Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Great teaching at Stonelaw High

Great to see Alan Byrne at Stonelaw High in the Cambuslang Rutherglen area of SLC recognised in the TES awards. The full article about the awards  is here

The following quote from the TESS explains about Alan

“A South Lanarkshire teacher has won the top honour for a lifetime’s achievement in the first UK-wide TES Schools Awards, presented yesterday at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Alan Byrne is no stranger to Scottish teachers and pupils, having worked with thousands of them in his 40 years as a PE teacher. For 27 of them, he has taught at Stonelaw High, putting the school firmly on the national map with countless sporting victories.

In the past year alone, Stonelaw produced four Scottish Cup-winning teams in volleyball (two), cross-country and football, and seven internationalists from six sports. Three of the current Scottish volleyball team come from the school.

Mr Byrne’s pioneering approach to setting sport in S2 won media recognition four years ago for boosting the achievement of the best athletes while increasing the fitness of the young citizens of Rutherglen, who sported pedometers with enthusiasm as they strived to raise their exercise levels and enjoyed sessions on the trampoline or running through the local heritage park.

School inspectors have praised his PE department’s “new and creative approach to improving the health and well-being of young people”, recommending it as an example of good practice. And Stonelaw has won bronze, silver and gold awards for being a health-promoting school.

His Higher course materials are used by more than 100 schools and he leads national and local authority inservice training. He has also, through “caring counsel and motivation to students who struggled elsewhere”, produced some of the best PE exam results in Scotland.

On top of that, Mr Byrne, whose teenage daughter died 15 years ago after years of 24-hour care, has helped other similarly-afflicted families and managed to fundraise over £80,000 for charity.”

The school’s nomination drew a vast range of testimonials from colleagues past and present, which reflected their admiration and affection for him. The words “inspiration”, “energy”, “commitment”, “passion” and “enthusiasm” ran through them, as did “respect” and “regard”.

Uddingston teacher Jean McLeod said: “He epitomises the phrase ‘Deeds, not words’, leading by example in teaching, managing his department, moderating for SQA or taking extra-curricular activities. He shares knowledge and experiences.”

Another teacher, Lisa Polombo, said: “In leading the curriculum, Alan is informed and his opinion valued. Revered across Scotland, he comes into lives and makes big differences, whether you’re a pupil, colleague or friend.”

His headteacher, Brian Cooklin, simply added: “I know of no other colleague who deserves this award more. Alan is unique.”

The TES judges were overwhelmed by Mr Byrne’s achievements, saying: “The sheer range of sport that he’s taught is impressive – but it’s even more impressive when you see so many of his teams have succeeded at such a high level. And on top of this, he has done unstinting work for charities. He’s done it all.”

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June 18, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education, learning, Making a Difference | , | 1 Comment

Holocaust Memorial 2010

Councillor Mary Smith and Councillor Jackie Burns in South Lanarkshire have been driving forces behind making the Holocaust Memorial Events in South Lanarkshire such high profile, important events every year. Young people across South Lanarkshire join together annually to make their voices heard in the hope that they can make a difference to society. 25000 young people in South Lanarkshire have been involved in memorial events this year. Quite remarkable. The key message is course that we remember victims and survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides across the globe such as  in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, whilst at the same time using all our voices to speak out against discrimination and exclusion in our society.

In Rutherglen and Cambuslang, schools take part in various events, learning opportunities throughout the year and during Holocaust Memorial Day. Schools also take place in an annual Holocaust Meorial Event in the area. This year’s was held last night. Trinity HighSchool were this year’s hosts. An audience of around 400 invited guests attended. They browsed the art work on display from a range of our schools reflecting the theme, legacy of hope. These included anti-sectarianism projects, a reflection of the five senses viewed through the perspective of the Holocaust and photographic work from visits to Auschwitz by pupils. Those attending put very touching thoughts onto our tree of hope where they pledged their support in making a positive difference to our society.

Many of our local schools were involved in this year’s event – with young people from  Burnside, St Columbkille’s, St Mark’s, St Cadocs, Cairns, Westcoats, Calderwood, Loch and St Anthony’s Primaries and Cathkin, Stonleaw and Trinity High all performing. Each year due to the scale of the event different schools take part in presenting. The quality of the monologues, songs, presentations and dramas was superb. I found the reflections on their recent visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau by senior Trinity pupils particularly touching along with work performed around survivor monologues. The theme was legacy of hope and everyone commented on the joy of watching some of our younger children from local primaries oozing confidence and hope for the future whether reciting “Is there for honest poverty?” or singing “All you need is love”. Always a special evening, last night gave us all much to think about.

The picture below gives you an idea of the scale of response the local community gives in supporting this event.

The stage from the back of the street area

Some of the schools’ work beginning to be displayed prior to the event

Photos taken at Auschwitz during pupil visits were exhibited

January 28, 2010 Posted by | education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

As Ithers See Us

Enjoyed a fashion show and design work show last night. It was held at the Scottish Museum For Rural Life in East Kilbride, which is a great venue and well worth a visit. They will be having a bumper crop of baby animals this Spring they tell me!

Anyway , the design project show was the culmination of an annual design project organised by the South Lanarkshire Cultural Co-ordinators Team. The theme behind it was “As Ithers See Us”. This session the secondaries involved were Stonelaw High, Larkhall Academy, Strathaven Academy and Calderside Academy. The showcase included Jewellery, Textiles and Film and animation work created by pupils with support from designers and film experts who worked with the pupils after school over a ten week period. Some great stuff on display, I particulalry enjoyed the film work and the fabulous headpieces/hats etc. More information can be had on this and other cultural co-ordinator activity in SLC by contacting the co-ordinators at any time.

Not so great was getting stuck in a patch of snow in the carpark afterwards…However, as if by magic, the director and a team of councillors appeared and rescued me with a spade and much rocking of the car, and instructions on my gear and revving skills! Now rescuing me, in the dark,  in a snowbound car park, with snow trickling out the sky on a cold winter evening is above and beyond the call of duty for Education Directors and Councillors I would say, so I am very grateful if a touch embarassed by the whole event.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stonelaw Awards

Although in our Education Area, Stonelaw High isn’t one of my quality link schools, so I don’t often get the chance to visit, so it was great to get along to their awards ceremony last night and further add to my clapping repetitive strain syndrome at this time of year! The Depute Margaret Jack is THE master of award ceremony organisation, it was really slick. Enjoyed reading their leaflet “year of achievements” and really enjoyed the whole thing. Janice in the office even made meringues and lots of other nibbles were on offer after the ceremony for us guests too, marvellous.

Lots of highlights from this one – fabulous music from their award winning senior girls vocal ensemble who recently beamed live to Russia and other countries around the world from Glasgow Cathedral. The elements soul singers are in this ensemble and they won the evening’s special George Sherlaw Memorial Prize. Other musical highlights included Rachael Johnston on piano playing Le Onde and Kevin Sturgeon playing Tides – all really talented musicians. I was really impressed by the community links developed by Brian Cooklin and his team with local businesses  sponsoring many of the prizes for this evening’s events, and of course hearing about their, as always, sterling fundraising work with orphans in Africa. But best of all were the young people themselves who were celebrated for all sorts of achievements from academic to sporting with everything else in between, just a delight to watch. A special mention has to go to their Scottish Cup Winner S1 team who won yesterday and who were fit to burst with pride as were all the other young people, parents, carers and satff who were there last night.

June 19, 2009 Posted by | education | , | Leave a comment