29 December 2016
Following Storm Frank, the First Minister visited affected communities in Aberdeenshire in January. She announced £12 million for communities across Scotland to provide every household, business premises or charity directly affected by flood water with a grant of £1,500.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) January 9, 2016
The First Minister set out the Scottish Government’s focus on closing the attainment gap at the start of the year and launched the National Improvement Framework.
Later that month the First Minister visited Queen Margaret Academy in South Ayrshire to announce £230 million for new schools to be built across Scotland as part of the Schools for the Future programme.
Then in March the First Minister launched the new global campaign from VisitScotland – the Spirit of Scotland. The campaign asked people to share their experiences of Scotland online using #ScotSpirit.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) February 10, 2016
As part of the Scottish Government’s work to improve literacy, the First Minister’s Reading Challenge was launched in March to encourage children to read as many books as possible each year.
The First Minister said:
Some of my happiest childhood memories involve immersing myself in the adventures of the Famous Five so I’m pleased to have the opportunity to encourage young people to also experience the joy of reading for pleasure.”
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) March 3, 2016
Later that month, Jackie Kay was announced Scotland’s new Makar.
As part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensure children and young people are at the heart of decisions affecting them and their education, young people from all over Scotland had the opportunity to quiz the First Minister at a Young Scot Ask the FM event. The questions covered a range of topics including education, mental health and homelessness.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) March 21, 2016
Following the Scottish Parliament election in May, the First Minister held a press conference at Bute House setting out the Scottish Government’s focus on the economy for the next parliamentary session.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) May 11, 2016
2016 marked the centenary of some of the most devasting battles of World War One. On 31 May, the First Minister took part in a number of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, which involved around 250 ships off the coast of Denmark and claimed the lives of more than 8,000 seamen.
— WW100Scotland (@WW100Scotland) May 28, 2016
On 1 July, the First Minister, senior Royals and politicians joined over 10,000 people at Thiepval Memorial to the Missing in France to remember those who fought at the Battle of the Somme. The battle saw more than a million men wounded or killed, 420,000 of them from the British Army.
In June, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, hosted a summit on raising attainment in Scotland’s schools, where they outlined plans to build on existing qualifications by providing additional training for both new and experienced headteachers.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) June 15, 2016
In September, the First Minister met the world-leading experts selected to form Scotland’s new International Council of Education Advisers. The panel is advising on the Scottish Government’s priorities for education and ensuring the actions set out in its delivery plan are influenced by international best practice.
Following the result of the EU referendum, the First Minister began a programme of activity to protect Scotland’s relationship with Europe.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) June 24, 2016
She formed the Standing Council on Europe to advise the Scottish Government on securing Scotland’s relationship and status within the EU in response to the referendum result. The council met for the first time in Edinburgh in July.
On 15 July the First Minister welcomed new Prime Minister Theresa May to Edinburgh in what was her first official visit since taking office.
Politics aside – I hope girls everywhere look at this photograph and believe nothing should be off limits for them. pic.twitter.com/QGZI3Cgw8d
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 15, 2016
The First Minister visited The Prince’s Trust in July to announce the Scottish Government was bringing forward new laws to tackle child poverty. She also announced the reappointment of Naomi Eisenstadt as Scotland’s Independent Poverty Advisor for another year.
— Heart Scotland News (@HeartScotNews) July 20, 2016
In August the First Minister visited Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she visited the site of the 1995 genocide at Srebrenica. She met with survivors and the bereaved, and heard about their fight to preserve the memory of their loved ones.
— Edward Ferguson (@EAFergusonFCO) August 21, 2016
On 6 September the First Minister set out her Programme for Government to the Scottish Parliament, outlining the priorities for the Scottish Government in the year ahead.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) September 6, 2016
Later in September, she pledged to listen to 1,000 young people who have experienced the care system to improve the lives of children in care. She made the commitment to the 1,000 voices manifesto – put together by Who Cares? Scotland and a coalition of charities – on meeting children and young people in Glasgow.
— Who Cares? Scotland (@WhoCaresScot) September 26, 2016
She attended the Joint Ministerial Committee in Downing Street to discuss the implications of the EU referendum. The meeting was attended by the Prime Minister, the Welsh First Minister and Northern Ireland’s First Minister, as well as Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe Michael Russell, who the First Minister appointed after the Brexit vote.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) October 24, 2016
During Living Wage Week, the First Minister visited the Bell Group, a UK wide painting and decorating contractor headquartered in Airdrie, to welcome the rise in the real Living Wage rate to £8.45 an hour.
November saw the First Minister visit Dublin where she met Irish President Michael D. Higgins, Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald and the Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan. The First Minister also spoke at the Seanad Éireann, the Upper House of the Irish Parliament, the first serving head of government to do so.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) November 29, 2016
On 30 November the First Minister wished people in Scotland and further afield a happy St Andrew’s Day.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) November 30, 2016
Proposals to keep Scotland in the European Single Market, retain freedom of movement, and to equip the Scottish Parliament with the powers it needs to serve Scotland’s interests post-Brexit were published on 20 December.
At the beginning of December the First Minister unveiled her official 2016 Christmas card featuring Oor Wullie. The original illustration by Peter Davidson and text by Morris Heggie will be auctioned next year and the proceeds will be shared between four charities – The Archie Foundation, SiMBA, Christine Witcutt Memorial Fund and The Dixon Community.
The First Minister ended 2016 by wishing everyone a merry Christmas.