Making Rural Education Work For Young People: Community, Attainment, and Positive Destinations

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement of a new Rural Supplement in December 2016 to offset the higher costs of taking on an apprentice in rural areas, this timely briefing will explore the education and skills landscape for young people in rural Scotland. Offering both unique challenges and advantages in ensuring pupil attainment, early sessions will explore the role of schools in the wider community along with issues surrounding subject availability, staffing, and the impact of school closures. Discussion will then turn to opportunities and support available to young people to ensure they reach their potential and achieve positive destinations as well as how this benefits the local community.

The event

From early years to positive destinations, schools are often at the heart of rural communities and this event will explore how we can ensure they continue to meet and serve the needs of the people who rely on them.

Key issues to be addressed

  • The place of the school in rural communities – from wraparound care to community hub
  • Issues around ensuring adequate subject provision and opportunities
  • Supporting rural skills and keeping talent in the community


09:15    Registration and Refreshments

09:55    Introduction from the Chair

Rt Hon. Henry McLeish, Former First Minister of Scotland

10:00 Session 1: Policy and Overview

  • The unique demands, challenges and advantages of education in rural settings
  • Meeting the needs of rural communities
  • Delivering education that’s fit for purpose in the 21st century

Tavish Scott MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education and MSP for Shetland

10:20 Delivering Education in Rural and Island Communities

  • Empowering communities to support their schools
  • Positive impact of new schools and rural regeneration
  • Importance of strong transport and accessibility

Wilf Weir, Executive Director of Education, Leisure and Housing Service, Orkney Islands Council

10:40 Questions and Discussion

11:00 Refreshments and Networking

11:30 Session 2: A Whole Life Approach

11.30 CALA Staffbank: Challenges of Delivering Flexible & Responsive Childcare & Learning Opportunities in Rural Areas

  • Ensuring a well trained, flexible and supported workforce in a rural setting
  • Creating pathways into a career in ELCC
  • Pursuing innovation to meet changing demands  

Jaci Douglas, Chief Executive, Care & Learning Alliance

11.45 Priorities for the Teaching Workforce

  • Ensuring teacher CPD and networking opportunities
  • The need for alternative and flexible job models to make rural schools viable
  • Barriers to a sustainable workforce

Helen Budge, Director of Children's Services, Shetland Islands Council

Please note that this presentation is pre-recorded. We will be joined by Lesley Simpson, Quality Improvement Officer (ASN), Shetland Island Council who will answer your questions.

12.00 Flipping the Campus – 21st century tertiary learning for the Highlands and Islands

  • Redefining traditional expectations of a university
  • Developing a seamless access and progression model for further and higher education pathways
  • The ‘community-hub’ approach and embedding learning opportunities in the community
  • Working in strategic partnership to make learning work for rural learners
  • The importance of digital connectivity and skills –awakening the sleeping giant in rural Scotland

Lydia Rohmer, Vice-Principal (Tertiary), University of the Highlands and Islands

12.15 Questions and Discussion

12.50 Lunch and Networking

13:30 Session 3: Positive Destinations and Supporting Economic Outcomes

13.30 Defying Limitations

  • Key barriers to access for rural communities
  • Suggested solutions
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship

Emma Cooper, Chief Executive, Scottish Rural Action

13.50 Barriers to Entry to HE – a Scottish Rural Perspective

  • Raising the profile of remote and rural schools in the access agenda
  • Raising awareness of HE
  • What can be done

Dr Laurence Lasselle, School of Management Senior Lecturer, University of St Andrews

14.10 Questions and Discussion

14.25 Inspiring Tomorrow’s Rural Workforce

  • Learning and training provision which addresses skills gaps and fits with rural industry needs
  • The important part that career influencers play
  • Supporting positive destinations through strong industry/education links
  • Using inspirational learners to help raise the profile of careers in the rural sector

Sheena Howden, Project Manager, Lantra

14.45 The Modern Apprenticeship Journey

  • Deciding to stay and work in the local community
  • The benefits realised since qualifying

Lisa Askham, Freshwater Operative, Scottish Salmon Company and winner of the 2016 Aquaculture award and Lantra’s Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year

14:55    Questions and Discussion

15.10 Closing Remarks from the Chair

15:15 Close of Event

*Agenda subject to change


Mecure Perth Hotel, W Mill Street, Perth, PH1 5QP 


Delegate rates (excluding VAT)

  • Discounted rate: 1 place £145 + VAT (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 + VAT | 2+ places £245 + VAT (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

5 September 2017



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