Forum 2019 – booking is open!



‘Sunlight, candour and unashamed conversations’


Thursday, 16th May 5pm – 9pm

St George’s School, Garscube Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 6BG



‘What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour and more unashamed conversations’

Glenn Close


Curriculum for Excellence promotes a strong, cross-curricular commitment to improved Health and Wellbeing in schools. Scotland’s next generation should be better equipped to manage their mental health and wellbeing. Are they?

The GTC urges ‘for the sake of all, look after yourself’ and states that ‘teachers should be nurturing, calm, positive, caring and realistically optimistic for their learners’.

How do we ensure that the mental health and wellbeing of both pupils and staff is a priority in our schools?

Our excellent and provocative speakers have been invited to challenge thinking and to generate lively debate as we consider how we prioritise mental health and wellbeing in our schools.  As always, the opportunity to discuss and share experiences with head teachers, senior leaders and practitioners takes place in the convivial atmosphere of food and wine, served by the young people of St George’s School.

Claire Lavelle of “The Hive of Well-being” will explain how supporting staff in schools leads to feeling good and teaching, supporting and leading well.

Nancy Clunie, Headteacher, Dalmarnock Primary’s focus will be on how addressing the wellbeing of families benefits the education of pupils.

Neil McMillan, Director of Community Provision, Kibble, will share thinking about “Moral Distress” via his experience supporting traumatised young people and as international consultant on child protection with UNICEF.

The Forum is always a popular event.  Don’t miss out!  Book your place now HEREforum2019

Newlands Junior College Petition

SELMAS colleagues will be dismayed to hear of Glasgow City Council’s proposed withdrawal of funding for Newland Junior College. SELMAS has enjoyed some close collaboration with staff and students at Newlands over the last few years since its inception. Please consider signing this petition in support of the whole college community.

SELMAS forum 2018

Our forum this year did not disappoint: keeping alive the bold discussions about things that really matter to educators and to our system.  Like, for example, how do we manage provision for marginalised, young people? What can we learn about supporting them from some of the practices that are  taking place in non-mainstream (Newlands Junior College) settings? What valuable work is going on in alternative organisations who support young people, but not through schooling (like Wildfire Theatre, for example)?
Here are some of the very impressive young people from Newlands Junior College, Giancarlo and Eadan, confidently sharing their experiences at the forum: SELMAS 2018
Award winning actor and theatre maker, Pauline Lockhart of Wildfire Theatre also spoke about ways of engaging young people outwith traditional schooling structures.
Pauline is interviewing students and educators about their experiences of the education system for a new theatre piece.  “Behind School Doors”, is being developed for the Traverse Theatre with support from Edinburgh University and aims to shine a spotlight on our education system.
If you or your students would like to take part in the development of this new piece of theatre, please email Pauline at
Finally, John Loughton, CEO of Dare2Lead and founder of the Scran Academy and Outstanding Youth of the Year 2013, inspired, challenged and energised us all with his passionate  account of how badly, sometimes, things can come across in the classroom from the other side of the desk. Relationships really matter.20180517_193606 (1).jpg

Brainstrust: Leading in time of significant change- a worm’s eye view


We are delighted that the Fife Pedagogy team shared their account of their first Brainstrust experience with us – read how they got on in the account below. Thanks to Ross for sending this


Four members of the Fife Pedagogy Team attended the SELMAS Brainstrust event centred on ‘Leading Change in Changing Times’.  Peter McNaughton, Head of Education and Children’s Services in Fife spoke passionately about what he believes are the key attributes and qualities of effective leadership in times of significant change.

Key messages which particularly resonated with us were those of building strong relationships with pupils, staff and parents and empowering leaders at all levels in order to create a shared vision.
‘Releasing Energy’ in such a way throughout our learning communities, involving all stakeholders and their skillsets, can drive improvements and deliver effective and sustainable change.

We also recognise that in a continually changing world, schools/leaders must be ready to evaluate existing practices within their setting, using data, first of all to support collaborative planning of models and then throughout to ensure that any change in approach has a positive impact on our learners.

Our team were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss the key challenges in relation to the changing educational landscape. As various discussions generated a number of key reflection points to consider moving forward.

The team look forward to learning more about future SELMAS events to connect with our partners to effectively support young people.  

Fife Pedagogy Team

SELMAS forum 2018

Join us for this year’s SELMAS Forum Dinner  
Thursday 17 May 2018 
5.30pm to 9.00pm 


If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” 
Antoine de St Exupery 



There are many different routes to success for our young people. For most it is a straightforward ramble to the top of the mountain; for some it will involve lots of detours to explore interesting, less direct pathways.  


As always, our excellent and provocative speakers have been asked to challenge your thinking and generate lively debate. They will suggest that success looks different for different learners, and invite reflection on whether, as educators, we offer sufficient flexibility and individualisation to those who shine in different ways. They will consider whether our current school system is more concerned with “gathering wood” rather than with helping young people to develop a deep yearning for “the vast and endless sea”. 


Speakers will include: 
John Loughton is founder and CEO of leadership development social enterprise Dare2Lead He is an internationally recognised youth leader and campaigner, as well as being a past winner of Big Brother.  


Wendy Seager is an actor and theatre maker. She is a founder member of Wildfire Theatre and is on a mission to bring women from disadvantaged backgrounds into the theatre. 


Ian Rivers is Professor of Education for Social Change and Head of the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde.  He is a developmental psychologist and HCPC registered health psychologist specialising in the study of the bullying behaviour and its psychological impact. 


The Forum is the highlight of the year for all SELMAS fans – good food, good conversation, good fun.  
Don’t miss out! 


Cost: £29.00 
Book on Eventbrite at SELMAS Forum Dinner 2018 


Event Address: 
St George’s School for Girls   
Garscube Terrace  
Edinburgh EH12 6BG

Risk and Change Conference – presentations

We don’t like you to miss out so, in case you missed it,  here is the full programme from our recent conference with presentations embedded, where possible in the presenter’s name. Here are some SELMAS members and speakers working hard on the day!

SELMAS Conference: 6th February 2018

Risk and Change: The Challenge of Leadership

Jay Helbert Head teacher Glassary Primary School and Tayvallich Pre-school                and Primary School

 Lesley Riddoch Commentator, broadcaster and author

 Practitioner session: Gillian Hunt:  Independent Educational Consultant

Janice Macinnes Senior Education Manager (Early Years), Schools and Lifelong             Learning, City of Edinburgh Counci

Fiona MacDonald  Head teacher, Cross Arthurlie Primary

Kate_ROBINSON_ Head of Strategic Operations, HundrED

Anthony Dunn  Working with schools to transform internal and extended communities


Louis Moore – Louis’ Eggs. Student entrepreneur

Practitioner session 2: Gillian Hunt,  Stephen Ross Head teacher Craigroyston High School, John Davis    Professor of Childhood Inclusion, University of Edinburgh

John Swinney  Deputy First Minister

Conversation – DFM and Keir Bloomer

Reflections : Keir Bloomer Independent Educational Consultant


SELMAS Brains Trust: A free seminar open to all

Worlde SJ2

22 March 2018, 4.00-6.00pm:

Inverkeithing Primary School, Hillend Road, Inverkeithing, KY11 1PL

Leading in  time of significant change

Come and discuss  with Peter McNaughton, Head of Service, Fife Council.

Book your place on eventbrite now – don’t delay!


The biggest challenge we face as educators in 2018 is to deliver on the promise of Curriculum for Excellence. It can be argued that we are too far into what is inaccurately known as the ‘new’ curriculum, to cite its ‘newness’ as the reason the anticipated improvement in achievement and attainment for children across the board has yet to materialise, or to explain why international comparisons fail to show that Scottish education is once again moving towards its rightful status as a world leader.

Peter is Head of Service in the Education and Children’s Services Directorate in Fife Council. As a former HMI and with a wealth of experience in school improvement, Peter will give his honest and unequivocal assessment of the successes and failures along the way, as teachers have worked to implement Curriculum for Excellence. He will suggest where we go from here in addressing the issues and realising the ambitions we have for all our young people.

Come along and hear what Peter has to say, then engage with him and with colleagues in discussing how we can Make Scottish Education Great for every single child and young person.

We are grateful to Inverkeithing Primary School for hosting this SELMAS Brains Trust, which is a FREE event, open to ALL with an interest in this important issue. Inverkeithing is readily accessible from the Queensferry Crossing and by train. Support us as we try to move more SELMAS events outwith Edinburgh


 SAVE THE DATEpptxSELMAS Forum: Coming soon

17 May 2018, 6.00 – 9.00pm

St Georges School, Edinburgh

More details soon on