Apps for Good partner, Dunoon Grammar School wins World’s Best School Prize!

Nov 09, 2022

A blog by Freddie Norton, Acting CEO, Apps for Good.

On Tuesday 18th October I had the pleasure of visiting Dunoon Grammar School, an inspirational rural Scottish School, that is leading the way in delivering skill-based courses to support its local community in Argyll and Bute. I had been asked to come along and support the school, as they took part in the World Education Week event, having made the final three of the Global Schools Prize.

Dunoon Grammar School has delivered Apps for Good for many years and taken part in UK-wide events as well as gaining recognition at our Apps for Good Awards and annual Showcase. The Dunoon leadership team has embedded our free computing courses within the curriculum and used them to help inspire young people to believe in themselves and their community, so I was incredibly excited to be there to celebrate their success.

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“Working on Apps for Good courses demonstrates to our young people that they are not just the future, but the here and now. They are able and willing to make a significant contribution to their community, while developing essential skills for their future.”

Paul Gallanagh, Principal Teacher of Computer Science, Dunoon Grammar School

After a beautiful train ride from Glasgow and a ferry across from Gourock to Dunoon, I arrived. The event the school had organised was unsurprisingly, fun, innovative and much like our courses, were driven by students. They themed their 45 minute presentation on Harry Potter, which included students and teachers, showcasing everything that’s brilliant about Dunoon through the characters of Sally Pota, Professor Bumblebee and Haggard in ‘The Secrets of Community’! The presentation included a brilliant showcase on how they support Gaelic in the school and wider community and I was interviewed by students about Apps for Good and how our courses are helping to support and inform the schools wider mission.

IMG_1028.jpg Dunoon Grammar School Head Teacher, David Mitchell and students in their final Harry Potter themed pitch for World's Best School prize

The following day, we got the amazing news that Dunoon Grammar School had been awarded the World's Best School Prize for community collaboration, along with a $50,000 prize fund. They intend to spend the prize money on further investment in their tech provision so students continue to be inspired by tech innovation. This was incredible news and we couldn’t be prouder of the school for getting the recognition it deserves in offering meaningful learning experiences that allow the students to become leaders in their community.

Paul Gallanagh, Principal Teacher of Computer Science, described to me how his students love being able to fully immerse themselves into deep and meaningful learning experiences where they are able to lead and make a real difference to their communities.

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They never cease to amaze me with their creative capacity and the extent they are willing to accept a social dimension to their work. This helps them go the extra mile, bringing out their best – which results in a more fulfilling experience.”

Paul Gallanagh, Principal Teacher of Computer Science, Dunoon Grammar School

We are excited to continue partnering with the school, which has been pivotal in helping us develop our latest course, Innovate for Climate Change, which they piloted in the 2020/21 academic year to coincide with the 2021 COP26 conference in Glasgow. This course guides young people to design tech products that tackle the climate crisis and we hope the course will further enable Dunoon Grammar to support its community, developing the skills young people need for the future green economy, especially in rural communities.

Like all of our courses, Innovate for Climate Change provides opportunities for students to benefit from the guidance of real-world professionals via built in engagement opportunities throughout the course. Reflecting on the industry engagement through Apps for Good, Paul explains how we have opened doors to industry experts that they simply wouldn’t be able to themselves. Through taking Apps for Good courses, young people from Dunoon Grammar have worked closely with the likes of Spotify, MasterCard, Salesforce, Virgin and Lego in recent years.

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The skills for learning, life and work that are developed in these experiences – creativity, team working, problem solving, communications, research, analysis impact on all aspects of our young people’s learning and life beyond our school.”

Paul Gallanagh, Principal Teacher of Computer Science, Dunoon Grammar School

We’re incredibly proud of the school’s achievement and we cannot wait to see what the teachers and students do next, including what inspiring climate action apps and other tech products the students will create this year that have the power to shape their future and have a positive impact on their community.

All Apps for Good courses are 100% free to schools thanks to the generous support of our partners, and our teachers are well supported with resources that are ready to pick up and deliver. Join Dunoon Grammar and hundreds of other schools around the UK who are giving their young people the skills to shape their world with technology.

See the World Education Week presentation here.