School that hands out iPods wins award

Persuading youngsters to adopt a healthy lifestyle could not be more crucial than in Glasgow, where the gap in life expectancy between the poorest and most affluent areas is a staggering 28 years. Shawlands Academy, a 1,250-pupil school serving some of the city's most deprived wards, has come up with a novel answer to the problem.

The school, one of the most ethnically diverse in Scotland with pupils speaking 47 languages at home, has turned its youngsters on to healthy eating by awarding them points according to their choice of school dinner. The healthier the option, the more points they get, so a mixed nutritional meal including fruits and yoghurt beside the main dish will get them the maximum.

At the end of term, the points are added up and earn pupils a prize – a new iPod or camera for those who have totted up the most. As one youngster, Niamh Murray-Sheridan, put it: "In the past, people went outside [school] to eat but now they are staying in and eating more healthily."

The points rewards system is just one of several initiatives that led to Shawlands receiving the Sustainable School of the Year award at last night's annual Teaching Awards ceremony at the London Palladium. Shawlands has also set up an eco club, members of which ensure rubbish is collected for recycling every day. "We are the next generation of pollution fighters," said one pupil.

The club is also encouraging more youngsters to cycle to and from school – and has built a new bike shed in the school playground.

In addition, youngsters have created their own garden area – also in the school playground – with money from lottery funding. They have also played a role in the refurbishing Pollock Park, the city's largest open space, which is only a short distance from the school.

Park rangers said the area the pupils focussed on had been cut off from natural light by sprawling rhododendron bushes. The pupils cut the bushes back and now it is a pond-side habitat.

Shawlands has also developed partnerships with schools in South Africa, Sweden and Cyprus, with which it talks about efforts to improve their environments.

Last night was the tenth anniversary of the Teaching Awards – which were the brainchild of the Oscar-winning film director Lord Puttnam, who acted as an education adviser to the Government in former prime minister Tony Blair's first cabinet.

A former roadie for the pop band Catatonia was named the outstanding new teacher of the year. Natalie Richards, a drama teacher at Bishop Gore School in Sketty, Swansea, was described as a "fantastic mentor" to younger teachers and staff. Mrs Richards (pictured with award presenter Russell T Davies, the producer of Dr Who) is respected by pupils, one of whom nominated her for the award, for her belief that everyone has talents.

In her three years of teaching, Mrs Richards has already run school productions of Arabian Nights and The Crucible and has started a lunchtime talent club. As a fundraiser and runner she also ropes in pupils to train and compete with her in Sport Relief events.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux ...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants