Castlebay shines at SQA awards

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Castlebay Community School in Barra has swept the boards at the 2014 Scottish Qualifications Authority Star Awards.

The school walked away with four awards, including SQA’s Pride o’ Worth Award for centres; the organisations which deliver SQA’s qualifications.

The SQA Star Awards, now in their eighth year, are unique in recognising the achievements of the candidates working towards SQA qualifications as well as the individuals and centres – the schools, colleges, training providers and employers – who enable candidates to realise their potential.

The island school lifted three other trophies on the night; Partnership of the Year, Lifelong Learning Centre of the Year and Sustainable Educator of the Decade.

In the Partnership of the Year category, the judges were impressed by the school’s links links to local employers and community projects; 21 of whom offered Castlebay pupils work placement training.

While in the Lifelong Learning Centre category, Castlebay has delivered a variety of vocation courses, such as SQA Skills for Work courses in Energy, Engineering, Hospitality and Pre-Nursing, that have proved so popular they have been embedded in the school’s curriculum.

The school was also named ‘Sustainable Development Educator of the Decade’, a unique award which recognised the school’s achievements in fostering the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills in young people who need to engage with a number of environmental challenges.

Sixth-year pupil Grace MacArthur was also scooped a top award on the night after being named Lifelong Learning Candidate of the Year.

SQA Chief Executive, Dr Janet Brown, said: “The SQA Star Awards give us an opportunity to recognise our learners’ outstanding achievements but equally acknowledge the people at the schools, colleges, training providers and employers who support those learners every day for their commitment, dedication, innovation and enthusiasm. Without their continuing contribution, guidance, and encouragement, these success stories simply would not happen. I congratulate all the winners and those who were highly commended and look forward to hearing about their continuing success in the future.”

Annag MacLean, head teacher at Castlebay Community School, said: “This is an unbelievable achievement for everyone at the school and for the community as a whole. Castlebay is at the heart of everything we do on Barra. The school is a hub for everyone on the island and we are delighted that our efforts have been recognised at a national level.”

Cllr. Catriona Stewart, Chair of Education and Children’s Services Committee, said, “I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to everyone connected with Castlebay Community School on their impressive haul of awards. I am delighted that the dedication and commitment at the school has been recognised in such a comprehensive manner.”

The SQA Star Awards were held at Glasgow Clyde College’s Anniesland campus and were hosted by TV and radio presenter Kaye Adams. The ceremony was supported by a number of sponsors, including Education Scotland, the SCQF Partnership and Skills Development Scotland.

Pictured are Annag Maclean, head teacher and Catriona Henderson, Geography teacher at Castlebay at the ceremony.