A TEACHER at a Renfrewshire school who refused to let the global pandemic stop him from working his magic has been honoured nationally for his efforts.

Calum Coutts, a secondary teacher in the senior phase at Riverbrae School in Linwood, has picked up a Pearson National Teaching Silver Award.

The Award for Digital Innovator of the Year recognises his work to produce a whole Christmas show through the wonders of technology.

“Calum worked with each individual class, filming using the iPad and green screen, then spent hours editing and producing a wonderful show, resulting in ‘Bah Humbug’ and ‘The Greatest Snowman’,” a spokesman for the awards told The Gazette. “When students are working with Calum the joy on their faces, shows just how much working with him means.

“Pupils love seeing ‘Mr Coutts’ online at weekly meetings.”

It is the second award in a matter of months for the qualified art teacher, who is also a professional actor, and incorporates these skills into his work.

Earlier this year he was a recipient of a Provost Community Award for Arts and Culture for “exploring new and exciting ways of using digital technology to enhance classroom practice, learning and teaching”.

For this latest prize, however, he was selected from thousands of nominations across the country and is one of just six Scottish educators among 102 UK-wide to receive the prestigious silver award this year.

It puts him in the running for one of 15 gold awards, the winners of which will be revealed in a BBC programme broadcast later this year.

“We are delighted that Calum has been honoured with the Silver Award in The Award for Digital Innovator of the Year,” said Michelle Welsh, headteacher of the school which caters for pupils with additional support needs. “Despite the challenges of Covid, Calum was able to use his skills to produce a Christmas school show and short videos about keeping safe during Covid.

“We are so proud of him and that his commitment to the children has been recognised by the Pearson Teaching Aawards.”

It is the 22nd year of the annual celebration of excellence in education, which was founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have.

The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, a national campaign to honour and recognise school staff for their incredible work.

Sharon Hague, senior vice president of schools at Pearson UK, added: “After a year like no other we want to say thank you to all the incredible school staff who have kept children and young people learning despite unprecedented challenges.

“We hope the celebrations show how much you are appreciated, and that your hard work has not gone unnoticed nor unrecognised.”