This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 10/01/2019 

The year 2018 was designated Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People,’ a way of combining themed events across the country as the year went on, all aiming to inspire the country through young people’s ideas, attitudes, and ambitions.

It started with a bang in the New Year, launching at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, and ended on a high too, with young people from the Western Isles attending a host of high-profile Year of Young People (YOYP) events on the mainland in November and December.

First up was the Spirit of Young People event, a special partnership between Loganair and YOYP that saw a chartered plane flying 30 young people from three island authorities – the Western Isles, Orkney, and Shetland – to Edinburgh for a parliamentary reception at Holyrood on 29thNovember.

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 07/02/2019 

Young people in the Western Isles are getting ready to deliberate over their school subject choices in the next few weeks, and this year they’re going to have more varied options than ever before, thanks to new and ongoing developments in the education curriculum, from new qualifications to joint projects with other island authorities

“In terms of the curriculum, we are encouraging schools to work in a harmonized way across the Western Isles,” explains Angus Maclennan, Head Teacher at e-Sgoil.  “Harmonization” doesn’t necessarily mean that timetables will be exactly the same across all four secondary schools at all times, but rather that timetables will be similar enough to allow a widening of options and opportunities for all pupils, regardless of their location.  Angus adds that it’s about using initiatives such as e-Sgoil and partnerships between schools – and even other island authorities – to increase the options available.

This article by Fred Silver was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 07/02/2019 

About 30 years ago, I was driving home from work, through the heavily built-up streets of Bedminster on the edge of Bristol city centre.

It was after 1am, as I worked on a daily newspaper published each weekday morning. The streets were dark, the lights not really bright enough to be certain of your surroundings.

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 06/03/2019  

With financial challenges hitting local authorities across the country, councils are having to get creative – and in the Outer Hebrides, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are getting communities involved in finding solutions to those challenges.

As announced at the end of 2018, the Comhairle needs to make nearly £10 million in savings over the next four years but are hoping to minimise the impact of these reductions with a Service Redesign Process that was agreed in the 2018/19 budget. The ultimate goal is to find savings while also maintaining current levels of public services, and as a result, the redesign will involve greater input – and direct involvement – from communities. 

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 04/04/2019  

The pupils and staff at Balivanich Primary in Benbecula recently celebrated the news that they were the first school in the Western Isles to achieve a Gold Award in the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award.

In their monthly newsletter, the school described the award as “a fantastic achievement for the whole school community!” and their success – and that of others in the islands – is just one example of the efforts being made locally to promote children’s rights.

Daliburgh School also received their Silver Award, while Eoligarry Primary, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath, Sir E Scott School, and Sgoil an Rubha all received Bronze Awards.

To date, 13 schools in the Western Isles have signed up to the United Nations’ initiative, one which aims to place children’s rights at the heart of school life.