Children’s sector network in Scotland reveals full programme for Annual Conference 2024

Amal Azuddin (Photo: University of Glasgow)

CHILDREN in Scotland has today revealed details of the packed programme for its upcoming Annual Conference 2024, with keynote speeches and workshops set to address the sector’s most challenging and important issues. 

Held on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 May at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, the flagship event will bring together delegates, partners and supporters from across the children’s sector, with a range of keynote speakers, exhibitors, workshops and networking sessions available over the two days. 

One of the highlights of the programme, on the first day of the conference, Jimmy Paul, Head of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, will use his keynote to discuss the growing concern of behaviour in schools, while exploring the many challenges faced by young people today.  

With a varied career managing health and social care services, and having co-chaired the Workforce Group on the Independent Care Review, Jimmy is uniquely placed to examine the factors many experts believe are contributing to behavioural issues, including the fallout from the pandemic, which saw an entire generation of children missing out on crucial years of education, socialisation and connection, the current cost of living crisis, and increased use of social media across all age ranges. 

As well as offering evidence-based solutions, his speech will outline an emerging vision for the future, providing delegates with an informative and inspirational talk, which will focus on promoting collaboration across the sector. 

Jimmy Paul said: “I am delighted to be speaking at the Children in Scotland Annual Conference, where some of the most caring and determined people from across the nation gather. At the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, we know that improving the lives of children goes hand in hand with making Scotland the safest place in the world to live. The world has changed drastically in recent years with the pandemic, the cost of living driving more families into poverty, and with changes in social media, which has impacted on experiences of childhood and the landscape of violence in Scotland. I’m looking forward to exploring this in my keynote address and advocating for compassion and collaboration at the heart of everything we do.”   

Also on day one of the programme, which will be co-chaired by Nicola Killean, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Children in Scotland’s CEO Dr Judith Turbyne will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the charity sector, encouraging conversation and debate among the audience. A panel discussion that day will also look at Artificial Intelligence (AI) in relation to child rights and safeguarding. 

Led by Steven Sweeney, Chief Executive of Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire and Children in Scotland board convenor, day two of the programme will open with keynote addresses from Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise, Natalie Don MSP and campaigner and activist Amal Azzudin. Dr Alexia Barrable, lecturer in Psychology and Education at Queen Margaret University, will discuss the impact of nature on health and wellbeing in the afternoon.  

On both days, workshops will be held by Scottish SPCA, Multi-Cultural Family Base, Aberlour Children’s Charity, Kibble, and many more organisations and charities across the sector, with topics covering everything from transitions for young people with additional support needs to a day in the life of a young carer. 

Children and young people’s voices will be central to the conference. Children in Scotland’s children and young people’s advisory group, Changing our World, have been involved in the planning of the event and will be present on both days, and students from Edinburgh College of Art have been invited to provide their take on what happens. Both days will see young people co-chairing, while many of the workshops will have children and young people’s voices embedded in them. 
Alongside powerful keynote speeches, informative panel discussions, and engaging workshops, both days of the Annual Conference will provide opportunities for practitioners to network and engage with colleagues. 

Simon Massey, Children in Scotland’s Head of Engagement & Learning, said: “This year’s conference promises to be one of our best. We have got such a varied programme, with contributions from across the whole sector, everyone will find something of interest. But the opportunity to connect with colleagues in person is not to be missed in our world of remote working.  

“I’m particularly pleased to see how children and young people’s voices are being embedded throughout the programme – from planning to delivery and, afterwards, evaluating its success.  

“Thanks to our sponsors and exhibitors, we have been able to keep prices low, so I hope to see as many people there as possible – it really will be worth a day or two away from work.” 

Click here to explore Day One of the programme 

Click here to explore Day Two of the programme 

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