East Lothian Council wins COSLA gold award for Academies initiative

By Press Office

East Lothian Council has just won a COSLA Excellence gold award for its ground-breaking academies initiative for 15 – 18 year old's.

The partnership project, which is the brainchild of leaders at East Lothian Council, Queen Margaret University and Edinburgh College, is recognised as a project which is delivering real opportunities for Scotland’s senior school pupils.

The Hospitality and Tourism Academy started in 2012 with the aim of providing academic qualifications, skills development and educational and career opportunities for young people in East Lothian. The collaborative model, which initially involved one local authority, three schools, one college, a university and a selection of hospitality and tourism partners, was quickly identified as one which offered excellent educational opportunities and real jobs for young people. After only two years, the initiative had successfully managed to smooth the transition between school, college, university and work, as well as providing industry knowledge and skills development.

By 2014, the acclaimed academies project has grown from 34 young people in East Lothian schools, to 400 pupils from over 40 schools in Edinburgh, East and Midlothian and the Scottish Borders.

The South East Scotland Academies Project, which runs the academies, now offers four academies for young people. The more recent additions are academies for the Creative Industries, Food Science and Nutrition, and Health and Social Care.

Queen Margaret University would like to congratulate East Lothian Council on the achievement of the COSLA Gold Award which was presented for Service Innovation and Improvement.

Professor Alan Gilloran, Deputy Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “This award is extremely well deserved by East Lothian Council. There was a determination by the education leaders, school heads and teachers to take a chance and make this new collaboration work for the benefit of East Lothian’s young people.

“Recognition must also go to Professor Don Ledingham, former Executive Director of Education and Social Work for East Lothian Council, who was one of the visionaries for the academy model. He worked tirelessly with Queen Margaret University and Edinburgh College to create a model that had the potential to not only improve the lives of local children, but to develop a successful partnership model which could be rolled out across Scotland.

"In addition, the vision was to create a model that raised standards across some of Scotland’s most important growth industries. We look forward to following the learner journey of our first Academy graduates as they develop their educational opportunities at college or university, and to seeing their contribution to Scotland’s key industries as they enter the world of work.”

Notes to Editor

The COSLA Excellence Awards celebrate the very best in Scottish local government. The emphasis is on rewarding the most innovative and passionate developments, and on recognising projects that are changing lives.

For further media information please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239, E: lrussell@qmu.ac.uk or Jon Perkins, Press and PR Officer, T: 0131 474 0000, E: jperkins@qmu.acuk at  Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

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