Stone me! Popular English teacher is up for top education award

Thursday, 27 May, 2021

jonny stoneA popular English Teacher from St. Ninian's HS in Kirkintilloch is in the running for English Teacher of the Year at the TES School Awards 2021 and the whole school is rooting for him.

Jonny Stone is a firm favourite with pupils and colleagues alike and is one of eight teachers or teams nominated for the prestigious UK award, celebrating the achievements of staff and schools.

Mr Stone has been at St. Ninian's for four years and works closely with pupils in the school's Language and Communication Resource, building strong relationships with those who find interaction difficult. He has succeeded in helping several of these young people achieve national qualifications including Highers. Last year, his S4 class all gained National 5 qualifications.

Many of these pupils struggled during the pandemic with the stress of isolation and the trauma of loss. Using innovative and personalised techniques he was able to deliver his classes and support these young people, helping break down barriers.

Head Teacher, Paul McLaughlin said, "Jonny's innovative approach helps everyone across the whole school. He has cultivated an atmosphere of trust and inclusion which is why pupils have the confidence to share their anxieties with him."

"He has a natural ability to reach disengaged or hostile pupils and it is no coincidence that they are drawn to him and at ease in his company. He is able to instil a sense of self-belief in them that helps them achieve more than they thought they could."

To enhance inclusion and representation throughout the school, Mr Stone has established an equalities group. In collaboration with young people, he is liaising with Education Scotland to address the needs of all pupils to ensure they have a safe space in which to learn.

Similarly he has created Lego Club as a safe space, which uses a fun, play-based approach to engage pupils who are on the Autistic Spectrum or who are socially isolated. It promotes focus, creativity and conflict resolution and encourages patience, flexibility and emotional control.

Joint Council Leader Andrew Polson wished Mr Stone the best of luck, "It is a huge achievement to be shortlisted for this national award but it is no surprise that the judges were impressed by what they read about Mr Stone. It is clear that he is held in high esteem by all who know him and that he is an asset to the school. I look forward to hearing how he gets on and wish him every success."

Joint Council Leader Vaughan Moody added, "St. Ninian's HS has a long and proud record of achievements at these and other awards, stretching back more than a decade. Headteacher, Paul McLaughlin has held the title of Headteacher of the Year and in 2019, John McKean was named Teacher of the Year. Mr Stone is in excellent company and I wish him the best of luck."

The winners of the TES School Awards 2021 will be announced at an online event on Friday 25 June from 8pm.