The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

GTCS George D Gray winner announced

University of Edinburgh graduate Robbie Blair is the 2018 winner of the George D Gray CBE MA Award, presented annually by the General Teaching Council for Scotland


Robbie was issued his award at a meeting of GTC Scotland’s full Council in Edinburgh on Wednesday, 12 December 2018.

George D Gray Awarded to Robbie Blair

From left to right: David Innes, GTCS Council Convener, Professor Rowena Arshad, University of Edinburgh, George D Gray Award Winner Robbie Blair, Ken Muir, GTCS Chief Executive and Registrar.

Now in its eighteenth year, the George D Gray CBE MA Award seeks to find the most distinguished BEd assignments in Scotland. The assignments are judged by an experienced panel of educationalists comprising: Professor Rowena Arshad, Convener of the Award Panel; Professor Teresa Moran of Dundee University; and Kenneth Muir, Chief Executive of GTCS.

Winner Robbie Blair graduated with a MA Primary Education (with Religious Studies) from the University of Edinburgh and is now teaching at Balbardie Primary School in Bathgate. His dissertation is entitled “How has the experience of a growth mindset initiative affected children’s attitudes to learning in numeracy, in an upper primary setting?”.

On receiving his award Robbie said: “Winning the George D Gray Award has come as an unexpected surprise, and it feels great to receive this recognition.”

“My research found that adopting a growth mindset approach has the potential to improve attainment and attitudes in numeracy across all socio-economic levels, particularly amongst lower attaining children. In light of Scotland’s current – and consistent – attainment gap in numeracy, the results highlighted the need for transformative teachers who can implement successful mindset initiatives.”

Presenting the award, GTCS Chief Executive, Kenneth Muir, said:

“As in previous years we have received extremely high-quality submissions for the George D Gray Award and we were very impressed by the wide range of interesting and important research being undertaken by undergraduate students across Scotland.”

“Robbie’s research focuses on attitudes towards learning in numeracy, which is recognised as requiring targeted action nationally. Deep-seated attitudes can be difficult to shift and we need to continue to work hard in this area. Robbie’s research has shown the positive impact that the introduction of a growth mindset can have in improving positive attitudes and attainment in numeracy in a primary school setting.”

About the George D Gray Award

The George D Gray CBE MA Award is presented by GTCS under the terms of a trust fund which was set up by Dr Ethel Gray, the widow of George D Gray, as a memorial to her husband. Widely regarded as being responsible for securing government support for setting up GTCS, George Gray was also its first Registrar.

Previous winners include:

  • 2001 – Emma Holding and Alistair Macdonald – both from the University of Strathclyde
  • 2002 – Lorraine Smith – University of Edinburgh
  • 2003 – Andrew Foster – University of Dundee
  • 2004 – Rhona McWalter – University of Dundee
  • 2005 – Jane Harrison – University of Dundee
  • 2006 – Jane Chiverton – University of Dundee
  • 2007 – Karen Crichton – University of Dundee
  • 2008 – Elizabeth Fuller – University of Dundee
  • 2009 – Kirsten Braden – University of Strathclyde
  • 2010 – Marianne McCron – University of Edinburgh
  • 2011 – No award was made
  • 2012 – Sharon Friel-Myles – University of Dundee
  • 2013 – Ainslie McCabe – University of Strathclyde
  • 2014 – Stacey McKillop – University of the West of Scotland
  • 2014 – Steven McHarg – University of Edinburgh
  • 2015 – Kirsty McLaren – University of Dundee
  • 2016 – Amy Buchan – University of Strathclyde
  • 2017 – Rachel Frew – University of the West of Scotland
    •   Commendation Award to Abigail Stirling – University of Edinburgh