Star head nominated in national awards by pupils

Ellen with the pupils from Pilrig Park school who nominated her. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Ellen with the pupils from Pilrig Park school who nominated her. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A headteacher who “goes the extra mile” at a city special school has been put forward by her pupils for a national award.

Special schools across the Capital look set to sweep the boards at this year’s Scottish Education Awards – with five having been nominated in ­various categories.

Headteacher of Pilrig Park Special Secondary School Ellen Muir was thrilled to be nominated by her pupils who described her efforts as ­“making a difference”.

Ellen, who has been leading the school for three years, said: “When I found out I had been nominated I found it amazing that it was young people who had put me forward.

“We’ve worked really hard to give young people a voice, but everybody in the school has the opportunity to lead, it’s not about me really.

“Pilrig Park is about teaching everybody to grow, and they do.”

The school recently opened a salon partnered by Charlie Miller, who mentors the pupils, and is also home to a painting and decorating hub and a cafe.

Ellen said: “It’s these things that are helping us become a part of the Leith community so people coming down Leith Walk think ‘I’ll pop in for a cup of coffee’.

“It’s making the curriculum relevant.”

Angela Verity, of Kaimes School, has been nominated for the teacher of the year category having being nominated by the Scottish Book Trust for her work encouraging youngsters to read.

Mum-of-two Angela, 39, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be nominated, it was a ­complete surprise to me.

“But it was my S4 class who are the stars of the show – they did the hard work and I was just their voice at showcasing their efforts at The Scottish Learning Festival in 
September.

“Without the support of headteacher Kath Togneri, who recently retired, I wouldn’t have been able to take part in all the innovative projects that are out there.”

Woodlands School in Currie has been nominated for the Aiming High Award, which recognises schools who provide opportunities for children to have full access to education, removing barriers where they exist.

Flying the flag for technology is Prospect Bank Special School in Restalrig, one of three finalists in the Learning Through Technology category.

The staff have been called “highly skilled” in using technology such as ­interactive boards, iPads and specialised tools such as Soundbeam to make learning fun.

Edinburgh City Council education convener Councillor Paul Godzik welcomed the nominations for the Capital.

“In Edinburgh we have a wealth of talented teachers working in great schools and I’m delighted that we have so many finalists in this year’s Scottish Education Awards,” he said.

“It’s also great to see that all four nominations come from our special schools sector.

“I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of all our staff and wish our finalists the very best of luck.”