BY Ryan McDougall | May 3 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Catholic schools and teachers nominated as among the best in the country

Catholic schools, teachers and staff have been named as being among the best in the country in annual education awards.

Finalists for this year’s Scottish Education Awards have been announced and Catholic staff have been shortlisted in the Headteacher of the Year, Teacher of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award categories.

In total, nine Catholic schools are nominated in eight categories out of a total of 15, with one school entered in two categories.


West Lothian

Lisamaria Purdie (above), headteacher of St Ninian’s Primary School in West Lothian, has been nominated in the Headteacher of the Year category.

She said: “It’s so exciting—I’m really quite overwhelmed and very humbled by all the kind words and thoughts of the people who nominated me.”

Shocked at having made it to the finals, she added: “I was completely unaware I’d been entered until about a week after they’d submitted my name. That, in itself, was a great surprise and a privilege, and when I got the phone call to find out I was through [to the final] that was the icing on the cake!”



Mrs Purdie said she is ‘not surprised’ that so many Catholic schools in Scotland have made the cut.

She said: “I think there’s a lot of fantastic work bring done by our Catholic schools—they have a great reputation across the country and it’s great to see so many of them are in the finals.”


East Dunbartonshire

John McKean, a language and communication (LCR) teacher at St Ninian’s High School, East Dunbartonshire, has been shortlisted for Teacher of the Year.

He said: “I was delighted and extremely honoured to be nominated for this award and to be shortlisted as a finalist.”


Teaching merit

Mr McKean was nominated for his excellence in LCR, which helps young people with communication and language difficulties to thrive in mainstream education.

“These difficulties can result in high anxiety levels, which can in turn lead to negative outcomes,” Mr McKean said.

He credited the St Ninian’s staff with creating an ethos which ‘encourages the inclusion of all young people regardless of background or ability.’

He added: “It’s great to see so many other Catholic schools recognised at the awards for their success.”



Heather Hagan, a clerical officer for St Patrick’s Primary School in Kilsyth, has been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement award. She said she was ‘shocked’ but ‘very chuffed’ to hear she was a finalist.

Mrs Hagan often goes beyond her school duties, working with charities such as the SSVP and food banks to help local families.

“I’ve worked here for 19 years now and I think one of the reasons I’m up for the award is because I know so many people in Kilsyth and work with these various organisations,” she said.

“I think it’s more for my work in the school, but also for helping parents. I was a wee bit embarrassed when I found out but I’m really happy about being nominated.”


A ‘welcoming’ school

She added that St Patrick’s is a ‘very welcoming’ and ‘warming’ school that supports both the pupils and the parents.

“It’s so nice to see that there are two Kilsyth schools [among the nominees] for the whole of Scotland,” she said.


Across Scotland

Other Catholic schools in the finals are: St Marnock’s Primary in Glasgow and St Stephen’s Primary in North Lanarkshire, who are competing for the Raising Attainment in Numeracy Award.

John Paul II Primary in Glasgow and St Mungo’s High School are up for the Digital Learning and Teaching Award.

St Albert’s in Glasgow is shortlisted in two categories, the Parents as Partners in Learning Award and the Learning for Sustainability Award, and St Modan’s High School in Stirling is shortlisted for the award in Employability and Creativity Across Learning.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday June 5.

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