BY Ryan McDougall | June 14 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Catholic school teachers are the best in Scotland

Catholic teachers have been named as the best in Scotland after awards for Headteacher of the Year and Teacher of the Year were scooped by Catholic schools at an annual ceremony.

The Scottish Education Awards were held on Wednesday June 5 in Glasgow and recognised the hard work and success of Scottish schools across 15 categories.

In total, Catholic schools picked up a third of all awards, despite making up just 14 per cent of all schools.


‘Testament’ to hard work

Lisamaria Purdie, headteacher of St Ninian’s Primary School and Nursery in Livingston, was recognised as Scotland’s headteacher of the year.

She said: “It was such an honour to receive the Headteacher of the Year Award at the Scottish Education Awards. I was especially proud to collect the award with two fantastic P6 children by my side.”

She added the award is ‘testament to the hard work and enthusiasm for learning’ of the whole school community.

“I would like to thank the St Ninian’s Parent Council and staff team for nominating me for Headteacher of the Year. It was a special surprise to find out people had taken the time to do this and to win the award really was the icing on the cake. All of this for doing a job that I love!”


Top teacher

John McKean, principal teacher of language and communication resource at St Ninian’s High School, Kirkintilloch, won Teacher of the Year.

John McKean said: “It’s fantastic recognition of the hard work that is put in by the whole team to help the young people overcome the challenges that they face and to support them to reach their potential.

“There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the award from the young people to staff and parents.”


Catholic ethos

Mr McKean added he ‘wasn’t surprised’ that Catholic schools walked away with five awards as there are ‘many excellent Catholic schools across the country.’

“It’s the ethos of the school and staff that creates a supportive and nurturing environment for everyone and St Ninian’s provides this for all young people as well as the staff,” he said.

St Albert’s Primary School in Glasgow was shortlisted for two awards and was victorious in the Learning for Sustainability category.

Headteacher Clare Harker said the school was ‘over the moon.’

She added they are especially delighted due to the school’s commitment to ‘creating conscience-led communities.’


Fairness, hope and love

“We want to foster an understanding of ‘what is the right thing to do?’ and we want our children to create communities of fairness, hope and love,” she said.

St Albert’s is based in the Govanhill area of Glasgow which houses a large number of immigrants.

As a result, many of the school’s pupils are not Catholic, but Ms Harker says Faith is still at the centre of the primary.


Essence of Christ

“We have constant dialogue on belief, Faith and witness,” she said. “We walk Faith and try and bring the essence of the living Christ to all of our work.

“This includes the spirit of charity, active community participation and, to put it simply, holding your neighbour’s hand.

“The ethos is strong, we smile, we care and all of our community, parents, children, partners and our amazing staff bring love and joy to this school.

“As Catholics, as people of Faith, we are asked to be the best we can be in service to others.

“Our job is to create a kinder, safer, more tolerant world where people live harmoniously and without judgment.

“This is our mission here and we see this as the foundation for learning for sustainability.”



St Stephen’s Primary School in Coatbridge also picked up an award for Raising Attainment in Numeracy.

Over the last two years, teachers have worked on developing their understanding of children’s mathematical thinking.

Headteacher Martine Watt said: “We are incredibly proud of the hard work and commitment of all staff and parents to this area of school improvement, which is truly transformational.

“The whole community are delighted that our work has been recognised at a national level and we look forward to continuing to share our success with other establishments across Scotland.”

John Paul II Primary School in Glasgow took the Digital Learning award for a joint project with a Spanish school. Headteacher Jim Mcshane said: “This award reflects the amount of work the children have been doing.”

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