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Moray & Banffshire Heroes 2024: School of the year shortlist revealed!

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Here is your shortlist for the school of the year award. Voting closes on Sunday, March 24.

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Mortlach Primary School

Mortlach Primary School.
Mortlach Primary School.

Going above and beyond the call of duty has led to Mortlach Primary School being shortlisted for a Moray Heroes School of the Year award.

The school was built in Dufftown in 1902.

The nomination said: “It is growing in strength all the time. Every single teacher, support staff and pupil make the school exceptional. The joint working between the parent council and school is fantastic and ensures that all pupils are included for events free of charge. The school deserves to be recognised for its hard work and commitment to its pupils, staff and the wider community.”

Head teacher Tracy Gordon commented: "We are incredibly proud of our wonderful pupils who make every day enjoyable and approach learning with enthusiasm. Every member of staff is highly motivated and works extremely hard to ensure that our pupils feel valued, supported and encouraged. It is a pleasure to work alongside our parents, families and wider community, who go above and beyond to support school developments and provide experiences for our learners to apply their skills and talents.”

Tracy concluded: “Our pupils will be delighted to hear that their school has been shortlisted. Our refreshed vision, developed in consultation with pupils, families and staff, is ‘At Mortlach anything is possible’, we believe that everyone at Mortlach can achieve anything they set their mind to. It is a privilege to be head teacher and as an ex-pupil I have a deep connection with the school and community.”

Findochty Primary School

Findochty Primary School.
Findochty Primary School.

Having a big vision and set of values that encourage acts of kindness has supported Findochty Primary School to be shortlisted for a Heroes award. The school has 58 pupils and 20 preschool children attend the nursery.

Headteacher Dawn Thomson said: “It’s so lovely to be nominated and recognised for the hard work that we do. We do our best to put the local community at the heart of what we do and I do believe that we’re at the heart of the community. Our pupils enjoy making Christmas cards or leaving flowers on the doorstep of the older members of our community so that they feel cared for and know that even if their families live far away, they are in our thoughts.”

She continued: “Before the pandemic, we used to have lots of village elders come in to read, craft or play games with the children and we’re beginning to rebuild those connections now. All our pupils will be excited to hear about this nomination.”

Dawn has been leading Findochty Primary School for 12 years; she was originally acting head teacher before taking over the permanent role in 2014. She concluded: “Whilst completing my teacher training I came to Findochty Primary School for my work experience placement, so it was a real joy to complete the full circle and return here many years later as head teacher.”

Keith Primary School

Keith Primary School.
Keith Primary School.

Keith Primary School has been shortlisted for a Heroes award for School of the Year partly due to the kindness of its staff team and their willingness to find ways to make lessons as inclusive as possible for pupils with additional needs.

The nomination said: “When one of my children was diagnosed with additional support needs, her teacher made sure she got the right help at the right time. Both my children were treated with the utmost respect.” Head teacher Susan Buchan said: “It’s lovely for the school and our staff to receive recognition like this. We pride ourselves in the ethos of being inclusive and nurturing and it’s wonderful to hear that being affirmed by this kind nomination.”

Keith Primary School has a roll of 330 children and, whilst its aim is for all pupils to be fully included in class activities, it has a dedicated teaching space (The Beeches), life skills room, soft play area and sensory room for children with more complex learning, sensory, physical or health needs.

Susan concluded: “Being a teacher creates so many opportunities for joy. Our pupils always say or do something that make us smile or feel proud. As a community, Keith is a wonderful place to teach because the parents and wider community go above and beyond to support us in so many ways; any time that we are fundraising there is an exceptional response from the local area. It’s heartwarming to be a part of the Keith community.”

Moray Ultrasound is sponsoring the award for school of the year.

Jennifer Monkhouse, from Moray Ultrasound, said it was important to give local schools the thanks and recognition they deserve: “Moray Ultrasound is delighted to sponsor the very first Moray & Banffshire Heroes school of the year award.

"Our schools are such an important part of our communities and are so much more than centres of learning for our children. The pupils, teaching and support staff are very much another ‘family’ that strives to create the best environment for everybody connected to a school. We want to recognise and thank them for the contribution they make.”

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