Supply teachers try to come back;Scottish management

5th June 1998 at 01:00
St Ninian's High, Kirkintilloch, took second prize of pound;1,000. Its submission made an impact with evidence of rising academic standards and work with parents on bullying and positive discipline . And it is one of the few schools with the prestigious Investors in People award.

Headteacher Tony Conroy believes the ethos of his school was summed up by a boy, recently transferred from another area, who told his parents that after just a day he felt he had always been at this school.

"We really try to create a welcoming atmosphere and make sure people are all right," Mr Conroy says. "Supply teachers try to come back to us and student teachers tell us that in some schools they are left to get on with it. Parents here say you can feel that we are genuinely interested in them and their children."

Professor Munn says that this 700-pupil school in East Dunbartonshire shares with Cramond a sense of the school as community. "Everybody - not just the head or depute - seemed to be involved in thinking through what they wanted the school to do. You had a sense of people feeling the school belonged to them. That's what really gets long-term sustainable results."

Mr Conroy says the image of a school community is warranted. "Our janitors are superb and they know they are important. Cleaners, technicians and support staff take as much pride and delight in the school as we do. It is more than just a job to them."

Local businesses have been drawn in too, resulting in a helicopter trip and dinner in a hotel as prizes for children who performed well in the school's "Reach For The Stars" positive behaviour scheme.

Singling out the teaching troops at the school, which has also won the West of Scotland Forum of the European Youth Parliament, Mr Conroy says:

"Management is important but a lot of initiatives are driven by unpromoted staff. I just do what I'm told in support."

The challenge over the next few years is to improve academic results further. "Our Higher results were below the national average, now they are slightly above. It's not easy but we're trying to get them up further. We're not complacent."

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