Success for Larbert High at UK education awards

The Larbert High School team at the Tes awards ceremony in London with host Julian Clarey
The Larbert High School team at the Tes awards ceremony in London with host Julian Clarey

Larbert High School is celebrating this week after scooping a UK-wide award at a glittering ceremony in London.

The school picked up the Science, technology and engineering teacher or team of the year award at the 2017 Tes Schools Awards, held in association with The Royal Air Force, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane.

Some of the gardening team from Larbert High School

Some of the gardening team from Larbert High School

The prize is for the school’s practical approach to science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) which enables pupils to forge careers in these industries with methods that are working.

It has already helped former pupil Kirsty Mitchell who chose a place at University of Glasgow to study chemical engineering following her Stem education at Larbert High.

Stem is embedded in everything the school does and pupils are encouraged to take part in an innovative ‘Stem academy’ programme that allows them to complete projects based around Stem skills outside of the regular curriculum.

Pupils can create crystals, design straw-powered paper aeroplanes and compete in national competitions such as the UK-wide BP challenge.

The judges said: “Larbert High School showed a huge breadth and depth of science beyond the curriculum.

“The school has given its students an inspiring and eye-opening vision of the possibilities that are open to them in science, with huge numbers of students continuing further in Stem fields. They are very worthy winners.”

To ensure that the whole community gets on board with the Stem-mania, Larbert High runs an annual week-long series of events, which this year included evening seminars that were open to pupils, parents and members of the public.

Feedback on the outreach has been so positive that the school now plans to build on the success by hosting a series of events that will include local primary schools.

Stem is not the only academic area pupils are excelling at, however, as 14 green-fingered pupils have made the shortlist for the UK-wide Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) School Gardening Team of the Year 2017, supported by Gabriel Ash.

The youngsters, aged from 13-14 are competing to win the prestigious national award which is designed to identify an outstanding school gardening team that has gone the extra mile to share their passion for gardening.

The Larbert pupils are up against three other teams from Hull, London and Oxfordshire who have also been shortlisted for the accolade.

The winner will be announced at a special awards ceremony at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey in July.

Christine Bell, from volunteer community group Communities Along the Carron (CATCA) which works with the school, nominated the pupils.

She said: “The team has created a fantastic school and community garden from nothing over the past three years.

“They have grown their skills by working with volunteers from the local community and this year produced a huge crop of over 1000 kilos of fresh produce.

“Keen to strengthen their community ties, the team got in touch with a local nursing home. They researched the specific needs of dementia sufferers and people with mobility issues and came up with a design for a community garden for the elderly residents.

“They are now working to secure funding so that their design can be built at the home and give residents a garden to enjoy for many years to come.

“Through taking part in the project, the children are much more confident, communicative and focused. They have developed a deep respect for elderly people and of course have learned a huge amount of gardening skills.”