Elizabeth Buie reports on a change in direction for the SQA's annual awards to pupils and schools
Three of the brightest pupils nominated for one of this year's annual awards, run by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, are all from state schools.
This year the awards, of which The TES Scotland is media sponsor, are recognising "academic excellence" for the first time in a category sponsored by Microsoft. The entries, which are by invitation only, are judged to have made outstanding achievements at Higher, Advanced Higher and Higher National levels.
The judges were looking for candidates who not only achieve the best academic results but who make the best contributions to their school and the community at large. They had to "set their goals at the highest level and continually demonstrate the resolve to achieve them".
The three nominees for the new award are: Yuelin Li, who came to Scotland from China in 1993, and left Lenzie Academy in the summer; Robin Irvine, currently in S6 at Ullapool High, who has achieved outstanding Higher results despite a hearing impairment; and David Smail from Galashiels Academy, described by his headteacher as one of the most outstanding students ever to have attended the school and who achieved top Advanced Higher results last year despite his father being ill.
Peter Peacock, Education Minister, said: "They are a credit to themselves and their schools and demonstrate that every pupil, in every school across Scotland, can strive for and achieve the best."