View this email in your browser
Dear <<First Name>>

Welcome to a Special Edition of the Upstart Scotland Newsletter with three aims:  
  • To celebrate all the great work people have done – and are still doing – around Scotland to launch Upstart as a national campaign. THANK YOU!

  • To let everyone know that the full-length version of the Upstart video (generously made for us by a group of professional film-makers in Edinburgh) is now on the website – please spread the link far and wide: .  

  • to outline briefly how we see the campaign continuing and call for further ideas to take to the AGM in June.

Launch report

Leafleters were out and about across the country on May 15th and fortunately the weather was fine. Reports back have been immensely positive – the parents, grandparents and others we accosted were overwhelmingly in favour of the Upstart idea. A couple of leafleters pointed out that fathers were particularly keen at the prospect of children doing more outdoor learning. Many thanks to everyone who acted as an Upstart ambassador on launch day.  

Among the events promoting the campaign that day were

Banchory: Launch picnic in Bellfield Park

Barrhead: Play event at Barrhead Foundry

Cambuslang: Play event Cambuslang Park

Dumfries: Play event, The Crichton

Dundee: Information post, Ninewells Hospital

Edinburgh: Launch party, building of Evidence Tower outside Parliament

Elgin: Family Day, West Lodge Cooper Park

Glasgow: Open day, The Language Hub

Letham, Fife: Play event, Secret Garden Nursery

Motherwell: Outdoor play event, Dalziel Estate

Tarbert: Drop-in play session, Village Hall

An immense amount of effort goes into organising events like this. Thanks so much to all the Upstart supporters who gave their time and energy to make them a success.

Media coverage

Fife Upstart's Open Day at the Secret Garden Nursery in Letham Woods inspired an article in the Dundee Courier, a report on STV News on 9th May and a report on the event in the Courier on 16th May. Well done Cathy and all the Fifers!

We've also had plenty of coverage in The National: Lesley Riddoch started it with a mention of Upstart in a piece about democracy on election day, then Kirsteen Paterson did us proud on 14th May with a front page and article. There was also a follow-up story the next day. We hope Nicola Sturgeon reads the National (and this related piece on!

BBC Scotland broadcast a pre-recorded report on the launch in its Reporting Scotland programmes on 16th May. (Ironically, the headline item was about puppy-farming – rearing pups in captivity for economic purposes). Thanks to all the parents, teachers and other Upstarts, who managed to assemble a group of children in central Edinburgh for them to film at short notice. There were also radio broadcast in BBC news programmes on 16th and 17th May, based on the same interviews.

As this newsletter went to press, we were alerted to a piece in the Daily Record with the headline 'Dear Nicola, if you want to transform Scottish education begin by raising the starting age to 7'!

Social Media coverage

We started tweeting about Upstart in the week preceding the launch and were greatly helped by press coverage and high-profile supporters like Suzanne Zeedyk and John Carnochan. At last count we had 780 Twitter followers, including some notable people from education and politics.

Our Facebook page, which has been keeping supporters in touch and helping promote the campaign for many months, reached almost 86,000 people in the week of the National Launch. The clip from the Upstart video went on Facebook and Twitter and within twenty-four hours had been watched over 1000 times.  
Enormous thanks to all the experts and children who appear on the video and to Simon, Andrew, Chris, Rhona and Jez for their time and expertise. And special thanks to Fran, an Upstart primary teacher who is now also an accomplished film producer!

Where next: Upstart strategy for the coming months

At present we have four main aims:

  1. To continue to publicise Upstart as widely as possible and attract more parents and professionals to the campaign cause. So please keep up all the good work – talking about Upstart with colleagues and acquaintances, spreading with word through social media, events such as coffee meet-ups and – once you've recovered from the launch – organising other activities and 'piggybacking' on related activities in your area. If you've run out of leaflets, remember there are downloadable ones on the website here.

  2. To investigate ways in which a play-based kindergarten stage can be introduced in Scotland.

  • Professor John Davis of the University of Edinburgh has offered to set up a working group, under the auspices of Common Weal, to look into the practicalities and policy implications and we hope to discuss this issue at the Upstart AGM, to be held in Perth on Sunday 26th June (venue to be decided – please check Events on the website nearer the date)

  • We are in touch with several primary schools in Scotland that already apply an Upstart philosophy in their P1/2 classes and would love to hear from more. Please contact us at  

  1. To find sources of funding to finance Upstart through the next three years. So far, Upstart has been  funded by Sue but we now need further streams of funding to keep it going – especially as the movement has grown so rapidly (we now really need administrative help). We're looking into various possibilities and would be grateful for any suggestions.  

  2. To begin rallying cross-party political support. This is clearly not going to be easy! However, we have to start somewhere and are working on a strategy for which we'll need help from supporters around the country – more details in the next regular newsletter.

We are, of course, keen to hear suggestions about further policy/strategy from supporters. Please contact us at so we can take ideas forward to the AGM.

THANK YOU again to everyone who made the launch such a resounding success. We are now definitely up and running!

Onwards and upwards,

The Upstart Team

Copyright © 2016 Upstart Scotland, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp