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

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

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: The Challenge of Leadership

6 February 2018

The Merchants’ Hall, Hanover  Street, Edinburgh. £80

SELMAS aims to support, encourage and provoke mature conversations in areas of immediate relevance and interest to educational leaders, and the 2018 conference will deliver on this ambition.

This is our latest conference, and offers a timely debate on leadership in the light of current governance reviews – not to be missed!

The Cabinet Secretary, John Swinney will update conference on the progress the government has made with the proposals outlined in Empowering Schools

View Conference programme


The venue is a bonus: the remarkable Merchants’ Hall in central Edinburgh, where ‘Art and Architecture have combined to create a building of grace and distinction’.


The cost is an added bonus: at £80 we have managed to reduce the cost by £10 from last year, thanks in part to our sponsorship once again from the Scottish College for Educational Leadership.


Book your place on eventbrite now!


Please note that if, in booking through Eventbrite, you ask to pay by invoice, you should either undertake to pay personally or, if paying through your authority, you must supply a purchase order number for invoicing. To pay by invoice, you must order your tickets and checkout, THEN SELECT ‘pay by invoice’ IN THE OPTIONS AT PAYMENT METHOD.


Speakers include:

Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney

Jay Helbert: Experienced headteacher who has overseen and coordinated a range of leadership programmes including Collaborative Middle Leadership, Towards Headship and Into Headship


Lesley Riddoch: is one of Scotland’s best known authors, commentators and broadcasters. She is best known for broadcasting with programmes on BBC2, Channel 4, Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland, for which she has won two Sony speech broadcaster awards.


Kate Robinson: is Head of Strategic Operations of HundrED, a two-year think and do tank taking an extensive look into the future of K-12 education. An official part of Finland’s centenary of independence in 2017, HundrED interviewed 100 global thought leaders, created 100 case studies of innovative education happenings worldwide, and trialled 100 new experiments in schools across Finland.


Louis Moore: is 14 years old and attends Firrhill High School. He is a keen cyclist and is a member of the Edinburgh Road Club. He enjoys being in his school soul band and plays guitar and cornet. He also runs a business called Louis’ Eggs.


Keir Bloomer: is an independent education consultant. As a member of the review group which wrote “A Curriculum for Excellence”, he has been closely involved with curriculum reform and recently chaired the Higher Order Skills Excellence Group. He now undertakes curriculum and professional development work.


Contact for information:

Bob Cook

Secretary (SELMAS)

07823 335350

SELMAS Annual Forum – Thursday, May 11th, 2017

SELMAS Annual Forum 2017



The Child Outside the System

The SELMAS Forum this year is being held as usual at St George’s School, Garscube Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 6BG  on Thursday 11 May, 6.00-9.00pm, with the unchanged but much appreciated formula of good food, good wine and stimulating, challenging speakers.

We are delighted that:

  • Paul Blackwood, Station Manager with the Scottish Fire and rescue Service
  • Fiona McKenzie of Cenrtrestage in Kilmarnock
  • Ian Macmillan, CEO of the Cyrenians
  • Gillian Hunt, educator,

have all agreed to contribute, and the event is being chaired by

  • Jay Helbert, Lead Specialist at the Scottish College for Educational Leadership/ – an all star line up!

Cost is £38

To find out more, and to book your place click here

PS – You can pay online or by invoice. Don’t forget to select the ‘pay by invoice’ option in the dropdown menu when you get to payments and follow the instructions.

I look forward to seeing you there

Message from SCEN: Mapping Chinese Study



Our friends at SCEN have asked SELMAS colleagues to raise awareness of this interesting survey – please seek it out and participate if you can.

 “Mapping Chinese Study” in partnership with the Confucius Institute.

Letters have been sent to every headteacher in Scotland..

Your help with this important survey would be greatly appreciated.

SELMAS workshop with Alan McLean

Alan McLean,  Chartered Psychologist and author of ‘The Motivated School,’ has offered to run a free workshop for the SELMAS tribe based on his recent work on developing self reflection for teachers, leaders and learners. Details and registration are available on the eventbrite link for the workshop. Please book early to avoid disappointment!

Forthcoming events – Democracy and Education; Foucault @90

SELMAS friends and members might be interested in these two forthcoming events at the University of the West of Scotland:


Democracy and Education

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of John Dewey’s famous work Democracy and Education. This conference aims to reflect on the legacy and significance of Dewey’s thinking for 21st century education, but also to consider the more general issue of the relationship between democracy and education in current times.
Keynote speakers include Richard Pring, and Walter Humes. Based at our attractive Ayr campus, on the scenic west coast of Scotland, this conference promises to be a stimulating and enjoyable event.
Details of submission for abstracts and applications can be found here: Democracy and Education UWS Conference


Foucault @90
2016 also marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of the French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-84).This interdisciplinary conference aims to reflect on the work of Michel Foucault and in particular on the question of its abiding relevance and value.
Keynote speakers include Stephen Ball, Mark Olssen, and Clare O’Farrell. Based again at our attractive Ayr campus, on the scenic west coast of Scotland, this conference promises to be a stimulating and enjoyable event. Foucault@90 UWS Conference




Some advance reading on inequity and participation for Conference in the Caves

NCTL micro-enquiry research day on closing the gap- test and learn involved Professor Steve Higgins from Durham University, and seems to have inspired interest in quantitative research methods in small scale micro-enquiry projects.

Government department for business, innovation and skills:  paper on socio-economic, ethnic and gender differences in participation in HE

Is Britain fairer? Here’s a link to an uptodate report on poverty and inequality that may be of interest to those attending out Equality and Aspiration conference on Friday 13th November. Thanks to Professor Kalwant Bhopal for the link via twitter. Is Britain Fairer? Report