SGA Conference

The SGA Annual Conference will be held on Saturday 18th September 2021, and will be ONLINE for the first time ever!

This event is only open to SGA members, and the cost is only £10.  

To book your place online (you will receive an immediate confirmation email), click on the button above. We have set the price at only £10 for SGA members (membership of the SGA is free). Please book through Eventbrite, using the button above. Payment is required at the time of booking.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page, to see the downloadable PDF version of the Programme of the day.

To JOIN the SGA, please CLICK HERE.

We have a great selection of presenters!

Children and Young People's Mental Health

Maggie Fallon

Head of Children Young people and Families Mental Health, Scottish Government

Maggie currently works within the Mental Health and Social Care Directorate in Scottish Government and is head of the unit tasked with improving children, young people and families' mental health. Maggie has a long career within education , most recently working in Education Scotland after many years as a head teacher and head of support service for C and YP with ASN.

2021 - A year of recovery for Children and Young People's Mental Health. This presentation will provide an outline of the range of supports and services that have been put in place to support children and young people's mental health across Scotland. This will include an overview of a new Scottish Government resource for all school staff to raise their awareness and develop knowledge and skills in this area.

Progress of the PSE Review

Stuart Downes, Senior Policy Manager, Scottish Government

A Scottish Government civil servant, with over 25 years experience working in various policy areas including Food Safety, Natural Resources, Local Government Finance, Long Term Health Conditions and Sea Fisheries. Stuart joined the Learning Directorate in 2016 and leads on the implementation and delivery of the PSE Review and LGBT inclusive education recommendations.

The PSE Review was published in January 2019. Progress has been made with the recommendations however it was delayed as education stakeholders focussed on education recovery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This presentation will cover how the delivery and implementation of the recommendations of the review is progressing and will be of keen interest to guidance teachers and school leaders.

Why Attachment Matters in Guidance

Judy Furnival, Independent Consultant and Vice Chair of Scottish Attachment in Action

Alison MacDonald, retired Principal Educational Psychologist and Trustee of SAIA

Judy is an independent consultant working primarily in the children’s social care sector.  Passionate about the importance of attachment as a foundational theory and approach in all relational work, including within education. She is currently completing a PhD looking at the suicide of care leavers and is also undertaking a professional doctorate at the Tavistock looking at physical restraint of children in residential settings.

Reflections on the impact of an attachment informed, trauma sensitive relational approach of guidance, in improving the learner’s experience, attainment and the lives of children and young people.

A Learner Journey Approach

Karen Watson, Education Executive, Skills Development Scotland

Karen Watson is an Executive within the SDS National Education Team.  The team have a remit to deliver professional learning for teaching practitioners across the education sector and to develop innovative approaches to support the embedding of career education across the curriculum, in line with national policy.

This session will showcase an innovative partnership project involving key education partners across a local authority seeking to implement a continuous and consistent approach to skills profiling from primary school, throughout secondary, into college and beyond using digital tools and resources.   Collectively the group is developing creative solutions to directly support teaching practitioners and to offer learners ownership of their skills development and learning and better equip them to enter and thrive in the changing world of work.

Digital Crime Awareness Project (DCAP)

Ben Rae (with Dalip & Symone), Team Leader, The Aberdeen Law Project

The Aberdeen Law Project is a pro bono law clinic which has two primary aims. First, to bridge the justice gap by offering free legal advice and representation to those who would otherwise be without assistance. Second, to reduce the justice gap through our outreach initiatives that educate the community on the law.

The Digital Crime Awareness Project was created in the Aberdeen Law Project in 2016, and has since reached thousands of pupils, teachers and parents. It aims to reduce the numbers of digital crimes that children fall victim to, or inadvertently perpetrate, by educating them on what type of crimes exist and how to stay safe from them. The project extends to training parents and teaching staff on how to help keep their children and students safe from those crimes.

This session will take the form of a presentation, and is aimed at training teaching staff on keeping students safe from digital crimes. It will start with a presentation summarising what digital crimes children can be vulnerable to (either as a victim or as a perpetrator). The presentation will then move on to an interactive activity aimed at learning 1) how to identify behaviour indicating a child is likely to be a victim or perpetrator of a digital crime, 2) how to prevent such a crime from taking place, 3) how to help the child if they have become a victim or a perpetrator of a digital crime.


The SQA Mental Health and Wellbeing Award

Amy Gracie, PT Pupil Support / Coordinator for School Counselling,

Dunblane High School / Stirling Council

Amy Gracie is currently seconded as the Coordinator for School Counselling for Stirling Council. Alongside this role, Amy continues with her post as PT Pupil Support at Dunblane High School on a part-time basis, a role she has held since 2014. Amy has a particular interest in mental health awareness and support and has led across these areas at Dunblane High School for the past five years.

The SQA Mental Health and Wellbeing Award was introduced at Dunblane High School in 2019. Offered as an S6 elective, the course provided an opportunity to enhance focus on pupil leadership and whole school wellbeing initiatives. This presentation may be of interest to anyone considering delivering the SQA Mental Health and Wellbeing Award.

Building Resilience in Schools and Colleges

Arlene McCloskey, Service Manager - Mental Health UK

Arlene has taught in the secondary education sector for twenty years. She started her career in Northern Ireland and spent twelve years teaching PE, geography, PSHE and held various pastoral roles including Head of Special Educational Needs (SENCO).  Arlene’s passion to support people’s health and wellbeing led to her working over six summer holiday terms at an international weight loss camp for young people, taking on a lead role in delivering physical activity interventions to support young people (11-25) in their behaviour change. Relocating to England, she continued to teach part time whilst working for a social enterprise company delivering workshops with young people to raise awareness of major social issues. Arlene currently works for Support in Mind/Mental Health UK leading the Bloom programme which includes training school and college staff, building wellbeing and resilience in young people through Bloom lessons.

Delegates will experience Bloom content first hand, understand why it was developed, how it was developed and why it has been so important so far in supporting young people to look after their wellbeing. They will also understand how their schools and colleges can get involved and access the programmes free resources.

This will be of most interest to teachers and lecturers of those aged 14-18 years old, or senior leaders in institutions who work with this age group.


Be Kind to Your Mind - Mindfulness & Wellbeing

Sarah Gear, Director, Mindful Stonehaven

Sarah is the Director and Founder of Mindful Stonehaven, a community enterprise aimed at supporting wellbeing through mindfulness. A mum of four, a researcher, consultant, wellbeing coach & psychotherapist, Sarah pivoted from a corporate career in education management to teaching mindfulness in schools, communities & workplaces. She divides her time between client work, teaching and tutoring on wellbeing, resilience and growth mindset and speaks from personal experience on the benefits of mindful parenting, mindful leadership and how to look after ourselves during these changing times. 

This session is all about you! We'll take a quick look at attitude,  awareness and whether we're focussing our attention on what's important to us. You'll come away knowing what mindfulness is (and isn't) & understanding the science of neuroplasticity & the benefits of mindfulness on our wellbeing.  You'll take away short, simple practices that you can use immediately to help ground, focus and introduce calm into your busy days.





SGA events are organised by members of the SGA Committee. Organised by teachers for teachers, we aim to provide a range of interesting and practical presentations, designed to refresh the hard working guidance and support staff in our schools.

Our events consistently achieve an extremely high level of positive feedback from our delegates. We also strive to keep costs as low as possible, as we appreciate the difficult financial climate.

Cancellation: In normal circumstances, booking fees cannot be refunded, nor invoices cancelled. However, replacement personnel are welcome. Nevertheless, if you find yourself unable to attend, please notify us in advance (at least one week before the event) so that others on a waiting list may be given your place. Should someone on the waiting list replace you, your fee will be refunded following the event.

Under normal circumstances, we hold our events in Dunfermline, and we plan to return there in 2022. If you don't like the idea of an early commute, on the Saturday morning, you can book an overnight stay. There is an on-site hotel in the grounds of Carnegie Conference Centre.


The Holiday Inn Express offers a range of facilities including:

  • 82 modern en-suite rooms with satellite TV
  • Free Guest parking
  • Free Wi-Fi internet access
  • Complimentary Hot Continental breakfast buffet
  • Comfortable licensed bar and lounge area with large-screen TV

Further details about the hotel can be found at or call 01383 748220. 

Click on the map below to find location and directions.