National Conference Anti-Bullying Network
Recognising a Positive Ethos: the Ethos Award

The Scottish Schools Ethos Award is presented each year to a Scottish school. It is a response to the achievements of schools in promoting a positive approach to learning and teaching and their readiness to take account of the views of pupils, parents and teachers. The Award Committee which judges entries is selected from the worlds of business, industry and education. The criteria for selecting a winner and runner-up demand that a school can demonstrate:

  • a focus on whole school ethos
  • evidence of a systematic evaluation of school ethos
  • evidence of significant action arising from the evaluation involving pupils and staff in planning and implementation
  • a continuing commitment to reviewing and developing school ethos using evidence as the basis for planning and sustaining action.

The Winner 2000
This year’s winner of the Ethos Award was Craigie High School in Dundee. Professor Mary Simpson of Edinburgh University wrote in ‘The Herald’ about the series of challenges facing headteachers of large cityCraigie High School comprehensives from both inside and out. Craigie High School faced the added demands of an amalgamation with another secondary which had traditionally served a different and distinctive community, and a re-zoning which significantly altered the character of the catchment area.

Craigie’s Headteacher, David May, set up an Ethos and Values Group with the brief to consult pupils, parents, staff and school board members on the revision to the school’s aims and the setting of a values code. The school joined the Ethos Network and set about involving all the staff, including support staff, the pupils and parents in a programme of improvement of school practices and procedures.

Runner-Up 2000
This year’s runner up was Pentland School in North Lanarkshire with a roll of 14 pupils and four staff. The children at Pentland school have all had difficulties in integrating into the world of school and are offered aPentland School safe, unjudgemental, but well-structured environment to develop that degree of self-esteem and self-confidence from which good relationships with others can develop. A variety of strategies such as Circle Time help to create a sense of community and identity within the school. Success for Pentland staff is when a child leaves their school early - ready to re-join their peer group in the normal school setting.



What was it like applying for the Ethos Award?
The advantage David May, Head Teacher of Craigie High School, saw in applying for the award was the opportunity to take stock once again and to reflect on whole school issues. Through this process of self-evaluation the school has now decided to re-visit certain areas such as pupil participation and take the opportunity to move forward in areas of the school development plan. Winning the Award was a tremendous boost to staff, parents and pupils.

For more information on the Award and how to enter, please contact the Scottish Schools Ethos Network on 0131 651 6551 or e-mail them at The closing date for entries for 2001 is 28th February.