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Chance to shine in concert hall

Gadburn Primary special school in Glasgow is acquiring an impressive collection of awards - from the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Enterprise and Learning and Teaching Scotland - for projects involving all their pupils, irrespective of learning difficulties.

These projects have helped the children to reach attainment levels that headteacher Gavin Hercus says few teachers or parents would have believed possible.

Art and music feature strongly, as do art and music teachers Alison Gilmore and Nancy Bouts, who both took part in the school's entry in the SSLA Good Practice Awards based on its music partnerships.

Its partners range from Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall to a troupe of Russian musicians to Norrie, one of the local garage's management team. "We couldn't manage without him when we're transporting our children to special events," says Mr Hercus.

"Our partnership with the Royal Concert Hall began two years ago," says Ms Gilmore, "when its education officer, Nancy Nicolson, came to our school to sing to the kids about their Scottish heritage, accompanied by a charismatic Celtic musician who captivated their hearts with his music.

"We realised we had an amazing partner, so we reached out to nearby primary schools, bringing their pupils in to sing, play music and make models out of clay.

"Nancy was so impressed that she persuaded the concert hall to let the children perform on stage with the Russian musical group Balalaika and display their art-work in the foyer."

"There were quite a few tears from parents seeing their kids up on stage for the first time," says Mr Hercus."It was very moving."

An important aspect of the project was that the school was an equal partner, says Ms Gilmore. "You get people who come in and do a workshop, and that's fine, but this was more about enabling the children and providing expertise of our own to make it sustainable."

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