'Modern-day eighth wonder of the world' scoops award
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
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
Portree High, Isle of Skye, Highland
Parents and Partners in Learning
Iain Ellis, Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire
St Stephen's Primary, Glasgow
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.