Outstanding achievements honoured at SQA Star Awards

SQA Star Awards 2014 Pride o' Worth winners; Cameron Swanson & Castlebay Community School

Dr Janet Brown, SQA chief executive and Graham Houston, SQA Chairman, present the 2014 SQA Pride o' Worth Awards to Cameron Swanson and Annag Maclean and Catriona Henerson of Castlebay Community School

An island school in the Outer Hebrides has swept the board at the 2014 SQA Star Awards.

Castlebay Community School on the Isle of Barra walked away with four awards, including SQA’s Pride o’ Worth Award for centres; the organisations which deliver SQA’s qualifications.

The SQA Star Awards, now in their 8th year, are unique in recognising the achievements of the candidates working towards SQA qualifications as well as the individuals and centres – the schools, colleges, training providers and employers – who enable candidates to realise their potential.  

The island school lifted three other trophies on the night; Partnership of the Year, Lifelong Learning Centre of the Year and Sustainable Educator of the Decade.  Grace MacArthur, a former pupil of the Barra school was also named Lifelong Learning Candidate of the Year.

Cameron Swanson, a former pupil of Castlehead High School in Paisley, was named the Pride o’ Worth winner for individuals after scooping the award for School Candidate of the Year and being Highly Commended in the Academic Excellence category.

Colin Mair, rector of The High School of Glasgow was named as the recipient of SQA’s highest honour, the SQA Fellowship.  Colin has spent his entire professional career at The High School of Glasgow, joining the school after graduating from Jordanhill College in 1976.  He joined the school’s senior management team in 1985 before becoming deputy rector in 1996 and has served as rector since 2004.

Also among the winners were Angela Alexander from Drongan in Ayrshire and Jordan Downie from Edinburgh who won College Candidate of the Year and Training Organisation Candidate of the year respectively; Calum Watson from Balfron High School in Stirlingshire who won the Academic Excellence Award; Susan Ettershank from Dundee and Angus College was named Appointee of the Year while Jean Brown of Oilean Ltd. won the SQA Champion Award.

The Moray Council were among the winners too after winning the Star Award for Innovation, while KMD Computer Group in Myanmar was named the winner of the International Award.

SQA Chief Executive, Dr Janet Brown, said: “The SQA Star Awards give us an opportunity to recognise our learners’ outstanding achievements but equally acknowledge the people at the schools, colleges, training providers and employers who support those learners every day for their commitment, dedication, innovation and enthusiasm. Without their continuing contribution, guidance, and encouragement, these success stories simply would not happen.  I congratulate all the winners and those who were highly commended and look forward to hearing about their continuing success in the future.”

Speaking after he collected the SQA Fellowship, Colin Mair, said: "I am pleased that my involvement over the years has been considered beneficial to the important and independent work of the SQA.  I am also conscious that there are many other head teachers and colleagues in education who have contributed strongly to the SQA."

Annag MacLean, head teacher at Castlebay Community School, said: “This is an unbelievable achievement for everyone at the school and for the community as a whole.  Castlebay is at the heart of everything we do on Barra. The school is a hub for everyone on the island and we are delighted that our efforts have been recognised at a national level.”

Cameron Swanson said: “I was stunned to hear my name read out twice on the night, it was a bit of shock! But to win the Pride o’ Worth award as well was a huge surprise and one I was not expecting.  I feel very honoured to have won this.”

The SQA Star Awards were held at Glasgow Clyde College’s Anniesland campus and were hosted by TV and radio presenter Kaye Adams. The ceremony was supported by a number of sponsors, including Education Scotland, the SCQF Partnership and Skills Development Scotland.

SQA Star Awards 2014 – Winners and Highly Commended

Academic Excellence

Callum Watson, Balfron High School

Highly Commended

Laura O’Donnell, Lenzie Academy
Samuel Ramsahoye, Stewart’s Melville College
Samuel Riley, Stewart’s Melville College
Cameron Swanson, Castlehead High School

SQA Appointee of the Year

Susan Ettershank, Dundee and Angus College

Highly Commended

Scott Hunter, Fife
Sue Smith, Mackie Academy, Stonehaven

Innovation of the Year

The Moray Council, Elgin

Highly Commended
SCIM Training and Assessment Centre, Glasgow
Dumfries and Galloway College


KMD Computer Group, Myanmar

Highly Commended
Muscat College
Quest (Scotland) Ltd

Lifelong Learning: Candidate of the Year

Grace MacArthur, Castlebay Community School

Highly Commended
Rab Libberton, Creative Industries
Mary Herriot-Dunlop, Forth Valley College

Lifelong Learning: Centre of the Year

Castlebay Community School, Isle of Barra

Highly Commended
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Inverclyde Council Community and Learning Development

Partnership of the Year

Hebridean Living / Castlebay Community School, Isle of Barra

Highly Commended
Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock
The Moray Council, Elgin

Training Organisation Candidate of the Year

Jordan Downie, Limelight Careers, Edinburgh

Highly Commended
Leona Rodden, AD Services (Scotland)
Kieran Reape, Limelight Careers

SQA Champion

Jean Brown, Oilean Training Ltd, Fife

Highly Commended
Janice Caldwell, Ayrshire College
Moira Wilson, Forth Valley College, Falkirk

College Candidate of the Year

Angela Alexander, Ayrshire College

Highly Commemded
Kirsty Pringle, South Lanarkshire College
Tuesday Berry, West College Scotland
Nikodem Sadlowski, Edinburgh College

School Candidate of the Year

Cameron Swanson, Castlehead High School

Highly Commended
Nicole Millar, St Ambrose High, Coatbridge
Sara Decova, Notre Dame High School, Inverclyde

Sustainable Development Educator of the Decade

Castlebay Community School, Isle of Barra

Highly Commended
Spark of Genius, North Ayrshire
Rosa Murray, General Teaching Council for Scotland
Shawlands Academy, Glasgow

Pride o’ Worth (Centre)

Castlebay Community School

Pride o’ Worth (Individual)

Cameron Swanson

SQA Fellowship

Colin Mair, Rector, The High School of Glasgow