Island partnership scoops education award


SQA's Alistair McKay, far right, presents the Castlebay Community School partnership with their Scottish Education Award


An innovative partnership between Castlebay Community School on Barra, NHS Western Isles and Stirling University has won a prestigious Scottish Education Award for Employability and Enterprise (Secondary), sponsored by SQA.

The ‘Pre-Nursing Scholarship’ is part of the Comhairle na Eilean Siar’s Vocational Education Strategy and provides senior pupils with an interest in nursing with the opportunity to gain nursing Skills for Work, NHS Western Isles practice experience, Stirling University residential education experience and associated SQA qualifications. A number of pupils from Barra and Uist have completed the scholarship and gone on to the BSc Nursing course at Stirling University.

The scholarship supports the career aspirations of individual young people in the area and addresses the shortage of healthcare workers in remote and rural areas and aims to re-establish a generation of nurses working in the Western Isles.  The scholarship partnership has also been recognised as a finalist in the UK Student Nursing Times Awards 2013.

Presenting the award, Alistair McKay, SQA Business Development Manager, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the award for Employability and Enterprise (Secondary) again this year. It’s a fantastic way to recognise all the great work going on in schools around the country. The judges were hugely impressed with the work that the three finalists and their partners in this category have put into their projects. Their enthusiasm is very evident in the pupils that we met who, in each case, were fantastic ambassadors for both their schools and their projects."

Cllr Catriona Stewart, Chair of Education and Children’s Services at Comhairle na Eilean Siar, said: “Curriculum for Excellence can best be delivered through partnership working and the ‘Pre Nursing Scholarship’ is designed to serve the community at large as well as individual young people.”

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson, said: “We were delighted to work with our partners on the pre-nursing scholarship programme, promoting nursing as a first choice career and helping young people develop their employability skills while giving them an insight into nursing as a profession.”

Runners up in the Employability and Enterprise (Secondary) category were Kincorth Academy in Aberdeen and St Kentigern’s Academy in West Lothian.