SCEN Ambassadors' Conference & Board Meeting

28 October 2014

SCEN-Logo-BlockThere is a strong impetus within SCEN to campaign more than ever to support Scotland's Strategy for Stronger Engagement with China. This was highlighted on Monday 29 September at the SCEN Ambassadors' Conference 2014, held at the University of Edinburgh, and in the afternoon meeting of the SCEN Board.


We were fortunate indeed to be the partner of the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools at the University of Edinburgh, which enabled us to meet in the historic Playfair Library. Forty new SCEN Ambassadors received their certificates, and the young people themselves chaired tables and reported on their discussions. Overall, there was a strong sense that much had been achieved in the introduction of the learning of Chinese and about China in Scotland, but we had simply reached the end of the beginning. There was eloquent support for the SCEN Early Learning of Chinese Programme, led by Simon Macaulay, chair of the National Working Group for Languages, and exemplifying the 1+2 Languages Plan. In terms of action there were recommendations for SCEN to include Directors of Education, Head Teachers, Parents and the Chinese Community in its Conferences and to engage its articulate Ambassadors widely. There was a call for more funding, in particular for Teachers of Chinese, though accompanied by a sense of realism. It was wonderful to hear the clarion call of our young people and their desire for collaborative leadership. We shall hear more of this at the Third SCEN China Youth Summit at Gleneagles on 10 November. Meanwhile I have written to Mr Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, to tell him of the views of SCEN Ambassadors. I shall let you know his response. We are working closely with the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools in planning a captivating programme for the Youth Summit.
The Meeting of the SCEN Board enjoyed wide participation from a range of sectors, and there were eloquent contributions. We were united in understanding the pressures on government funding, but also in recognising the necessity for action in spreading the learning of Chinese and about China. There was a great sense that SCEN ought to direct its conferences and meetings strongly at engaging broad support. We received with delight the news of an extremely generous donation from James and Morag Anderson, who are donating £25,000 a year for the next four years to enable SCEN to fulfil its objectives. The Board was loud and strong in its appreciation of this generosity, and in the continued kindness of our anonymous donor of an annual £10,000. We shall be able to engage our articulate Ambassadors and their committed teachers even more. The Board agreed an outline SCEN Plan for 2015-2018, which is attached; it describes SCEN's Policy, Partners and Projects. Do let me have any comments or suggestions.