St Albert’s Primary School in Glasgow is championing inclusion through the creation of short storybooks that aim to challenge diversity of characters in children’s books. The project is tackling the lack of availability of suitable titles in children’s literature by writing, illustrating, and publishing their own stories.


After doing a survey of the books in their school and local library, the pupils from St Albert’s found that almost all the books featured white characters as well as a male author, illustrator, and protagonist. Looking to inspire and empower children and community members by seeing themselves reflected in the books they read, the pupils decided to create their own stories – portraying children and personalities like themselves.


In 2020, St Albert’s Primary school launched their storybooks which were produced despite school closures, working with their author mentors over Zoom. The three books are a collection of 18 short stories called “We Can be Heroes”, where 100% of the stories features Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) characters.


This project won the Glasgow Social Enterprise Academy’s Dragons’ Den in 2021 and was awarded a National Social Enterprise Champion Award. The pupils have also put the books up for sale through their own Etsy shop – ensuring further support for their social enterprise.


The pupils are now in the second phase of their social enterprise project and have secured a grant from the Scottish Libraries and Information Council’s School Libraries Improvement Fund to continue their work in partnership with Barrowland Ballet. Together, they are looking to develop interpretive performances that bring the stories to life.


Neil McLean, CEO at Social Enterprise Academy, said: “St Albert’s Primary School has been a participant of our Social Enterprise Schools Programme for years now, and they have created such a positive change in their community. The lack of diversity in our society is a massive issue, and it’s inspirational to see these young minds come up with ideas on how to tackle matters like this.

“A fundamental component of education is encouraging young people to believe that they can make a difference in their communities and the Social Enterprise Schools programme helps bring that to life. It’s exciting to see their ideas turned into innovative social enterprises.”


Shirley-Anne Brightman, Principal Teacher at St Albert’s Primary School and writing project lead, said: “The pupils, parents, writers and illustrators who have collaborated on these stories are all determined to create positive change through this project. All our stakeholders from the Scottish BAME Writers Network to the Scottish Book Trust have been fantastic. The St. Albert’s motto is ‘Creating Conscience-led Communities’ and this social enterprise work is just one strand of the issue-based work we champion.”


Nadine Cohen, St. Albert’s Social Enterprise lead, said: “The team at the Social Enterprise Academy have supported us and given the children much deserved recognition for their work. Helping our pupils develop their passion for creating the change they want to see within our local community is at the very heart of our culturally responsive curriculum at St. Albert’s, and it’s a privilege to help them to realise their potential and action their ideas.”


For more information on how to get involved in the Social Enterprise Schools programme, please visit:


Dentsu UK partners with Co-op for the 2021 edition of pioneering schools programme The Code

Innovative training initiative to bridge the skills and diversity gap returns for fifth year after reaching 11,000 students so far 


London, 17 March 2021: Dentsu UK’s flagship schools programme, The Code, will celebrate its fifth year by partnering with convenience retailer Co-op for the return of the Rise Up Creative Challenge.  


The challenge, in collaboration with leading overlooked talent specialist MyKindaFuture, is open to young people aged 15 to 18, and supports dentsu in its aim to reach more than 15,000 young people in the UK by the end of 2021. So far, it has reached more than 11,000 through The Code programme.  


It will run for three months from 17 March and supports The Code’s aim to open the doors of the creative industries to students from under-represented backgrounds and communities. For example, last year’s edition saw 61% of participants identify as female and 52% from BAME backgrounds. To facilitate this, dentsu will continue to work with 13 partner schools from across the UK in areas with low social mobility, and higher than average BAME representation and students on free school meals.   


The Rise Up Creative Challenge supports young people’s development across the UK by asking them to come up with a creative digital advertising campaign that helps tackle a real client brief.  This year’s edition will see students work on three areas of focus for the Co-op: Community, Healthy Living and A Better World.  


Co-creating solutions to the world’s biggest challenges is a consistent theme for The Code and in the lead-up to COP26, the Rise Up Creative Challenge gives a platform to the next generation of leaders and activists to share their ideas on how to build back better and confront the climate crisis. 


Students will have access to The Code’s digital curriculum, which was developed last year using the knowledge of dentsu experts in digital, media and creative. The online curriculum was launched to help address the lack of support for young people’s development during the global pandemic. It includes access to mentors from dentsu and Co-op, and on-demand video courses around topics such as the importance of data and audience insights in marketing.  


Entrants will present their campaigns to a team of judges that includes: dentsu UK’s CEO of Creative James Morris, Co-op Customer Director Ali Jones, and Adweek’s UK Bureau Chief Stephen Lepitak. The winner will see their idea brought to life and – along with three highly commended entries – will receive work experience and a host of prizes from Co-op and dentsu.  


James Morris, CEO – Creative and Chair of DEI Council, dentsu UK & Ireland said: “The effect of the pandemic has been felt at every level of society, especially in education. Businesses must step up and help bridge the ever-widening skills and attainment gap for disadvantaged students. Co-op leads the way in supporting community actions. Together, we can take this further, providing the essential training and access needed to provide a pathway to a future career in the creative industries.”

Ali Jones, Customer Director, Co-op said: “We’re proud to partner with an agency business like dentsu, which has a clear, active Social Impact strategy designed to tackle the issues facing our society. That lies at the heart of what we do and supporting young people through the pandemic has been a key focus for us. We’re delighted to be partnering with The Code programme to give students across the country an opportunity to come up with tangible ways to support their communities while at the same time opening up greater opportunities for their own futures.” 


The Rise Up Creative Challenge is open to all students who can take part by visiting: 


Meeting the needs of young people in challenging environments is a key part of dentsu’s Social Impact programme globally. The Code first launched in the UK in 2016 and is now live in 11 markets globally including the US and Canada to support dentsu’s goal to support 100,000 young people globally to become empowered digital citizens. More information on The Code can be found at