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Panmure celebrates a well-deserved award

“The best thing about Panmure is that the teachers are on the same level as you,” said Melanie Mason.

“I’ll never forget this place or anyone in it as they have helped me with my behaviour, attitude and given me an education,” said Chelsea Currie.

These thoughts from pupils at Panmure St Ann’s reflect the difference this education project makes to young people’s lives. It’s also the reason they picked up a Standard Life Edinburgh Achievement Award.

“It was the first time we entered it and we thought we had been invited to the awards ceremony just to make up the numbers. It was completely unexpected to win,” said headmaster Dave Simpson.

Panmure St Ann’s supports young people who have found it difficult to cope in mainstream schools.

“For many kids, this is their last chance at getting an education. They don’t have learning difficulties but, for many complex reasons, mainstream school has not worked for them and they have exhausted all other routes,” said Mr Simpson.

“The service goes beyond the classroom to help with the social and emotional needs of the pupils. They not only study Standard Grade English, maths and history, but they have structured leisure time which builds on forming relationships and developing confidence.

“Pupils can do sports classes at Meadowbank and there are three college programmes pupils can progress to – hairdressing, call centre work and motor-vehicles.

“School rules have not worked on them before, so it’s about taking a different approach,” he added.

“There are no rules except to respect themselves, one another and the property around them.

“But they’re expected to attend and, if they don’t turn up, they get a phone call.

“If there is no answer, the teacher will do a cold call visit to their home to determine why they haven’t been here.”

Audrey Fairgrieve, one of the dedicated teachers at Panmure, said: “When I see pupils after they have left, they say it was the best time of their life and that they wouldn’t be where they are now if it wasn’t for Panmure.”

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