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Glasgow City Council

Glasgow Launches Think Equal Programme to Improve Life Chances for All

Published 2 February 2024


Nithsdale Rd Nursery

Glasgow is celebrating the launch of Think Equal - a revolutionary early years educational programme, which ensures the social and emotional development and wellbeing of 3- to 6-year-olds.

Launching the initiative at Nithsdale Road Nursery, the aim is for the resources to complement the city's well-established nurturing principles and add a layer to work being carried out by staff across all schools and nurseries.

The Think Equal programme enhances children's critical thinking, self-esteem, empathy and relationship skills. By teaching 25 critical skills to children in their formative years, the programme aids individual and societal progress, providing children with the tools they need to deal with life's challenges, reduce the risk of harmful behaviour in later years, and become inclusive and responsible citizens.  

To date, Think Equal has reached over 390,000 children in 30 countries. Glasgow's initial rollout will reach half of all nursery schools across the city region, benefitting an estimated 3,000 children in its first year. The scheme has been funded by British Airways, who recognise and support Think Equal as a tool which helps address educational, mental health and social issues. 

To mark the launch of the programme, an event was hosted at Nithsdale Road Nursery that saw Think Equal experts provide a demonstration of the programme in action. Attendees will also hear from Anne Hughes, the parent who has used Think Equal materials with her child at home, on how it will benefit children. Nursery parents, who have been working with staff and using Think Equal home kits will also be there to talk about the programme.

Glasgow's adoption of Think Equal comes shortly after Greater Manchester's rollout of the programme to 965 reception classes and 659 nurseries across the Greater Manchester area, benefitting 42,000 children. Its deployment was jointly funded by education authorities, NHS mental health care and the violence reduction unit allied to the police.

Councillor Christina Cannon, City Convener for Education and Early Years, said: "We are always looking at innovative and ground-breaking ways in which to complement our well-established nurturing principles which are embedded in schools and nurseries across the city to support our children, young people, and staff.
"Think Equal will be a useful addition to our learning and teaching resources and I am delighted that Glasgow is the first city in Scotland to be able to provide this revolutionary programme by joining forces with Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU) and British Airways.
"Our children and families deserve the very best and to be equipped with the skills to help them navigate life's challenges and no more so following the impact of the pandemic.

"We are very interested to see the research and data over the next few months as Think Equal is rolled out across our nurseries.

"We know, via our nurture initiative, that early intervention works."

Think Equal was founded by the former film and documentary maker, Leslee Udwin, who acts as the group's Executive Chair. Leslee commented: "By implementing Think Equal, Glasgow is cementing its status as an innovator in education and as a city committed to creating a better society, by focusing on the importance of early years emotional and social learning. 

"That they already have half of the city's nurseries signed up to the programme is a testament to their forward-thinking approach, and we're looking forward to seeing more and more settings adopt Think Equal moving forward. British Airways' support of the rollout is also invaluable, and is the perfect example of a business working as a force for good in the world. 

"Teachers who have taught the Think Equal programme are able to cite countless examples of positive behaviour change. By investing in our children's emotional and social wellbeing, we really can reduce instances of harmful behaviours in later life and lessen the damage they cause to our society."

Mary Brew, Head of Responsible Business & Community Investment at British Airways, said: "We're delighted to support Think Equal as part of our BA Better World Community Fund. Our fund strives to support organisations and social enterprise groups that deliver benefits and life-changing opportunities for the communities we serve around the UK. By working with Think Equal, we're able to support the charity in implementing their brilliant education programmes in schools to help give children the best start in life. We're particularly happy to be supporting the scheme in areas we have strong ties to, such as Glasgow, with many of our colleagues and customers based in the city."

Jimmy Paul, head of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU), said: "The SVRU's vision for Scotland is that it is the safest country in the world to live in and our public health model to achieving that goal supports pilot projects working in the primary prevention arena.

"This vision is only achievable if we all work together, this includes making sure young people have the best start in life, to allow them to grow and reach their full potential.

"The delivery of the Think Equal programme aims to support staff working in the early years settings who are helping to lay the positive foundations for children, allowing them to build their confidence and self-esteem while teaching them about respect, empathy and kindness."

Nithsdale Rd Nursery 2

Published 2 February 2024


Nithsdale Rd Nursery

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