Gryffe High School has become the first secondary school in Scotland to receive an ‘excellent’ grade under the government’s short model inspection format.

Gryffe High pupils Lewis Da Silva, Rachael Bell, Lauren Rodgers, Rowan Johnson, Aaron Mills, Gregor Speir and Roisin Wright with head teacher Colin Johnson

A team from Education Scotland visited the Houston school earlier this year to speak to staff, pupils and parents – and today issued a glowing report over the standard of the work they found.

The school was rated as ‘very good’ for learning, teaching and assessment, and as ‘excellent’ for ‘raising attainment and achievement’ – the highest grade on the six-point scale.

That is the first time the top grade has been given out to a secondary school under Education Scotland’s short model inspection format, which judges schools on two quality indicators as opposed to four under the full inspection model.

The inspection team said the following about the school’s work:

– strong and highly effective leadership by the headteacher and senior leadership team;

– highly-skilled analysis of progress and attainment data of all young people’s results, leading to outstanding levels of attainment and achievement;

– aspects of outstanding practice in primary to secondary transition;

– highly-motivated, articulate and ambitious young people who have high aspirations;

The one area of improvement identified was around building on the work already being done to improve the reliability of assessment evidence in S1-3 pupils, to help teachers set tasks and activities at the right level.

The school also had self-evaluation verified as excellent by the council on two other quality indicators – leadership of change, and improving wellbeing, equality and inclusion.

Gryffe High School head teacher Colin Johnson said: “To say I am proud of our pupils and staff is a complete understatement. To be the head teacher of a school where the pupils, day in day out, impress with their enthusiasm, drive and persistence is an absolute pleasure and privilege.

“Even over the very difficult last few months our pupils remained positive, thoughtful and supportive of one another and I have been amazed at the lengths they have gone to in supporting others.

“That has included delivering packs and resources to other pupils houses, and taking additional packs to the local church as a collection point for other pupils.

“Our pupils efforts and achievements are outstanding, supported by dedicated staff, supportive parents/carers and close links with a wide range of external partners.

“I eagerly await the return of our pupils to school this week, and then supporting them as they pick up where we left off – supporting the wellbeing of all, striving for improvement, and keeping their focus as ambitious, but caring, young people with high aspirations.”

Lewis Da Silva, who was last year’s school captain, said: “I’m proud to say I went to Gryffe High – it’s an amazing school. I will miss the learning side and the social side.”

And this year’s school captain Rachael Bell added: “We get great support from teachers and pupils. We have lots of societies and clubs and even if there isn’t one they will help you set it up.”

Councillor Jim Paterson, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, added: “We are thrilled by this inspection report on Gryffe High, which shows why the school is considered one of the best-performing in the country.

“That is testament to the hard work and dedication of the pupils, staff and school community to raise attainment for all and I am sure they will all be as delighted as we are by the grading in the report.”

paisley-abbey-logos

During the Coronavirus shutdown, Shopmobility Paisley and District had to close down their base in the Paisley Centre Car Park in Storie Street, Paisley.

However, following a deep clean of their base and the adoption of strict hygiene measures, Shopmobility is pleased to announce they are back in business, with their mobility scooters now available for hire.

Shopmobility is a free service helping people with limited mobility to visit Paisley town centre independently, with freedom and confidence.  You don’t have to be registered disabled or a Blue Badge holder to make use of the Shopmobility service. The service is available to anyone with temporary or permanent mobility impairment, whether through disability, illness or injury.

Shopmobility Paisley and District offers free daily hire of manual and powered wheelchairs and powered scooters, to allow people to access shops and other facilities in Paisley independently. Manual wheelchairs and portable travel scooters are also available at a small cost for longer term hire.

Shopmobility board member, Margaret Dymond, performed the opening ceremony, complete with her safety visor as she cut a tape to officially open the office.

Margaret said:

“It’s great to be back in business.  We know that many of our clients have been in shielding and are desperate to get back out and do their own shopping, so we’re pleased to be able to help them by having our range of mobility scooters and wheelchairs available for hire.

Shopmobility Manager, Karen Miller added:

“We’ve missed our regular clients and the chats we used to have with them.  I’ve phoned some of them up during the lockdown just to check they were doing okay and everyone was desperate to get back out and about. We’ve brought in strict hygiene measures to make the hire of our scooters as safe as possible for all our clients.”

Shopmobility Paisley & District is based in the ground floor of the Paisley Centre Car Park in Storie Street, Paisley and is open between 10am to 4pm on Mondays to Fridays and 10am to 3pm on Saturdays (closed on Sundays).  You can call ahead to book a scooter/ wheelchair by calling 0141 889 0441 or by emailing shopmobilitypaisley2019@outlook.com.

A FILM about the legendary Communist MP from Paisley, Willie Gallacher is being premiered on an online TV channel.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s internet channel, Ren TV will show the 50-minute film, called A Lion Rose in Paisley, on Wednesday, August 12, at 7pm – 55 years to the day Gallacher died.

The docudrama by local filmmaker, Alex Cathcart stars TV and film actor, Steven Duffy as the left-wing firebrand Gallacher.

Alex Cathcart: Film maker Alex Cathcart made the film, A Lion Rose in Paisley

The film also features Renfrewshire Council’s Labour leader, Eddie Devine who ironically plays the famous Tory Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. And fellow-councillor, Bill Brown plays an MP asking a question in the Houses of Parliament.

Paisley Abbey was used as the film location for Parliament, as was the Beechwood Community Centre, in the town’s Shortroods area, when scenes were shot of a stormy public meeting involving Gallacher and the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George.

Gallacher was one of the famous Red Clydesiders at the beginning of the 20th century and campaigned against the First World War. He was twice jailed for his political activities, but remained steadfast in his socialist principles and continued campaigning on behalf of the working class.

In 1920, Gallacher travelled to Moscow and met the Bolshevik leader of the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, who encouraged the Paisley Buddie to form a communist party in the UK. On his return, Gallacher was one of the founding members of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Gallacher, who was born into poverty in Paisley’s Back Sneddon, on Christmas Day 1881, became the Communist Party MP for West Fife in 1935 and served his constituency until 1950. But he remained active in politics all his life and was known by political leaders throughout the world.

When he died on August 12, 1965, it was estimated that 30,000 people lined the streets of Paisley for his funeral procession.

A street in Foxbar – Gallacher Avenue – was named in his honour in the mid-1980s along with Gallacher Court, a sheltered housing complex in Paisley’s West End. A cairn in Paisley’s High Street to commemorate Gallacher was also erected in 2016.

Filmmaker Alex Cathcart said: “I only knew the barest of facts about Willie Gallacher, but after the cairn was erected I was curious and wanted to find out more.

“I soon realised that his life was incredible, he was globally feted, but remained one of Paisley’s own – a true Buddie we can be proud of.”

Labour Councillor Eddie Devine revealed he had taken a lot of ribbing about playing the part of a Tory Prime Minister after the filming had been completed. “And I’ve no doubt there will be some more Mickey-taking when the film is shown on Ren TV,” he said. “But I want to assure everybody that I’m definitely not a Tory!”

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “This is a great film, and I’m sure local people will enjoy learning more about Willie Gallacher and his principles, particularly his lifelong commitment to improving workers’ rights.”

“It’s a good way of paying tribute to one of Paisley’s most famous sons and even just as a piece of drama, the film is well worth watching.”

Renfrewshire Council’s Culture Heritage and Events Fund supported the making of A Lion Rose in Paisley. The film can be seen by logging on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/rentv at 7pm on August 12.

braehead drive in movie

It was a full house when drive-in movies came to the boardwalk at intu Braehead for the first time last night. (Wednesday, July 29)

Grease was the first film shown and it was the one that everyone seemed to want as 150 cars packed with movie fans turned up to watch the iconic film featuring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

braehead drive in movie

And as a thank you for their work on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic, anyone who works for the NHS was given free entry to the first screening.

Later during the second show, which was family favourite, Back to the Future a similar amount of cars were parked up in the boardwalk in front of a giant screen.

The Arena at intu Braehead has teamed up with the Catherine McEwan Foundation charity to help raise much-needed funds to help people living with Crohn’s and Colitis get better care, treatment and quality of life.

There will be two films shown on a giant screen every night and four movies this weekend, with the audio broadcast via a frequency that car radios can be tuned to.

Tickets are still on sale for the drive movie screenings that go on until Sunday, August 2 and the movies being shown are Grease, Jurassic Park, Mama Mia, Goonies, Finding Nemo, Lion King, The Lost Boys, Back to the Future and Dirty Dancing.

Refreshments are provided on site by the UK’s top street food operator, The Big Feed.

Derek McEwan, who launched the Catherine McEwan Foundation after his mother, Catherine passed away after years of suffering from Crohn’s Disease said: “It’s great to be at the iconic Braehead Boardwalk raising funds to help children and adults battling Crohn’s and Colitis.

“Our first night has been great and the fact that we could give a little back to our NHS superheroes tonight made it a bit special.”

Scott Martin, intu Braehead Leisure general manager added: “People seemed to move like greased lightning to snap up the tickets when they went on sale.

“It’s a novel way to have a good night out with the family and there are still a few tickets left for some of the drive-in movie showings during the rest of the week.”

Tickets costing £35 per car plus booking fee are on sale from www.lockdowndrivein.com.

Renfrewshire-Leisure

Safety the priority as Renfrewshire Leisure has to wait for “green light” on leisure service, including gyms and pools.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today (Thursday, 30th July) confirmed a further delay before gyms and swimming pools can reopen, with opening now identified as likely to be allowed on 14th September. That timeline is dependent on maintaining low levels of virus in the community as well as ensuring that all social distancing and hygiene protocols are followed, although the First Minister held out the prospect of particularly favourable conditions perhaps permitting an opening date at the end of August.

Renfrewshire-Leisure

Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa Marie Hughes said: “We really do value the support of our members and the wider public and know how much people in Renfrewshire have missed these services. These centres are important parts of our communities, playing important roles in helping our health and wellbeing. We are looking forward to welcoming people back and working with them to ensure their return is both safe and enjoyable.” 

 

Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “We know how eagerly the community is waiting for news on a date for reopening our leisure facilities, not least of all because of the vital part they play in ensuring we can get everyone active again after a long period of closure during lockdown. 

 

“With reopening now no earlier than the end of August, and perhaps not until mid September, we will continue to use the time before then to refine our procedures – continuing to reflect that our first priority for opening will be the safety of our customers and staff.”

 

Renfrewshire Leisure will also be working with Renfrewshire Council’s education department towards the recommencement of its Active Schools programmes from the start of the new school term, as well as working with local sports clubs and teams to make earliest possible use of courts and pitches after confirmation that these can commence from specified dates in August.

Paisley-Town-Hall-Scene-9075

Work to transform the future of Paisley’s much-loved town hall is due to restart – with construction workers due on site at the start of August.

The project will create 21st-century facilities inside the striking Victorian landmark while delivering improvements essential to keep the town hall at the heart of life in the town – and is taking place as part of a wider investment in Paisley’s historic venues by Renfrewshire Council.

Paisley-Town-Hall-Scene-9075

No work has taken place on the town hall in recent months due to the coronavirus lockdown – however with restrictions on construction sites being relaxed, workers can now safely go on site in line with national guidance.

The contract for the advance construction works on the town has been awarded to Morrison Construction and is expected to run until December.

The main construction works are expected to start next year, and while the exact impact of lockdown on the original timescale is still unclear, the project is expected to be complete before the end of 2022.

Other planned investments still being delivered in the town centre by the council include the work to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination showcasing the area’s unique and globally-significant story and collections, on which construction is due to start in the new year.

PaisleyTHNetworkBar

And construction work is due to resume soon on the site of the new Learning and Cultural Hub on Paisley High Street, which will be the town’s new home of library services.

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, which operates the town hall, said: “We are pleased work is able to resume on Paisley Town Hall, which is another positive sign as the area’s economy starts to re-emerge from lockdown.

“Although the council faces a very challenging financial outlook, the town hall, museum and learning and cultural hub projects are all well under way – with years of work having already taken place on each – and we intend to see those projects through.

“In the town hall’s case, the work being planned includes investment in 21st-century facilities which will help drive new footfall to the area in the years ahead, as well as essential replacement of outdated infrastructure without which the building would not have a long-term future.

“The completed buildings will be crucial to Renfrewshire’s long-term economic prospects – our vision for Paisley town centre remains one in which we promote its unique cultural and heritage offer to bring people here.

“And while coronavirus has disrupted that work we hope our continued investment in the town hall and other venues will help the area’s economic recovery from lockdown and give confidence to our local businesses.”

The investment in the town hall is aimed at bringing new activity and vibrancy to the town while ensuring the building has a long-term future. It is planned to include:

– a complete and essential replacement of the old and outdated electrical and mechanical systems;

– the preservation of the unique architectural features within this A-listed Victorian gem;

– an expanded capacity in the main hall allowing bigger and better events and driving more footfall to the town centre, boosting the local economy;

– unused spaces brought back into use and entirely new rooms and facilities created including a new café-bar with views over the river, increasing the range of events the building can host;

– a much-improved audience experience including improved staging, lighting and seating with better views, and improved access making it easier for everyone to move around the building.

methodists

Get a discount with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

From 3 to 31 August, get a 50% discount when you eat in at restaurants that are registered with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme opens on 3 August 2020.

Use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme at a participating establishment:

  • to get a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner)
  • every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 31 August
  • as many times as you like

You do not need a voucher to use this scheme and you can use it at the same time as other offers and discounts. There is no minimum spend.

You cannot claim discount on alcoholic drinks or service charges.

The discount will be automatically available to you at participating establishments. Establishments will then claim a reimbursement from the government for the discount they’ve given you.

Participating establishments may include:

  • restaurants, cafés, bars or pubs
  • work and school canteens
  • food halls

All diners in a group of any size can use the discount.

Find a restaurant

Click here

paisley-abbey-logos

monster hero

Paisley First is offering a fun, family “Safari” to help give families a safe town centre story-trail this summer, whilst supporting the NHS.

Will you accept the challenge to search the streets for 10 cute and colourful MonsterHeroes?

Using only smartphones, the Safari allows you to learn each of the MonsterHero’s name, story, and superpowers.

Once all 10 MonsterHeroes are found, a free e-book that tells the story of their first team-up will be unlocked.

The Safari works by utilising contactless NFC technology and QR codes, without the need for players to download or sign up to anything.

To play, simply tap or scan the Let’s Go posters or MonsterHero Safari window decals dotted around the town centre, and make a donation of £2, or more if you wish, to the charity NHS Together.

As we all adjust to the new normal, it’s hoped this outdoor trail will bring some family fun to Paisley town centre, where visitors can enjoy fresh air and wide-open spaces, and hopefully bring a smile to visiting children.

MonsterHero Safari is an outdoor only trail and a great way to help people get some fresh air whilst having fun and raising money for such a worthwhile cause too.

As more and more of our local businesses are reopening, families can be assured that we are all working together to implement COVID-19 safety measures to Keep Paisley Safe.

More than 100 areas across the UK are taking part in this summer’s MonsterHero Safari project with the aim of raising over £100k for NHS Charities Together.

Paisley town centre’s trail has been sponsored by Love Local, Love Paisley ❤

To learn more about the story-trail please visit our website.

paisley arts institute

25 July – 6 September 2020

Launch Event SAT 25 July 4pm on www.paisleyartinstitute.org (All welcome)

This year, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the much-anticipated Paisley Art Institute Open Annual Exhibition, the 132nd edition no less, will take the form of an online presentation for the first time in our history.  The 132nd PAI Annual Online goes live on www.paisleyartinstitute.org on Saturday 25 July and continues online until Saturday 6 September 2020.

paisley arts institute

These unparalleled circumstances offer Paisley Art Institute a pivotal opportunity to embrace something of the scale and excitement of presenting one of Scotland’s longest running annual exhibitions in a gallery setting whilst reimagining what artists and visitors might experience of the PAI Annual in an online environment.

We had an overwhelming response to our open call for submissions. From an open call, we received 628 entries. Just over 60% of artworks submitted were from Open Entrants. Undeterred by showing work in a virtual rather than physical setting, exhibiting artists invite us to consider themes that have been felt universally in 2020: human connection, a love of nature, the turbulent times we live in to name but a few.  Artists showing work come from across Scotland and further afield. The Annual Online will display work by artists at all stages of their careers including submissions from highly regarded artists who are Paisley Art Institute Diplomates including, Charles JamiesonJames CosgroveRobert Murray and Gail Murray, who have embraced the opportunity to show work on this virtual platform.  

With its rich tradition and history as one of Scotland’s longest running exhibitions, ‘porting’ the PAI Annual online has been a fascinating challenge which presented us too with a unique opportunity to reflect on the cultural heritage of Paisley.  In the 1820s the Jacquard loom was being used to propel Paisley as a leading light in Scotland’s textiles industry.  The intricate punch card input method used laid the foundations of computer technology and ‘coding’ in particular – the building blocks of creating our online presentation.

We are delighted to have worked with Berlin-based Paisley Buddie Andrew Hopkins as our Digital Collaborator who has designed a bespoke series of virtual viewing rooms.  It has been important for Andrew to amplify the creative energy of his hometown, especially during lockdown when he is physically cut off from Scotland.  

A specially convened Selection Committee of PAI Artists Members chose work specifically with the online context in their sights.  Eòghann MacColla, Convenor of the Paisley Art Institute Exhibitions Hanging Committee said “It was a real pleasure for the selection team to review the works we received via the artists call out.  The quality of submissions has been so impressive and encompasses a wide range of techniques.  The process of selecting works for an online exhibition has been a fascinating challenge and a unique one. We are sure the range of work on display will bring some much-needed vibrancy, colour, and joy in 2020.  We hope the 132nd Paisley Art Institute Annual Online will also offer an opportunity to reflect on our collective experience of this pandemic through several pieces which deal very directly with the lockdown theme.  It has been humbling to see how a number of artists exhibiting in the 132nd PAI Annual Online have directly taken their experience of lockdown and used this time to make a personal creative response, exploring themes of personal wellbeing and our universal need for connection.

As you would expect a range of Paisley based artists are included in the 132nd PAI Annual Online, including:

  • Alexander Ramsay with his piece ‘Lockdown Fever’ – Alex was recognised with an award for his work during the 2019 PAI Open Annual exhibition
  • Caroline Gormley, PAI Vice President is exhibiting this year as is artist Sandy Guy who, with Caroline, is co-founder of the ‘Made in Paisley’ Studio and Gallery.
  • We are delighted to include examples of work by an up and coming generation of Paisley based artists such as Angela Pieraccini, who has lovely circular geometric works included. 
  • Paisley based painter and PAI Artist Committee Member, Moe Rocksmoore, presents her signature atmospheric skyscapes in this year’s Annual Online. 

Our universal experience of living through the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has unsurprisingly generated some highly creative responses.  Themes of self-care, wellbeing, isolation and connection and the familiar symbols of face coverings and rainbows all appear in the exhibition.  Participating artist, Wendy Greig, is a fulltime anaesthetic nurse in the NHS who paints and draws in her evenings and weekends. Describing her art practice as ‘a lifeline during the current crisis’. Her works are in soft pastel, portraits. 

 

Other examples of ‘crisis responsive’ artworks in the Annual Online include:

 

  • Ilona Dynowski Red run an almost apocalyptic street scene. 
  • Lynn Howarth’s portrait of a frontline worker wearing a mask
  • Boo Paterson ‘COVID Old Glory’ our poster image for the PAI exhibition in 2020. 
  • Former PAI Vice President Al Strachan and his colourful collages relating to being housebound and Zoom
  • John Andrew’s Lockdown work, ‘Joan in a mask’. John discovered his passion for visual art ‘later in life’.  He has natural talent and flair for painting and drawing and is returning to exhibit with PAI after first doing so in 2019.

 

This year for the first time ever, the Paisley Art Institute website will host an online shop, where much of the artwork on display will be available to purchase during the duration of the exhibition.

virtual 5k

Fans of the Paisley 10k can still take part in a road race this year as a new competition gets up and running.

The annual Paisley 10k and Fun Run may have had to be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the team at Renfrewshire Leisure have organised a series of virtual races to take its place.

virtual 5k

Runners can take part by signing up for the Renfrewshire Leisure Virtual 5k Summer Series for free and after registering, they are asked to submit their best times for running a distance of 5k.

They can start submitting their times once every week for three weeks starting on July 27 and runners can complete the distance either on an outdoor run, or on a treadmill.

Week One is July 27 to August 2; Week Two, August 3 to August 9 and Week 3, August 10 to August 16.

Registration via www.renfrewshireleisure.com/5ksummerseries will be open throughout each week and once signed up, runners will be sent an email with a weblink to a Google Form where they can submit their times.

Runners can choose to register and submit their time for Week 1, Week 2, or all three weeks. At the end of each week, results will be collated and a leader board will be posted on the Renfrewshire Leisure website and social media.

The Virtual 5k Summer Series is being organised in conjunction with Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club and the event’s charity partner is Erskine – Scotland’s foremost provider of care for military veterans and their spouses.

Although entry to the event is free, runners are being encouraged to make a donation to Erskine at www.erskine.org.uk/support-our-work/donate/ .

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “It’s a shame the Paisley 10k and Fun Run has had to be cancelled this year, but we’re making sure all the training that runners have been doing throughout the year will be put to good use.

“Our team has been very creative in coming up with the idea for a Virtual 5k Summer Series and I hope lots of runners sign up and log their best times for running the 5k race distance.

“I’m sure those taking part will join in the fun and competitive spirit of the event and if they aren’t top of the leader board after the first week, they have another two opportunities to post even faster times.”