|Recognising a Positive Ethos: the Ethos Award
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
- 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 years 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 city 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.
Craigies 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
schools 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.
This years 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 a 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
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 email@example.com. The closing date for
entries for 2001 is 28th February.