Lessons from Auschwitz Ambassadors 2014


Two of our Amnesty Youth Group students participated in the Holocaust Education Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project. Whilst deepening their knowledge and understanding of this controversial issue, and reflecting on their experiences Morgan Beattie and Craig Johnston have raised interesting, sometimes contentious questions, they have identified and planned a number of projects for the rest of this session as relevant and useful tools for exploring the answers with their peers.  Including Holocaust Memorial Commemorations in January 2014. 

A Time to Flee Drama

The MGS Amnesty Group facilitated two Time to Flee drama workshops with groups of Junior students on the 29th May 2013. The intention was to highlight the work of our group, promote awareness of the importance of protecting Human Rights and give the youngsters an opportunity to experience empathy.

A great success, job done!

Amelia Stott
MGS Amnesty Group
Time to Flee Team

SPRING ‘Love is a Human Right’ Issue coming soon.

To put you in the mood, here is a FREE look at the last edition.



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The challenge, in a school community of over 1,400 students, aged 11-18 is producing a quarterly magazine that caters for everyone. We’ve cracked it. We have an edgy editorial, witty writing, cleverly formulated seasonal themes, whilst providing novelty freebies and interest in every issue. 

It has taken time for our magazine and our editorial team to come together; we had to change the date of the weekly, lunchtime editorial meetings to accommodate everyone’s extra-curricular activities; we had to change the publication date of the winter issue because of the snow and our summer issue was sparse because meeting deadlines is the greatest weakness of some of our contributors’ (enthusiasm being their strongest), also, we are now far choosier with material.   We’re now attracting more content by inviting the ‘career’ journalists in our school community to write about their pet projects, deciding the focus of each issue well in advance and communicating this within the school community to make sure we stay focussed and, hopefully, attract new team members.

The theme of this spring’s LOVE edition is challenging preconceptions about young adulthood. Our readers read all the glossy teenmags so we can’t just reproduce them or have the same features they’ve read  a million times. We’ve tried to include content that’s in tune with our lives; career-minded, intelligent youngsters who regularly flick between Newsnight, America’s Next Top Model and Facebook.  We’ve also made this the focus because of our new S1 intake, producing a copy each for all P7 Campie Primary Pupils which we are scheduled to deliver personally in the hope of making them feel more ‘at home’ when they get here.  Next season’s edition (Youth Democracy) is looking strong already, especially since we’ve an elected Scottish Youth Parliament representative in our Sixth Year and local elections to look forward to.

The biggest change, this year, has been creating an online edition. Now we take time every week to update the blog, our new home for breaking news, urgent AIUK youth action, etc. complementing the magazine which puts news in context.

 The MAG Editorial Team


Amnesty believes that, £5 is not enough to meet the essential needs of people who have come to the UK to escape conflict and persecution.

Asylum seekers are not allowed to work to support themselves and many have to survive on just over £5 a day for several months.  The poverty they face forces people to resort to things such as illegal work, prostitution and begging.

Amnesty is asking MPs to support our call to increase asylum support levels to at least 70% of Income Support – this would be £7 a day for a single adult over 25. Although this is only a small increase, it would allow asylum seekers to meet their most basic essential living needs while they are waiting for a decision on their application.

We wrote to our MP, Fiona O’Donnell, to support a change of current asylum policy which would raise the support asylum seekers receive to at least 70 per cent of Income Support (£7 a day for single adult over 25).  And respectfully ask that she write to the Labour Party Leader, Ed Miliband saying she, as well as us, support this proposal and urge him to help change the policy.

Here’s what might be bought with FIVE pounds compared with what might be bought for SEVEN, which you will see features fresh produce.



The first of a series of 8 exciting, outdoor, live youth music events in East Lothian took place on 2 June 2012, supported and promoted by ELjam, in partnership with a range of other organisations.   ELjam is on the hunt for talent, so Acts/Bands/Ensembles/Groups/Solo Performers of all styles were invited to apply for slots.  And, in the interests of diversity and equal opportunities, ELjam is co-ordinating the selection process in collaboration with local event organisers.

So, on Fri 22 June 11.00 am- 2.00pm Musselburgh – FestiVale 2012- The Long-ish Day Lewisvale Park event was held with a host of ‘talent’ from Musselburgh Grammar School.  The Amnesty Groupers saw their opportunity to have an Amnestea together with a photo petition in Support a bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty.   This year came the opportunity to disarm dictators, warlords and child soldiers when world leaders met in New York to draw up an historic document: the first ever international Arms Trade Treaty.   Their talks ended without agreement but a reasonable draft Treaty and a second chance to make it a reality.

Amnesty are calling on all governments at the UN General Assembly to save the Arms Trade Treaty by supporting a resolution calling for one last round of talks in early 2013.   For more details on how to support the Treaty,  see Support a Bullet Proof Arms Treaty.

AGENDA, 12.06.12

“If these feelings of disgust all over the world could be united into common action, something effective could be done.”
Peter Benenson, Amnesty founder, 1961





Take a look at the Change the World for a Fiver Book, choose ONE action, do it now, do it all week, keep track of how many times and prepare to register AT our space on their website http://www.actiontracker.org.uk/groups/view/410/ password MAG@MGS.


THINK of an small action we can all do. You don’t have to track other suggested actions only, we can add our own and share it with everyone.


Collect a copy of the GUN CONTROL petition and stickers and information sheet and get them signed for next weeks’ meeting, where we will send them to David Cameron.


Deadline for Summer Edition MAG copy is 18th June 2012.

4. AOB

AUTUMN EDITION of the MAG for free!!!

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Scottish Parliament Visit – Thursday, 27th October 2011

Higher Modern Studies students were lucky enough to visit the Scottish Parliament today, to compliment their studies, but also in an effort to understand more fully how to become responsible citizens committed to participate responsibly in political, social and cultural aspects of life.


After an informative seminar on how parliament works, students visited the debating chamber where MSPs were discussing the apt issue of Raising Attainment and Ambition for all Scotland’s Young People.


One of the most fulfilling aspects of the visit was the opportunity to pose questions to an MSP.  The students would like to thank Colin Beattie, for giving up his time, sharing his expertise and providing students with some thought provoking responses:-


MSP Q&A COLIN BEATTIE (SNP Midlothian North & Musselburgh)


Previously working at senior level in national and international finance (in the City of London). He was elected as a Councillor in Midlothian in 2007, then as MSP in May 2011.

1. To what extent does AMS affect participation?

Not a fan; candidates don’t have to campaign; there are 73 constituencies, and 53 list MSPs.   So, the system doesn’t seem nice.  A List MSP doesn’t have the same contact with the constituents.

2.  How would you raise Attainment for all Scotland’s Young People (per Today’s Business in the Scottish Parliament)?

Rather than the traditional technique of throwing money at the problem, smaller class sizes, makes learning easier.  There is no money for that in the short term.   In the next 50 years the population will top 6 million, so education has to change [knowledge of CfE] to produce ‘well rounded citizens’.  You now know your own culture mandatorily [reference to Scottish History in the curriculum], because without knowing your own culture, how can you learn about others?

3.  How can you get young voters to vote.

People mature earlier so we have to reduce the voting age to 16, but that will not increase turnout, because people don’t engage until they are older and have responsibilities e.g. QMU is a highly politicised University, but only 5% of students voted. ‘Waiting until later in life before engaging’.  ‘We don’t want to politicise students … though engaging with young people may help.

4.  Can you give three reasons for Scottish independence?

(a)  Scotland, should be a ‘normal’ country.  We give 75bn in taxes [to Westminster], in return for our 30bn funding from London.

(b)  We are a ‘nation’ without a state, despite having upheld a 300 year contract with England [the Union].

(c)   We want to be part of the World again; we want to decide on our own treaties and alliances and which conflicts we enter ‘we would not be in Iraq or Afghanistan, for instance’.

Overall, we ought to be left to learn from our own mistakes.

5. Some of us have just visited New York/Washington, what chance do you think Obama has of being re-elected?

Absolutely no chance.   He was elected with too great expectations, but faced by recession (to which his name is now attached), so psychologically he is being blamed for it, but, there are no good republican candidates (yet), so we will have to wait and see.

6.  Which Committee were you most recently involved in?

Because of my commitments as an MSP and a Councillor, I have been given low key commitments so the Public Audit Committee which oversees the audit of Scotland.   After the May election, they are being reshuffled and I expect to get a more involved one.

7. What is the next biggest investment the Scottish Government is planning to make?

The Bridge, the trams and the parliament building are embarrassing, but the existing bridge is not going to last.

8.  Can you give reasons against Scottish Independence?

It would be ‘safer, we are part of defensive alliances, but really it is very difficult for me, as a SNP member since the age of 14, to find any reasons not to be independent.

9. We have an SYP representative here, can you give any advice to a career politician? 

Do a job for a while, don’t be a political wannabe, find out what life is like before to understand people better.   All the parties try to get the best people, some are not so good councillors only make 16,300 per year (I only take the MSP salary, because it’s fairer), so parties have to work really hard to attract good people, and this can be really difficult.  With a Councillors’ experience you can respond more effectively to constituent’s requests request because you’ve visited them and live amongst them.

Such was the impact of today’s visit,  students had a lively debate about Scottish Independence all the way home, on the service bus,  the other passengers were very intrigued.

Once again,  MGS  students proved a credit to their school and that they are, already, responsible citizens.








Musselburgh Grammar School Magazine