St Patrick’s Primary boys’ night leads to award nomination

Pupils and dads enjoy the most recent 'Boys' Night' at St Patrick's Primary in Denny. Picture: Alan Murray
Pupils and dads enjoy the most recent 'Boys' Night' at St Patrick's Primary in Denny. Picture: Alan Murray

A Denny primary school will be hoping its a case of third time lucky when it attends a national education awards this week.

St Patrick’s is in the running to win the ‘Parents as Partners in Learning’ category at the Scottish Education Awards in Glasgow on Wednesday, which recognises the contributions parents and carers make in schools.

The dads are up for anything that we put on

Anne O’Donnell, St Patrick’s headteacher

It’s the third time that St Pat’s has been nominated for the same award and staff are keeping their fingers crossed that this will finally be their year.

Judges were clearly impressed by the school’s nomination – with particularly attention being paid to the annual ‘Boys’ Night’ which was started in 2012 by its parent council.

The aim of the night is simple – to encourage more dads, older brothers and uncles to become part of the school’s daily life, a role traditionally filled by mums, and engage more boys in learning.

“We have seen an increased number of males attending school events as a result, be it meetings or assemblies,” said headteacher Anne O’Donnell.

“The Boys’ Night takes place once a year. Pupils are asked to bring along a ‘male adult’ – it could be their grandpa, some bring three generations along.

“We held the first one three years ago and it attracted 200 people. I couldn’t believe the number of dads we had in the school.

“They do a variety of activities, from problem solving to technology in which they have to build things. The important thing is they complete these tasks together.

“The dads are up for anything that we put on.

“We also have a ‘Girls’ Night’, where the girls invite along a female adult. They do the same tasks, we don’t differentiate.”

The latest Boys’ Night was held last week and proved to be as big a hit as previous years.

The success of the nights is proved by the fact several other primary schools across the Falkirk Council area now hold their own versions.

Mrs O’Donnell hopes the judges at the Scottish Education Awards recognise the hard work put in by the school’s parent council in putting on the night.

“Hopefully this will be our year,” she added. “We’re looking forward to it.”

St Pat’s is up against Mount Florida Primary Parent Partnership from Glasgow and Blackford Primary School in Perth and Kinross in the race to win the award.