Kate Higgins


Likes weans and wittering, cooking and carousing, gardening and girning. Committed to changing Scotland one blog post at a time, here and on her own site, A Burdz Eye View. Passionate about social justice and making sure those currently without, get theirs.


  • 1. We must always listen to and believe children, and make it safe for them to speak out if they are being abused.  And it’s everybody’s responsibility to do so. If you’re concerned about a child, there are some simple things you can do. Children 1st has ten top tips to protect children free to download from the website to give children the space they need to trust and to tell you. And then you must act. You must report it to the police.

  • This week, I was asked by a friend if I could provide details of food banks for her to contact to help some families she supports. The children are hungry, she said. I go to help them get ready for school and know they are going out the door hungry, having gone to bed hungry.  

  • It could become a joke.  How many experts does a country need to design and run a referendum?

    The Unionists – more obviously known as Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – have decided not enough.  And they’d like their own added to the mix, please.

    So today, their triad of experts, all impressive in their own right, never mind as a group, have come up with what they reckon should be the question to be put to the Scottish people.

  • Today the Scottish Government launches a consultation on a new bill for children and young people.  It and the media are focussing on the childcare element.

    The government is increasing the number of hours of learning and childcare for pre-school children from 475 to 600 every year. Families will also have more flexibility about how to use this – currently, most of it is provided through school nursery provision.

  • For anyone who missed it, a wee girl who lives in Argyll and Bute council area decided she’d had enough of her rubbish school dinners and started a blog, Never Seconds

    On it, she posted daily photos of her dinner, provided some commentary about the quantity and the quality and included an easy to understand rating system.

  • I’ve wracked my brains for my own wee funny story to share with you but I’m toiling. There were plenty of times I wanted to leave behind my offspring after a particularly disastrous shopping trip or day out spoiled by tantrums (and not just theirs). But I always did the dutiful thing.

    Apparently, my gran once left me in a pram outside the Post Office and got all the way home before realising she had forgotten something.  Needless to say, I survived to tell the tale.

  • In the current climate, we could all be forgiven for keeping our heads down and just getting on with getting on.

    But actually, this is exactly the time when we should be encouraged to engage in some long, hard thinking about our culture and values.

    In times of relative scarcity of resources, we can all be guilty of allowing our innate selfishness to triumph, particularly if encouraged by a government – yes I mean you, Tory-led UK Government - to do so.

  • The Prime Minister has a point.  I can recall being presented with my first new-born some 20 odd years ago and panicking:  I immediately signed up for the full six-day stay in hospital to work out what to do with him. 

    And while some of it was instinct, and trial and error, I'm not ashamed to admit that I learned lots from my own mum and from friends and other family members too.

    But it doesn't get any easier:  every milestone reached gives barely a moment for celebration before the next challenge presents itself.

  • Headlines proclaimed that young Scots are among the happiest in Europe.  They are brushing their teeth more regularly, consuming fewer fizzy drinks, doing well at school smoking and taking drugs less.

    Heck, some of them even claim to talk to their parents.  It paints a rosy picture, but only if you stick to the headlines.

  • It's seeing them learn through play which is so fascinating. I can recall many instances of watching my toddler sons trying to do something but not quite getting it.

    You know the kind of thing – trying to move water into a bucket using a pot with holes in it, or to make a triangular block go through a smaller, circular hole.  How long would they continue to do the same thing before they would realise that it wasn't going to work and that they would need to try something else?

  • Despite George Osborne claiming that the "central goal of this budget is to support working families," measures which benefit them directly were thin on the ground.  And most attention was given to the better off ones.

    Talking about dancing on pinheads, the Chancellor spent so long building up to his announcement about needing to "avoid a cliff edge" in relation to the proposed cut off for child benefit, I thought he was going to renege on it altogether.

  • It was an important move, because previously no one knew just how many children were present in households where domestic violence had reached the point where police were being called. The figures were more shocking than anyone might have thought.

    Around 7000 children and young people all over Scotland spent last Christmas and New Year hoping that the violence might stop.  And these are only the ones we know about, as Graeme Goulden, Chief Inspector who leads on the anti-violence campaign at the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) pointed out.

  • I've done a couple of blogposts recently calling on all the political parties to make children and issues impacting on them a priority.

    And whaddya know?  They appear to have been listening.  Or at least not turning a deaf ear to such pleas.

    At the SNP Spring Conference, First Minister Alex Salmond's big announcement was that the Scottish Government would be putting into law, through the forthcoming Children's Services bill, an entitlement for all 3 and 4 year olds to 600 hours of nursery education.

  • There's the Labour MP who assaulted colleagues while under the influence. It is suggested that the same MP has serious issues with alcohol and also seduced a much younger female party activist. Then there's the SNP MSP, currently suspended, after the Sunday Herald published accusations of serial domestic abuse of the women in his life.

  • Yesterday, though, rightly saw top billing for a great news story for children and young people with diabetes. The Scottish Government has stumped up the cash to ensure that every child who can use one will get an insulin pump.

    And with one small step, a giant leap in the quality of life for 480 children with Type 1 diabetes will be achieved.

    A small number, granted, but every child deserves the best possible start in life and coping with a life-long condition, which in some cases might be life-limiting, should be made as hassle-free as possible.

  • Both are pretty naturally gifted sportsmen – nothing makes me prouder than standing on the sidelines cheering them on.

    I've done it in blizzards, gales, scorching sunshine (this one very rarely) and always tried to show encouragement to them and their team-mates.

    But like many parents, I've seen and heard other adults take it all too seriously and worse, vent their frustrations at children and young people playing on the park.

  • Though you may want to hibernate your way through this procedural bit of the independence referendum debate, you really should sit up and pay attention.

    It might be tedious, there might be an awful lot of gesticulating and noise-making from the political parties and respective parliamentary institutions, but actually some of the decisions reached in these early days will have profound and longlasting impact.

  • No one could fail to have been repulsed by the pictures of the squalor in which little Declan Hainey’s body was found.  Nor made heart sore by the appealing photo of the wee boy, his cherubic features and toothy grin emphasising just how young and innocent he was when murdered.

  • I've never been shy of banging on about the lack of women commentators on Newsnight Scotland.  All too often, we get an all bloke affair: I've lost count of the number of times this has happened and it was only after concerted criticism that a fleeting attempt was made to rectify matters.

  • I never do owt so rash as promise to change at New Year. I can think of nothing worse than removing clothing, doing without comfort food or taking up a new hobby in the darkest depths of winter when cash flow has slowed to a trickle.  I wait until early summer to come up with madcap ideas but be assured, I break my resolutions just as quickly as any made in January.

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Kate Higgins

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