A teacher has been crowned top of the class when it comes to educating pupils about diversity after winning a prestigious national award.
English teacher Carrie McWilliam has been described as inspirational for making youngsters feel accepted and safe at Speyside High School – and is even helping fellow teachers learn too.
Inclusion and diversity are high on the curriculum for 30-year-old Miss McWilliam, who has been recognised as a pioneering spirit in the education sector, winning the Saroj Lal Award.
She said: “We are working together with the pupils to create things that are going to help teachers tackle prejudice and discrimination, because we find that difficult to deal with too.
“If I am able to create a safe environment where they can come in as they are, as who they are and not have to change anything, that is when they are going to learn best.
“I think that is the thing I am probably most proud of.”
Miss McWilliam’s work goes beyond the classroom – she has set up LGBTQ+ groups and anti-prejudice workshops.
Her pupils and fellow teachers say she’s well deserving of her new accolade.
Patricia Goodbrand, head of Speyside High, said: “We pride ourselves on being a community school – anything that’s happening within classrooms is, we hope, taken home and affects how we deal with parents, the community and young people.”
The award is named after Saroj Lal, a teacher and anti-racism campaigner, whose many achievements included becoming the first Asian woman in Scotland to become a Justice of the Peace.
Her son Vineet Lal said he was inspired by Miss McWilliam’s efforts.
He said: “Carrie is just beginning her journey through education and already she’s at a stage where she can talk with passion, vigour and enthusiasm at quite a profound level.
“I am really looking forward to seeing where this journey takes her in the future.”