Dunoon Grammar makes final three of global schools prize

Scottish school beats off competition from around the world after impressing with its attempts to keep young people in its community
22nd September 2022, 8:00am

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Dunoon Grammar makes final three of global schools prize

https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/secondary/dunoon-grammar-makes-final-three-global-schools-prize
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An outstanding Scottish school has been named in the final three for a global schools prize.

Dunoon Grammar School impressed with its skills-based courses designed to persuade pupils to stay in the area after they leave school.

It is now a finalist in the community collaboration category of the new $250,000 (£220,000) World’s Best School Prizes, launched this year by T4 Education, an international education organisation.

The five World’s Best School Prizes for community collaboration, environmental action, innovation, overcoming adversity and supporting healthy lives - celebrate schools for what organisers describe as “the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress, especially in the wake of Covid”.

Dunoon has seen an exodus of young people in recent times, and to try and reverse this, Dunoon Grammar evaluated the community’s needs and gaps in the workforce. It then offered over 50 skill-based courses in a range of different professions, including travel and tourism, design, and maritime studies.

The school has continued to put an emphasis on helping students find work, training or education places post-school, including regular work placements to bolster their prospects. It also focuses on entrepreneurial skills, in the hope that students establish their own local enterprises or contribute to regeneration projects.

After working with Apps for Good - an educational charity that promotes coding skills - students’ achievements have included creating apps to address the climate crisis, to coincide with the 2021 COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The school has also offered joint learning experiences for families in areas such as health and wellbeing, numeracy, literacy and digital skills. Its family liaison officer supports families with applications for benefits, as part of its efforts to address attainment gaps.

If Dunoon Grammar won its category, and the $50,000 (£44,000) funding that goes with it, this would be used to improve transport and invest in more advanced remote learning technology.

Dunoon Grammar headteacher David Mitchell said: “This truly is fantastic news for our wider school community. To be the only European school in the final three of the community collaboration category of the World’s Best Schools Prizes is fantastic recognition for our school.”

Yvonne McNeilly, Argyll and Bute Council policy lead for education, said she was “constantly overwhelmed by the school’s endless successes” and was confident that “we can take this award home”.

Paul Gallanagh, a principal teacher at Dunoon Grammar, asked for the support of other schools in Scotland and beyond to vote for the school and join in its #jigforjoy challenge, which he described as “a fun way we can all celebrate this achievement on social media”.

Vikas Pota, founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said: “As the world looks to rebuild from the devastation of the Covid pandemic, far too many children will continue to be left behind unless we see urgent action on education. Leaders must learn from the knowledge and experience contained within our schools because those on the front lines of education know better than anyone else the change we need to see.

“The World’s Best School Prizes surface the expertise of inspirational schools from every corner of the globe. It’s time for governments everywhere to listen to their voices.

On Dunoon Grammar, Mr Pota said: Teachers everywhere will be inspired by the example of this outstanding Scottish school.”

The three finalists for each of the five World’s Best School Prizes are now entered into a public vote, which runs until Sunday 2 October. Votes can be cast here.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 19 October, during T4‘s World Education Week.

The prizes were founded by T4 Education, in collaboration with Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah, Templeton World Charity Foundation, the Lemann Foundation, D2L, Mellby Gård and Universidad Camilo José Cela.

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