GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

National Probationer Celebration

National Probationer Event Banner

Each year, GTC Scotland asks our partners to nominate probationers who have excelled while working towards our Standard for Full Registration. Congratulations to all our nominated probationers. You represent a cohort of probationers who have experienced a very different probation from that which you may have expected when you first set out on the Teacher Induction Scheme or Flexible Route. This celebration is of your achievements, but also those of your amazingly adaptable colleagues and mentors. We would have dearly loved to celebrate your momentous achievements in person but, with circumstances as they are, we have been forced to move our celebrations online. We hope you enjoy the content below, and join us on Twitter @gtcs between 3-4pm on 24 June to share your experience of probation and your photos.

Message from John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Video roll call of our nominated probationers

More information on our nominated probationers and their thoughts on their mentors

Sarah Hunter-Styles

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Sarah Hunter-Styles View nomination video

Hazel Taylor has been a truly inspirational mentor to me this year. She is exceptionally well organised and has been very supportive both face to face and online during lockdown. Even when things were difficult, she reassured me by always saying "don't worry, you are doing great." Thank you Hazel for sharing your experiences and becoming a true friend as we shared laughter and tears along this sometimes bumpy journey.

Henry Allen, Secondary PE, Mackie Academy

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Henry Allen View nomination video

Henry has had an excellent probation year and made significant impact in the department. His enthusiasm and work ethic has been the catalyst for the increase in N5 attainment from the previous year. His exceptional ICT literacy and digital competency has developed a framework for a tracking and monitoring system used to review the progress of students. This system has saved considerable time for his colleagues, increased the effectiveness of learning conversations and improved attainment across the subject. He is regularly seen supporting staff with a lower digital competency and this increases his colleagues confidence to improve their practice. He has gained respect from his department and senior leadership team with his ability to create strong relationships and invest time to know pupils. Henry has shown initiative to provide support to all pupils at lunchtime and after school support workshops. This has allowed many pupils, mainly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to increase their attainment across multiple subject areas. He has supported three extra-curricular clubs (Basketball, Rugby and Hockey) helping to increase the participation levels in activities with a lower profile in the school and those pupils with ASN. Mackie Academy now has a Basketball team that competes in an Aberdeenshire league for the first time. Henry has been an outstanding member of staff and challenged many of his colleagues to develop their own practice. We are delighted that he is returning to us in August.

Kathryn Thoirs
Depute Head Teacher
Mackie Academy

Craig Thomson

I would like to thank you for all of the time and guidance you have given me throughout this year.

Craig has always been there throughout this year to answer any questions or help me with any difficulties I was having with specific lessons or classes.

The best piece of advice Craig has given me this year is that teaching is about relationships. If you can form good relationships with both individual pupils and a class as a whole, teaching that class becomes a whole lot easier.

Adele Henderson, Primary 5-7 teacher, Forgue Primary School

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Adele Henderson View nomination video

Adele Henderson started as a Pupil Support Assistant at Forgue Primary in October 2015. It was obvious from the beginning that she was highly talented and I encouraged her to think about a career in teaching. After a while, she decided that she was going to apply for an Open University Course in Primary Education with music which she started in 2016. For the next three years, she studied exceedingly hard while working fulltime at Forgue and graduated in 2019 with First Class Honours.

In November 2018 we were visited by HMIe inspectors and I had a supply teacher working as we had a vacancy. The inspectors were highly impressed with Miss Henderson and asked if she could not be "fast-tracked" to start working as a Probationer Teacher in August 2019. Following discussions between GTCS, Aberdeenshire Council and myself, Adele was accepted as a Probationer and has been following the Flexible Route. This meant that Adele started teaching at Forgue in August 2019 having no 'formal teaching experience'.

Adele is an excellent role model for pupils as her dedication and hard work shows them that they can follow their dreams and succeed. She is a talented singer and musician and uses these skills to inspire her pupils. Her passion for teaching and her desire to help all children succeed shines through as she strives to meet the needs of every single pupil within her class. She proactively carries out research to find appropriate resources to enhance her teaching and also to support individual pupils. She reflects on her practice and strives to do the very best for her pupils and our school.

Her ICT skills provide children with fantastic up-to-date learning experiences. Classroom observations were a pleasure as her children were always fully engaged in their learning. Adele has taken this period of home-learning in her stride and continues to provide her pupils with the best possible education. She continues to provide a differentiated curriculum through making and sharing teaching videos with her pupils through Google Classroom. She supports her pupils throughout the day and provides individual support when required.

Adele has been an asset to our small two-teacher school. She has been a tremendous support to myself and I am extremely happy with the education my upper stages class is receiving. She has become part of our school community and is highly respected by all staff, pupils and parents. I would be delighted if her hard work could be recognised.

- Muriel Matthew

Muriel Matthew works hard, takes pride in her school and is an excellent mentor and role model. Her willingness to share her skills, knowledge and expertise is truly appreciated. She has always encouraged me to ask questions saying, “No question is a silly question.” Muriel has not only supported me as a probationer, she took me under her wing when I started as a PSA in 2015 and her continuous encouragement and support is what has led me onto a successful career path in education. I am truly grateful for the support and kindness I have received from Muriel and can’t thank her enough for everything she has done for me.

Nina Phillips, Business Education, Forfar Academy

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Nina Phillips

Nina has worked hard to ensure quality and breadth of commitment and her ability to engage learners.

She has made a strong contribution to the wider life of the school and community.

As a probationer, Nina has lived by and modelled the core school values from the first day of joining her school community; she cares for the young people and staff that she works with and is always keen and ready to learn new skills and share them with others.

- Alita Spink, Angus Council

Gareth Magee has been so supportive throughout my probationary period, giving me honest advice along the way. He always reminded me to be realistic about my goals and kept telling me to stop beating myself up when things didn't go to plan.

I would like to thank him for all of the support, laughs and tears that we have had and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the next academic year and beyond.

Miriam Walker, Primary, Rhu Primary School

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Miriam Walker View nomination video

Michael Dickie: From day 1 of my probation year Michael made every effort to support me. His endless patience and encouragement have given me the strong foundations I needed to become a happy, confident teacher; no question was a silly one! Michael advised me to always ask myself, “What impact is this having on the learners?” and that has been, and will continue to be, invaluable. Everything I do as a teacher must have an impact and I hope that, as a reflective teacher, I will continue to ask myself this.

Thank you Michael for putting up with my crazy ideas over the past year and for always keeping incredibly calm during the stormy weather! You’ve given me the very best start to my career and I couldn’t have wished for a better mentor.

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Rachel Campbell

View nomination video

Jennifer McCallum is special in more ways than one, she is kind and compassionate. At every single meeting she encouraged me and told me I was doing well. She encouraged me to take action to meet my goals and gave me advice on how to get there. She was always able to make me laugh and provided a safe space for me to talk about school and personal matters. She has become my friend for life.

Alexis Simpson

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Alexis Simpson View nomination video

Andrew Garner has been by my side throughout what was a roller coaster year of emotions. Through the tears, frustrations, the many highs and, need for chocolate! Without his consistent positivity and belief in me, I genuinely think I may not have made it through. Murrayburn is more than a school. It is a family, where everyone has each other's backs. I felt I could voice worries or concerns without judgement, always knowing I would receive words of encouragement, honesty and friendly support.

I owe Andrew and many others a huge Thank You for the guidance and experience they have offered me. It has given me a great foundation to begin my teaching career. I was both delighted and surprised to receive this nomination. I don't know what I would do without them, and the Murrayburn Way!

Bronwyn Byrne, RMPS, Alloa Academy

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Bronwyn Byrne

In addition to being a passionate advocate for her subject, RMPS, Brownyn is committed to education in its widest sense. She is pupil centred and is fully committed to pupil leadership and promoting pupil voice. She has empowered pupils by leading the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme and the Mind Matters project which encourages young people to volunteer and provides them with the skills to support others.

Bronwyn has a gift for teaching and is a joy to work with. Her mentor described Bronwyn as a “ray of sunshine” and someone who has inspired her to try new things.

- Scott McCracken, Alloa Academy

Nicola Stein has been more than a mentor or supporter, she has been an amazing friend. Nicola is the kindest, most selfless person I have ever met. Her hilarious jokes and constant reassurance has made my probation year the best it possibly could (Not to forget the chocolate gifts 'just because' - she's a real angel!). Nicola has shown me how to build amazing relationships with pupils and staff as she truly goes above and beyond for everyone - including me! I want to say a massive thank you to her for everything she has done for me (even coming in on her days off to help me!) and say how truly blessed I am to be shaping young minds alongside such an amazing lady.

Sally Houston, Primary, Calside Primary School

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Sally Houston

Sally is committed, hard-working and professional at all times. She listens carefully to advice given and tries her best to improve her understanding of the role of the teacher. She is very enthusiastic and formed positive relationships with the pupils, staff and the wider community during her time in school. We have been very impressed with the way she has conducted herself in her work within the childcare hubs during term 4 and how she has engaged with digital learning.

Aleksandra Stores has been a great support to me over the past year. She made me feel welcome and included from the moment I stepped in the building. She has kept me calm throughout stressful times and passed on her knowledge and expertise of the profession. I would like to thank her for all her support and patience as I ‘found my feet’. Thank you to all staff at Calside who have shaped me into the teacher I am today and made this year a positive experience.

Christopher Culloch, Craigiebairns

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Christopher Culloch

Christopher is a very dedicated NQT who has gone above and beyond since his first day at Craigiebarns. He has brought energy, positivity and enthusiasm to our staff, this has filtered through to everyone.

Supporting Families

  • He works very closely with our School and Family Development Worker to meet an extensive set of needs for children in class.
  • He has built a positive working relationship with Speech and Language Therapists.
  • He communicates with parents on a daily basis using class Dojo and has had many positive notes/feedback from parents regarding the positive relationships he has built both with children and the wider family. He meets with parents at the ends of school days too.

Extra-Curricular Clubs

Although Christopher is teaching P3 he also runs clubs for our older children in P5, 6 and 7

  • Football Girls, including taking them to matches and weekly training.
  • Runs the school’s Cross-country team
  • Provides Bubble Time (support time for children who need opportunities to talk and receive pastoral care) in own time for Children in class with support needs/care needs
  • Runs a SUMDOG Club to raise attainment for learners at lunchtimes twice a week for his own year group

New Initiatives

  • Plickers (IT tool) – Own initiative and introduced to all staff in a CLPL session to be used for assessment purposes - children and staff love this for tracking children’s progress in numeracy
  • Ukulele – starting club (teaching staff) – offers his musical expertise to support all school events
  • Christopher has developed and implemented a buddy reading system between P3 and P7 stages, communicating the organisation with his stage partner, P7/6 and P7 teachers.

Links with Community

  • Christmas Charity event – Neo Natal Unit (Ninewells) Christopher brought this caring project to Craigiebarns - this involved P7 and P3 teachers and children working together to create Christmas gifts/cards for babies and families in the Neo-Natal Unit – it also encouraged learners to think about our wider community/helping others/kindness acts. Learners worked with their buddy classes and it also involved Craigiebarns community and families.
  • Christopher is organising the school’s involvement in the Dundee Design Parade (UNESCO – City of Design) for the P3 classes – representing the school in the wider community along with other schools

Christopher is a very calm and caring teacher who has developed an excellent relationship with all learners he works with across the school. He has a class of learners with a high percentage of support needs – both emotional, physical and academic but has the patience, understanding and empathy to have succeeded in making differences with both them and their families.

His learners are always happy, motivated and enthusiastic and he has instilled an obvious confidence in them all.

Within this nurturing approach Christopher also sets high expectations for the children in his class and encourages them to do their best.

Christopher has also had a positive impact on staff in school – he is working with the Primary 7 teacher as well as his P3 Stage partner and has introduced new initiatives (technology, active learning) that he has shared, and which have enthused staff.

He has shared his experiences of working abroad in Camp America with colleagues and used his expertise to inform/enhance his teaching practice and enable him to develop positive relationships with all he is involved with. This has also encouraged his colleagues to adopt a similar nurturing approach to learners.

What makes Christopher stand out from other NQTs is that he brings an energy and enthusiasm which has encouraged and motivated all staff. He has fitted in with the school ethos from day 1. He helps, shares, and encourages others including staff, children and families.

He reads and researches relevant issues to continually improve. When he discovers something that works well, he shares it and encourages colleagues to try new initiatives and progress in their thinking and teaching approaches.

Christopher takes all feedback on board and often seeks it out. He is so desperate to do the best for the children and families in his class and, even more than that, our school.

- Susan Forbes (supporter) & Karen Clarke, HT

I'd just like to say a huge thank you to Susan Forbes for all of her support and guidance throughout my first year of teaching. It has been amazing having Susan as a supporter and we have built an extremely productive working relationship, whilst also having plenty of fun along the way! The best piece of advice Susan has given me is to be confident in my approaches to teaching as well as making sure to always go the extra mile. We've enjoyed celebrating success with our pupils throughout the year and this wouldn't have been possible without Susan's impact on my learning and teaching. Thank you for being the best stage partner, supporter and buddy!

Kieran Haxton, Secondary Music, Harris Academy

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Kieran Haxton

Kieran has shown dedication and commitment not only to the department but also to the school. As a department, we have had a period of difficulty with staffing. Kieran has gone above and beyond helping to prepare cover work for classes, supporting classes as appropriate, and has also given of his time to support the PT with SQA classes. He has done far more than that expected of an NQT given the staffing situation. Kieran has also contributed significantly to curriculum development and has taken on extra work to ensure courses are appropriate for our young people.

He is very keen to learn about all aspects of the Music and Music Technology curriculum and has dedicated additional time to music technology to develop his own knowledge. He has taken the lead in developing the current S3 Music Technology course and is shadowing the class teacher with the SQA Music Technology class.

In addition, he has integrated really well with a fairly new department across Music and Drama and has supported extra-curricular events within both Music and Drama. For example, he has led and co-led a number of music activities, but has also helped significantly with the annual Drama Panto.

Kieran has contributed to the whole school in his role as House Mentor and is a valued member of a number of school improvement groups and committees, again, taking on lead roles. He is always available for young people from within and outwith the department.

He has also contributed to the whole city, being a valued and key member of the short life group looking at Music Benchmarks. Kieran has taken on important roles within this group and has offered valued opinions.

In September, Kieran presented his findings from his University Practitioner Enquiry at the National SAME conference.

Kieran's teaching is outstanding, always going the extra mile to support all pupils in his classroom. I have been extremely impressed with him thus far and feel he is very deserving in this nomination.

- Nominated by Shelly Short, PT Music at Harris

Shelly Short has been a fantastic supporter this year. Having a classroom right next door meant that she was always there to answer any questions or queries. In what has been a challenging year, she has always ensured I was doing my best to develop my practice and most importantly support me in being a reflective practitioner who always ensures the impact on pupil experiences is at the heart of everything I do. Her hard work and dedication to her pupils and her job is truly an inspiration.

Thank you so much for everything this year Shelly. I am delighted to be staying at Harris Academy and I am really looking forward to working with you more in the future.

Ryan Nicol

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Ryan Nicol

Ryan came to us as a Flexible Route probationer at a time when the school and the PE department was in a difficult place due to being in two different schools following a fire. Along with this, there had been some changes in the department which meant that Ryan really had to take on a number of leadership roles that would probably have been carried out by more experienced staff. During the period of time when we returned to Braeview, Ryan has been a very consistent and adaptable member of staff earning the respect of all staff and pupils. He has single handedly grown aspects of the department with his absolute commitment to the school in both curricular and extra-curricular areas.

I would like to take a moment to thank my mentor Stuart who alongside the rest of the Braeview Academy PE Department supported my professional development throughout my NQT year. The dedication and passion of each member of our PE department is exceptional. This has made coming to work over the last year a pleasure and I very much look forward to continuing in my current role over the years ahead.

Ellen Roy

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Ellen Roy View nomination video I was lucky enough to have Gary Mason as both my mentor and stage partner this year. His support has been invaluable and I have learned so much from him. I will definitely miss his good sense of humour next term! I’d also like to thank Shauna Wilson for her continuous support and guidance.

Kirsty O'Donnell, Primary, Holy Trinity Primary School

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Kirsty ODonnell View nomination video

Jacqueline Lalor

Thank you for being such a fantastic probationer mentor, you taught me to always put the child at the centre.

Making time to meet to see how I am getting on, I can’t believe how fast this past year has gone.

You have supported me in more ways than you will ever know and I am keen to continue to learn and grow.

Your fun ideas, resources and many a catchy song helped us to keep the learning moving along.

You always had a joke or funny story to tell and you were there for me when I wished my first class farewell.

I wanted to say thank you for everything, but most of all for taking me under your wing.


I would like to nominate Brian Shelton for this award. He is a single father who has gone into teaching late in life. He continues to cope with the traumatic grief regarding the sudden death of his wife. Despite this, he is persistently upbeat within his classroom and the faculty. The pupils at Musselburgh Grammar School constantly feedback how much they enjoy his classes. From being in his lessons it is clear that he has brought his experience from his time in industry- his lessons are interesting and relevant to the skills we are developing in our young people.

- Emma Ormerod, DHT and Regent, Musselburgh Grammar

Beth Brown, Modern Languages, Eastwood High School

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Beth Brown

Beth made an immediate impression on Eastwood High School colleagues from the moment they first met her at the probationer induction session in June 2020. Throughout the year, not only did Beth meet all the professional standards, but she consistently went above and beyond for her pupils and her Modern Languages department.

She played a key role in helping her department make a very positive impression during a local authority subject review. Her commitment to ensuring pupils meet her own high standards and expectations were evident from a very early stage and she has gone on to become an even more effective practitioner as the year has gone on, listening to advice from colleagues and reflecting on her own learning. Beth has continually supported all her pupils and developed fantastic relationships with pupils who find difficulty in engaging with Modern Languages, as well as inspiring many more of her pupils to share her enthusiasm for learning languages.

Beth has proven to be an outstanding colleague in a short space of time and has made a very positive impact on the young people at Eastwood High School.

- David Gordon

My mentor this year was Stephen Hamilton. Stephen was an excellent mentor, always ready to provide advice on all matters as well provide witty quips which made for very entertaining professional dialogues. Stephen really invested his time in helping me achieve a permanent job by giving me many mock interviews, I will forever be indebted to him.

It has been a pleasure working with Stephen and I wish him well as he is retiring this month after a fantastic career. Thank you, Stephen!

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Heather Black

She has been a very diligent hardworking probationer. She had a unique experience and has taught a multi composite class 1-7 with 15 children and various abilities and backgrounds in a small rural school. She created a very inclusive and a nurturing environment in her classroom. She has worked with parents to offer extra-curricular opportunities to the children which previously have been difficult, including football and athletics, resulting in the school winning the athletics competition.

Mrs Catherine Macleod: Celebrating every success with me, a shoulder to lean on through the challenges and most importantly a friend to make me smile when I needed it the most. Thank you for making me the teacher I am today and for all the work you have put in to guide and support me throughout an exceptionally unique year!

Kirsten Barrie

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Kirsten Barrie

Kirsten is a dedicated practitioner who always has the needs of all her pupils at the forefront of her practice. She has created a nurturing ethos in her classroom with all learners motivated to learn in all curricular areas. Her skills in differentiating the curriculum have been outstanding. She has consistently delivered high quality lessons and is a very reflective practitioner, always striving to implement new strategies and improve her practice.

- Donna Melville, Primary Probationer Support, Service and School Improvement Team, Bothkennar Hub

My supporter has helped me every step of the way this year. She has increased my confidence as a new teacher and was always there to listen and reassure me. Jennifer has been an amazing supporter who is very positive and kind. She has encouraged me to do my best in all aspects of my practice and has provided me with great advice throughout the year. I have felt very supported and have Jennifer to thank for my success this year. She has made me feel ready and excited to begin my career in teaching.

Kieran Mair, Primary, Methelhill Primary School

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Kieran Mair

From the moment we received Kieran as a student, I could tell there was something special about how we was with the children. His natural style meant that he always went above and beyond in terms of getting to know the children and their families, adapting his teaching deliveries to meet their needs and always taking into account the whole child and not merely the academic side. It is this positively holistic approach which he possesses that meant we were delighted, as a school, when we heard he was to become our Probationer.

Kieran fitted in seamlessly to our staff team and even though the year has presented many challenges, which at times, seemed unsurmountable, he maintained a pragmatic and solution focused attitude throughout.

It was, therefore, a really easy decision to nominate Kieran for Probationer of the Year as we could not think of anyone more deserving of such an accolade. His endless hard work, tireless efforts and unquestionable integrity has seen him grow from strength to strength. Kieran has built relationships, both with Families and Staff, that will see him through and above all, he has made the most tremendous impact on his learners and it is this, that makes him the worthy recipient of this title. He most definitely lives up to it!

- Alix Rolland, Depute Headteacher, Methilhill Primary School

Rebecca Schulz

I would like to say: Thank you for your support throughout the year. Your positive energy, supportive conversations and overarching kindness has undoubtedly shaped the teacher I have become.

Rachael Martin, St Andrew's Secondary School

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Rachael Martin

Exceptional classroom practice

Rachael is an outstanding teacher who has demonstrated exemplary classroom practice during her year as an NQT. She is highly motivated, always ensuring that the young people in her care have the very best possible learning experience. Youngsters thrive in Rachael's classroom and are clearly delighted to have her as a teacher. Rachael's lesson are always fun, stimulating and relevant to the needs of her pupils. The variety of activities that Rachael incorporates into her lessons ensures that her pupils are fully engaged in the learning process. Rachael has developed a breadth of activities including co-operative learning, active learning and Making thinking Visible strategies as appropriate. The stimulating learning environment fostered in Rachael's classes has resulted in even the most challenging of youngsters demonstrating improvements in motivation and attainment. Indeed, a visitor to Rachael's classroom would find it very difficult to distinguish her classroom practice from a much more experienced colleague.

Demonstrated outstanding commitment during their Induction Year

Rachael's commitment to her new profession is unquestionable. Since joining our faculty team Rachael has become an integral part of all that we do. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she volunteers to participate in every development opportunity available, whether that is to develop her own classroom skills or to contribute to the development of materials for use across our faculty. We have been particularly impressed with Rachael's commitment to the young people in our learning community who have experiences that make the school environment challenging. Rachael is a regular volunteer in our nurture base and has made it a priority to learn about the difficulties these youngsters face and the best ways to help them deal with their challenges. In addition to this Rachael has also embraced the caring and supportive ethos of our school community, regularly volunteering with our S6 youngsters at The Wayside Club providing hot meals for the homeless in our community.

In addition to all of this, Rachael is always first to volunteer to help for school events and clubs including P7 parent information evenings. staff talent shows, S1 Science club and Go4STEM to name but a few. Rachael is undoubtedly born for the profession and is most definitely the most outstanding NQT that has been part of our faculty team. Her colleagues thoroughly enjoy working with her and have found her enthusiasm and positivity to be a breath of fresh air.

- Kimberlee King, Quality Improvement Officer, Education Services

Margaret Walker-Clowes and Mairi-Anne Gallagher

They have both been incredibly supportive and encouraging, and always there for me during such an overwhelming year!

No question was ever too silly, and they had so much time for me which made me feel so welcome and gave me the confidence I needed to become a successful practitioner during my NQT year. I'd just like to give them a massive thank you, and let them know how much I've appreciated all their help.

Diane Bruce – Inverness Royal Academy – Secondary Gaelic

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Diane Bruce

“Do you think that’s something I could do?” could be Diane’s catchphrase this year.

Diane has become a valued and active member of the Gaelic department. From day one, she has fully committed herself to all that the role involves both in the classroom and in the wider school.

Diane has a very positive attitude and is willing to meet any challenge set. Her friendly, bright personality has allowed her to develop strong working relationships with each of her classes and with staff across the school. She is known for being approachable, interested in people around her and always happy to help.

One of her key strengths in improving her learning and teaching practice has been willingness to seek advice and opinions of more experienced colleagues. She responds very well to feedback and will immediately set to work implementing suggestions to benefit her classes.

Diane has sought to develop the use of ICT, taking the lead on trialling a new online programme to allow pupils to develop confidence in reading Gaelic. Diane was keen to ensure all pupils were able to enjoy reading and decided this tool would help pupils with a range of needs to better access their learning. The department have learnt from her experience to better support all of our pupils. The use of technology has helped engage pupil interest and improve focus in class as well as develop key literacy skills.

Diane has also taken on a senior class and helped pupils work towards both N4 and N5 qualifications. She identified a need among some pupils for further support outwith the classroom and has set up supported study sessions. Pupils have also felt comfortable enough to request additional support from Diane after school which she has been only too happy to give.

Diane has led extra-curricular activities in the department. She offered a lunchtime club to pupils to create a Gaelic film for the annual FilmG competition. This involved supporting them through team building, script writing, developing technical camera and editing skills. Diane has also been very keen to promote the local Mòd, encouraging pupils to sign up to competitions, helping them prepare and developing their confidence. She is prepared to assist in the arrangements for this, including completing risk assessments and organising transport.

Outwith the department, Diane signed up to take pupils on the school’s annual Romania trip. This has included fundraising, event organising and working closely with colleagues and pupils from across the school. Diane has thrown herself into this role and shown immense dedication to the school, the pupils and to helping international communities.

Diane has also been asked to lead a workshop at a conference at Sabhal Mor to let those finishing their course this year hear of her experiences as a probationer and what they might face next year.

Diane has approached the role of probationer with an excellent, can-do attitude this year and her personality, hard work and commitment have paid off, allowing her to develop her skills. She also recognises that she is at the beginning of a long learning journey and is keen to continue her progress in the future.

“I can do that” will most definitely be her catchphrase before the year is out.

- Shonagh McLennan, Inverness Royal Academy

Shonagh McLennan has been a huge part of my language learning experience, not only through my probationary year but also through my experiences as a student teacher and as a former school pupil.

Shonagh - or Miss McLennan back then - encouraged and challenged me to build on my language skills and consequently boosted my own confidence in using Gaelic from the age of seventeen. I still have very fond memories of the learning experiences she provided that solidified my own decision to continue with my language learning journey; she was also extremely supportive in showing me the opportunities that were available to me in the Gaelic working world.

This year, Shonagh has shown me so much patience, compassion and leadership skills and I'd like to thank Shonagh for her support throughout my probationary year, and indeed my overall language learning journey, and I am delighted to return to the department next term as her colleague.

Tha Shonagh air a bhith na pàirt mhòr nam shlighe ionnsachadh cànain, chan ann a-mhàin am bliadhna ach nuair a bha mi nam oileanach agus nam sgoilear cuideachd.

Tha Shonagh - no Miss NicIllinnean on a bha mi òg - air a bhith gam bhrosnachadh gus na sgilean cànain agam a thoirt air adhart bho aois seachd bliadhna deug anns an àrd-sgoil. Tha cuimhne glè mhath agamsa air na eòlasan a thug i dhomh a dhearbhaich dhòmhsa gun robh mi airson cumail orm le Gàidhlig ionnsachadh; bha i a-riamh taiceil ann a bhith a' sealltainn na cothroman dhomh ann an saoghal na Gàidhlig.

Thar na bliadhna tha Shonagh air foighidinn, co-fhaireachdainn agus sgilean ceannardais a shealltainn dhomh agus tha mi airson taing mhòr a thoirt dhi airson mo chumail ceart air mo shlighe - tha mi a’ dèanamh fiughair tilleadh thuice agus dhan roinn an ath theirm mar Thidsear Ghàidhlig.

Nominee Nomination Thoughts on mentor/supporter
Donna-Louise Hurrell

From the start Donna has been an excellent member of staff, she presents a warm and welcoming face in her class and always has the best interests of pupils at heart.

Recently, the Faculty Head was absent for a period of time and Donna showed real professionalism in her approach – offering to cover classes, providing resources for cover staff and starting off lessons for them to maintain standards across the Department. Nothing was too much trouble for Donna and in this setting she has showed herself to be a natural leader and with exceptional commitment to our pupils.

Donna has also given her time to many voluntary duties across the school which is very much appreciated. She helps out at Young Enterprise, Breakfast clubs, interval supervision and has even taken on a group of S3 pupils for Options Interviews.

My mentor was Mr Jim O'Donnell who was a great support to me, always available with advice and encouragement, even at the end of the school day on a Friday. He reassured me and helped develop my teacher confidence, it was really valuable having an experienced teacher to help guide me. He taught me that as a teacher we are learners too and should always be developing our "art".

The school and the department were also so supportive.


In terms of his all-round commitment to the school and our community Keiran may well be the finest NQT I’ve seen in 10 years as a HT.

His commitment to our students and relationships he forms with them are outstanding. Brilliant lessons in PE with real progress made during the year. He gives up lots of his time to do work within Student Support, Creative Learning and now our Complex Needs Provision. Keiran works within the community on a Friday night doing coaching sessions with young people.

In lockdown he has been a mainstay of our Key Worker Hub provision.

I’m pleased to say we have him ‘signed’ on a permanent contract from August.

Katie Dunbar – Art and Design – LHS

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Katie Dunbar

Katie has been an outstanding teacher, ensuring a safe and secure environment with a caring and compassionate ethos. She shows respect with an open and honest approach with strong personal and professional integrity. She established a popular lunch time "creative chill" club promoting the emotional and social well-being of S1 pupils at the beginning of the year which has continued to grow and support pupils in their transition to Secondary school.

Her polite, engaging approach promoting positive relationships is also evident through her contributions within the HWB working group developing activities for a HWB day and for engaging with the wider community on a public art project.

She has produced many learning resources developing literacy within her subject area for both BGE and Senior Phase, effectively differentiated for readability and considering ESL, contributing to the raising attainment agenda.

I would also like to commend her for her collegiality and professionalism.

– nominated by Fionna Shearer

My mentor Fionna Shearer has a wealth of teaching experience and ideas for creative lessons which she shared with me freely. She worked with me every step of the way, including me in all departmental planning and gave me the autonomy to come up with my own lessons in the BGE to develop progressive art programmes. Under her support I have been able to develop my skillset, subject knowledge and learned how to assess work effectively through Moray art moderation sessions. The best piece of advice Fionna has given me this year is to not be afraid to ask the pupils for their feedback on lessons, pace, homework etc. They will give you honest feedback to help you to improve your teaching and essentially their learning too.

I would like to thank Fionna for her constant support and guidance this year, I couldn’t have completed this year without her.

Sarah Stewart, Primary, Ardeer Primary

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Sarah Stewart

As a probationer teacher she has blossomed into an enthusiastic, dedicated and hard-working professional. She is committed to safeguarding the health, welfare and safety of all pupils. Sarah has a variety of skills to offer, is an extremely reflective practitioner and is committed to life long learning. She freely gives of her own time to the whole life of the school, its staff and its pupils and is flexible and accommodating. She is a candidate worthy of NAC ‘Probationer of the Year’.

- Susanne Dunne, Operational Lead & Probationer Manager

Paula Lacy has been one of the most supportive people in my life over the last two years and has always cheered me on to success. She has shared her wisdom with me and always dropped everything in order to support me. Even whilst in lockdown, Paula has made time for me every week to phone and check in with my mental well-being, ensuring I was safe and well. The way she cares for the children in her care and the staff around her is striking. I have been extremely lucky to work with Paula and will take the knowledge and experience she has given me in to in my future teaching career, to positively affect my teaching and learning. I would like to thank Paula for all she has done and for inspiring me to strive to become the best teacher I can be.

Natalie O'Hara

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Natalie O'Hara

Throughout her Probation year she has shown herself to be an extremely talented teacher in the classroom who always treats her pupils with respect. She is someone who manages to get the best out of the young people she works with. However, it is her promotion of the values of social justice and global citizenship across the school and her incredible commitment to whole school activities which have been her crowning achievements this year.

Natalie runs a weekly Mission Rabies club within the school. This club works with the Mission Rabies charity that vaccinates dogs in Malawi from the Rabies virus. This has a massive impact on the area as Malawi has the highest rate of Rabies related deaths in the world. To promote this cause Natalie has held several assemblies with various year groups, she has organised and ran a plethora of fundraising events - including bake sales and movie afternoons – and has developed lessons which are being delivered in every school across Malawi to help educate and raise awareness of Rabies. Natalie has also been involved in all the fundraising the school does for Malawian prisoners. This has helped bring a lot of positive publicity to the school as Natalie has written articles about the school’s work with Malawi for The Scottish Catholic Observer newspaper.

Natalie also runs a weekly Word Veterinary Service club in the school. This club again works with a charity that aims to: raise awareness of the care of animals, the environmental impact on animals, and help to provide veterinary care in Third World countries. This club is comprised of S1 and S2 students that Natalie works closely with. She delivers workshops and lessons with the S2 pupils, who then teach the S1 pupils what they have learned. The group has recently made up lessons that have been delivered to the whole S1 year group through Transition classes, encouraging pupils to enter an international competition to promote the charity.

Natalie has also facilitated senior school pupils in the delivering of whole school assemblies. She worked closely with a group of pupils and encouraged them to make a presentation for International Woman’s Day that the pupils then delivered to every year group. She also organised and delivered assemblies for International Disability Day to every year group. In addition to this, Natalie has initiated and ran several school wide campaigns. One promoting International Sight Day that encouraged pupils to bring in old reading glasses from home that could be sent to Malawi. So far she has collected in over 200 pairs of glasses. Another campaign was for our local foodbank. She prepared lessons that were delivered across every S1 and S2 class that gave pupils information about the foodbank and encouraged them to bring in donations. Natalie is currently developing a course for S1 pupils that will be taught in Transition classes next year. The course focuses on Malawi and will help inform young people about life there and what they can do to make it better. This will be delivered to every S1 year group in the coming years. This highlights her commitment to spreading awareness about important issues and her eagerness to get young people involved in these topics shows how passionate she is.

Natalie has had an incredible impact on whole school activities in the short time since she started. She has proven herself to be a dedicated, passionate and driven teacher who is committed to making the young people she works with informed, considerate and valuable members of our global community. Her successes this year should be celebrated. She has gained positive publicity for the school and had a real impact on the lives of our young people and on the education process of Malawi where rabies related deaths have markedly reduced since her lessons have started being taught in Malawian schools. I hope you will consider her to be the North Lanarkshire Probationer representative.

April MacDougall, thanks so much for all of your support during my time as a student and a probationer, I couldn't have done it without your constant guidance, and all of the laughs along the way too! I feel very fortunate to have a mentor and a friend like you.

Kirsty Roberston, Secondary Biology, Perth High School
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Kirsty Robertson Kirsty has shown a natural talent for teaching, and is a dedicated scientist. Her lab is run like a tight ship and I am always impressed by her organisational skills, acting as a role model during experiments, and her commitment to getting the young people to think like scientists. She has set up group role cards for her S1: they are attached to pins on the wall, and pupils know as part of their routine to collect them, to follow the role on the card. Her lessons always begin with a starter displayed on the board, and her dedication to visible learning is clear. This could be seen a plenary task I observed in one lesson where she used a simple idea of TRUE FALSE cards to check for understanding. The idea was simple, yet effective, and I instantly created a set for my own class to use. Her relationships with pupils, and her commitment to restorative practice means that her lessons are well liked by pupils. Her dedication to extra- curricular activities has seen her start a STEM club in the school. She requested funding from the PTA, and received it, to allow all pupils in the club to work towards a CREST Bronze award, and used initiative to form IDL links with the DHT department for the STEM club. This allowed participants to create their design in the DHT department. She is also working with Pupil support to run mindfulness sessions, in the run up to exams, with senior pupils, for a four week block to help their exam stress and promote self- care. Her links with IDL can also be seen in her promotion of literacy. She had a pivotal role in the smooth running in the IDL Science in fiction Day in the library- even dressing up as Katniss Everdeen for the occasion.

She is a reflective practitioner who is constantly observing others, and asking to be observed by PTs and DHTs (with Science backgrounds) to improve her practice.

Kirsty has thrown herself into teaching, and the life of the school, during her time at PHS. She is a brilliant teacher, and has a long career ahead of her.

- Kerry Fraser & Thirza Pupillo, Perth High School

My mentor is Kerry Fraser. Kerry has given me invaluable guidance and support. Kerry always made me feel safe, valued and respected. Her belief in me, and her encouragement has guided me through the achievements and challenges of the year. Kerry has taught me to keep striving to be the best teacher I can possibly be, as this is something she is always doing. She is a role model and I can’t think her enough for shaping me into the teacher I am today.

Jill Fleming, Primary, Coldstream Primary School

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Jill Fleming View nomination video

My mentor was Elaine McHendry. She has been absolutely fantastic. Elaine has not only been my mentor but has become a good friend making herself available whenever I have needed her. Nothing has ever been too much trouble, sharing her wealth of knowledge and expertise in all things teaching whilst ensuring I maintained a good work life balance. I could write a book with all the tips and advice Elaine has given but I think mostly important of all has to be the importance of planning and preparation which definitely allows for a good work life balance. This year would mostly definitely not been as successful and enjoyable without Elaine, thank you for everything.

Archie Morris, Secondary Music, St Columba's School

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Archie Morris

As a former pupil of the school, Archie was known to pupils and he has coped with the difficult transition from ‘pupil’ to ‘member of staff’ particularly well. He readily volunteered to take on a failing Boys’ Choir as a project and now has around 20 boys, plus staff members, attending on a weekly basis.

It is difficult to encourage teenage boys to sing. For various reasons, boys are reluctant to participate, primarily as a consequence of embarrassment regarding their changing voices. Archie has undoubtedly made a difference to these boys, in re- establishing the Boys’ Choir. He has encouraged young boys to think about their well-being and mental health through the medium of song and ‘’normalised’ the changes in the voice which boys normally embarrass boys.

Archie has made an outstanding start to his career. On a weekly basis, he supports staff at orchestra rehearsals and senior choir, leads his own jazz band, boys’ choir and junior choir rehearsals. He has represented the department at information evenings and public performances as well as organising trips to see live music. He has made an enormous contribution to the school in the short time he has been here and has shown huge commitment to the profession in his daily work.

- Yvonne Carey, Director of Music, St Columba's School

Throughout my probationary year at St.Columba's, I have had two supporters, Jillian Bellew and Antonia Berry who have helped me transition towards gaining full registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland. I owe them so much gratitude for their professionalism and interest in me as a teacher and also as a person. From observed lessons to enjoying cups of tea at staff meetings every Thursday, they have both been there every step of the way and, more recently, just a 'Teams call' away. Thank you Jillian and Antonia, you have been so helpful and I am so appreciative for all of the support and guidance you have offered me this year!

Lauren Meikle

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Lauren Meikle View nomination video

I would like to say a huge thank you to Helen Ross, my mentor, for her endless support and guidance throughout my NQT year. Helen made herself available at all times, checking in during supporter meetings, through email and even messaging out with school hours. I was continually encouraged to challenge myself both personally and professionally throughout my NQT year and I genuinely don’t think I would be as well prepared for my future career in the teaching profession without Helen’s support. The best piece of advice that Helen has provided me with this year was to not be afraid to ask questions, seek advice where I can from my colleagues in school and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge around me to further enhance my practice.

Rhona Todd

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Rhona Todd View nomination video

Tanzeela Safdar has been an incredible support to me throughout the year. I can honestly say that I would not have enjoyed my year, or been nearly as successful, without her. Thank you for everything Tanzeela, you are not only a fantastic teacher and brilliant mentor, you have become an amazing friend too!

Marion Wylie, Bridge of Allan Primary School

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Marion Wylie

Marion was based at Bridge of Allan Primary School and had a chance of career to follow her dream of being a teacher. Marion always made a full effort to engage in all professional learning activities and Was a great support to her fellow probationer teachers throughout the year. Marion has a made a video to share her experiences with new probationers coming for 2020/21.

Caroline Currie has been such a fantastic support, available to answer my many questions along the way. She is so approachable and has a lovely friendly nature. As she covered part of my time out she was aware of the varying needs in my class and was able to give me really good advice to best support their needs, but also open to me trying out different strategies (even if she felt maybe some of them were not the best!).

The best advice she has given me was do NOT spend all your evenings and weekends working - you need a healthy work-life balance. Ask yourself when doing something - what is the impact for your learners? If the impact is higher it is worth doing, if not - is it really? I try to ask myself this often and it really helps. She also advised me that I will NEVER get to the end of my to-do-list so do not worry about this!

Caroline I would say there are no words to express my gratitude to you, I will be eternally grateful for all your wise words, laughs along the way, trusting me to try out different strategies and for believing in me (even at times if I didn't believe in myself). You have given me confidence in my new career where I will continue to grow as a teacher, after all 'every days a learning day!' Thank you Caroline from the bottom of my heart.

I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Stirling Council who allowed me the opportunity to study as part of the NLTT programme, Lyndsay MacNair and everyone at Bridge of Allan PS staff for supporting me in my probation year and I am delighted to be returning there after Summer.

Lucy Payne, Primary, St Mary's Primary School

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Lucy Payne View nomination video

Lisa Currie has been there for me both professionally and personally throughout the year, supporting and encouraging me continuously both in and out of school. Lisa welcomed me the very first day I met her at our Probationer Welcoming Event, and from that moment she has not only been a mentor, but she became a friend.

Throughout the year, Lisa has been approachable and reliable, no matter what the question is, and ensured I am coping and feeling comfortable within the school setting, and during our period of distanced learning. Lisa has given me lots of advice throughout the year but the best piece of advice she has given me is continue to be yourself no matter where you are or where you go. Lisa has allowed me to feel a part of the school community, along with all the members of staff within the school, and for that I am truly thankful to have had such a fantastic and enjoyable probationary year. No words can express my gratitude for everything Lisa has done for me, helping to grow my confidence in my work and within myself as a teacher. I know I wouldn’t the teacher I am today without her kindness, help and advice throughout the year.

Joanna Ho

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Joanna Ho

Joanna has developed outstanding relationships with young people. Through this she has been able to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable young people in our school. Pupils have enjoyed success in her class who ordinarily struggle to engage in classes and with education. Her classroom culture and ethos has been repeatedly commended as best practice to be shared across the school.

Katie Roger has been immensely supportive of me over the past year. She’s been so kind and has been someone who I could speak to about anything. She works so hard and I really look up to her. This year has been tricky but I’ve learned so much thanks to Katie’s support and guidance!

Lesley Simpson, Secondary Home Economics, Beath High School

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Lesley Simpson

Lesley embraced the content of the SIR programme with enthusiasm. She willingly carried out research to inform her practice and was awarded a merit with her PGCE. She developed a very good relationship with both the staff and pupils at Beath High school in Fife and she is now a permanent member of the Home Economics Department well done!

Joanne Hunter was the perfect supporter for me; she has a wealth of experience, patience and compassion. The Supported Induction Route was new to both of us, and we truly went through it together. Jo's commitment over the past year was significant, and I will always be grateful to her. Her empathy with her learners shines through, and her attention to detail is absolute, which suited me perfectly. Her advice and guidance always seemed to spur me on at the right moment and gave me the confidence to try new and challenging experiences. Most of all, she has become a friend who I value deeply; I feel so very lucky to have been placed at Beath High School.

Rachel Macdougall

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Rachel MacDougall View nomination video I could not have asked for a Supporter better suited to me than Tracy Lawson in my probationary year – she completely understood my family commitments and provided encouragement to keep me moving forward when the journey became difficult. I am so grateful for her empathy for and belief in me throughout the past year, and I have not only gained a professional mentor, but also a friend in the process