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Wallace Hall celebrate winning their fourth ALBA Award

On Thursday 3rd March Wallace Hall Academy were awarded their FOURTH ALBA Award!

The ALBAS (Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills) are hosted by LANTRA Scotland, the sector skills council for the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries.

Having taken place as a virtual event last year due to Covid restrictions, the ALBAS returned with a glittering ceremony at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dunblane Hydro, with over 180 finalists, event supporters, employers, training providers and industry leaders including the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands Mairi Gougeon.

Sheep farmer and social media star Cammy Wilson presented the winners and runners-up awards for agriculture, aquaculture, equine, environmental conservation, game and wildlife, horticulture, land-based engineering and trees and timber.

Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) supports a Secondary Schools Award in recognition of schools with exceptional standards in rural skills training.

Our nomination was the culmination of several projects in the school.

Since the lockdown we have moved learning outdoors and built a new polytunnel used by primary classes, rural skills and Eco groups. Mrs Hannah said: “My P4 class love working in the polytunnel. They ask to go out every week! They love seeing the plants grow in the soil they have prepared and are all very proactive. They learn about how food is grown and how to care for the plants from planting to produce. It is a totally enjoyable experience for everyone. Each child has a role to play and they all work well together and help each other.”

We began composting food waste from Home Economics and learning more about how this can be a resource for growing food sustainably in our polytunnels. Miss Barrick from the HE department said: “Putting vegetable peelings into compost bins keeps food waste out of landfill and reduces our carbon footprint whilst making something useful.”

A group of S2 students were involved in the Food for the Future elective alongside Dumfries House and the Princes Foundation. This included them attending master classes on sustainable food production and industry visits to “We Hae Meat” at Cairnhill Farm and Caldwells Veg at Dowhill Farm, both near Girvan. Here they learned about food miles and reducing food waste.

Mr Miller who led this work said: “The Food for the Future group has participated wholeheartedly in the project. I'm proud of how they have conducted themselves during the industry visits. We have high hopes for the new plans for the vegetables in the poly-tunnel this year and enough enthusiasm to change the world.“

The pupils themselves really enjoyed it and learned a lot which has inspired them to make changes in our school canteen and in our WHApples orchard. They said: “It was good to see it was an organic farm, I liked the pigs!”; “I learned that wonky veg is still good to eat” and; “we developed lots of skills like cooking and growing food”.

The ALBA award also recognised the work on our flourishing orchard and the links we have made with local industry Steilhead cider to produce apple juice as well as other products for use or sale in the school.

Headteacher Mr Graham said: “I was delighted to be able to attend the LANTRA Award Ceremony and collect this award on behalf of Wallace Hall. This is the fourth LANTRA award we have won, and we are proud that our pupils and staff and wider community have been recognised for our partnerships in supporting agriculture and the production of food in a sustainable manner with low food miles.“

This award highlights the great work done so far but this is not the end of the journey towards sustainability for Wallace Hall. As a Green Flag Eco school we continue to assess our energy and waste and make positive changes. We are signed up to become Net Zero by 2030 and have funding to further develop our outdoor spaces to include a wellbeing garden designed by our young people. We are excited to see what we can achieve next!


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