Star Awards 2015

Kaye Adams - 2015 Star Awards

Pupils and teachers, students and lecturers, employers and training providers from across Scotland gathered in Edinburgh on Friday 20 November to hear a host of success stories at the 2015 Scottish Qualifications Authority Star Awards.

The SQA Star Awards, held at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, were hosted by TV and radio presenter Kaye Adams and is supported by a number of sponsors, including Edinburgh First, CBI Scotland, Education Scotland, the SCQF Partnership and Skills Development Scotland.

The SQA Fellowship

Dr Ken Cunningham - SQA Fellowship

Dr Ken Cunningham CBE BEd MEd(Hons) DUniv FRSA

SQA’s highest accolade, the SQA Fellowship, was presented to Ken Cunningham, former general secretary of School Leaders Scotland and Martyn Rouse, professor emeritus at the University of Aberdeen’s School of Education.

Ken Cunningham has spent most of his working life in education having held a range of school posts as well as those of adviser and inspector. Until taking up his most recent post as General Secretary of School Leaders Scotland in 2008, he was for 15 years the Head and Principal of Hillhead High School and its learning community, during which time he oversaw the merger of two large secondary schools.

Since 1976, he has had a range of roles and involvement with SQA including as a Marker, Examiner and Principal Examiner in English, member of the New National Qualifications Steering Group and Task Group, and chair of the group tasked with revising Higher English, later also addressing an issue around the Mental Health Care Higher. He has also been a member of the Qualifications Committee since 2002.


Martyn Rouse - SQA Fellowship

Martyn Rouse - Emeritus Professor

Martyn Rouse originally trained as a teacher of drama, but moved into special needs work early in his career. He taught for 16 years then worked for a local authority advisory service. Before moving to Scotland he was a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, where he was also Director of Studies for Education at St Catharine’s College. Until his retirement in 2011, he was Professorial Chair of Social and Educational Inclusion at the University of Aberdeen and Director of the Inclusive Practice Project.

During a 25-year career in higher education he has undertaken research and development work on inclusion for local authorities and national agencies in the UK. He has chaired national committees including the HMIE review of provision for dyslexia in Scotland and the SQA Equality and Inclusion Key Partners Group. He was a founder member of the STEC Inclusion Group, which was instrumental in the production of the National Framework for Inclusion.

His co-authored book Achievement and Inclusion in Schools was winner of the NASEN/Times Education Supplement Academic Book of the Year 2008. With Kate Lapham, he is co-editor of Learning to See Invisible Children: Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Central Asia, which has been translated into Russian.

Pride o' Worth Winner, Individual - Amanda Bowden

Amanda Bowden

Amanda Bowden, who works at Treasure Island nursery in Castle Douglas, was named the individual Pride o’ Worth winner. She impressed the judging panel after taking the brave step to change career and successfully complete a SQA SVQ in childcare.

Amanda, who originally joined Treasure Island in 2012 as the nursery cook before deciding to re-train and switch career, was in the running for the Pride o’ Worth award against other category winners after being named Training Organisation Candidate of the Year.

The judges were impressed with Amanda’s commitment to the children in her care and her determination to complete her qualification despite anxieties about studying for a qualification later in life.

Amanda’s employers recognised that she had a particular affinity for working with children, particularly those who required extra help and encouraged her to apply for a position working closely with a child with additional support needs.

Amanda, who attended the ceremony with family and colleagues from Treasure Island, was presented with her Pride o’ Worth award by SQA chairman, Graham Houston.  Speaking before the ceremony, Amanda said: “It’s been a journey for me - and I didn’t think that I could do it. You always think studying is for younger people. So after a few friends said to me ‘you can do this,’ I started my journey and this is where I am today, going forward for an award for my hard work - because people have actually seen what I can do.”


Pride o' Worth Winner, Centres - Dalziel High School & Amec Foster Wheeler

Pride o' Worth

The joint initiative between the Dalziel High School in Motherwell and Amec Foster Wheeler, was initially recognised in the Partnership of the Year category, before going on to lift the SQA Pride o’ Worth Award for Centres, beating competition from other category winners on the night.

The successful partnership gives pupils at the school opportunities to meet with working engineers as well as participate in site visits and work experience placements with the intention of pursuing further training and learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths courses.

The judging panel were impressed by the commitment displayed by both partners and the enthusiasm in the pupils who had participated in the scheme who have since secured related apprenticeships or gone on to study science and engineering courses.

Robert Birch, Head Teacher at Dalziel High School, said: “We want to give our young people the best opportunities when they leave school and that means getting them into good employment. There are some fantastic engineering jobs out there and our partnership switches youngsters on to the potential careers available to them. The partnership gives them the opportunity to speak regularly to engineers so they get an understanding of the industry and the real world of work.”

Margaret Craw, a physics teacher at Dalziel High School, added: “We have certainly benefitted from the partnership, but it does come with a lot of hard work and dedication from pupils, staff, and parents, but also from the team at AMEC Foster Wheeler. I would hope in the future that we could see many more partnerships like this across a variety of schools as our partnership with AMEC Foster Wheeler just goes from strength to strength.”

Steve King, Corporate Design Manager at Amec Foster Wheeler, said: “The partnership with the school is about enthusing pupils at all academic levels about engineering as a possible career. We work closely in trying to provide knowledge and awareness of engineering which we hope results in the pupils choosing science, technical and mathematics subjects to support those engineering roles.”


SQA Star Awards 2015 - Category winners and highly commended finalists

SQA Star Awards 2015 - Entertainment

Thanks to all of our entertainment on the evening.

We are hugely grateful to all our sponsors who supported the star awards 2015.