RECENTLY, I had the pleasure of visiting St Anthony’s Primary School, in Johnstone, which earlier this year became the first Scottish recipient of the UK Literacy School of the Year award.

Following their success, I had lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament in recognition of this outstanding achievement and I was delighted to have the opportunity to present a framed copy of it to headteacher Ms McBurnie.

In every school I visit across my Renfrewshire South constituency, I am blown away by the hard work, determination and positivity of our teachers.

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Sadly, it is too often the case that debates on education in Holyrood lose sight of the brilliant work going on inside our schools.

While there will always be work to do to ensure our teachers and young people receive the best support available, it’s important that politicians remember their words can have consequences.

When some politicians speak in apocalyptic terms about our schools, they do our teachers and our young people a disservice. It’s time opposition politicians followed the lead of the Scottish Government and put improving education ahead of political point-scoring.

Elsewhere, I have been getting behind efforts to capitalise on Elderslie’s links to William Wallace. The village of Elderslie sits in the heart of the Renfrewshire South constituency I represent. It is also, perhaps, the constituency’s most famous area due to its historic links with the freedom fighter.

My SNP Renfrewshire Council colleagues, Cllr Andy Steel and Cllr Jacqueline Cameron, have been working hard to secure council support to investigate how Elderslie can capitalise on its Wallace connection.

I was pleased to highlight Andy and Jacqueline’s work in the Scottish Parliament and I’m delighted the cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop, has agreed to meet to discuss how the Scottish Government may be able to support their work.

This is a great opportunity for Elderslie and I look forward to working with the local community to make a success of it.

Most recently, I was paying my respects to the fallen on Sunday, with this month marking 100 years since the end of the First World War. Like many in Renfrewshire, I have ancestors who fought in that brutal conflict. The butchery on the fields of France is scarcely comprehensible. However, we tragically find too many communities and nations engulfed in conflict across the globe today.

As we rightly remember those from across our towns and villages who lost their lives, let us recommit ourselves to peace in the future.

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Looking ahead, Scotland will come together to celebrate St Andrew’s Day soon.

This year promises to be the biggest celebration yet. There will also be the first ‘Fair Saturday’ taking place on December 1. This new initiative, originally from Spain, will see arts and culture used to promote a kinder and fairer society. As the convener of a new group to promote St Andrew’s Day, please get in touch to let me know you will be celebrating.