In praise of Dunoon Grammar School and democratic education – Brian Wilson

The editor of the Scotsman and I share the distinction of being former pupils of Dunoon Grammar School.

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)
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)

Like many others, we watch with admiration as it marches on through a competition to identify the ”world’s best schools”.

Dunoon has been short-listed along with schools in Brazil and India for “community collaboration”. Activities which took it to this stage are inspiring – not just within the school’s own locality but nationally and internationally with pupils travelling to Malawi, Costa Rica and Ghana, to help build schools and hospitals.

That’s what I call a real education and I hope what Dunoon has done to build on and interpret the basic curriculum can be emulated more widely. I am sure there must be similar creativity present in many of Scotland’s schools and more should be heard of it.

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I recall a dinner to mark the 300th anniversary of Dunoon Grammar School at which one of its distinguished former pupils, the late John Smith, spoke with passion about “a Scottish county education” being among the finest in the world.

He was talking about schools which supported the whole community, across all abilities, regardless of class or creed. They might not have been perfect but gave Scotland its reputation as a world leader in education. It’s still a democratic formula that is hard to beat.

I am delighted to see my old school achieving recognition which demonstrates what continues to be achieved and wish it further success. And I am sure the editor agrees!

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