Scottish school named among world’s best for helping out in community

·3-min read
Dunoon Grammar is on the shortlist for a schools global prize (Argyll and Bute Council/PA)
Dunoon Grammar is on the shortlist for a schools global prize (Argyll and Bute Council/PA)

A Scottish school has been named among the world’s best for helping out in its community.

Dunoon Grammar School in Argyll has been named as one of the three finalists for the world’s best school prize for community collaboration.

The only UK school in the category, the establishment was named alongside schools in Brazil and India.

The school has been recognised for its work over a range of projects locally, nationally and internationally, with pupils travelling to Malawi, Costa Rica and Ghana to help build schools and hospitals.

Being shortlisted for the World’s Best School is obviously an amazing achievement for us

David Mitchell, Dunoon Grammar

Due to the rural location of the school, for many years, the area has suffered something of a “brain drain” according to principal teacher, Paul Gallanagh.

“The young people have had no real option but to pack up and leave the town to continue with their education or to find employment.

“As a school, we very much want to address that.”

Headteacher David Mitchell wants to ensure the young people feel they are an “integral” part of the community.

Dame Emma Thompson has praised the work of pupils at Dunoon Grammar (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)
Dame Emma Thompson has praised the work of pupils at Dunoon Grammar (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)

“Our vision statement at Dunoon Grammar School is about being at the heart of the community, where we strive together to achieve excellence,” he said.

“We have set up so many partnerships to help develop our curriculum.

“During Covid, it was a difficult time for everybody. Our young people streamed bingo into a number of care homes. The elderly residents were delighted.

“It just showed that our young people care about our community.”

Young people also worked with members of the community to design a monument for those who lost their lives during the pandemic.

They also had the chance to present some of their climate change solutions to world leaders at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021.

Their work has been recognised by actress Dame Emma Thompson, who has close ties to the area.

She previously told the pupils at the school in a personalised message: “It means that all you wonderful young people have been going out nationally, internationally and locally, and sharing your skills, learning and giving.

“It is an amazing initiative to be part of.

“You are all so extraordinary and I cannot wait to hear about the outcome later in the year. Good luck, congratulations, well done and lots of love.”

Mr Mitchell previously said being shortlisted was an “amazing achievement”.

He said: “Being shortlisted for the World’s Best School is obviously an amazing achievement for us.

“Our staff, parents and pupils truly amaze me every day with their commitment and drive to make Dunoon Grammar School at the heart of the community. I really appreciate all their efforts.”

Vikas Pota, founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said: “The World’s Best School Prizes surface the expertise of inspirational schools from every corner of the globe. It’s time for governments everywhere to listen to their voices.

“Congratulations to Dunoon Grammar School for being named top three finalists for the first ever World’s Best School Prizes. Teachers everywhere will be inspired by the examples of these outstanding British schools.”

Dunoon Grammar was named alongside EMEF Prof Adolfina JM Diefenthaler school in Brazil and the PCMC English Medium School, in Pune, India.

The school will find out in October if it has won a share of the 250,000 US dollars (£220,000) prize fund for the winners of the five categories in the competition.