Voting Green for our young people, their education and our future - Cat Hamilton

I’m Cat, I live in Peebles with my two teen sons,I’m a mother, a family carer & a volunteer.

With the Holyrood election debate gearing up, there has been a lot of discussion about education, whether on the merits of testing or how we pay for it. My experiences volunteering with Forest Schools and bringing up my own two lads have been a big influence on how I look upon education and have led me to the conclusion that the Scottish Green Party has the best plan for our children’s future.

I volunteer as a Forest School woodland assistant in the Scottish Borders and have recently completed another wonderfully inspiring session with pupils from Kingsland Primary in Peebles. I was also thrilled to be part of the Tweed Green team at St Ronan’s Primary’s Eco Heroes day in Innerleithen just the other week. Through both Forest School & projects such as Eco Heroes our children are learning, not only about our environment and the need to protect it but they also learn an array of invaluable life skills, gaining confidence and self-esteem as well as becoming aware of emotional intelligence.

I know through my time working alongside pupils at Forest School and my experience with my own sons’ school years, in particular with my lad who has learning difficulties, some pupils are simply not cut out to be sat confined within the 4 walls of a classroom, the transformation I see in the children learning within the woodland environment proves that, it is truly uplifting.

Jan Barr, a forest leader with Nature Unlimited explains “We have found that our Forest School programmes unlock potential in participants of all ages. The chance to play wild, where learning is self-directed, allows children to learn valuable life-skills such as communication & negotiation skills as well as risk management. They are able to become successful learners in the woods, whereas at school they often struggle and perceive themselves as failures. In connecting with nature, they find confidence and calm and we hope that they will become stewards of our environment and pass this on to their own children.”

Here is just two quotes from two primary school children attending Forest School showing how learning outdoors benefits them

‘I don’t have ADHD when I am out in the woods’

‘Everything’s always different all the time at Forest School. In the classroom everything’s always the same!’

The seeds we plant today are those that grow into our future, tragically that future is looking rather bleak with all the cuts in education, in particular those impacting upon children from disadvantaged backgrounds and children with additional support needs.

The Scottish Green Party

– don’t believe in testing children.

– will push for an additional 4,000 teachers, creating smaller class sizes.

– will fight to make support for learning a promoted post, tackling inequality of outcomes for pupils with additional support needs.

– support a broad curriculum that gives pupils experience in global citizenship and environmental awareness.


Teachers not tests is priority

The Scottish Greens have repeatedly highlighted the fact that class sizes are the biggest they’ve been since the SNP formed the Government in 2007. Greens have also spoken out against cuts to additional support needs provision and strongly support the campaign to reduce teacher workload. Find out more HERE


“For the child… it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow…It is more important to pave the way for a child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts that he is not ready to assimilate.” – Rachel Carson.