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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Senior Textiles / Fashion Technician

£22000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To contribute to the day-to-da...

Recruitment Genius: Health and Social Care NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...

Recruitment Genius: ICT Infrastructure Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test