Category Archives: Schools

MP Pledges her Support for Engineering

Following complaints from local oil and gas companies about the lack of engineers, MP for Aberdeen South, Dame Anne Begg pledged her support to help fix the engineering skills shortage in Aberdeen, and the rest of the UK, by highlighting to young people the many exciting careers available in engineering and technology.

Dame Anne has signed up to the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) pledge to support engineering in their constituency.

Dame Anne said: “Demand for engineers in the UK remains high and nowhere is it higher than in Aberdeen. Employers in Aberdeen involved in oil and gas and the supply chain often raise the shortage of engineers with me as a problem for their business and, with an ageing workforce, there is a pressing need to promote STEM to young people to develop the engineers of tomorrow.

“Further, we continue to see more women than men attending university but the level of female students studying STEM remains low.

“Having signed the IET Skills Pledge as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, I will continue to promote STEM to both boys and girls when I go into local schools.”

The motivation for the pledge comes in response to findings from the IET’s 2014 Engineering and Technology Skills and Demand in Industry survey, which indicate that 53 per cent of employers believe they should get more involved with schools, colleges and universities to help change the perception of engineering among young people.

Winner Announced For This Year’s Christmas Card Competition

Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, is pleased to announce that this year’s winner for her Christmas card competition is Kristin Bruce, P6, at Tullos Primary School.

Winning Entry

This year’s competition was judged by Made in Aberdeen Emerging Talent Winner Amber Robertson who had the challenging task of choosing only one winner from almost 1,000 entries.

Dame Anne said: “There were so many fantastic cards from school pupils across Aberdeen South and I appreciate the effort that they have put into their submissions this year. I am, therefore, delighted to be able to present everyone who entered with a certificate.

“Thanks also go to Asda Bridge of Dee who have kindly displayed all the cards on the windows along the checkouts and will also be hosting the prize giving for the winner and runner up on Friday 12th December.

“Finally, I would like to say thank you to all the local businesses who made donations towards the prizes for the winner and runner ups.”

Kristin’s design will be made into Dame Anne’s official Christmas card this year. The card will also feature the entries of the six runners up which were chosen by the judge. This year’s runners up are: Danielle Szynol, P1, Kirkhill Primary School; Thea Livingstone, P2, Tullos Primary School; Cara Harvey, P4, Hazlehead Primary School; Claire Strowger, P5, Hazlehead Primary School; En Ming Soh, L6A, Albyn School; and Maurizio De Gennaro Sorrentino, L7B, Albyn School.

MP Celebrates School Support Staff and Calls for Their Work to be Better Rewarded

Aberdeen South MP, Dame Anne Begg, has sponsored a motion in Parliament welcoming the Stars in Our School campaign organised by UNISON and celebrating the crucial role of school support staff in helping children learn.

Stars in Our Schools day will be celebrated across the UK on 28th November with schools holding awards ceremonies, putting on special assemblies and even dressing up as super heroes to celebrate their support staff.

School support staff help children learn, keep children safe and healthy and make sure schools run smoothly. They are the caterers, the admin staff, the finance officers, the teaching assistants, the librarians, the ICT technicians, the parent support advisers, and more, all of whom are represented by UNISON.

Supporting the campaign, Dame Anne said: “From my own experience working as a teacher, I know that it takes a whole team to make a school a safe and happy place for children to learn.

“School support staff are vital to the effective running of a school, but they are usually tucked away behind the scenes. They are the unsung heroes of our children’s education.

“That’s why I am supporting the Stars in Our Schools campaign and I am calling for more to be done to ensure that school support staff are better rewarded for the work they do, with proper career structures and better pay, terms and conditions.”

Karen Davidson, Branch Secretary at UNISON added: “We have organised this celebration of school support staff to show our appreciation of the excellent job they do. We know the input they have with the pupils is valued and schools would not run as effectively without these dedicated staff. Unison is proud to represent school support staff and they are all stars in our schools.”

You can read the full text of the motion here.

Sainsbury’s Active Kids Initiative

Sainsbury's - Dame A Begg

Dame Anne was delighted to meet with Ellie Simmonds as part of Sainsbury’s Active Kids for All Inclusive PE Training programme, an initiative designed to improve the quality of PE provision for young disabled people in mainstream schools in the UK.

As part of their 2012 Paralympic Games legacy, Sainsbury’s developed Active Kids for All Inclusive PE training to give teachers the confidence and skills to provide high quality PE for all young people. Sainsbury’s will be investing £1 million over four years in Active Kids For All training courses that will ensure over 500,000 young disabled children will lead healthier and more active lifestyles.

Dame Anne said “I know what an important part many of my constituents have played in collecting Active Kids vouchers, which is helping young children understand cooking and healthy eating from a young age. With the ‘Active Kids for All’ teaching programme it’s great to see how well the scheme is developing and the important part it plays in today’s educational society. I hope schools, groups and clubs across Aberdeen have fun collecting over the next few months and I hope even more will join this great scheme”

Visit to Camphill School for Parliament Week

As part of the UK Parliament Week, Dame Anne Begg MP visited Camphill School Aberdeen, an independent charity offering day and residential education care and therapy for children and young people with additional support needs, and met with four members of the Pupil Council with whom she debated Scottish independence, democracy, elections and representation.DSC09733 (2)

Prior to this she met with members of the School’s Council of Management to hear their concerns regarding the National Framework for Residential Child Care and the ramifications that will follow from its implementation. In addition she was shown around Camphill House, where the international Camphill Movement began in 1940, and the much newer therapy centre.DSC09732 (2)

Dame Anne said:  “I have had an interesting and stimulating visit discussing my job as an MP as well as Scottish Independence and other issues of the day. The young people were a credit to the School and all that it has achieved. It was most impressive.”

Klae Russell, Pupil Council member said, “As Government is such a complex thing it was interesting to find out more about the riddle and maze that it is.”

Parliament Week: Get involved

Parliament Week: 15 – 21 November 2013

Dame Anne Begg MP is calling for local organisations to take part in Parliament Week, an annual programme of events to inspire people across the UK to participate in democratic life.

Parliament Week 2013 begins on 15th November and will see organisations around the country join in a week long programme of activities and events– all designed to inform, inspire and connect people all over the UK with parliamentary democracy.

Part of this year’s programme will focus on Women in Democracy – celebrating women’s contribution to UK democratic life and exploring how women’s voices can be better heard. Dame Anne is urging any organisations who would like to take part in this year’s programme, to get in touch with her.

Parliament Week is also looking for organisations around the UK to join its existing 130 partners already taking part in this exciting week.

Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South said: “Parliament Week is a great opportunity for organisations here in Aberdeen South to engage their audiences or members in this national programme. There are many ways you can get involved – put on an event such as a debate, exhibition, or lecture or visit the Parliament Week website for more ideas. Become a Parliament Week partner and, along with over 130 other organisations, add your voice to this exciting project.”

Dame Anne has also written to local schools inviting them to take part in Parliament Week through specially created resources such as debate packs and assembly plans.

Maggie Law Maritime Museum

Dame Anne Begg MP was delighted to officially open the Maggie Law Maritime Museum. Dame Anne, who is honorary president of the Maggie Law Maritime Museum Committee, also gave the keynote speech to an invited audience in the Gourdon Village Hall.

Dame Anne unveiled plaque
Dame Anne unveiled plaque

The project has encompassed many of Dame Anne’s interests by not only involving two local schools in developing the museum as an Education Centre but also by ensuring the museum is fully accessible by developing concepts such as the Armchair Tour. This means that anyone who has a loss or restriction of mobility can access the Heritage Trails by laptop through a video and commentary, from the comfort of the Museum, or from their own home.

Two mobility scooters have also been purchased by the Museum.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have offered their advice and support to Museum to enhance the coastal and Heritage Trail for people with their guide dogs.Dame Anne delivered the keynote speech

The new website was also launched and more information on the Museum can be accessed at

Dame Anne Begg MP, hears Cafe Au Cash’s money saving ideas.

Cafe Au Cash pitched their money saving campaign to Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South.

Cafe au cash

Cafe au cash is a team of 3 students from Aberdeen College who are aiming to help improve money management throughout Aberdeen.

Leona Bain from the Cafe au Cash team said “We feel that people spend a lot more money on coffee chains than they may realise. After some research we discovered that coffee chains offer their drinks at a discounted rate if people take their own cup to the shop. Our desire is to inform as many people as we can about the money you can save by taking your own cups and by taking your own drinks rather than buying from coffee chains. ”

Cafe au cash secured £200 for their idea from Money for Life challenge, they will be handing out leaflets in streets across Aberdeen and wearing branded t shirts to help raise awareness.

Dame Anne Begg MP said “It was great to hear from Cafe Au cash about their money saving idea.  I didn’t realise my self that taking your own cup into a coffee shop helps saves money, and this is a great way to raise awareness. Buying a coffee every day soon adds up to hundreds of pounds a year”

You can find out more about Cafe Au Cash on facebook or twitter

You can also find more about the money for life campaign by going to their website

Make IT Happy, Make IT Safe

Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, is supporting the Make IT Happy competition, a UK-wide technology challenge for primary school students aged 9 to 11.

Dame Anne said “This year’s competition has been specially designed to help children use the internet safely and creatively. Staying safe online is an important skill even for primary age children, and the competition helps them learn how to make the most of the internet without putting themselves at risk.”

£1,200 will be awarded to each of the regional competition finalists, with the overall winning school taking home an additional cash prize of £4,000. Winners will also be invited to attend an awards ceremony to be held at the Houses of Parliament in London in June 2013.

The closing date for entries is April 6, 2013. For further information and details of how to enter, visit the website at

Dame Anne’s Christmas Card Competition – winner announced

The winner of Dame Anne’s Christmas Card Competition has been announced as Lucas Norwood from the Hamilton School. The competition was judged on Monday 19th November by Shelagh Swanson, Owner and Resident Artist at Oil and Glass in Torry.

Cards on display at Asda, Bridge of Dee
Cards on display at Asda, Bridge of Dee

With 1,000 entries from schools across Aberdeen South, it was very challenging for the judge to pick only one winner. Dame Anne said: “There were so many fantastic cards from school pupils across Aberdeen South and I appreciate the effort that they have put into their submissions this year. I am, therefore,  delighted to be able to present everyone who entered with a certificate.”

Thanks also go to to Asda Bridge of Dee who have kindly displayed all the cards on the windows along the checkouts. If any of the pupils who submitted entries want to take their card away with them they are more than welcome to do so. Asda will also be hosting the prize giving for the winner and runner up.

Finally, thank you to all the local business who made donations towards the prizes for the winner and runner ups.


Lucas Norwood, Glamis – P1 at Hamilton School.

Runners up

  • En-Li Soh, L6B, Albyn School
  • Ceili Reilly, Class 5, The International School of Aberdeen
  • Catherine Bell, P1, Albyn School
  • Bethany South, P2, Kirkhill Primary School
  • Kelci-Jade Beedie, P5, Kirkhill Primary School
  • Fraser Joss, P6/7, Culter Primary School