about planned evictions of refused asylum seekers in the city. The lock changes have now been paused by Serco, while two legal challenges are heard in court.

Meanwhile, the taskforce has been developing ways in which the relationship between local authorities, the Home Office and their contractors can be recalibrated – to create more of a partnership approach and improve information sharing.

The recommendations were contained in a taskforce closing report and were accepted by all partners, with a commitment from the Home Office to look at each one to determine what can be agreed and implemented.

Glasgow welcomes the highest number of asylum seekers in any UK local authority area and is well placed to pilot process transformation then share its learnings with other cities. It is believed that other areas across the UK are watching developments here with interest.

The proposals would not lead to higher numbers of asylum seekers coming to Glasgow as dispersal would still be managed by the Home Office, with ongoing monitoring through the new Partnership Board.

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Ministerial Visit for Tontine Nurtured Start-Ups with Aspirations to Grow

glasgow city region

Ambitious start-ups with aspirations to scale up, had the chance to discuss their growth plans today (1 March) with Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy as she paid a visit to Tontine, the City Deal business accelerator based in Glasgow’s Merchant City.

glasgow city region

The Minister was keen to hear more about the success of Tontine as a growth incubator and how the model which actively encourages businesses to scale-up, could be replicated in other parts of Scotland.


As a centre of innovation, Tontine attracts and nurtures high growth entrepreneurial talent and is host to many of Scotland’s significant growth companies of the future.


Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes said; “Scotland’s entrepreneurs are hugely important to our economy.


“Tontine is a fantastic example of how the right support can help ambitious tech start-ups to grow.  In particular, it demonstrates what can be achieved when organisations from across the private and public sectors work together towards a common goal.


“I’m really impressed by what I’ve seen here today, and wish all of the companies every success for the future.”


Cllr Angus Millar, Glasgow City Council’s Depute City Convener for Economic Growth added: “Tontine is a fantastic space in which businesses with aspirations to grow can thrive.


“This City Deal funded innovation project champions entrepreneurial drive and provides a boost to the region’s economy, with enterprises fully supported in their ambitions to scale up.


“Tontine is nurturing many young, innovative companies, all of which have exciting futures in store. I look forward to watching these enterprises grow and generate future employment opportunities for the region”.


Tontine was the first Glasgow City Region City Deal project to be completed in the city. Based in the Tontine Building, the former workshop of Scottish inventor James Watt supports and sustains the development of high-growth start-ups in the enabling technology, advanced design and manufacturing, and creative economy sectors; offering high-quality and flexible workspaces.