Dunoon Grammar School have won a top prize for Community Collaboration in the T4 World’s Best School awards!

The five World’s Best School Prizes – for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives – celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress especially in the wake of COVID.

Dunoon Grammar School was chosen as the winner of the World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration from among the Top 3 finalists, which also included PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel, in India, and EMEB Profª Adolfina J. M. Diefenthäler in Brazil.

David Mitchell, Head Teacher at Dunoon Grammar, said “For Dunoon Grammar School to be awarded with the World’s Best School Prize for community collaboration is overwhelming. We are still in shock, but as you can imagine we are absolutely delighted with this global recognition.” 

To help reverse the ‘brain drain’ where young people leave their rural context for further education or find employment, Dunoon Grammar School evaluated the community’s needs and gaps in the workplace and facilitated over 50 skill-based courses to empower learners to work in professions vital to the local economy. Its practical, experience-based curriculum allows leaners to engage in industries such as travel and tourism, design, and maritime studies.

The school works hard to develop entrepreneurial skills in its students, allowing them to establish their own local enterprises and to contribute to regeneration projects. It is a key player in the Dunoon Project, the town’s plan to build a massive mountainside tourist attraction with a gondola, mountain bike tracks, alpine rollercoaster and zipwire experiences, creating jobs for Dunoon’s young people.

Working with Apps for Good – an educational charity that promotes coding skills – students have generated ideas and coded prototype apps, IoT and Machine Learning solutions to benefit society. When COP26 was held in Glasgow students conceived and coded apps to address the climate crisis.

The school has also offered learning experiences for children and parents to enjoy together in areas such as health and wellbeing, numeracy, literacy and digital skills. Its family liaison officer also supports families with applications for government benefits, helping to address the poverty-related attainment gap.

Paul Gallanagh, Principal Teacher, added “This was a dream we didn’t dare to dream! It is testimony to the fantastic community work we have been dedicated to over the past few years and this will further fuel our ambition to be truly a school at the heart of our community. We have so many local, national and global partners to thank as well as our fantastic staff, parents and of course our wonderful young people. Together we have achieved this prestigious accolade. Thank you T4 Education!”

The winners of the five World’s Best School Prizes were chosen by a Judging Academy, comprising distinguished leaders all across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector, based on a set of rigorous criteria. Judges were informed by a public advisory vote in which nearly 50,000 people from around the world voted for their favourite schools.

Dunoon Grammar School will use the prize funds to assist with transport and invest in more advanced remote learning technology.


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