With so many negative attitudes to schools and teaching online and in the media, it is refreshing to celebrate the best of Scottish education through the Scottish Education Awards, which:
"celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education. They recognise the achievements of people who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcase the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms."
Watching the ceremony and hearing about the finalists and how they inspired and motivated their pupils was an inspiration to anyone involved in education, a lesson to those who are quick to denigrate our schools and those who work and study in them, and a message of hope for the future.
In particular, Voice would like to congratulate Tom Campbell of Kilmarnock Academy’s Technology Department, Teacher of the Year, the category sponsored by Voice. The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday 12 June 2012 in Glasgow.
Tom was nominated by his head teacher, Bryan Paterson, who described him as:
"quite simply a breathtakingly superb teacher. His pupils rave about him and love being in his classes."
He also commented that:
"Tom Campbell is a quiet, unassuming man until he gets in front of a class, where he transforms into an exciting, passionate, wonderfully funny and totally child-centred teacher."
The judging panel felt that Tom:
"demonstrated how a teacher can contribute in a very meaningful way to all aspects of school life through his curricular work, pastoral care and involvement in a very wide range of out-of-class activities. 'There's no area of the school where Tom doesn't pop up', stated one teacher. 'He's always involved, he loves working with children, he has never turned down an opportunity or turned a pupil away. He always goes the extra mile and is very willing to try new things and to volunteer his time'."
Staff and pupils at Kilmarnock Academy described him as:
"popular, enthusiastic, committed constantly looks to find ways to engage and challenge the young people and make learning fun… approachable, trusted and respected patient, explains everything so well, building confidence and self-belief."
The panel commented that:
"Within his curriculum area he supports young people to produce their best work in class through supported study, and at lunchtimes and after school. He has taken forward several new initiatives, notably the F1 challenge, building the confidence of pupils and staff in the use of new technology.
"Tom has initiated a pupil-to-pupil mentoring scheme for pupils at Woodstock School [for children with severe learning difficulties] who come to Kilmarnock Academy for technical studies, where Tom uses innovative, creative and visual learning approaches which are sensitive to the pupils' needs yet challenges them. By tailoring the mainstream curriculum to the needs of these pupils, it has had a very positive impact on the learning and development of pupils from both schools.
"Tom is described as a fantastic colleague who is pupil-centred, always thinking what will be best for the children. Tom very clearly has a very positive impact on the ethos and life of the young people and staff of Kilmarnock Academy."
Voice General Secretary Philip Parkin (left) with Tom Campbell (centre) and John Kirkland, Principal Teacher, Technology Department, Kilmarnock Academy, at the awards ceremony in Glasgow. (Daily Record, Phil Dye.)