Two major London publishers share this year's award by The TES Scotland and the Saltire Society for books aimed at the Scottish school curriculum. The prize to Longman Education is for a primary series called "A Sense of History". Hodder and Stoughton wins with Working Words - Scottish Creative Writing by Valerie Thornton, which is intended for Standard grade and above.
The pound;500 award, now in its fourth year, recognises publishing initiatives, from north or south of the border, specifically directed at Scottish needs and syllabuses even although the market is usually much more limited than for books linked to the English national curriculum.
This year's judges were impressed by the way in which Longman had expanded its set of history and other titles with several tailored to the 5-14 guidelines in environmental studies. These include Homes in Scotland by Rosalie Spottiswoode and Grandparents in Scotland by Judith Page. Booklets on other subjects, such as Food by Helen Gordon and Castles by Dorothy Morrison combine Scottish with other examples in both the text and the well chosen illustrations. In all, six titles were submitted together with 15 posters and a teachers' guide.
Working Words unites anthology and working tool. Its aim is to help pupils with creative writing, and Valerie Thornton offers practical help in facing what she calls "the challenge of the blank page". The aim is "to show pupils in S4 to S6 how writers work. This insight will help all students who are working on creative writing assignments".
The judges - Gordon Jarvie, writer and editor, Elizabeth Adrian, development officer with the Fife advisory service, Gerry Mortimer, convener of the educational publications and prizes panel of the Saltire Society, and Willis Pickard, editor of The TES Scotland - commended publishers of three other entries.
They are Standard Grade Computing Studies by John Walsh, Bessie Dunlop, Witch of Dalry by John Hodgart (both published by Hodder and Stoughton) and the Wayland set on Robert Bruce - Scotland's Hero King by Margaret Stephen and Bruce's Scotland by Mari Spankie, which reflect differentiated approaches to the same topic and allow the teacher to select the most appropriate for individual pupils.
The judges were impressed by the range of material being published for Scottish pupils - in science and mathematics as well as in more predictable fields such as history.