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Last Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Problem school scoops top awards
Burnhouse School headteacher, Margaret Gibson, with pupils
Burnhouse School headteacher, Margaret Gibson, talks with pupils
A special school which previously received one of the worst reports ever issued has scooped two prestigious education awards.

Inspectors said Burnhouse School in Whitburn had achieved a remarkable turnaround since a damning appraisal three years ago.

Teachers said there is now far more emphasis on discipline and time keeping and pupils feel more secure.

The school discovered it had won two Scottish Education Awards on Friday.

One award was for amibition and the other for enterprise from the Scottish Executive.

They would start talking, they would start swearing so the assemblies were eventually stopped
Liz Spiers
Burnhouse School deputy headteacher

Liz Spiers, Burnhouse School deputy headteacher, said: "Probably about six years ago assemblies couldn't actually take place in the school.

"The pupils would be brought round together into a circle and there would be too much discord.

"They would start talking, they would start swearing so the assemblies were eventually stopped."

Margaret Gibson, the headteacher who was drafted in two years ago, has turned the school around.

She said: "I was absolutely gobsmacked right at the start, it was really, really difficult.

"The pupils were out of class, outside the building, they weren't co-operating.

"I had to some how establish that I was in control, not the pupils. The teachers could teach and I excluded six pupils on the first day.

"I went into the staffroom at the end of the day and there was a round of applause. At last things are coming under control."

Craig Nicol, a pupil at the school, said: "It's quite good now, it has made a difference to my life. If I had been sent here ages ago I would have been better than I am now."

How the school was turned around

Pupils to miss second day
20 Aug 02 |  Scotland

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