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Our Work:


The Foundation actively seeks partnerships with other foundations and charities to develop its mission.

It operates a proactive policy in making grants to other bodies.  This proactive policy means that the Foundation itself identifies areas of work in Values Education which would benefit from further work and development, and commissions a preferred manager to undertake the work.  The Foundation does not normally invite or respond to unsolicited applications for grant aid.

The Foundation is administered by a part-time secretary based at the Foundation’s office in Aberdeen.  The Foundation Secretary is the normal point of contact for all business, and acts as the official correspondent.  The Foundation’s legal secretaries and accountants are Burnett & Reid, 15 Golden Square, Aberdeen.


For further information about the Foundation and its activities, please contact:

The Foundation Secretary
The Gordon Cook Foundation

Ground Floor
3 Carden Terrace

AB10 1US

Tel/Fax: 01224 571010


Here is a summary of the projects funded by the Gordon Cook Foundation during 2022:

Five Nations Network

The Five Nations Network is a long-standing Cook project.  It provides a unique forum for the sharing of curricular practice in citizenship and values education across England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  Since 2000 it has 

facilitated professional dialogue between teachers and other education specialists across these five jurisdictions.  Its activities include the organisation of an annual conference and the creation of opportunities for small-scale research and development work.  The conference was able to go ahead as a face-to-face event on the 24th – 26th February 2023 and was entitled "Can we teach democratic wellbeing? – Exploring the Inner Development Goals and Active Citizenship” The Network is managed by the Association for Citizenship Teaching and overseen by a Strategy Group composed of representatives from each country.  It is also a Council of Europe Regional Network. 


Gordon Cook Conversations

Forty four events have now been held, conducted on the basis of two per year. They are derived from the Windsor Meetings instigated in the 1980s at St George's House, Windsor, by the then Warden, Charles Handy.  Twenty-one high flyers in their thirties and from a wide range of occupations are invited as guests to a secluded location for a period of four days.  Their purpose is to discuss the social and ethical issues concerning the shape of society they wish to inherit as people likely to reach the higher level of their sphere of influence, and to realise their responsibility in achieving their wishes.  Two events took place this year, one at Dumfries House in April and the other at Douneside in November.   

Columba 1400 in Arbroath High School

This project arose from discussions with Angus Council on ways in which Cook might help to promote its mission generally, but specifically within Arbroath - a burgh with two secondary schools.  Staffing challenges resulted in the work to date centering on one of these two schools - Arbroath High School.  A total of 26 S4 students and 6 staff have participated in Leadership Academies on Skye as part of the Columba 1400 program, their participation having had significant benefits in promoting effective dialogue about ethos, thereby improving whole school ethos, in effective team building, and in promoting a true learning community.  There is still hope that a joint project between the two schools can be established in the coming year.

Stand Up! Rape & Sexual Abuse Highland (RASASH)

The RASASH Prevention Project (Stand Up!) delivers short workshops on the theme of preventing sexual violence.  Seven topic areas are adapted to age/stage groups to cover all secondary school pupils and are mapped to Curriculum for Excellence.  These workshops offer a safe space to support young people to develop positive attitudes and behaviours by looking at key issues such as consent, gender stereotypes, the influence of media and pornography, the law, and how to access support.  They further recruit and support young people in a 

project that works to empower them to challenge problematic attitudes and behaviours around sexual violence.  The Gordon Cook Foundation agreed to fund this project for a further two years in 2022 taking their funding through until December 2024.

Learning and Teaching for Global Citizenship - SCOTDEC

Learning and Teaching for Global Citizenship

This three-year project is designed to support secondary teachers involved in the delivery of Global Citizenship Education.  Such teachers are expected to help pupils explore controversial global issues, human rights, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and their implications.  By way of support for classroom practice of this kind the project will provide for:

*  the organization of appropriate professional development opportunities available as a mix of online learning and face-to-face training days;

*  the development of national, subject-specific teaching materials in key curriculum areas such as Geography, Modern Studies and RMPS;

*  the creation of opportunities for teachers to network and share their experiences with other practitioners across the UK and Europe.

The Gordon Cook Foundation agreed to fund this project for a further three years in early 2021 taking their funding through until July 2023. 

Developing Politically Literate Young Children in Scottish Education  

This research project aims to explore a range of issues relating to the place of citizenship education in Scotland with particular reference to the development of political and critical literacy in the schools.  The thrust of the study has been sparked partly by the dearth of research activity in the field of values and citizenship education in Scotland and partly by the belief that the schools are not yet confident in their ability to deal with the professional challenge arising
from the lowering of the voting age for Scottish elections.  Please see a copy of the final report below:-



Remembering Srebrenica Education Project

The lessons from Srebrenica is that no society is invulnerable to prejudice and intolerance.  We must all remain vigilant against these forces, and take positive action to build stronger, more resilient communities. The project aims to educate young people of global values of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion.

This project will focus on developing anti hate and anti-racism understanding through exploring the recent genocide experienced during the Balkan conflict.  The funding will support the development of educational resources to support schools in teaching tolerance, understanding and empathy.  The funding will also allow for pupils to hear, firsthand, from survivors and reflect on values education.  The project has recently started up again after the Covid delay. 

Dignity in Education: Improving Outcomes through a Human Rights Approach

The Children's Parliament want to retain their commitment to helping raise awareness and understanding of what a children's human rights approach looks like and the transformational effect is has on the lives of children, families and communities.  Through the above project, they hope to increase awareness and understanding of a children's human rights approach in schools and will use creative processes to demonstrate a rights-based approach in practice, referencing the work of Children's Parliament and other national and international examples of good practice.  In 2022, the Gordon Cook Foundation agreed to fund this project for a further 3 years.  This will allow the Children’s Parliament to transform their immersive participation model and the Dignity in School Hub into a national programme, where teachers/practitioners and other professionals nationwide can benefit from the learning from their engagement with children and adults in school.  

Two minute life of Rain

This is a project run by Art and Music at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), University of Edinburgh involving undergraduate students and primary school children from Lothian schools.   As well as supporting creative education in the classrooms, developing the skills and aspirations of young people, the project will also provide valuable opportunities for the University students to engage in valuable experiences of professional creative practice.   This project will initially run as a pilot project with the view to it running as a 3 year project.

Wick Youth Development

Approved during 2022, this 3-year project will provide the financial support to allow The Highland Council a Youth Support Worker based in Wick High School, to offer support to young people who are experiencing behavioural or emotional issues, but who do not meet the criteria for a Children’s Service Worker referral. The informal approach of our Youth Worker, someone who young people know is not a formal educator, makes them more approachable to many of the young people in need. These young people would not otherwise approach an adult for help and support.

Here is a summary of projects now completed and funded by the Gordon Cook Foundation in the past three years:

Youthscape - Anti-Racism

Youthscape have developed a new anti-racism resource to be used in schools and youth groups nationwide.   Funding from the Gordon Cook Foundation has enabled them to create the programme itself.  This will take the form of a video-based resource, and will both share the stories of young people who have experienced racism, and explore what it means to move from non-racism towards active anti-racism. The intention of the project is not just to educate young people about anti-racism but also and more importantly to ensure that, in terms of their behaviour, they are active in their commitment to anti-racism.  Young participants will be provided with an interactive booklet to accompany the programme, while detailed training and a handbook will be provided for those who will be running it.


This project seeks to develop teachers’ capacity to engage with the aftermath of conflict. It draws on previous work conducted by Diversity Challenges to develop an archive of film interviews (including sound sculptures and original music) with individuals affected by the conflict (‘The Troubles’ in NI and elsewhere)

Baldragon Academy, Dundee –Rights Respecting School 

The Baldragon Academy community  have agreed fairness, honesty, responsibility,  achievement and respect as their shared values. With a view to consolidating these values, the school has embarked on a programme set firmly within the context of the Rights Respecting School.


Funding from the Gordon Cook Foundation, spread over two years up to end March 2021, is aimed at assisting Baldragon attain Rights Respecting School awards at Bronze, and then Silver levels.  Due to Covid 19 and the school closures, work continues beyond the agreed contractual dates.

Vision Schools

Vision Schools Scotland is a national programme which accredits Scottish schools who have demonstrated commitment and good practice in Holocaust education. The programme aims to promote excellence in Holocaust teaching by identifying and accrediting schools which demonstrate sustainability, innovation and good practice in this area. The sharing of good practice is nurtured by the programme, which also promotes Continued Professional Development in Holocaust education for Scottish teachers.


Funding from the Gordon Cook Foundation is planned to extend over three years – until end March 2022 – aiming to help grow the Vision Schools network across Scotland, with a gradually increasing number of schools receiving Level 1 and Level 2 Vision Schools Awards.

Nelson Mandela Education Resource

The Nelson Mandela Resource was commissioned as part of many celebrations marking both the centenary of Mandela’s birth and the 25th anniversary of his visit to Glasgow.  The resource is designed to be used for inter-disciplinary learning at second and third levels of Curriculum for Excellence.   The Gordon Cook Foundation supported this project to allow this resource to be available on-line.  Produced by WOSDEC (West of Scotland Development Education Centre) it's aims include:


- to support teachers and learners in understanding the life of Nelson Mandela and the context of apartheid South Africa which shaped him;


- this is used as a basis to make connections between the historical anti-apartheid movement and ways in which we can challenge present day racism and xenophobia in our communities;


- increasing learners’ sense of agency and active citizenship through speech-making and student voice activities.

Children's Voice in the Northern Alliance - Northern Alliance 

The Northern Alliance -a collective of 8 northern and island authorities-is working to develop the role of pupil participation in the education system.  They  are developing a children's rights approach by bring together children and young people from across the alliance to identify common issues, increase participation and engagement in learning

Aberdeenshire Council – Year of Young People 2018

This project aims to celebrate the achievements of young people, valuing their contribution to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.  An extensive calendar of events has been undertaken to promote the themes of YOYP 2018, and future funding has been allocated to ensure that work continued as a springboard for the future.  The project concluded this year.

The Meaning of Art – Edinburgh College of Art

The object of this programme for secondary pupils is to stimulate a greater understanding of art as a means of expressing the individual's observations and understanding of the world and their experience of life.  Seminars and studio work are delivered by College academic staff and senior students either in the schools or in the art college itself.  The Foundation believes that fostering an understanding of the arts can significantly contribute to an individual's sense of wellbeing and values.   

Professional Values and Learning for Sustainability - GTCS

This project completed in September 2019 was designed to support the integration of professional values and sustainability, as set out in the GTCS Professional Standards, in the thinking and everyday practice of teachers and teacher educators across Scotland.  In Phase 1 ongoing engagement with all eight Initial Teacher Education Institutions enabled the production of a digital Reflective and Development Tool to support teacher educators in embedding values and learning for sustainability in their courses and programmes.  Phase 2 extended its impact to the thinking and practice of early career teachers on their journey from a probationary period to career-long professional learning and beyond.  A significant outcome of this project was the undertaking that no course of initial teacher education would be accredited unless it demonstrated satisfactory coverage of professional values.

Youthscape – Luton

Youthscape is a young people's charity in Luton, Bedfordshire. They concentrate on developing new and innovative approaches to personal development, sharing proven programmes across the UK through training and resources. Gordon Cook are funding resources to assist young people in engaging as citizens. The first set of resources take their inspiration from the animated movie “Inside Out”. Teenagers are encouraged, in the non-threatening environment following the screening of the film, to explore their own emotions. The Cook funding allows the part-time secondment of a member of staff to work specifically on this project. 


Professional Development in Religious Education in England

Culham St Gabriel's (CSTG) is a charitable Trust promoting excellence in RE through research, development and innovation.  The infrastructure supporting RE teachers in England is in a state of long-term collapse.  Cook has awarded funding in 2016-18 to enable CSTG to establish more professional development networks for RE teachers.  In partnership with RE organisations, CSTG has established twenty networks to enable teachers to meet for mutual professional support and challenge, under three aims: to raise standards, deepen research-practice links and develop leadership capacity in RE. Cook support has enabled new networks to start in Birmingham, south midlands, Cumbria, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.


Step Forward – Stepladder Partnership, Wales

This workshop programme is for children at the stage of transition from Primary to Secondary schooling. Short narrative dance and movement exercises are devised to enable children to address the various issues and concerns they might have at this juncture in their education. The object of the programme is not to teach dance but to use the activity of dance and movement to enable the expression and resolution of the children's concerns, thereby assisting in bolstering their confidence and allaying their worries. Four two hour sessions form the programme and these take place in June/July, (school year 6) and September/November (school year 7).

Ross High School, Tranent - Year of Character

This project aims to advance character development for all students of Ross High School through a more effective junior leadership team, an enhanced focus on disadvantaged pupils, an extension of engagement in Higher Education and a skills force pilot.


Just do It - The GK Experience 

The GK Experience is a Glasgow based youth work charity founded on the belief that “young people are brilliant and that they all deserve the same opportunities in order to enable them to reach their potential.  Youth workers and young leaders work together to support amazing young people facing challenges in their everyday life”.  The organisation runs a programme called “Just do It” for approximately 10 of their most vulnerable young people which involves a weekly group, some residentials, a mentoring programme and training.  Activities include learning to cook, participating in team based challenges, informal educational talks around citizenship and intergenerational volunteering.   The aspiration is that some of the young people will go on to become young leaders themselves.  The Gordon Cook Foundation supports the costs of running this programme by providing a grant of £20,000 over 2 years.

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