Our LfS event at Scottish Parliament

On Thursday October 4th 2018, IDEAS' members gathered together for an event at Scottish Parliament sponsored by Ross Greer MSP, titled 'Equity and Excellence through LfS'. With guest speakers including pupils from St. John's Academy and Carnoustie High, our focus was on the vital role of Learning for Sustainability in closing the poverty-related attainment gap.


"Learning for Sustainability is learning to live within the environmental limits of our planet and to build a just, equitable and peaceful society. It is essential for the wellbeing of all and it is an international priority." UNESCO 2013.

As a network of organisations that have long championed Learning for Sustainability (LfS) and the huge benefits that Global Citizenship education brings to both the learning environment and local community, we were delighted to have the opportunity to share this with MSPs and a host of representatives from a wide range of organisations; including Universities, the Learning Directorate, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and a range of NGOs. We invited pupils and practitioners to share their thoughts and experiences of LfS and to share the impacts it has had on engagement, personal (and professional) development, numeracy, literacy and attainment.

St Johns boy

Pupils from both St. John's Academy and Carnoustie High had been involved with our Young Citizen Advocates events earlier in 2017/18 and the campaigns they built during this programme featured in their presentations as they explained their impact in school. They took questions from MSPs and other guests and we also caught up with pupils from St. Eunan's Primary School afterwards who talked us through their thoughts on the Global Goals (or SDGs).

“We were doing lessons in Primary 5 about [the Global Goals] and were doing literacy and that was one of the main times my literacy grew massively.” St. Eunan’s Primary pupil.

In his opening speech, Ross Greer MSP explained why he thought LfS was so crucial, particularly at a time when we face global challenges requiring a collective, collaborative approach that transcends political and national boundaries.

“We’re not just educating individuals…we’re educating generations, we are creating society. Education is all about equipping young people with the tools they need to build a better society…to continually strive towards something better…[and] you need to do that in a context - the context of reality...This is about GCE and understanding that we are all citizens of the world and everything that happens anywhere has consequences that ripple far beyond your own local environment."

Ross Greer MSP

The event's Chair, Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, gave a passionate introduction that echoed this need to work together; ensuring that solutions to the problems we face are developed through an inclusive process that embraces the experiences of all, no matter how marginalised. 

"People who live on the sharp end of poverty have incredible insights in to solutions that we can bring, if we're willing to pay attention & move over."

Sally FF

So how does LfS contribute to this? Both Anne Docherty, Head Teacher at St. Eunan's Primary School in Clydebank, and Audrey Kellacher, Head Teacher at Lochardil Primary in Inverness, explained how they utilise LfS and Global Citizenship to not only spark debate, provide a breadth of context and understanding but also to empower pupils, build confidence and help their Global Citizens develop critical thinking skills.

“What we wanted to achieve with the children was to develop self-belief and…to show them that with their voice they can make a difference and affect change in their local community and beyond.” Anne Docherty, St. Eunan's Primary School.

Embracing LfS has helped maintain relevance to learning and throughout teaching practice, which in turn increases pupil (and staff) engagement, whilst enabling schools to explore issues that affect not only their local communities but all of us, nationally and globally. Crucially, it also encourages and equips young people with the skills they need to actively participate in and advocate for change.

As professionals who embrace Global Citizenship education, we see, on an almost daily basis, the vast benefits that LfS can have for pupils, practitioners and communities alike. It provides an opportunity for pupils to truly flourish as Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors and Responsible Citizens and the impacts of this are far-reaching and long-lasting.

Pupils serious

As UNESCO stated in 2013, it is "essential for the wellbeing of all" which is why we believe it is so crucial to make the connections between practice and policy and in doing so to engage and empower not only pupils and young people but all Global Citizens in the process of building an equitable world for all.

“LfS has no barriers, it’s everyone’s responsibility.” Audrey Kellacher, Lochardil Primary School.

 Many thanks to all who attended and/or supported the event.

top half flier




Thanks to photographer & videographer Aly Wight

you'll find interviews & videos

HERE on our YouTube channel.



You can also hear more from the event HERE,

including Ross Greer MSP & Sally Foster-Fulton,

recorded by Josh Brown, Third Works.