A book aimed at helping teachers with 5-14 environmental studies and personal and social education is the winner of this year's award by the Saltire Society and The Times Educational Supplement Scotland.
Hodder amp; Stoughton has pulled off the pound;500 prize for the second year in succession with Society amp; You by M Cruickshank, C Lambert and M Wilson in a series, Understanding People in Society, edited by Muir Johnstone. Last year another of its publications, the history textbook, Scotland and the Second World War, won the award.
The judges singled out Society amp; You for its freshness and topicality. Among the issues which primary pupils are invited to consider is "fair play", a positive approach to classroom and playground relationships.
The judges, in this the seventh year of the award, were Linda Boyle, depute headteacher of Borestone primary, Stirling; Sheila Campbell, headteacher of Kilbowie Primary, Clydebank; Jim McGonigle, principal teacher of history, Hermitage Academy, Helensburgh, and a book reviewer for TES Scotland; Ian McGowan, head of publishing studies at Stirling University; Gerry Mortimer, education convener of the Saltire Society and a lecturer at Strathclyde University; and Willis Pickard, editor of TES Scotland.
Mr McGonigle commented that Society amp; You was "forward looking", whereas too many of the other entries from publishers had concentrated on treating well-worn themes. Mrs Campbell said teachers would welcome the Scottish setting, although many of the issues were universal to primary education.
The presentation and layout of the winning book are attractive. A teacher's resource book complements the pupil material.
The annual award was instituted to encourage publishers and to recognise that all areas of the Scottish curriculum for three to 18-year-olds which differ from those elsewhere in the United Kingdom deserve professional support, despite the commercial constraints of small print runs. Books and other printed materials are eligible, as are those using electronic media.
The focus on Scottish content is topical in view of the recent widely debated report from the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum on the place of Scottish culture in children's education.
The judges would have liked to see a wider range of entries this year, but they were pleased that publishers consider Scottish needs outside the obvious areas of history and literature. Modern studies, a subject not offered south of the border, brought entries, as did science and mathematics.
Two books aimed at Higher Still mathematics were commended by the judges. Nelson has brought out Higher Mathematics and Statistics for Higher Mathematics, and has since added textbooks for intermediate level.
"With all the curriculum changes underway, teachers need good quality materials, " said Willis Pickard. "Higher Still in particular should be an area for publishers to play their part.
"The Government's professed commitment to Scottish content in pupils' education should lead to more books being produced," he said. "It will be interesting to see whether the new parliament is also a spur to publishing activity."
WHAT TES SCOTLAND'S REVIEWER SAID
"Teaching personal and social education in primary schools is proving difficult, and teachers are always on the look out for good resources. This set of textbooks goes a long way to meeting the need."
"One danger with 5-14 developments is that teachers are forced to use materials that satisfy the requirements of the programme rather than those that are stimulating and enjoyable. These books are both."
"Hodder amp; Stoughton is to be commended for producing materials that will be invaluable to primaries and provide much stimulus to secondary modern studies courses."
November 6 1998