Scottish Education Awards

Scottish Education Awards

i Dec 15th No Comments by

This year we have been trying to share some of the good practice we’ve heard about from our work with schools and Parent Councils. It is really important that people who are doing a brilliant job are recognised and valued. Education Scotland have been running the “Scottish education awards” since 2005 and take nominations from members of the public- the awards are for “educational supporter of the year”, “head teacher of the year” “teacher of the year”, “parents as partners in learning” and many more.

For more details and to find out how to make a nomination go to We would love to hear your stories about who you nominated and why- please get in touch if you are making a nomination

Getting parents in over the door

i Dec 15th No Comments by

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A couple of months ago we were invited to attend Oakgrove Primary’s Halloween community assembly. It was a brilliant morning- all the children and teachers were in fancy dress and after the primary six class “Thriller” dance we had the song in our heads for the rest of the day. Community assemblies are a chance for families to come into the school, find out what the children are doing in school and to recognise the achievements of the children.

After the assembly we were able to speak to the head teacher, Jane Cerexhe about why it started. “The community assembly was really an attempt to engage with families in the wider community. We had a newsletter that was going out monthly but I was quite concerned that not all families were able to access it. We thought if we did a community assembly monthly we could have things in the community assembly that were also features of the newsletter. . . We just feel getting parents in over the door is a good starting point, and welcomed with a smile and seeing their children happy and engaged and seeing the teachers engaged with the children is important. The wonderful thing about today is you can see all the staff be part of it as well it’s not just my idea, it’s what we do here.

We give out a lot of certificates linked to the school values, and this has a very high profile at these community assemblies. Sometimes it is difficult for children who are arriving say in Scotland, new to the Scottish education system to be able to access the curriculum because English is in the early stages of acquisition but we are looking at the whole child. We celebrate all the traditional achievements in literacy and numeracy but we are also looking at wellbeing things how children are getting on with one another. There was a really nice award handed out today for a child who was looking after another child who was new to the school and new to English. Actually a year ago he was that child, struggling with a new culture and new language, so that’s a really lovely opportunity to recognise that.”

The only Ethnic Minority parent in the school

i Dec 12th No Comments by

From our work in rural areas, including Falkirk and Stirling and Clackmannanshire we’ve heard the experiences of parents who were the only Ethnic Minority family in the school. Feeling the odd one out always makes involvement more difficult, particularly in schools where other parents have known each other since they were children. Parents spoke about the difficulty to speak to other parents when it seemed that everyone knew each other really well and they were not confident with their English.

Feeling different is also difficult for children, some mothers spoke about their children being embarrassed by their mother coming into school wearing a salwar kameez. They can also feel uncomfortable about the fact their parents have poor English and being asked to translate for them. In an interview we did recently with two mothers who are part of the Rainbow Muslim Women’s group, Samina spoke about the difficulties to getting involved. Feeling different and not understanding the school system- who to ask for, what her children were being taught etc, made her reluctant to have contact with the school. Other parents have found the very vocabulary of modern education confusing- their children talk about “learn-its” (short sums) and they have no idea what this means or how to support their children with homework. To hear more about Samina and Tasneem’s experience go to

Samina said that she has never been specifically asked by the school to get involved- just through general letters asking for help. We think that specifically approaching parents, recognising their skills and interests, can help parents feel a part of the school and help the school to celebrate its diversity. We know parents who have gone into school to teach the class how to count in their mother tongue- this makes their children feel proud of their parents and that their mother tongue is something to be valued not ashamed of. You can also find out about the bilingual story telling group at St Albert’s primary in Glasgow that has parents telling stories to children in English and Urdu-