We had the pleasure to welcome Graeme Armstrong (best-seeling author of “The Young Team”), Emily Cutts (Director of The Children’s Wood charity and the G20 Youth Festival), and Henry Hepburn (news editor at Tes Scotland) to our TILE Network. In an inspiring conversation they shared their own experiences and elaborated on the impact of their work supporting young people. Graeme and Emily read excerpts from their books and reflected on what educators would need to do and how the educational system as a whole would need to shift in order to become truly inclusive – supporting talents wherever they may come from.

Listen to their insightful conversation in the recording below.

See you at the next TILE Network seminar.


The phrase ‘not in Education’ is used, often with judgemental undertones, to describe young people who have been excluded from, or are refusing to attend, school. The onus is often placed on the behaviour of the young person in these discussions when it should be more appropriately focused on the systems and structures that fail to include and support them.  We know that sense of belonging is powerful in terms of engagement in education, yet from primary school through to Higher Education our educational systems and structures remain pretty inflexible and unwelcoming for many. This often means that if you don’t fit neatly in those structures, you find yourself quickly excluded by others or by choice. The question then is – what needs to change so that we become inclusive and flexible in really meaningful and sustainable ways at all levels of Education? In this session we invite you to join us in trying to figure out the answers to this question together. To help stimulate these discussions we are delighted to welcome Graeme Armstrong author of the awardwinning Scottish novel ‘The Young Team’. Graeme will talk about his own journey through educationsharing where systems and structures failed him, but also where individual educators championed him and the difference these experiences made. We will also welcome Emily Cutts from the G20 Youth Project in Maryhill in Glasgow to talk about the work they are currently doing with young people ‘not in education’ and the successes and challenges of this workTo help us navigate these challenging questions, which we know have no easy answers, Henry Hepburn from the Times Educational Supplement (TES) will facilitate the session. Together we hope to reflect on what we can learn from these personal experiences and journeys within the wider context of education. Come join the discussionshare your experiences and ideas and collectively we can try to shift the dial for these young people.


 About the speakers: 

Graeme Armstrong is a Times bestselling author from Airdrie. His teenage years were spent within Scotland’s ‘young team’ gang culture. After reading English as an undergraduate at the University of Stirling, he undertook a Master’s in Creative Writing. His debut novel, The Young Team, is based upon his experiences. It is currently being adapted for screen by Synchronicity Films. 

Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award 2021 

Winner of the Betty Trask Award 2021 

Emily Cutts is Director of The Children’s Wood charity which includes the G20 Youth Festival. Emily is passionate about making change at a local level and believes that we can begin to tackle urgent issues like mental health, addiction and inclusion by applying a sometimes counter cultural approach to these issues.  Her approach draws on a background in psychology including a Masters in Positive Psychology, working as Psychology Researcher at The Centre for Confidence and Well-being, and from over ten years of community activism. 


Henry Hepburis news editor at Tes Scotland, the magazine for education professionals. He also co-hosts the Tes Scotland podcast. Henry has twice won writer of the year prizes at the annual Scottish Magazine Awards (in 2014 and 2015) and in 2017 won the Award for Outstanding Regional Education Journalism at the UK-wide CIPR Education Journalism Awards. Henry grew up in Aberdeen and is a University of Glasgow graduate.