Ed­u­ca­tion awards

The Oban Times - - Front Page - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

THE head teacher at Dun­beg school and Port Ellen Pri­mary on Is­lay have won pres­ti­gious na­tional awards at a glit­ter­ing cer­e­mony in Glas­gow.

A DUN­BEG head teacher and an Is­lay pri­mary school have both scooped pres­ti­gious hon­ours at this year’s Scot­tish Ed­u­ca­tion Awards.

Port Ellen Pri­mary School was awarded the prize for Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Maths (STEM), and the Life­time Achieve­ment Award was scooped by Sine MacVicar, who re­tires on June 30 af­ter 44 years teach­ing at Dun­beg Pri­mary School, in­clud­ing 25 years as its head teacher.

Sine trav­elled to the cer­e­mony in Glas­gow with three pupils, Calum Drum­mond, Cara Dun­can and Fer­gus Beard, to hear if she had won. ‘I did not find out un­til the day,’ she said. ‘You have to sit in agony and wait. I had to wait un­til the end.’

When her name was an­nounced she said she ‘jumped’ out of her seat. She re­called: ‘I re­alised I could not do it alone, so grabbed the chil­dren. It was so great the kids were there, be­cause I was gob­s­macked. The kids were up on stage be­fore me. Ev­ery­one got up and said, “44 years”.’

The award was pre­sented by ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter John Swin­ney. School sec­re­tary Vi­vianne Clark said Cara told the au­di­ence Ms MacVicar had ‘in­spired so many kids over 44 years, and that it must have been dif­fi­cult’.

Sine told the crowd: ‘I have loved ev­ery month of my 44 years, and I still do.’

There was also a live link to the school so pupils could watch – and cheer. ‘I got a video clip of them all shout­ing,’ she said.

The for­mer Oban High School pupil stud­ied for three years at Craigie Col­lege of Ed­u­ca­tion in Ayr, and ar­rived aged 21 to start work at Dun­beg Pri­mary in 1973. ‘I think of my­self as a Dun­beg girl now,’ she said.

‘There have been huge changes in ed­u­ca­tion,’ she re­flected. ‘There was the warmth I still feel. The school has ex­panded: I have been in with the bricks as they built around me. I have al­ways taught pri­mary one. I am now at the stage of teach­ing three gen­er­a­tions.’

She is spend­ing her last work­ing weeks ‘wind­ing up’ and tack­ling ‘44 years of clut­ter’, around a trip to Lon­don’s Park Lane on June 23 for the TES Awards, where she is one of eight nom­i­nees for Head Teacher of the Year. The next day sees her party with for­mer col­leagues and pupils in the Ar­gyll­shire Gath­er­ing Halls, to which any­one is invited if they con­tact the school for tick­ets.

‘There is a lot of dread in leav­ing,’ she added. ‘I have not had time to think about the con­se­quences at the other end. I can­not hon­estly say what I am go­ing to do.

‘I am not tak­ing up gar­den­ing, or bak­ing or knit­ting. I am a peo­ple per­son, so I would hope to help within the com­mu­nity. I am go­ing to carry on with the Brown­ies in Con­nel.

‘When you get to 65, it is time to go,’ she said. ‘I have al­ways aimed to cre­ate an ethos of car­ing warmth, and I have al­ways hoped chil­dren will be happy and want to come to school ev­ery day.

‘I just look on them as my fam­ily. I fol­low what they do now and I am so proud of what they are do­ing, no mat­ter what they are do­ing. Thank you all for the priv­i­lege of shar­ing in your lives, and be­ing able to fol­low your suc­cesses. I want to thank the ded­i­cated and com­mit­ted mem­bers of the staff, past and present, who have con­trib­uted to my love of be­ing head teacher at Dun­beg Pri­mary School.’

Vi­vianne, a for­mer pupil, added: ‘She is an in­spi­ra­tion, an ex­cel­lent boss.’

Sine MacVicar trav­elled with pupils, Calum Drum­mond, Cara Dun­can and Fer­gus Beard.

Port Ellen’s Mag­gie Har­ri­son, left, and Al­i­son Lo­gan with pupils Char­lotte-Rose Munro, Rowan Mor­ri­son and Natalie Lo­gan.

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