Kirkcaldy school in final of national awards

Some of the group members at a recent Pride parade
Some of the group members at a recent Pride parade

A group of Kirkcaldy pupils who set up a small project to provide a “safe space” for vulnerable young people and promote equality for all are now waiting to find out if they have won a prestigious national award.

Kirkcaldy High School’s LGBT+ group is in the final three of the COSLA Excellence Awards in the Tackling Inequalities and Improving Health category.

It is shortlisted with groups from Dumfries and Galloway and Renfrewshire.

Since it began in 2015 the group has grown in both numbers and strength, helping youngsters to cope with everything from bullying and coming out to their peers to improving their self confidence and mental health.

Members have spoken at school assemblies and helped to educate teachers and guidance staff on dealing with sensitive issues as well as helping dozens of youngsters recognise that they are valued members of the school’s inclusive community.

And the group has proven so successful that its remit has now reached far beyond the walls of the school, spreading into the wider community and helping other schools to set up their own groups.

It has also worked alongside Fife Council, NHS Fife, the Scottish Government and national policymakers in the fields of education and health.

Dr Paul Murray, chemistry teacher who oversees the group, said: “We’re delighted to be nominated for this award and we’re very proud of the work we do. It’s funny to think that any allusion to LGBT would have once have had me risking being struck off under Section 28. That same thing has now led to a nomination for a major award!

“It’s heartening to know that we can be part of a dramatic change in culture and make a difference to those who were previously bullied and marginalised.”

Alannah Ferguson, chairman, added: “I was blown away that we’re in the final for the awards and immensely proud of the group for all the hard work it has done.

”Just knowing that collectively we have made a bit of a difference to people in Scotland is just out of this world.”

The winners will be announced at the Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews on October 11.