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
3 Chattan Place

AB10 6RB

Tel/Fax: 01224 571010
E-mail: gordoncook@btconnect.com


Here is a summary of the projects funded by the Gordon Cook Foundation during 2020:

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 most recent conference took place in Belfast from the 1 - 2nd February 2020 and was entitled "Building Democratic Culture in schools - empowering teachers as defenders of democracy".  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.  Due to Covid 19 restrictions, an on-line conference has been planned and arranged to take place in early 2021.


Gordon Cook Conversations

Thirty five 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.  Unfortunately due to Covid 19 restrictions no Conversations were able to take place during 2020. We are very hopeful that they will be able to recommence in 2021.

Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) Essay Competition

Each year, Cook sponsors the IBE Student Essay Competition in business ethics, which aims to encourage the teaching of business ethics in UK Business schools and similar teaching departments, and to encourage fresh thinking on ethical issues from the business leaders of tomorrow. There are two categories – undergraduate and postgraduate. Entries are invited by the end of June and submissions are assessed by a panel of specialist judges. The two winners receive their prizes of £1000.  Unfortunately the usual awards ceremony in London had to be cancelled this year.  This was the last year in which the Gordon Cook Foundation funded this project.

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.   

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 programme, 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 year in 2019 and they have fulfilled this contract during 2020.

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..

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 project started in 2018 and will come to an end in 2021. 

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

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.  The two-year project is scheduled to start early in 2020.

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.

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


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.

The project will support and fund children and young people to visit and experience the aftermath of the war themselves and to then reflect on lessons learned and apply them to Scotland.  It will promote and support values based education across the schools involved.  It aims to build on  ‘Lesson from Srebrenica’ education visits programme to learn lessons from the survivors of the genocide and create young champions who pledge to stand up to hatred and intolerance in their communities.

The project was due to commence in 2020 but due to Covid 19 restrictions, this project has had to be postponed.  This programme may now have to be adapted by providing an on-line platform rather than physically visiting the town itself. 

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.

Business Ethics Summer School

For several years the Foundation has funded the Business Ethics Essay Competition managed by the Institute of Business Ethics in London and open to undergraduate and postgraduate students throughout the United Kingdom.

At a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees members came to the view that they wished to demonstrate their commitment to Business Ethics by supporting a somewhat larger project likely to have more far-reaching consequences and potentially greater impact.  The ensuing discussion between IBE and the Foundation resulted in the idea of establishing a Business Ethics Summer School.


The intention was to run a residential seminar over three days towards the end of June in a conference centre or on a university campus.  Participants would have been a mix of some twenty undergraduate and postgraduate students and ten young graduates who are already working for companies and have expressed interest in a career in the ethics and compliance function.  The seminar content would have consisted of a range of presentations and activities but the key aim would have been for the sessions to be highly interactive and engaging.  Unfortunately due to Covid 19 this had to be postponed. 

It had been hoped that the Business Ethics Summer School would be able to run as a pilot in the first instance in 2021. Following discussion between the Foundation and IBE it has been decided that a pilot Summer School could not be managed effectively in 2021 and it has therefore been postponed again until 2022.

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.

Here is a summary of the projects funded by the Gordon Cook Foundation in the past two years:

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.

Youthscape 1
Youthscape 4
01 - Pr258
257 Picture2