Oscar for Kick Bigotry Out

9th June 2006 at 01:00
A Glasgow school whose "kick bigotry out" project was first highlighted in The TES Scotland has won the first anti-sectarianism award in the annual Scottish education "oscars", held in Glasgow last Friday.

Pupils at St Margaret Mary's Secondary designed a football, branded as "Kick Bigotry Out", selling the balls as part of an enterprise initiative and donating profits to charity. The citation notes The TESS article which it says led to a number of enquiries from other schools keen to spread the anti-bigotry message.

The project, which features a player wearing a blue jersey and green shorts, was launched in December and backed by players from Celtic and Rangers.

Ian Gilroy, enterprise education officer at the school, says there have been enquiries from all over the world after a website was launched to promote the idea (www.kickbigotryout.co.uk).

Mr Gilroy believes that the anti-bigotry message should be taken up in all schools. St Margaret Mary's has already put this into practice by teaming up with Castlemilk High, its non-denominational neighbour, which has agreed to sell the footballs. The two schools have also joined up as part of the Scottish Executive's Schools of Ambition programme.

The education awards, which are principally backed by the executive and the Daily Record, saw a Highland teacher pick up the teacher of the year accolade. Alistair Tait, head of technological education at Fortrose Academy, has taught in his subject area for 38 years. Mr Tait is said to enthuse his pupils by "his ability to continually develop new imaginative and creative ideas". Results in his department have been consistently high.

In addition to his work at Fortrose, Mr Tait won praise for making an impact in local primaries and showing dedication to his community, whether it be constructing play equipment or holding an evening woodwork class (which he did for 35 years).

Douglas Simpson, headteacher at Fortrose, said: "During my 31 years in teaching in five different schools, I have not met a more thoroughly professional teacher and one who has made the conscious decision to use his skills at the chalkface."

Mr Simpson added: "Quite simply, he challenges his students to demonstrate the same level of commitment as he exhibits and will settle for nothing less."

Highland had a good day out, picking up the local authority award of the year for its efforts in making every school a health promoting school two years ahead of schedule. Raigmore primary in Inverness won the healthy living award and Hillhead primary in Wick was chosen for the ICT learning award.

Other teachers were also honoured. Anne Paterson was described as "the outstanding and inspirational leader" of Inveraray primary and pre-five unit, winning the praise of teachers and pupils for "making teaching and learning fun".

The probationer of the year award went to Susan Ward of Juniper Green primary in Edinburgh. She started a "building wall" where pupils can write positive things about each other. She is described as "an exceptional asset to the school", with many new ideas and a range of excellent skills in learning and teaching.

The other winners are:

* Ambition Award - St Columba's High, Dunfermline, for multimedia projects to help wider learning for "challenging" pupils

* Schools for All Award - Willowbank School in North Lanarkshire, for its expanded learning opportunities project, aimed at improving offerings for youngsters with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties

* Active Citizenship Award - Muirhead Community School in Troon, for outreach and exchange work with young victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

* Better Behaviour and Attendance Award - Castlehead High in Paisley, for its support base

* Enterprise in Education Award (primary) - Dunbog primary, Fife, for enterprise projects that generate profits to be donated to its partner school in Malawi

* Enterprise in Education Award (secondary) - St Margaret's High, Airdrie, provides vocational options for its pupils and real experience of the world of work

* Enterprise in Education Award (special) - Hyndhead School in Leven, Fife, for its work experience approaches which help pupils feel "independent, confident and empowered".

* Enterprise in Education Award (best business partnership) - Firrhill High in Edinburgh, for its work with more than 30 local businesses and organisations

* Enterprise in Education Award (best school enterprise) - Blackburn primary in West Lothian, for its first theatre production

* Education Supporter of the Year - Bill Lothian, janitor at Pilrig Park School, for his widespread involvement in school life

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