Upstart Committee and Board of Trustees
Sue Palmer, Chair
Sue Palmer trained in primary education at Moray House, then taught in Edinburgh and the Borders. For the last thirty-five years she has been an independent writer, presenter and literacy specialist but, since researching Foundations of Literacy (2004) and Toxic Childhood (2006), her work has mainly focused on early childhood education and play. She was a founder member of the UK Save Childhood Movement, Chair of the Scottish Play Commission and a member of the Scottish Government’s Early Years Task Force.
Kate Johnston, Vice Chair
Kate Johnston trained at Moray House as a primary teacher and then after meeting Sheena Johnstone, returned to train as a nursery teacher. Having been influenced in her practice by Froebel, the work being undertaken in Reggio Emilia and the writing of Tina Bruce, she is passionate about allowing children time to develop their social and communication skills while exploring their environment. She has spoken at EIS AGMs on the necessity for highly qualified early years staff and has joined this campaign to highlight the issues of an early start for our children’s lives.
Francesca Mackintosh-Walker, Secretary
Fran graduated from Moray House as a primary teacher 5 years ago and has spent the majority of that time teaching the Early/First Level (P1-3). She has a particular interest in outdoor learning and the role of play and creativity in child development. Having been brought up on a remote island on the North West Coast of Scotland, she had first-hand experience of the benefits of outdoor, ‘risky’ free-play. Now, as a teacher and a mother of three, she finds the decline of such play opportunities for Scotland’s children combined with the very early start to their formal schooling extremely detrimental to their social, emotional and cognitive well-being. Fran is delighted to be a part of the Upstart campaign and strongly believes in its principles, which will ensure Scotland’s children are given the ‘best start’ to life.
David Ashford, Treasurer
Throughout much of his working life, David has been supporting young people’s clubs. He has also had an eclectic interest in other groups focused on the betterment of society and the natural environment as a whole.
Since 2004, he has utilised his legal background to volunteer – from his home on the Isle of Skye – for a wide range of Scottish organisations. These include the Lochalsh Youth Community Trust, Youth Scotland and now Upstart Scotland. He is particularly enthusiastic about the challenge of connecting children and young people to nature and regards them as the most important humans on the Planet!
Willie French, Edinburgh and Lothian Convener
Head Teacher at the Royal High Primary School in Edinburgh, trained as teacher at Moray House College and has worked in primary schools for thirty-two years. He has held a number of posts including class teacher, assistant head teacher and head teacher, and has amassed a variety of experiences during his career, including working in the independent sector, in areas of multi-deprivation, in rural environments, in urban areas, for the voluntary sector, in special education and in mainstream education. Willie has a particular interest in developing pupils’ abilities and their health and well being through sport and the arts.
Hilary Long, Glasgow Convener
Hilary lives in Glasgow and was formerly the Manager at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens. She writes: ‘I am delighted to be involved in the campaign. I have forty years experience in various capacities in early learning and childcare. I also have three grown up children and remember their first day at school vividly. I suppose ever since then I have intuitively known things needed to change and research confirms this. Glasgow is a big place. I live in the East End so any willing helpers across the city please do get in touch.”
Tam Baillie, Board of Trustees
Tam Baillie was Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People from May 2009 to May 2017. As Commissioner, Tam had a duty to promote and safeguard the rights of children and young people in Scotland through: raising awareness of children’s rights; involving children and young people in his work; and influencing law, policy and practice with children and young people. Tam previously worked as a manager and practitioner with children and young people for almost 40 years, working in the statutory and voluntary sectors in Scotland and England. Tam’s main areas of work experience includes providing: community based supports to vulnerable children; throughcare and after care services; homeless and street-based services; and developing policy and influencing legislation. Tam is now totally committed to play, raising awareness and understanding of its fundamental importance to children’s development.
Carol Craig, Board of Trustees
Professor Frank is the Director of an Edinburgh-based Centre, funded by the Medical Research Council and the Scottish Chief Scientist Office: the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy. The Collaboration seeks to develop and robustly test novel public health policies and programs to equitably improve health status in Scotland, through partnering with research-users. He has also been: a Professor (now Emeritus) at the University of Toronto, at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, since 1983; founding Director of Research at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto (1991-1997); and inaugural Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Population and Public Health (2000-2008).