Case Study 30, March 2002 Click for the next page!
Overcoming barriers to participation

This is the third of four Case Studies during the 2001-2002 session on the theme of 'Overcoming Barriers to Participation'. For the first time ever, this Case Study features a schools' Cluster, comprising Grangemouth High School, its three feeder primary schools and two nursery schools, all in Falkirk Education Authority. All six establishments have been very actively involved in an anti-litter project that in fact encompasses much more than reducing litter and trying to change a culture that is all too tolerant of it. The barriers they have sought to overcome are sectoral and attitudinal. The project also fosters citizenship in pupils, including a concern for the local environment and a sustainable way of life.

This Case Study was published by the Scottish Schools Ethos Network.

Clusters contact for this Case Study
Grangemouth High School
Tinto Drive
Grangemouth FK3 0HW
Contact: Gerry Docherty
Head Teacher
Tel: 01324 485 031
Fax: 01324 508 771
Email: gerry.docherty@falkirk.gov.uk


Introduction

Grangemouth is synonymous with the petro-chemical industry in Scotland - indeed it may well be the last truly industrial town in the country. Our schools serve a community bounded by this industry but it is a community that does not seem to have flourished in the way that industrial communities of past centuries did. Now that the influence of the petro-chemical industry is shrinking in the area, the community has to struggle to maintain a positive image of itself and of its young people. There is a legacy of 'feeling dirty' that seems to find natural expression in the dropping of litter. There's lots of rubbish in the nursery garden!Among young people there can even be a feeling that this is acceptable and 'cool'. Despite this, there is energy and idealism in our pupils that can be tapped and channelled into taking responsibility for the way they behave in and out of school and the amount of effort that is put into academic work. We all work hard to maintain and improve our educational attainments and meet our targets, but these are more likely to be achieved if pupils feel good about themselves and their community and its future. Concern for the local environment is therefore much more than a cosmetic fashion.

Grangemouth High School and its three associated Primaries, Bowhouse, Beancross and Moray, and its two Nurseries, Inchyra and Grangemouth Day, have two distinct advantages in any joint enterprise: they sit within a tightly localised catchment area and the introduction of a New Community School pilot project has helped break down the traditional sectoral barriers. Although the Cluster has existed for ten years, previous joint work was largely focused around 5-14 and easing transition from one sector to the next. The New Community School status has focussed attention on the need to take into account the whole development of each child from 3 to 18, resulting in joint approaches to health education, personal learning plans and core skills in all our schools. Increasingly, staff sees the relevance of joint approaches in many areas, including staff development.

There was already a shared recognition across all the schools that tackling litter was something of importance (see quotes to the right). The primary schools in particular tied in anti-litter drives, such as Bowhouse's 'Bin It' campaign, with elements of their environmental studies curriculum while the high school addressed it in geography and modern studies. For one school, acting on its own could be productive but only within a limited area and for a limited time. With all the schools in the Grangemouth Cluster pulling together, there was the possibility of a visible and widespread difference and of action across the whole 11 to 13 years of education - surely long enough for a change in attitude to take root. Despite this shared conviction, when our Cluster entered for a Barclays' New Futures Award in 2000, we did not expect to win so it was a real surprise and joy to find that we had been given a three year award in which to impact on the problematic litter. The award, however, included much more than that.

In addition to Grangemouth High School, the other participating schools in the Cluster are:
Inchyra Nursery School
Tinto Drive
Grangemouth FK3 0DZ
Head Teacher: Sandra Brown

Grangemouth Day Nursery
Abbots Road
Grangemouth FK3 8JB
Head Teacher: Anne Thomson

Beancross Primary School
Kenilworth Street
Grangemouth FK3 8QS
Head Teacher: Brian Gilles

Bowhouse Primary School
Tinto Drive
Grangemouth FK3 0DZ
Head Teacher: Linda McAlpine

Moray Primary School
Moray Place
Grangemouth FK3 9DL
Head Teacher: Sheena Wright

(Tackling the litter problem) fitted in well with our policy to promote positive attitudes in all areas of life, at the earliest possible stage of a child's development.
Head Teacher, Inchyra Nursery School
We aim to encourage the children to develop positive attitudes to the environment by taking a pride in their school building; developing a respect for living things around them; and encouraging awareness of environmental issues.
Some of the stated aims of Bowhouse Primary School
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