YPI Scotland

“A new year is a time for refreshed and renewed optimism; recommitting efforts and realising opportunities to evolve. However, re-entering lockdown as we re-enter the world of work after a very different festive break makes entry to 2020+1 particularly challenging.

“No-one has been unaffected by this pandemic. The consequences for education, the economy, and public mental health, have been significant, alongside the devastating health implications. And while we have all been impacted, each and every story is unique. Existing inequalities have been exacerbated. Unimaginable challenge and difficulties have been, and continue to be, tackled.

“The turning of the new calendar page does not end this chapter, rather this period feels like a continuation of what has come before, 2020+1. However, the coming weeks are no longer unprecedented nor uncharted. We can move forward with experience, intelligence, and insight behind our decisions and deeds. Moreover, we carry the knowledge that we have already weathered a similar storm.

“Hopefully we will soon view this year as a standalone 2021. In the meantime, we must do all we can to lay the foundations of this new year with cautious optimism borne of the lessons we learned in 2020. The communities we formed and strengthened, alongside the innovation and collaboration we have catalysed in the past year, provide the impetus, working practices, and vision to move from simply a new normal to a better, stronger, kinder, deliberately evolving normal.

“As our team at The Wood Foundation returns from a festive break, refreshed and recharged, we are proactively and intelligently assessing the short, medium, and longer-term opportunities and challenges facing our activities, programmes, investments, partners, and stakeholders. We are preparing considered adaptations and thinking strategically about our role as an engaged and committed value-add partner.

“The majority of our work in the UK is focused within Scottish education. Identifying gaps in the current offering and working with international, national, and local partners to provide innovative opportunities to ensure our young people are receiving meaningful, relevant, and impactful learning experiences through empowered and motivated education practitioners.

“We have been in awe of how our education colleagues have risen to the immediate challenges of Covid-19, many using this as a platform to do things differently.

“Our ambitions remain undented and undiluted. RAiSE, which has already engaged half of Scotland’s local authorities, will work with five additional regions this year, appointing Primary Science Development Officers to support our pupils’ STEM aspirations and motivations. YPI, our largest programme of activity, will adapt and allow a new cohort of young people to play a vital role in addressing social issues in their communities during this generation-defining time. Excelerate will work to further embed system change with our partner schools, as well as engaging new schools in this transformational opportunity. We will proactively identify new areas of activity and work closely with our partners as a committed, agile, and responsive venture philanthropic investor.

“Ten months into this terrible pandemic and our internal and external working relationships feel stronger than ever which is testament to our commitment to empowering open and honest collaboration focussed on innovation. This is something of which I am incredibly proud and will continue to prioritise into this coming year and beyond.

“The ramifications of this pandemic will be felt long beyond a vaccine programme – I have real hope that these will also include the many positives.”