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Animal WISE education programme reengages with schools across Scotland

Gilly at school
Image caption
Gilly at Sunnyside Primary before the pandemic

Our innovative education programme, Animal WISE, is being reintroduced in schools through e-learning and virtual lessons now that schools are back from the summer break. The package is designed to teach young people about animal welfare in a fun and accessible way.

We adapted our Animal WISE offering over lockdown, moving away from the traditional classroom visits to include virtual lessons, webinars and e-learning activities.

Outdoor face-to-face lessons will be available from 18 October onwards.

The programme also targets communities and adults and includes our innovative one-to-one Animal Guardians programme which works with young people who have shown behaviours towards animals that are a cause of concern and has had over 180 referrals since it launched back in 2018.

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, head of education, policy and research, said: “We expanded our education initiatives last year to embrace the virtual world and develop our digital offering. We created interactive games and animations to keep young people engaged and to teach them about the importance of animal welfare. We even launched free e-learning courses for Primary and Secondary schools in partnership with MyAko.

“We created downloadable education packs, which have now been downloaded over 7,200 times. We also distributed around 1,000 packs with the help of Barnardo’s and Police Scotland to children who did not have the facilities to access the packs online.

“Due to restrictions lifting, we were recently able to welcome young people to our centres to take part in our Adventure Clubs in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Clackmannanshire. We can’t wait to get back to schools to deliver our cross curricular Animal WISE programmes in person again. We are also taking the outdoor learning approach so lessons will not take place inside classrooms but outside in the playground.

“With the help of characters, Inspector Martha and her dog, Gibson, primary pupils will learn about the links between human and animal emotions, the welfare needs of animals, what it is like to be an animal rescue officer and how to become Animal WISE and be a responsible animal citizen. There will also be opportunities to take part in STEM based activities and use clues to code their animal robot to respond to different situations. Our Martha and Gibson characters will star in animations, will give clues on different exercises and be part of the fun activities set out by our education team.

Martha and Gibson characters

“The Animal WISE secondary programme is designed to be interactive and engaging providing opportunities to take part in a court room role play workshop and decide the outcome of an animal welfare investigation and discuss career opportunities in a variety of animal related sectors, including veterinary positions. Secondary pupils will also have the opportunity to engage with the Scottish SPCA’s manifesto and discuss what they would do to make Scotland #BetterForAnimals.

“Animal WISE supports health and wellbeing, enhances literacy and numeracy skills, introduces innovative ways to engage with STEM and inspires future career pathways. We promote the importance of positive human animal interactions and work with partners to protect that human animal bond. The Scottish SPCA wants to be seen as a key partner to every school in Scotland and support the school’s activities throughout the academic year.

“We’re proud to work in partnership to educate young people on issues such as our #FireworkSafety campaign to keep people and animals safe. The organisations involved include Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, RoSPA and NHS Scotland.

“Animal WISE aims to educate every generation in a meaningful way. Our programmes align with the Curriculum for Excellence so there is a wealth of tools that can be used by teachers from early years through to secondary school. Through our ambition to help develop the young workforce and support every local community we will also have new opportunities when it comes to engaging with colleges, universities and families no matter how old or young you are.

“Our services are completely free and we are encouraging teachers in particular to book now. Visit our website here and choose from amazing opportunities such as face-to-face or virtual workshops, register for the e-learning courses and download the many resources that are available.”




If anyone is concerned about an animal, please do not hesitate to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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