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

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.

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The establishment 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.

Dunoon Grammar School has been named a top three finalist for World's Best School Prize for Community Collaboration. Picture: Dunoon Grammar School/PA Wire
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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,” he said.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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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 last year.

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

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

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

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