On 22 February 2023, Glasgow Virtual School welcomed 277 delegates to their “Relationships – Above and Beyond” Care Experienced Conference. Our wonderful piper greeted Designated Managers, Pastoral Care staff, HSCP colleagues, partners, children and young people to Glasgow City Chambers, Banqueting Hall.
The Conference allowed delegates to hear from inspirational keynote speakers:
Sir John Timpson, renowned for his creative approach to employee engagement and innovative work employing people previously involved in offending. . Recently widowed, Sir John was married to his wife Alex for 47 years, has 5 children. Sir John and his wife were also foster carers for 31 years, during which time they fostered 90 children.
Oisin King, a Politics and Social/Public Policy student at the University of Glasgow. Due to being care experienced, Oisin had the opportunity for his voice to be heard in the Independent Care Review. He also works at Each and Every Child as a Care Consultant as well as being an MSYP and a member of the NRB at WhoCares? Scotland
Carly Grant, Promise Delivery Partner at The Promise Scotland. Carly nurtures supportive relationships with key partners through transformational and systemic change to #Keepthepromise.
Laura Sharpe, Promise Delivery Partner at the Promise Scotland. Laura utilises a comprehensive approach to work alongside citizens, partners and stakeholders and is passionate about striving towards equality, ensuring that individuals can not only access opportunities but also are empowered to create change.
Delegates found our speakers informative and inspirational:
“I was really impressed with all of the speakers on the day but a stand out for me was Oisin King. I was really moved by his story, his honesty and commitment to improving the outcomes of care experienced young people in Scotland”
“So much!! Basically – everyone who spoke!! The young people being present and participating – wonderful!! Emily – hearing her story and SW discussing the supports put in place.”
We were delighted that so many of our partners supported out event including Health for All, Glenburn Centre, Musicares, Towards Better Futures, Volunteer Tutors Organisation, Who Cares? Scotland, Action for Children, Blairvadach Outdoor Centre, Bluevale Community Centre, Children’s Rights Service, Duke of Edinburgh, EBSNA and EVIP.
Guests were given the opportunity to meet partners and take part in interactive sessions based around The Promise as well as browsing partner stalls. Delegates gave very positive feedback about the stalls. In some cases delegates mentioned that their knowledge was refreshed and in others they learned about services they were unaware of.
Some Questions asked:
“What will you do differently as a result of taking part in the Promise activities?”
“Look at how my school allows pupil voice to influence decisions made.”
“Consider how to get real, meaningful views from the young people and how to include those who are ‘quiet’.”
“ensure more active participation from them.”
“Look at ways and opportunities to offer as much support as possible to our learners, families and staff.”
“I think it would be important to bring this message back to the staff at my school ensuring that they are aware of the Promise. I also feel the activities really reminded me why I became a teacher and that so much of what we do is based upon a strong foundation of relationships.”
“Lots of action points and takeaways from the sessions. Myself as DM and our pastoral lead are building systems of supports for our CE learners. Also looking to work with other DMs across the NW area to share ideas and practice.”
“The focus on the idea of the centrality of love within relationships was good to hear.”
“Be more conscious of the importance of small positive actions to build positive and trusting relationships with children, young people and their families.”
“Consideration of pupils experiences and how fragmented it can be”
“ I found it inspiring and it made me re focus on what is really important.”
“Hearing from young people how important relationships have been for them to thrive.”
“Great day – filled with key information that puts the importance of relationships at the centre.”
Throughout the day delegates took part in collegiate activities considering the Promise Foundations:
Care: “We said we would make sure that everyone in our nurseries and schools understand that all behaviour is communication”.
Voice: “We said we will make sure that our schools/nurseries promote children’s rights in everything that they do”.
Scaffolding: “We know that education in a school building doesn’t suit all of our children and young people. We said we will find different ways to suit the needs of different pupils”.
“As a care experienced adult, I was quite overwhelmed and delighted by the support available to Scotland’s children as this was definitely not the case in my experience. I enjoyed the conference immensely.”
“It was an outstanding event and I am honestly so grateful I get to work with such informed and passionate colleagues such as the GVS staff, and grateful to work in an authority who places the needs of our CEL at the forefront. It was a brilliant day. Congratulations to all involved!”
What do we need to do?
We were delighted with the overwhelming commitment, energy and passion to make things better for our children and young people. It was uplifting to hear such honesty from our young people. We will collate the reflections and responses from our young people and adults and weave this into our joint improvement planning working collaboratively to take the activity findings and reflections forward.