, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Paisley teacher to be a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador

Paisley teacher Kimberley Roan McVeigh has been selected from more than 170 applicants to become a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador.

Ms Roan McVeigh, an acting Principal Teacher with Renfrewshire Council’s Flexible Learning service applied to Parliament’s open call and was selected to attend the ’Teachers’ Institute’ at London’s Houses of Parliament this week.

Over three days, she will question the House of Commons Speaker and the Lord Speaker, and hear from parliamentarians of all parties about their work in the Commons and Lords.

More than 700 teachers have become ambassadors since the program’s launch in 2006, going on to impart their knowledge to students and fellow educators about democracy and the Houses of Parliament.

Ms Roan McVeigh said:

“In my role with Flexible Learning, I work with students who have found mainstream education is not the best fit for them, leading to them feeling disengaged and not interested in politics or their society.

“By attending Teachers’ Institute, I aim to show my students how our political system affects and supports them, and for them to see that they are important members of society who can – and will – make a difference to the world.”

Councillor Jim Paterson, Education and Children’s Services Convener said:

“I commend Ms Roan McVeigh for taking up the opportunity to attend Teachers’ Institute with the aim of expanding her students’ minds by enhancing their understanding of politics.

“This is another example of the commitment of Renfrewshire Council’s Flexible Learning scheme to help students who face challenges in mainstream education to gain confidence and feel supported throughout their school journey.”

Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South said: 

“I am delighted that Kimberley Roan McVeigh, a teacher from my constituency, has been selected as a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador.

“Teachers have so many opportunities to engage young people with Parliament and democracy, and I am sure that the students in The Flexible Learning, Senior Phase Provision will benefit from Kimberley’s experience at Teachers’ Institute.”

Rt Hon Lord Fowler, The Lord Speaker, said:

“Teachers’ Institute is exceptionally well-regarded by the participants each year, and I welcome the opportunity to explain the work of the House of Lords to such an appreciative audience.”

Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons said:

“I am proud that this excellent initiative continues to provide such an invaluable service. Better engagement and dialogue with young people is of fundamental importance to our democracy, and I am sure that the UK Parliament Teacher Ambassadors attending Teachers’ Institute will find the experience both useful and enlightening.”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pioneering programme on teaching methods in Renfrewshire has boosted pupil’s attainment in literacy

A pioneering project between Renfrewshire Council and the University of Strathclyde has led to an improvement in children’s literacy attainment regardless of their background.

Deputy First minister John Swinney visits Our Lady of Peace 19.1.18

The innovative Renfrewshire Literacy Approach, funded by Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government, is a teacher and leadership training programme designed to enhance knowledge and skills in the teaching of reading.

A key aim of the collaboration is to narrow the attainment gap in literacy between pupils from low and high income households.

A report evaluating the approach, which was introduced in Renfrewshire in 2015, reveals that data gathered from reading tests indicates an increase in the average standardised age scores across primary three to seven and a decrease in those with low and below average scores. The increase applied to both girls and boys.

Further analysis indicated that the teaching programme may have had the greatest positive impact on children living in the most deprived areas.

It shows a positive increase in pupil attainment at all stages, particularly for those children who have previously struggled with aspects of learning to read.

The key aim of the approach is to improve standards in reading across Renfrewshire and to instil a life-long love of reading in children from an early age. This can increase children and young people’s chances of wider success across education and beyond.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited Our Lady of Peace Primary School in Linwood, along with senior Council officials and Professor Sue Ellis from the University of Strathclyde, to officially launch the report today.

John Swinney, said: “The Literacy Report launched today shows good progress in raising attainment in literacy and closing the poverty related attainment gap.

“Supported by funding through the Scottish Attainment Challenge, this collaborative work undertaken by Renfrewshire Council and the University of Strathclyde to improve literacy outcomes for pupils and to close the attainment gap is showing promising results and we look forward to further progress as the programme develops.”

Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, Councillor Jim Paterson, said:

“This report shows the positive impact the approach has had on literacy attainment. Real progress is being made with the literacy skills of pupils.

“The ability to read well from an early age means that children from all backgrounds will be able to take advantage of the opportunities open to them across education and will allow them to reach their full potential.

“We are committed to seeing attainment rise even further and to narrowing the gap between economically advantaged and disadvantaged children in Renfrewshire.  This approach is instrumental in helping achieve this.”

Professor Sue Ellis, of Strathclyde’s School of Education, who led the project at the University, said: “Whether children are rich or poor, they must be able to read to access the rest of the curriculum.  This project has made a real difference to the children of Renfrewshire.

“The data clearly shows a fall in the number of children with below average and very below average scores, and an increase in those scoring above average and very high scores.

“Senior council officers at Renfrewshire provided high-profile leadership and they took a real interest in the changes taking place.”

Lesley-Anne Dick, Head Teacher of Our Lady of Peace said the school had ‘fully embraced’ the approach and added: “The motivation and enthusiasm of our two Literacy Champions has empowered others to try out the new ideas.

“Staff have worked extremely hard to completely change their practice and have said they enjoy teaching reading in this way.

“The children themselves have said they enjoy having the opportunity to read or be read to every day. Several who were reluctant, are now reading and are now exposed to a wider variety of ‘real books’ rather than being limited to a school reading scheme.

“It is lovely to see them talking to each another about books, discussing their likes, dislikes and recommending authors.”

The partnership has seen more than 1,000 primary and secondary school teachers and other learning professionals take part. Standardised assessment data gathered from around 3,500 children from Primary 3 – Primary 7 demonstrated ‘statistically significant improvement’ in attainment of reading over the course of implementation.

Data also shows an increase in the number of children scoring above average and very high scores and a fall in those with low and below average scores.

The positive start to the Renfrewshire Literacy Approach is now being further developed through continued Attainment Challenge funding into other areas of literacy development.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pupils’ artwork inspires exhibition at Paisley Museum

A record number of pupils from nurseries, primary and secondary schools have entered Renfrewshire’s annual Inspired Art Competition.

21/01/18…
MUSEUM – PAISLEY.
Exhibittion showcasing local youngsters art
Joyce McKellar chief executive Renfrewshire leisure (red) Lisa Marie Hughes chair of Renfrewshire leisure (dark hair) with winners Nathan Shankland and Niamh McKniff (5)

Now 130 of almost 1000 entries – that include drawings, paintings and sculptures – will go on display in a free exhibition, at Paisley Museum, from January 20  to April 15.

Three talented pupils have had their artworks chosen to be turned into posters promoting the exhibition. They are Beth Gilkison, 15, from Castlehead High School; Nathan Shankland, 16, from Mary Russell School and Castlehead High, along with five-year-old Niamh McKniff, from St Fergus Primary.

The exhibition aims to showcase the development of young people’s art and design work from three and four year olds, to the more sophisticated pieces, which form a Fifth or Sixth Year pupils’ portfolios for national qualifications.

The competition is organised by Renfrewshire Leisure, whose chief executive, Joyce McKellar said: “The judges had a very difficult decision due to the extremely high quality of artwork entries this year.  The variety of artworks on display is fantastic and I would encourage everyone to come along to the museum and see for themselves.”

Organisers of the Inspired Exhibition are also working in partnership with The National Gallery of Scotland as after the exhibition closes, much of the work featured will be sent for consideration in their National Tesco Bank Art Competition.

And some of the youngsters’ artwork will also feature in the Renfrewshire Schools 2019 Calendar.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Charities set for boost as Renfrewshire’s Provost pledges her support

Three charities have been given a civic boost after it was announced they will receive the support of Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron.

Renfrew Council Provosts Charities MND, Accord Hospice and St Vincents Hospice16.1.18

Provost Cameron has pledged her support for MND Scotland, St Vincent’s Hospice and ACCORD Hospice as she prepares to undertake a variety of fundraising endeavours for each charity.

The Provost will focus on a different charity each year during her remaining time in office and will aim to raise as much money as possible by offering her services for the day to local businesses, hosting large events such as a charity ball and setting up fun, smaller events which everyone in Renfrewshire will be encouraged to take part in.

Provost Cameron said: “These charities are very close to my heart and I’m delighted that I will be able to support them throughout my time as Provost.

“The support and care they provide for families throughout Renfrewshire cannot be underestimated and is a vital lifeline for people in their time of need.

“I’ll be working hard to raise as much money as possible to help them continue their work so keep your eye out for upcoming events which you can take part in and play your part in supporting these fantastic charities.”

Provost Cameron will fundraise for MND Scotland in 2018 and 2021 and chose to support the charity after losing her mother to Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2011.

MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles and may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.

Iain McWhirter, Head of Fundraising at MND Scotland, said: ““MND Scotland is very grateful to have been chosen as one of Provost Cameron’s charities and we look forward to working together to ensure everyone in Renfrewshire who is affected by Motor Neurone Disease receives the best possible practical, emotional and financial support.

“Awareness of MND has never been higher with the tragic diagnosis of Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir, former Rangers captain Fernando Ricksen, and Celtic’s Jimmy Johnstone, and MND Scotland is the only Scottish charity which provides care and support to people affected by the disease, as well as funding research into finding a cure.”

Following in the footsteps of her predecessors, Provost Cameron will also support two local hospices, St Vincent’s and ACCORD, who provide palliative and end of life care to people with life limiting illnesses.

Helen Simpson, Chief Executive of ACCORD Hospice, said: “ACCORD Hospice is honoured and delighted to be chosen as one of the Charities that Provost Lorraine will support during her term in office.

“The fundraising ventures will financially support ACCORD Hospice in our care for individuals and families living with a life limiting illness in Renfrewshire, while also allowing us to reach more people and raise awareness of the palliative and end of life care services that hospices can offer the community.”

St. Vincent’s Hospice Chief Executive, Kate Lennon, said: “We are absolutely delighted and so grateful to be named as one of the dedicated charities by the Provost, just weeks before we mark our 30th anniversary.

“For three decades, we have provided specialist palliative and end of life care for people and families affected by life limiting conditions all across the community. This is only made possible thanks to the generosity and kindness of our supporters, and we cannot thank the Provost enough for this incredible gesture.”

If you wish the Provost to come along and work in your business for the day, or have an idea for a challenge, please contact Donna or Heather atcivicevents@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

For more information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/provost.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mhairi Black MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

This week MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black MP signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

Saturday 27th January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘The power of words’.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Mhairi Black MP commented:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from across Renfrewshire and Scotland to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust. As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors. I would encourage my constituents to show their support for such an important day.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

“The Holocaust did not start in the gas chambers but with hate filled words. Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We are very grateful to Mhairi Black MP for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR TIED PUB REFORM

Over 90 per cent of responses to a consultation on West of Scotland MSP Neil Bibby’s proposed Tied Pubs Bill backed a change in the law.

The proposal formally lodged today would create a statutory Pubs Code to regulate the relationship between tied pub tenants and their pub-owning landlords and an independent Adjudicator to enforce the code. Tied pub tenants in Scotland would gain similar rights to those in England and Wales, with restrictions eased on the range of drinks they can stock.

93 per cent of consultation respondents supported the Bill, including 87 per cent who described themselves as ‘fully supportive’.

The Bill is backed by a broad coalition including the Scottish Licensed Trade Association(SLTA), the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), GMB Scotland, the STUC and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

West Scotland MSP Neil Bibby MSP said: 

“This proposal is about fairness, choice and jobs. Fairness for tied pub tenants, choice for Scotland’s pub goers and jobs in the pub and brewing industries. My Bill would reset the relationship between tied licensees and their landlords, giving tied tenants in Scotland similar rights to those in England and Wales, and it would make it easier to bring locally-brewed products into the tied pub sector.

“Too often tied deals are one-sided and uncompetitive. With a broad coalition behind the Bill and backing from an overwhelming 93 per cent who responded, this consultation has demonstrated very clearly that the sector has to change.

“I have now formally lodged my proposal and I am asking MSPs of all parties to work with me to deliver a much-needed change in the law and a fairer deal for Scotland’s tied pubs and the brewing industry.”

In a statement, licensed trade body, the SLTA said:

“The SLTA echoes the support of the majority of respondents to the tied house consultation who are calling for a statutory Pubs Code and Adjudicator in Scotland to give Scottish tied house tenants the same protection as their counterparts in England and Wales. The status quo is not an option and our message remains the same – ‘there is an urgent need to have parity with the rest of the UK’. It is totally unacceptable for Scotland’s tenant licensees to be left in the very vulnerable position they find themselves in.

“Tied pub reform will end the discriminatory, unfair and uncompetitive marketplace that tied house tenants are locked into and will reverse the serious negative effect on the economy, particularly local economies.”

Sarah Bellis, CAMRA Director for Scotland says: 

“CAMRA welcomes the consultation results which show that an overwhelming 93% of respondents agree with CAMRA that change is needed to protect Scottish licensees tied to the large pub companies.

“Many pubs in Scotland are struggling because pub companies take more than is fair or sustainable from tied licensees’ profits by forcing them to buy their beer directly from them at inflated prices rather than on the open market. Licensees are further hit by paying above market value for rents and consequentially struggling to make a living, contributing to pub closures across Scotland.

“We therefore fully support Neil Bibby’s Pubs Code Bill, which calls for a powerful pubs code to govern the relationship between pub companies and their tenants to ensure licensees are treated fairly.”

GMB Organiser Martin Doran said: 

“Neil Bibby’s consultation on tied pub reform has demonstrated the strength of feeling and the breadth of the coalition in favour of change.  The Scottish Government should now move quickly to support legislative proposals which can deliver fairness for tied pubs tenants, give more choice for punters and help create a more level playing field for Scottish brewers who, as they should know, are significant employers.

“GMB Scotland members working in the Scottish brewing industry certainly understand that a fairer tied pubs market will help to sustain good jobs in their industry.  MSPs, of all parties, should be in no doubt that tied pub tenants and brewing industry workers alike support these proposals and now want to see change delivered.”

Colin Borland, Head of Devolved Nations at the FSB said:

“Neil Bibby’s proposed Bill will give the pub industry the New Year boost it needs by giving small businesses the opportunity to be free-of-tie – meaning lower prices and more choice for customers and greater take-home pay for tied tenants.

“FSB is calling on the Scottish Government to back local pub owners, get behind the Bill and call time on ineffective industry self-regulation.”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mackay welcomes strategy to target loneliness and isolation

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the developing of a new national strategy to tackle loneliness and isolation.

 

The draft plan, one of the first in the world, will look at the causes of social isolation and loneliness and how they can be addressed.

 

Views are also being sought on how communities can build on the work of the Scottish Government, and lead on ensuring those at risk of becoming lonely or isolated have access to the right support networks.

 

SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:

 

“Anybody, regardless of age or circumstance, can be affected by social isolation and loneliness. Research also shows there is a link between loneliness and poor physical and mental health and that this can impact on everyday life.

 

“Scotland is leading the way when it comes to tackling this and will be one of the first in the world to develop a national strategy to address loneliness and isolation.

 

“As a Government we have an important role to play, but, we want communities and society to lead it. Communities themselves are best places to ensure people who may be at risk of becoming isolated or lonely can access the support they need. 

 

“Now we want to hear from you about what is important in tackling these issues. I would encourage everyone to have a say on this very important issue.”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to get over being an under – Lisa Kowalski headlines King Tuts on her 18th birthday

As an emerging singer songwriter determined to build a career, a lot of items on Lisa Kowalski’s bucket list are music related.

She has already ticked off a few things – releasing her first EP, playing a festival headline stage, performing on TV, meeting her original inspiration Taylor Swift and supporting a few more well-established artists.  There’s still a big list and a long journey ahead, but one major barrier is about to be smashed.

Having been a performer and a local music fan for the last four years, 17 year old Lisa was getting increasingly frustrated that, as an under, she could neither perform nor go and see her favourite bands and artists at certain gigs and venues. The popular and iconic King Tuts was often the venue for an event Lisa really wanted to attend but wasn’t able to. This situation is all about to change on 6th February when, with the help of Salute Music UK, Lisa is going to celebrate coming of age by headlining King Tuts on the night of her 18th.

Salute Music UK run an innovative new signwriting competition designed to discover under the radar song writing talent from across the UK. Lisa entered their first contest in summer 2017 with a rough demo of a song she had written and had filmed at her fortnightly singing lesson.  Despite competing with more experienced artists and polished and produced tracks and videos, the panel of industry judges selected the song “I do” from thousands of entries to make the top 100.

The public were then asked to vote over several weeks for their favourite songs and the top six made the final, with a £10,000 cash prize paid to each and £50,000 to the overall winner. Lisa was delighted to find out in November that she was a finalist and would be winning a prize that will allow her to realise a lot of musical goals for 2018 and continue to progress her career. The prize also included the arrangement of a “Home Town gig” for each finalist and it was the absolute icing on the cake when Lisa learned that this would not only be in the legendary King Tuts but would also fall on the very night she turned 18. The prize money will be officially presented on the night.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to perform old songs and some new material in a venue that’s so iconic! I also have an incredible artist lined up to support me, Megan D. I’ve been loving her EP and it’s amazing to have a musician that I greatly admire in the line up! ”

Lisa has a lot of other aims and wishes for the year ahead and, as is usually the way for emerging musicians, some will happen and some won’t.  Receiving an invaluable cash sum to invest in her music, as well as a public recognition of her song writing talent, provides a brilliant foundation on which to build. The night at King Tuts is hopefully the start of many things but regardless of what comes next, Lisa will never forget being able to share such an exciting event with friends, family and fans on the long awaited night on which she turns 18.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Culture events from iconic painting to puppets and much more

A variety of cultural activities will be taking place in Renfrewshire over the next few months.
Art lovers will be able to see one of Scotland’s most iconic paintings when it is put on display at Paisley Museum.


The town is only one of four places in the country to put the famous Monarch of the Glen painting by Sir Edwin Landseer on show, as part of a nationwide tour organised by the National Galleries of Scotland.

The free viewings will take place at Paisley Museum between January 20 and March 11. Free family activities related to the painting are also being planned by Renfrewshire Leisure to coincide with the exhibition.


The Monarch of the Glen exhibition is just one of a host of cultural events being staged in Renfrewshire during the next six months and featured in the latest edition of the free what’s on brochure – The Guide.

The Guide, published this week shows a diverse range of shows, events, exhibitions and workshops is being staged by Renfrewshire Leisure between now and summer.

There are events that are part of the UK’s Puppet Animation Festival with two shows – Little Light and Conan the Dragon – being staged at Paisley Arts Centre and Red Riding Hood’s Magic Purse, at Johnstone Town Hall, in April.

LGBT History Month, in February is being marked with a series of events locally, as is Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, during May.

And a special performance by soprano and piano duo, Voice and Verse that is particularly suited to people suffering from dementia is being held in Paisley Arts Centre, on April 18.

Traditional folk music fans have lots to look forward to with well-known bands like the Tannahill Weavers, Blazin’ Fiddles, Daimh, along with the legendary trio of musicians Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle performing over the next few months.

And on March 2 and 3 the Scottish Alternative Music Awards and festival is being staged in Paisley Arts Centre.

Ballet West bring their enchanting performance of Giselle ou les Wilis to Paisley Town Hall, on February 2 and if you like some rib-tickling comedy of an evening, then former River City star, Gary Lamont brings his Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show, Dropping the Soap to Paisley Arts Centre, on April 28.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “We may have missed out on City of Culture, but we’re not going to be short on cultural activities over the next few months.

“We’ve a hugely diverse range of shows, events and exhibitions going on and there will be something for everyone to enjoy.”

The Guide can be picked up for free at Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre, the town halls at Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew or download a version on www.renfrewshireleisure.com.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5621 Baby Boxes Delivered In Greater Glasgow and Clyde In First Six Months of Scheme

Latest figures from the Scottish Government have revealed that the transformative Baby Box policy has already benefitted 5621 newborns across Greater Glasgow and Clyde since they were introduced last year – and over 22,000 across Scotland.

The Baby Box is a key part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to making Scotland the very best place in the world to grow up – and contains important items for parents and babies alike, such as baby clothes, a digital ear thermometer, a bath towel, a changing mat and books.

The box itself also doubles as a bed for a newborn, containing a mattress, mattress protector and fitted sheet – providing a safe and warm place for babies to sleep.

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:

“It is excellent to see so many families across Paisley and Greater Glasgow and Clyde benefitting from the Baby Box.

“The Boxes are a really positive Scottish Government initiative providing parents with many of the essentials they need to care for their child.

“From thermometers to towels, changing mats to clothes – the boxes are a fantastic way of giving children in Paisley the very best start in life.

“That 5621 boxes have already been provided to parents across Greater Glasgow & Clyde, part of a total of over 22,000 across Scotland, shows how popular they are proving with parents in every corner of the country – and given how beneficial they are to parents and newborns, long may that continue.”