Scottish school named UK Literacy School of the Year

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A primary school in Renfrewshire has become the first in Scotland to be named UK Literacy School of the Year.

St Anthony’s Primary School in Johnstone was chosen for the honour by the UK Literacy Association, which aims to raise literacy standards in schools across the nation.

It is among the schools to introduce the Renfrewshire Literacy Approach, a project between Renfrewshire Council and the University of Strathclyde, funded by the local authority and the Scottish Government.

Independent assessors from UKLA who visited the school, which has around 200 pupils, noted how every classroom has a wide range of books with comfortable reading areas, and how staff and pupils speak eloquently about the books they enjoy.

Children also have the opportunity to discuss books in Reading Cafes and can learn using laptops, digital cameras and tablets.

St Anthony's Primary Head Teacher Jacqueline McBurnie (left) and President of the UKLA Tracy Parvin (right) as the school is named UKLA Literacy School of the Year (Renfrewshire Council/PA)
St Anthony’s Primary Head Teacher Jacqueline McBurnie (left) and President of the UKLA Tracy Parvin (right) (Renfrewshire Council/PA)

“It is testimony to all their hard work and unlimited enthusiasm for learning. The journey of St Anthony’s Primary was supported by the Renfrewshire Literacy Approach, which resulted in changes being made through a process of co-production between school professionals and university academics.

“The staff in St Anthony’s Primary embraced the programme with enthusiasm and determination that we would improve our knowledge of literacy, increase our understanding of how poverty impacts on literacy attainment and of how to intervene to promote equality.

“Our children deserve the very best and in St Anthony’s we strive to be excellent in every way, every day to achieve this.”

Assessors noted how committed staff were to improving the life chances of pupils, as well as their determination to work with parents and the local community.

They praised the “outstanding leadership” of the headteacher and said it has proved “inspirational” to other schools in the local authority.

Ms Parvin, added: “This award recognises those schools which place literacy and literature right at the heart of children’s learning. It is more than a celebration of creative, enthusiastic and engaging teaching, it is a kite mark for excellence.

“This year’s winning school has left a lasting impression on our assessors. St Anthony’s Primary School is most definitely a school where literacy thrives.”

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