Helping teachers to tell the Glasgow Girls' story

Schools are being encouraged to explore the Glasgow Girls' 2005 campaign against the poor treatment of asylum seekers

Henry Hepburn

World Refugee Day: Schools are being encouraged to share the story of how the Glasgow Girls – three of whom are pictured here – fought the poor treatment of asylum seekers in 2005 (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images)

The "Glasgow Girls"  seven students at Drumchapel High School who in 2005 famously campaigned against the poor treatment of asylum seekers  are featured in new teaching resources designed to bring their story to today's pupils.

The resources from the EIS, Scotland's largest teaching union, have been released to mark World Refugee Day today.

The Tale o’ the Glasgow Girls is a narrative poem written in Scots language by former English as an additional language (EAL) teacher at Drumchapel High School and career-long EIS member Euan Girvan. He worked with the Glasgow Girls both as their teacher and their "campaign manager", as they fought to highlight the poor treatment of asylum seekers and against dawn raids and the detention of children.


From the archive: The Glasgow Girls' fight to end dawn raids

Refugees: ‘A group of schoolchildren showed me that Scotland is my home’

Child refugees: ‘Teachers need more help to support refugee children’


The poem tells of how the Glasgow Girls came together when one of their friends  an asylum seeker  and her family were detained. It describes how they organised a community campaign against Home Office dawn raids and child detention, which received national and international attention (see the Education Scotland video interview with two of the Glasgow Girls below).

World Refugee Day: The story of the Glasgow Girls

Aimed at P6-S3 pupils, the new resources cover reading and writing, art activities and Scots language. They include illustrations by Glasgow-based artist Jamie Squire.

Mr Girvan said: “Our story’s been done in so many different formats by so many wonderful people, but on retiring from teaching, I realised I needed to get it out of my system. This is the result. Now, in the time of the pandemic, this is the moment to join in solidarity and collectively fight the evils of racism and poverty.”

The new resource is a follow-up to information packs created by the EIS in November 2019 to welcome young people from migrant and refugee families into Scottish schools.

EIS assistant secretary Andrea Bradley said the new resources "reflect the commitment that the EIS has to anti-racist education and to supporting and including young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds".

Hard-copy versions of the resource will be available after lockdown restrictions are further eased and it is considered safe to produce them.

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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