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Award for Rural Education Partnership

Tuesday March 21 2023

Teacher Benjamin Ross with the Lantra Scotland award won by Aberdalgie Church and Bertha Park High School

A rural education partnership between a parish church and a nearby high school has won a national award.

The partnership between Aberdalgie and Forteviot Church, near Perth, and Bertha Park High School was announced the winner of the secondary schools award at Lantra Scotland’s ALBAS (Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills) presentation on March 9.

The partnership is run at Aberdalgie church’s new Green Shoots Centre. Pupils from the school attend every week to study National 4 Skills for Work: Rural Skills. This course teaches students the basic practical skills necessary to work in most of the land-based disciplines — areas such as agricultural livestock, equine industries, horticulture, landscaping, agricultural crops and animal care.

The award is recognition for the church’s work to support the education of rural pupils locally, part of a wider outreach programme.

The Green Shoots Centre opened in June last year following five years of planning and fundraising, and initial support from the Church of Scotland’s Go For It fund.

Events held in the centre in 2022 included woodworking, stonemasonry, wreath-making and gardening classes run in partnership with Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme; wildlife and history talks; a retirement lunch for an employee from local business partner Aviva; an afternoon tea; a community picnic service; a heritage open day and a visit by 75 members of Clan Oliphant whose ancestors founded the Medieval church.

These heritage events led to Bertha Park School ‘adopting’ the ancient burial ground behind the church and Perth and Kinross Council’s ‘Friends of Cemeteries’ Scheme. During the year, the pupils, local volunteers and Aviva employees also planted 15 fruit trees for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and 1,700 spring bulbs across the entire site.

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