Dunoon Grammar has been crowned the UK’s European Entrepreneurial School of the Year at a prestigious ceremony in Helsinki.
The European Entrepreneurial School Awards recognise outstanding schools that are championing entrepreneurship in education across Europe.
Schools are judged on how they involve staff and pupils on initiatives; the priority they give enterprise in strategic plans; and the extent to which they include the local community and business sector on entrepreneurial activity.
Dunoon Grammar was nominated for the award by Young Enterprise Scotland and is the first UK school to make the shortlist since the awards began in 2015.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “Words really cannot describe how absolutely delighted I am. For Dunoon Grammar to be selected to represent the UK at a European level is a massive honour in itself, but to be declared as the most enterprising school – wow!
“The staff and pupils have been working extremely hard on a wide variety of initiatives over the last few years and I’ve been truly amazed by the sheer scale and quality of what they have done. Their accomplishments have gone from strength to strength but this accolade is off the scale in terms of achievements.
“I would like to congratulate every single person who has helped to make this possible. The staff and pupils of Dunoon Grammar School are a true credit to Argyll and Bute and I look forward to seeing what they amaze me with next.
David Mitchell, Head Teacher at Dunoon, said: “Enterprise education is the catalyst to our school actively living our vision, to be at the heart of our community. Our young people are regularly immersed in a diverse range of rich, experiential enterprise activities within real and relevant contexts.
“Young Enterprise Scotland have been a constant support on our journey as we aim to develop skills relevant to learning, life and work in our young people. It is a fantastic honour for our young people and indeed wider school community to receive this European recognition.”
Dunoon pupils and staff have flourished on a range of enterprise activities over the last couple of years, and have scooped a variety of national awards and recognition for their creative flair and enterprising spirits from a number of national bodies. Achievements include:
- Apps for Good Employability Skills Award for Innovation
- Apps for Good Scotland – winners for the last three years
- Young Enterprise Scotland Company Programme - Argyll and Bute Company of the Year 2018
- Winners of Subway’s national ‘Design a Sub Challenge’
- International winners of the School of Marketing’s ‘Ice Cream Dream’
- Teacher Paul Gallanagh is UK Educator of the Year
Paul Gallanagh, Principal Teacher of Business and Computing, said: “First we had the Lisbon Lions and then the Barca Bears and Gothenburg Greats. Now we have the Helsinki Heroes bringing European glory to Scotland. Over 650 pupils from Dunoon Grammar School have been key players in this success through their creativity, drive and enterprising skills and spirit. Curriculum for Excellence has been instrumental in sparking this success.
“It was a real invite to innovate and empowered us to work in partnership with a range of local and national partners on a diverse range of pioneering initiatives. Our young people have flourished working on these hands-on enterprise experiences, scooping many awards in the process, and I would like to thank our partners for including our pupils on these initiatives. We look forward to building on this success with them in the years to come.”
S4 pupil Olivia Robertson said: “This is unbelievable news, we are all so excited. There was a real buzz in the school as the news filtered through from Helsinki that we had won. I have worked on a range of enterprise experiences, which allows pupils to take control of our own learning and to lead the development of the projects we work on.
“Teachers are there to support and encourage us and to make us think, rather than telling us exactly what to do. We are allowed to be creative - generating ideas then developing them into proof of concept prototypes. I have been lucky enough to travel to London and win the Apps for Good UK final with my Internet of Things team. I also travelled to Glasgow to pitch an idea for a new sub for Subway UK and my team won that too, with our new sub idea going for sale in West of Scotland Subway stores. I feel working on these projects helps me develop skills I need for the future.”