The Convener advised the Committee of a number of good news stories as follows –
· Playing Naturally in Schools – Grounds for Learning, the Scottish Programme of the UK charity Learning through Landscapes, had been awarded funding from the Scottish Government to help schools to develop play provision. The Playing Naturally in Schools project was aimed at creating more natural play spaces in playgrounds and the Council was successful with three applications, Quarryhill, Woodside and Walker Road primary schools. This would provide an opportunity to develop the outdoor play provision, and raise the profile of the importance of play in schools. It was hoped that the project would act as a catalyst to improve play spaces so that all children would benefit from the creation of more natural outdoor environments, where they could play and enjoy learning.
· Robert Burns World Federation – North of Scotland Festival 2013 – Ferryhill Primary pupils won the P4, P6 and P7 competitions, and a number of other pupils from the school who took part received medals for their poetry performances at the Festival, which was held at Cults Academy on 9 March 2013. The poetry trophies were won by Jachin Safforo (primary 4), Finn Allan (primary 6), and Weronika Kukulska (primary 7). The three pupils had been invited to take part in the National Festival to be held in Dunfermline on 27 April 2013.
· Rock Challenge 2013 Event – this event was recently held at the AECC and featured eight north east schools in a unique evening of entertainment. The Bucksburn team won the award for positive inclusion, and the Iain Alley award for stage crew, for their performance “Before it’s Too Late” based on Cinderella. The Hazlehead team won the NHS Grampian award for make up design for their performance of “Man is Not Truly One, But Two” based on Dr Jeckyll.
· Star Awards – a number of Education, Culture and Sport staff had been nominated for Star awards: Andrew Jones and Denise Forman – customer focus and outstanding leadership of the team that organised the first ever Aberdeen Learning Festival in February 2013; Pre School ASN Services – best support; Irene Pace – 25 years’ service to Aberdeen Adventure, being a model of reliability, moral foundation and professionalism with an incredible depth of knowledge; and the Lifelong Learning Team and Art Development –the first local authority SQA approved centre to deliver a volunteering skills award in Scotland.
· National Quiz on Europe – a team of four primary six pupils from St Peter’s Roman Catholic School won the local heat of a national quiz on Europe organised by the award winning Scottish European Educational Trust. The team would now compete against thirty other local authority teams in the national final in May 2013, to be held in the Scottish Parliament.
· Aberdeen Adventure – Jono Buckland (Programme Manager) who was runner up in the Youthlink Scotland National Youth Worker of the Year; Jonathan Kitchinng (Team Leader) won the Aberdeenshire Sports Council 2012 Coach of the Year Award; and Richard Lewis (Senior Tutor) received his Doctorate in December 2012.
· City of Culture Bid – the new Art Space “Seventeen” was now open, and 55,000 post cards had been distributed to highlight the bid.