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School pupils back on track thanks to Abertay and Prince’s Trust

27 March 2014

Pupils at risk of underachieving at schools in Angus have received help getting back on track with their education from Abertay University and The Prince's Trust.

An event was held at Abertay University today (Thursday, March 27) to celebrate the pupils' achievements.

The Prince's Trust set up three xl clubs within Arbroath Academy, Arbroath High School and Webster's High School.

These were facilitated by staff and students from Abertay.

The projects the pupils worked on were diverse, with Arbroath Academy building their own outside learning space, Arbroath High School creating a mobile phone app, and Webster's High School constructing their own market and herb garden.

Each was designed to help the pupils gain new skills, as well as the confidence to finish school, go to college or move into full- or part-time employment.

However, as well as being a celebration, Thursday’s event was also a nerve-wracking experience for the participants, as the projects they had worked on were judged against each other.

They were marked on areas such as project concept, as well as the personal skills the team had gained.

A team of six judges deliberated over which team should win and the trophy was awarded to the team from Webster's High School for their herb garden.

Speaking about Thursday's event, Gillian Ross from The Prince's Trust said:

"Although we’ve got an overall winner, all of the pupils involved should feel extremely proud of what they've achieved over the past few months.

"Our aim was to get groups of dis-engaged young people in Angus working with universities on projects related to Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths - the STEM subjects - to help boost their confidence, improve their self-esteem, and improve their behaviour, school attendance and attainment levels.

"We got in touch with Abertay to see if they would be able to help, and staff and students at the university came up with five project ideas. The pupils then had to come to a team decision within their respective schools about which project they wanted to work on, and then got to work.

"The staff and students at Abertay were there to offer help and guidance, but the finished products were created by the school pupils themselves. They've had real ownership of these projects, and I’m sure will go onto bigger and better things as a result of all their hard work."

Jennifer Smith – STEM Outreach Co-ordinator at Abertay University – explains what the projects involved:

"The projects the pupils worked on were quite diverse, but all equally challenging and equally successful.

"The team from Arbroath High School chose to create a mobile phone app, and worked with Future Fossil Studios - a game development company based here at Abertay.

"They had a look at apps that are already on the market in order to find out what it takes to create a bestseller, and then did some brainstorming to come up with an app idea of their own. The one they’ve developed is a map app that supports the Montrose Music Festival and, with a bit more fine-tuning and technical expertise, it will hopefully be uploaded onto the Google Play app store so that people can download it and start using it themselves.

"Webster's High School chose to design and build a herb garden, learning about soil management and irrigation in the process. This project was supervised Professor Wilfred Otten and Dr Andrew Spiers from our SIMBIOS Centre, and the pupils have been learning all about soil science and the interesting techniques that are used to see inside it and better understand it.

"The Arbroath Academy team, meanwhile, learnt about engineering through building an outside learning space and fire pit for recreational activities during school time. They had input from a team of students on our BSc Civil Engineering course, who helped them with the design and construction but, on all the projects, our input was only supervisory - all the hard work was done by the pupils themselves, so Thursday's event was a great opportunity to celebrate their achievements."


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

19 pupils took part in the event: six from Arbroath Academy, seven from Arbroath High School and six from Webster's High School.

Siobhan Diamond from Arbroath, who has grown her Dundee-based photography business with help from the Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland, was the guest speaker.

The six judges were Dr Ruth Falconer and Dr John Isaacs from Abertay University, Kenny McKeown from Dundee City Council, Andrew Phin from Angus Council, Mel Shepherd from CITB and Gareth Ruddock from The Prince’s Trust.

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