Arran schools are going for gold

New school captains Sid Townsend, Grace Crichton and James McCarthy with the award with head teacher and the leadership team at the high school with head teacher Susan Foster (left), depute head Suzie Dick (right) and acting depute Michelle Bunting.

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The schools on Arran are among the best in the UK and have proved it by picking up a national teaching award.

Selected from thousands of nominations, the Arran Cluster, which consists of the seven island primary schools and Arran High School, has been honoured as one of 102 Pearson National Teaching silver award winners across the entire country.

The Arran Cluster was honoured with a silver award for Impact through Partnership for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children they work with every day – and now they are going for gold.

The group of schools is the only Scottish entry of the four shortlisted in their category to win one of just 15 gold awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC. They will face opposition from three other schools/clusters in this category, which are in Surrey, London and Cambridgeshire.

The Arran Cluster created a health and wellbeing strategy bringing together the different groups working on the island to form a cohesive, progressive and sustainable approach to promoting and supporting positive health and wellbeing on for the island population.

The strategy included upskilling of staff, parents and students in different areas of health and wellbeing, hosting free to attend certificated courses on mental health, suicide prevention and first aid, and working closely with the island’s Health and Social Care Partnership and the locality partnership.

Head teacher Susan Foster, told the Banner on the last day of the session on Tuesday: ‘We are delighted and grateful to receive this award. It is not only a reflection of the amazing work being delivered by our dedicated and talented teachers on Arran, but it also demonstrates the support and engagement we see from our young people every day.

‘Although we have faced many challenges over the past year due to the pandemic, we are very proud of the partnerships that enable the good work taking place on the island to shine through and make a real impact for all of our young people.’

The silver award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, a national campaign to honour and recognise school staff for their incredible work. The celebrations follow new data which shows how the previous year’s lockdowns have significantly changed how families across the country view the role of teachers.

New research from Parentkind and The Teaching Awards Trust highlights that three in four parents and carers have a newfound respect for the teaching profession following their experiences of remote learning during lockdown. 74.9 per cent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had more respect for the work that teachers do following their family’s experiences of remote learning.

Sharon Hague, senior vice president of schools at Pearson UK, said: ‘After a year like no other we want to take today to say thank you to all the incredible school staff who have kept children and young people learning despite unprecedented challenges. We hope the celebrations today show how much you are appreciated, and that your hard work has not gone unnoticed nor unrecognised.’