29 January 2007
One of Scotland's most experienced public servants is supporting a project to give computer games consoles to children aged 5-12 to support their homework.
Sandy Watson, former chief executive of Angus Council, is lending his considerable expertise to the University of Abertay Dundee's Add Knowledge project.
Abertay, with support from Scottish Enterprise Tayside, has established Add Knowledge to develop video games that will support the teaching of key components of the Scottish primary school curriculum.
Add Knowledge is working with a handful of local authorities around Scotland on plans for a two-year pilot project.
If successful, the pilot project could lead to the rollout of the concept across Scotland, providing 400,000 primary school children with their own learning consoles to use at home.
At the same time, it would create a significant number of jobs in Dundee in what would become one of the largest software studios in Europe providing custom-designed computer games to support the national curriculum.
In a career in the public service spanning more than 30 years, Sandy Watson served as Education Director and later Chief Executive of Tayside Regional Council, and as President and later General Secretary of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland.
Among other current posts, he is Chairman of Angus College Board of Management, and a member of the Scottish Higher and Further Education Funding Council.
Mr Watson said: "Add Knowledge is definitely one of the most exciting and compelling of the many innovative educational projects with which I have been involved during my career.
"By providing a technology with which children are already familiar, and focusing it specifically on supporting home study, Add Knowledge will, I am convinced, be making a major contribution to a key aspect of learning in the 5-12 age bracket. I am delighted to be able to contribute to this historic educational development for Scotland," he added.
Chris van der Kuyl, chairman of Add Knowledge, commented: "Sandy's insight into the requirements of local education authorities will be an enormously important contribution to the success of Add Knowledge. He brings a wealth of experience and a valuable network of contacts to the board of the company, and his decision to join is a huge vote of confidence from someone who really knows what he is talking about."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Sandy Watson OBE MA(Hons) MEd(Hons) FCMI FSA(Scot) FRSA
An honours graduate of Glasgow University both in Classics and in Education, Sandy Watson taught in Crieff, Portree and Callander before going into the Education Directorate, serving in Central and Strathclyde Regions, and becoming Director of Education in Tayside in 1990. He was President of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland in 1992/93 and then became the Association's General Secretary.
He became Chief Executive of Tayside Regional Council in December 1994, and was appointed Chief Executive of Angus Council in May 1995 on the reorganisation of local government in Scotland. He retired from this post in June 2005.
As Chief Executive of Tayside Regional Council, he was involved in the detailed process of disaggregating Tayside Regional Council and participated in the Joint Working Parties which were set up by the constituent Authorities as they prepared for the implementation of the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994.
As Chief Executive of Angus Council, he worked hard at creating a new culture of corporate working, partnership and strict financial control. He takes pleasure in the fact that Angus Council has fared very well in the national performance indicators for local government, and is committed to best value, community planning and e-government.
Angus Council was the first Council in Scotland to go through the Best Value and Community Planning Audit. As Chief Executive, Sandy Watson led the exercise with elected members and the management team. The process resulted in Angus being described by Audit Scotland as a businesslike and well-managed Council, which emphasises probity and propriety, and runs good services.
He continues to act as Secretary to the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE Scotland); is a Member of the Carnegie Commission on Rural Community Development; Member of the Board of NHS Tayside; Member of the Scottish Physical Activity & Health Council; Chairman of Angus College Board of Management; and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Abertay Dundee. In October 2006, he was appointed as a Member of the Scottish Funding Council.
He has a close association with Young Scot and the Dialogue Youth Initiative and has also been Chairman of the Scottish Advisory Committee of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
He was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2003.
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