'Modern-day eighth wonder of the world' scoops award

A win for the Kilmarnock teacher is a win for the entire town, says his head

Henry Hepburn

Scotland's new Teacher of the Year won an award not just for himself or even his school - but for an entire town.

That was the view of Tom Campbell's head after the Kilmarnock Academy design and technology teacher took the prize at this week's Scottish Education Awards, run by the Scottish government and the Daily Record.

Headteacher Bryan Paterson explained that Kilmarnock was fed up being associated with The Scheme, the controversial BBC documentary that has attracted a lot of attention for its portrayal of life on an estate, and that Mr Campbell's award might finally shift the attention on to good news.

"He's a modern-day eighth wonder of the world," said Mr Paterson of his colleague; Mr Campbell threw himself into all aspects of the school - and beyond - he said. His work with additional support needs pupils from nearby Woodstock School, with whom he tackles Standard grade tasks, has drawn particular praise. "What his award does for the town of Kilmarnock is immense," added Mr Paterson.

Mr Campbell's principal teacher, John Kirkland, described his 30-year-old colleague as an "unassuming person who doesn't take any credit for what he does"; he enthused people not with showiness, but by example.

One of the big successes in Mr Campbell's time at the East Ayrshire school, where he has taught for five years, was helping pupils twice reach the UK final of a competition to design a Formula 1 car.

Mr Campbell created a "fun environment", said Heather Taylor, who is entering S3, in a video shown at the awards ceremony in Glasgow.

Mr Campbell's work with under-achieving pupils is highly regarded, and he describes what he does as "human sudoku" - every pupil is different, so a different approach may be needed.

When asked if he had any advice for teachers entering their probationary years, Mr Campbell said they should throw themselves into every opportunity that arises and not be put off if it does not work. One of his own most satisfying experiences had been doing the lighting for the school show, he said.

"There is nothing wrong with a bad lesson as long as you address what has gone wrong - everyone has them, but you need to bounce back," he said.

Mr Campbell was keen to stress that he might never have won the award, had he been in a different school: "The staff are so supportive, and, to be honest, we've got a whole school of teachers of the year."


2012 Scottish Education award winners

Lifetime Achievement

Lorraine Stobie, Southcraig Campus, Ayr, South Ayrshire

Headteacher of the Year

Jane Saunders, St Bartholomew's Primary, Glasgow

Probationary Teacher of the Year

Neil McAleenan, Hazlehead Academy, Aberdeen

Educational Supporter of the Year

Alison Robertson, Furnace Primary, Argyll and Bute

Enterprise and Employability across Learning (primary and early years)

Craighead Primary, Milton of Campsie, East Dunbartonshire

Enterprise and Employability across Learning (secondary) Ellon Academy, Aberdeenshire

Aiming High Award

St Andrew's Secondary, Glasgow

Active Nation Award

Scotstoun Primary, Glasgow

Gaelic Language

Portree High, Isle of Skye, Highland

Parents and Partners in Learning

Iain Ellis, Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire

Global Citizenship

St Stephen's Primary, Glasgow

Sustainable Schools

Whitelees Primary, Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire

Learning Through Technology

Port Ellen Primary, Islay, Argyll and Bute

Literacy Across Learning

Doon Academy, Dalmellington, East Ayrshire

Numeracy Across Learning

St Luke's High, Barrhead, East Renfrewshire

Health and Well-being

St Aidan's High, Wishaw, North Lanarkshire.

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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