This is an important point in Scotland’s history. We have a growing sense of ourselves and what is achievable. In education, the Curriculum for Excellence is ushering in new priorities in our schools. One of the four purposes of education is how to create confident individuals. As Carol explains in this book, this is a huge opportunity for Scotland: the new emphasis in education could help us create a more dynamic Scotland by replacing ‘canny do’ negativity with a much more positive and ‘can do’ approach. If we could create confidence, not on the basis of wishful thinking or an inflated sense of ourselves, but on the basis of skills, genuine self-belief and realistic optimism then Scotland could perhaps regain its position as a world leader in innovation and ideas.
As a businessman I am very well aware of the importance of confidence in today’s workplace. We need young people who are optimistic, enthusiastic and able to work effectively in teams. We need people who are engaged and committed to what they do and prepared to go out of their way to deliver really good services. But we also need people who have good basic skills – who are able to read, write and count. The company I chair, Morris and Spottiswood, believe that at the core of any effective business are two things – people and their ideas. We need people to think differently – to challenge the norm. I truly believe that the only way to grow as an individual is to open your mind and listen to ideas.
Any person who, like me, values ideas will be stimulated by this book. From start to finish it is packed with interesting concepts, challenging facts and useful suggestions. You might not agree with everything Carol says but you are unlikely to find her arguments dull. I am confident that this book will have an enormous impact on the thinking and practices of people not just working in education but beyond.
The Centre for Confidence and Well-being is an extraordinary organisation. It is small, nimble and clearly able to punch well above its weight. Its deliberation on some of the big policy areas of our times is important, not just for Scotland, but also internationally.
All of us at Morris and Spottiswood are delighted to have given the support necessary to produce this book. I am indebted to my sister and my wife for fully supporting this initial commitment to the Centre for Confidence and Well-being.
Morris and Spottiswood