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School gets glowing report from First Minister

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By Fiona Reid
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School gets glowing report from First Minister

FIRST Minister Humza Yousaf gave top marks to Moffat Academy after a visit there on Monday.

He toured the school with Education Minister Jenny Gilruth to meet students and staff and to launch a new national framework to help tackle gender based violence.

Explaining the decision to come to Moffat, where they operate a pupil-led approach to promoting gender equality, Mr Yousaf told this paper: “I had heard a lot about the ethos and culture that’s being promoted within the school but I wanted to see it first hand and I’ve been blown away. It exceeded my expectations genuinely, just how incredibly inclusive an environment they have here at Moffat Academy.

“The young people have been an absolute credit to the school and the local community. They did themselves proud by being articulate, really speaking openly with candour about how the school empowered them to tackle issues like gender based violence, issues around misogyny, to promote positive masculinity and I could see that the teachers in the school really fostered an environment that was conducive to pupils being empowered and taking forward these conversations.

“You want that in every school.”

Praising Moffat further, he added: “I think if we can bottle what you have here and make sure that’s shared more broadly and widely across Scotland, it’s going to be exceptionally important.

“I think Moffat Academy is absolutely an example of the type of relationship we want teachers and pupils to have when it comes to tackling some of the more pervasive issues that we face in our society.

“Moffat Academy provides an excellent blueprint on how we should empower our pupils to tackle these really pervasive issues.”

Asked about the need to improve pupil attainment in Scotland, the First Minister said: “Tackling the attainment gap is really important to the government and improving pupil attainment is important to the government and we are making good on that promise to invest a billion pounds over the course of the parliament on pupil attainment.

“For me, tackling gender based violence is a positive right across the board, it creates more inclusive spaces and I don’t doubt it helps with attainment if you have those safe spaces where you can learn as a pupil so I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Moffat headteacher Tara Woods was delighted with the visit and said: “It was fantastic to be able to share first hand the work being done across our cluster with the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary.

“Our student focus group, supported by their teachers, presented and discussed projects relating to Mentors in Violence Prevention, equalities, relationships and sexual health, personal and social education, boys mentoring, Respect Me and Equally Safe in School, to name just a few.

“Our young people were confident, articulate and engaging and we couldn’t be more proud of them.”

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