Renfrewshire Classroom Assistants

It’s been described as “the best job in the world” and is benefiting school pupils right across Renfrewshire.

And thanks to a partnership with experts at the University of Strathclyde, classroom assistants in Renfrewshire schools are now even better equipped to support pupil development.

Following a successful pilot last year, the latest cohort of 33 classroom assistants from 22 primary schools have just completed a professional learning programme run by the University.

Renfrewshire Classroom Assistants

The comprehensive six-month programme was delivered in schools and covered a range of skills to support reading, writing, numeracy and mathematics.

“I’ve been a classroom assistant for 19 years and have always said this is the best job in the world,” said Alyson Bright, who works at East Fulton Primary School in Linwood.

“This programme has been great, I’ve enjoyed meeting up with other classroom assistants and hearing their experiences and also building my own confidence and learning new techniques has been really invaluable.”

Jackie Docherty has been a Classroom Assistant at Woodlands Primary School in Linwood for 11 years. She said: “The biggest part I’ve learned from the programme is about how best to work with the teacher, using the same language with pupils and working together as a team. I just love my job – nurturing young people is very rewarding.”

The programme saw classroom assistants keep diaries to reflect on what they learned, with opportunities to practise each approach in the school setting.

It also covered new techniques on how to use play to support effective learning.

Evelyn Hart, Teaching Fellow at the University of Strathclyde, said: “The University is delighted to have worked with such a committed and knowledgeable group of staff.

“Classroom Assistants do crucial work in schools and build trusting relationships with children. This helps the wider ethos of the school, as well as children’s learning and their health and wellbeing.”

This programme is part of Renfrewshire’s work as a Scottish Attainment Challenge authority, a national initiative to close the attainment gap between those living in Scotland’s least and most deprived areas.

Last month, Renfrewshire became the first local authority rated ‘excellent’ for its progress, achieving significant year-on-year improvements in listening, talking, reading, writing and numeracy, with the attainment gap closing across all measures.

More than 3800 pupils have benefited from the PATHS programme in partnership with Barnardo’s, which has seen a significant reduction in antisocial behaviour and improved classroom concentration.

Some 300 parents, carers and pupils enjoyed tea-time study sessions and 1000 staff have completed Stages of Early Arithmetical Learning training to improve confidence in teaching numeracy.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, said: “Supporting the professional development of our education staff is central to our sustainable approach in raising attainment in Renfrewshire. I would like to extend my congratulations to all the classroom assistants on completing this programme and I am sure they will put their new-found knowledge to great use in the classroom.

“We want to give every child in Renfrewshire the best possible start in life and are very proud of the progress being made in raising attainment and improving learning.”


Families are to get a new discounted rate when they hire Tweedie Hall, in Linwood.

The move by Renfrewshire Leisure to create a new community rate – lower than the normal commercial charge – comes in response to requests from local residents to look at a community rate, in addition to the existing commercial and charity rates.

The new reduced rate is available to residents from all over Renfrewshire who want to use the Tweedie Hall for family social events, such as birthday parties, anniversaries and other family celebrations.


The reduced charges will be introduced from April 1 and is a one-year pilot to assess the viability and impact on hall lets of the new community rate.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We listened and took on board what the local community had to say. The new hire rates and Tweedie Hall is now our most affordable town hall for family events.”

Tweedie Hall has seen steady business during the past three years with more than 1400 events held there last year.

Councillor Hughes added: “Tweedie Hall is a fantastic modern venue with easy access for buses and by car from the motorway along with ample parking.

“It has an excellent range of spacious and flexible halls and rooms of varying sizes that is suitable for any event or family gathering.

“And the hire rates at Tweedie Hall are well below similar community halls in places like Glasgow and in the commercial sector.”

There are now three rates for hire of Tweedie Hall – a commercial rate, the new community rate and a rate for registered charities to hold events.”

GAME for a laugh shopping centre boss Peter Beagley became Oor Wullie for a day as he launched the intu Braehead bid to raise money for a children’s hospital charity.

Peter dressed as the iconic comic strip character and sat on a galvie bucket beside a life-size statue of Oor Wullie, which will be on display in the mall for almost three months from June 17.

The shopping centre has partnered with Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and is sponsoring a statue as part of the Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail 2019.

When the life-size Oor Wullie statue goes on show in the lower mall, shoppers can download an app on their mobile phone or tablet, which will register they have visited the statue. They can then claim a reward from the centre’s customer services desk.

The intu Braehead sculpture will have its own unique design pattern when it is unveiled in June and is one of 200 Oor Wullie statues popping up around Scotland.

As part of the sponsorship, intu Braehead will also receive a smaller statue that they are gifting to the Riverbrae School, in Linwood for the pupils there to decorate with their own designs. This will also go on display in the shopping centre before going back to the school.

Peter Beagley, regional centre director with responsibility for intu Braehead said: “You could say one of the things on my bucket list is to raise funds for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. And all our staff and shoppers can have a bit of fun along the way.

“Oor Wullie is undoubtedly one of the most iconic characters in popular Scottish culture. It was great fun getting dressed up as Oor Wullie and it brought a smile to everyone’s face when they saw me in the mall beside the statue.”

Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity supports babies, Children and young people being treated at the city’s Royal Hospital for Children. Other charities benefiting from Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail elsewhere in Scotland are Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity and the ARCHIE Foundation..

Kirsten Sinclair, Chief Operating Officer, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity said:

“It’s fantastic to see that Peter and the team at intu Braehead have already embraced the fun and creativity that Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail will bring to Scotland this summer.

“We’re incredibly grateful to the centre for their continued support, and can’t wait to visit the Oor Wullie statue at intu Braehead.”

Ferguslie ELCC Baking 2Y9A9540

Renfrewshire Council is searching for 90 Early Learning and Childcare staff to join its team.

The Council will recruit 50 Early Learning and Childcare Officers and 40 Early Learning Support Workers this Spring, with the new starts taking up their positions in time for the new term in August.

Ferguslie ELCC Baking 2Y9A9540

Applications for the vacancies are open, with interviews taking place at a recruitment event in Johnstone Town Hall on Wednesday 17 April 2019. Some of the Council’s funded providers will also be attending the event.

The Early Learning and Childcare Officer vacancies are open to anyone with a practitioner qualification recognised by SSSC at SCQF7. People looking to get back to work, change jobs or start a career in childcare can apply for the Support Worker role, which includes on the job training for an accredited early learning and childcare qualification.

The recruitment drive will support the Council’s work to expand its Early Learning and Childcare provision and meet the Scottish Government’s target of 1140 free hours of early learning and childcare by August 2020.

The Council is currently carrying out a £14million extension and refurbishment programme to ensure its Early Learning and Childcare Centres will be ready to accommodate the new hours. New centres will also be built in Hawkhead, Dargavel, Houston and Kirklandneuk, with work scheduled for completion in August 2020.

Renfrewshire Council Depute Leader Jim Paterson, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, said: “I’m delighted to announce the start of the recruitment drive for our 1140 Early Learning and Childcare expansion.

“Renfrewshire has a lot to offer anyone considering a career in Early Learning and Childcare, from career pathways and development opportunities to competitive terms and conditions.

“We are committed to providing the best learning environments for young children and are driven to maintain quality across all early learning and childcare centres and classes, whether they are local authority, private or voluntary.

“We were the first Council in Scotland to be rated ‘excellent’ by Education Scotland for our efforts to close the poverty-related attainment gap and we are determined to ensure every child in Renfrewshire gets the best possible start in life.

“If you are interested in joining our Early Learning and Childcare team, make sure you get your applications in before the deadline on Sunday 14 April 2019.”

Parents of three-year-olds, four-year-olds and some eligible two-year-olds will see the number of free early learning and childcare hours they receive increase from 600 to 1140 in August 2020.

The expansion will give parents more flexibility in their choice of nursery and childcare services, meaning they can choose from council, private and volunteer-run nursery classes, centres and childminding. They will also be able to choose their preferred option of nursery or childminding session.

There will also be an increase in the number of places commissioned from independent and private nurseries.

Parents and carers should continue to apply to their local nursery for a place for their child and when capacity to accommodate 1140 hours becomes available in their class or centre, they will be contact directly and asked to select their preferred option.

To apply for the Early Learning and Childcare Officer or Early Learning Support Worker vacancies, visit

The deadline for applications is Sunday 14 April 2019

For more information on 1140 Early Learning and Childcare, come along to our recruitment event at Johnstone Town Hall or visit


Communities are being urged to have their say on Renfrewshire’s future by taking part in a consultation on the next Renfrewshire Local Development Plan.

A 12-week consultation into the plan, which will shape land use and planning decisions in Renfrewshire for the next 10 years, launches today (Monday 18 March).

The plan will:

  • Protect the environment and Renfrewshire’s built and cultural heritage by encouraging development in the right locations
  • Promote and support measures to reduce and assist in mitigating the effects of climate change
  • Support the regeneration and renewal of existing areas, creating strong communities and attractive places
  • Promote the development of digital connections to attract people to live in Renfrewshire and support businesses to flourish
  • Provide a framework for City Deal investment, bringing jobs to Renfrewshire and boosting the economy
  • Support town centres to thrive
  • Create a range and choice of housing that meets Renfrewshire’s current and future needs
  • Support a ‘getting it right for every child’ approach, ensuring developments provide safe travel and transport links to schools

The plan also identifies seven settlement plans which can be used by local communities to help them prepare Local Place Plans that will shape their area.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Board, said: ” This is our vision for Renfrewshire.

“We are committed to providing high-quality, well designed homes that will encourage people to come, live and work in Renfrewshire, while also supporting inclusive sustainable economic growth and protecting Renfrewshire’s natural environment and built and cultural heritage.

“This plan builds on our work to make Renfrewshire a successful place to live, work and visit. It includes provision for a range and choice of housing, while also supporting the regeneration of areas and providing a framework for City Deal investments which will bring jobs and money into the Renfrewshire economy.

“It supports town centres and provides place plans for Renfrewshire’s settlements that will help people get more involved in shaping their communities.

“Our plan is also focused on inclusivity, ensuring the needs of people of different ages and physical abilities are considered, contributing to the health and wellbeing of all.

“We believe this Plan will allow Renfrewshire to continue thriving. We now want communities to get involved in the consultation and let us know what they think of the plan.”

You can take part in the consultation by filling out a representation form. The form, which can be submitted by email or post, is available from the Council website, Renfrewshire House and all Council libraries.

Copies of the Renfrewshire Local Development Plan and its associated documents are available from the Council website, Renfrewshire House and all Council libraries.

The proposed plan, which replaces the current Renfrewshire Local Development Plan that was adopted in 2014, is supported by an Environmental Report, Habitats Regulations Appraisal, Action/Delivery Programme and background papers.

The consultation ends on Monday 10 June 2019.

The Council will consider all representations made during the consultation before submitting the plan to the Scottish Government later this year.

For more information on the preparation of Renfrewshire’s next Local Development Plan or to take part in the consultation, visit

Consultation forms should be emailed to or sent to Communities, Housing and Planning Services, Strategy and Place Team, 4th Floor, Renfrewshire House, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1JD.

Heriot Primary - Group shot

A highlight of Renfrewshire’s successful Team Up to Clean Up campaign last year, the Big Spring Clean is back and will take place throughout the month of April – and once again it has the support of national environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Heriot Primary - Group shot

More than 1000 volunteers took part over one weekend last year and with 30 litter picks already arranged, it’s set to be bigger and better than ever.

Community groups, school pupils, businesses and inspired volunteers are set to grab their litter pickers to make their area a little brighter as the local community once again shows its support for the campaign.

Pete Leonard, Operations Director at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We are delighted to support Renfrewshire Council’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign and their Big Spring Clean to help tackle litter in communities.

Cllr McEwan with Pals of the Privies, Glencoats Primary pupils and Renfrewshire Wardens (2)

“High levels of graffiti, litter and flytipping are closely linked to how safe people feel in their community. By successfully engaging with communities and businesses, Team Up to Clean Up has helped to make their local area both cleaner and safer for all its residents.

“They have been great supporters of our Clean Up Scotland Spring Clean and we’ve recorded more than 3,800 people taking action to tackle litter across Renfrewshire as part of last year’s campaign.”

Renfrewshire Council will provide all the equipment needed to volunteer, including support from the Warden’s Service and collecting the rubbish after the event by the council’s StreetScene team.

The Team Up to Clean Up campaign has been backed as part of a £2.5million investment to provide an enhanced street cleaning programme, gully clearing service, an enhanced Rapid Response Team tackling roadside litter and additional litter pickers across Renfrewshire.

The investment also supports the local community to take pride in their area and support volunteers to carry out litter picks of the local area to make neighbourhoods brighter, cleaner and more attractive places to live.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Keep Scotland Beautiful through our Team Up to Clean Up to meet the same goals – reducing litter and protecting the environment.

“They are striving to Clean Up Scotland and we’re committed to contributing to this here in Renfrewshire.

“Our Big Spring Clean was a great success last year, as was the Spotless September Challenge, and I can’t wait to see what our communities can achieve an entire month this time round.

“If you want to see your community become a brighter, cleaner place to live, then join a litter pick or host your own – it really does make a big difference.”

To arrange a litter pick or for more information, contact the team via, call 0300 300 1375 or visit

street stuff

Young people can access free, fun activities across Renfrewshire throughout the school holidays as Street Stuff hosts its popular Spring Break programme.

Gaming and sports activities will be available for ages eight and above, with a free healthy meal thrown into the bargain too.

street stuff

Activities will take place every weekday between Monday 1 April and Friday 12 April, with all young people welcome to go along and take part.

Young people can go along to activities on:

street stuff

Monday 1 and 8 April (1.30pm-4.30pm)
Gleniffer HS and McMaster Centre Johnstone

Tuesday 2 and 9 April (1.00-5.00pm)
St Mirren FC Airdome

Wednesday 3 and 10 April (1.00-5.00pm)
St Mirren FC Airdome

Thursday 4 and 11 April (1.00-5.00pm)
St Mirren FC Airdome

Friday 5 and 12 April (1.30pm-4.30pm)
Linwood HS and St James PS Renfrew

Consent forms should be filled out in advance where possible, although they will be provided at the young person’s first session.

street stuff

The programme marks the start of Street Stuff’s 10th anniversary celebrations which will be marked with a series of events throughout the year, beginning with a launch event at the Simple Digital Arena on 4 April.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “The Street Stuff programme is a chance for young people to stay active over the school holidays, make new friends and get involved in sport and other fun activities.

“There’s also a free meal available at each session to keep their energy up for all the activities.

“So if you’re searching for something to keep them occupied during the break, everyone is welcome at Street Stuff.”

Street Stuff is a diversionary project run in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Engage Renfrewshire and St Mirren Football Club.

The programme began in 2009 in Renfrewshire contributing to a reduction in youth disorder and anti-social behaviour by 75 percent over the first five years with a sustained reduction of 65 percent.

For more information, visit

Provosts Awards

Renfrewshire has honoured dedicated groups and volunteers for their work in the community as the Provost’s Community Awards took place this weekend.

Provosts Awards

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron was joined by comperè Libby McArthur to help celebrate the achievements of devoted community members who go above and beyond to make Renfrewshire a better place to live and work.

The awards were split across six categories, including a revamped award for employees to recognise their hardworking staff.

Provosts Awards

The award winners were invited to a special ceremony at the Lynnhurst Hotel in Johnstone after being chosen from more than 60 outstanding nominations submitted by their peers in the local community.

Provosts Awards

Preceding the presentation of the awards, Fèis Phàislig Ceilidh Trail entertained the invited guests with a selection of traditional tunes and songs.

Provosts Awards

The recipients of this year’s awards were:

Arts and Culture (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council) – The Buddy Beat

Carer’s Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison) – Jamie-Louise Murray

Community Group (sponsored by the Piazza Shopping Centre, Paisley) – Pals of the Privies

Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd) – Heather Clissett

Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire) – Tracey MacNab

Sporting Achievement (sponsored by Acre Industrial Services Ltd) – Joanna Butterfield MBE

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “The Community Awards outline the talent, the enthusiasm and the determination that we are lucky to have in Renfrewshire and every one of this year’s winners are an inspiration.

“It is a privilege to work through the applications with my fellow judges and I never tire of seeing the outstanding work going on in our communities.

“Congratulations to all our winners, you deserve to be rewarded for your fantastic work to make Renfrewshire a better place and I’m delighted to be able to recognise you through these awards.”

The Provost’s Community Awards were first established in 1997 by former Provost Nancy Allison, who continues to sponsor the Carers Award today.

The awards have been continued by each subsequent Provost and have recognised more than 100 deserving community members for their commitment and devotion.

For more information on the Provost’s Community Awards, visit

Further information on Community Award winners

Carer’s Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison) – Jamie-Louise Murray

Jamie cares for her mother and her father who both have mobility issues. She faces challenges as her caring responsibilities can limit her opportunity to go out with friends. However, she always puts others before herself. She created a ‘Buddy bench’ at her old primary school from her own money to help children who are feeling lonely or struggle with friendships.

Sporting Achievement (sponsored by Acre Industrial Services) – Joanna Butterfield MBE

Joanna was diagnosed with spinal tumour which led to paralysis from the chest down and spent six months in hospital. As part of her rehab she started wheelchair rugby and helped form the only team in Scotland. She applied for the UK Talent ID programme (Girls for Gold) and was selected. Six months after starting the Club Throw (Paralympic version of the hammer), she was selected for GB at the European Championships 2014 where she won gold, with a new European record in the F51 Club Throw.

  • Won gold at the 2015 World Championships
  • Won the European Championships again in 2016
  • Won gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio with a new world record of 22.81m
  • Following major shoulder surgery, and returning in half the prescribed recovery time, she claimed silver at the 2018 European Championships

Community Group (sponsored by Piazza Shopping Centre, Paisley) – Pals of the Privies

The group have transformed Glencoats Park from a wilderness into a thriving family park. They have embraced the council’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign and have been a shining light of what can be done with enthusiastic, driven volunteers. Community events have been held in the park, primary school classes can now take place there and it is a haven for elderly people and dog walkers. It is kept litter free and new benches have been installed for elderly residents.

Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire) – Tracey MacNab

Tracey has worked for the Good Shepherd Centre for 12 years and has played a crucial role in developing the through-care service for young people, which ensures they move on to a positive destination. She developed the Tenancy and Citizenship Award which is now an SQA qualification and works with external agencies to provide young people with the opportunity for training, work experience and employment. Tracey arranges for external agencies to come in and present to the kids on a variety of topics and explain the real-life consequences of their actions.

Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd) – Heather Clissett

Heather has been carrying out litter picks for more than nine years to keep her area clean and is a big supporter of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign. She has worked closely with Keep Scotland Beautiful to carry out pilot projects, including providing dog fouling bags on walking routes to measure the difference in dog mess left behind. Her creation ‘Erskine Community Garden’ received the second highest ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ award from Keep Scotland Beautiful. Heather has arranged a number of community events in the garden. She’s an ambassador for Erskine Hospital and has organised the Erskine Motorbike Meet since 2010 – raising almost £100,000.

Arts and Culture (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council) – The Buddy Beat

The Buddy Beat are a drumming group aimed at improving mental health and promoting social inclusion, who have been running since 2007. The group meets 50 weeks a year and use music to help self-confidence, self-belief and self-worth. It has empowered many to move onto further education, volunteering and employment, while session leader Tom credits the programme with saving his life.

Paisley Beer Festival Promo 14.3.19-6962

Beer lovers will be able to enjoy all the fun of this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival as organisers are teaming up to host a Renfrewshire CAMRA Beer Tent.

The Festival, which takes place on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April, will showcase more than 40 top food and drink traders from across Scotland, a demonstration kitchen with celebrity chefs and live entertainment in the stunning surroundings of Paisley’s historic Abbey.

Paisley Beer Festival Promo 14.3.19-6962

For the past five years, Paisley Food and Drink Festival has been staged alongside Renfrewshire CAMRA’s annual Beer Festival in Paisley Town Hall.

With the much-loved Victorian town hall currently undergoing a major £22million refurbishment, organisers of both events are working together to host a Beer Tent for visitors to enjoy across the two-day event.

The marquee will be located at the town’s Bridge Street, as part of the Festival grounds, and will have around 70 cask conditioned ales and craft beers available.

Paisley Beer Festival Promo 14.3.19-6962

There will also be a wide range of bottled beer from around the world and vegan options for those attending the event.

Karen Moore of Renfrewshire CAMRA said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Renfrewshire Council to host a Renfrewshire CAMRA Beer Tent at this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival.

“The marquee will have something for all tastes with a wide selection of cask conditioned ales, craft beers, international bottles and much more.

“With its handy location on Bridge Street, visitors can have a drink in the Beer Tent and wander out to the main Festival area to enjoy the range of street food, live music and entertainment in store.

“I can’t wait to see lots of familiar faces at the Paisley Food and Drink Festival. There’s so much for everyone to enjoy across the two days in April.”

Paisley Food and Drink Festival is one of Scotland’s largest outdoor food and drink festivals. This year’s line-up will also see delicious street food with traders from PLATFORM on Tour – the independent street food market who reside in Glasgow’s Argyle Street Arches, tasting sessions with Gin 71, live music and entertainment programmed by Paisley’s famous The Bungalow music venue, children’s workshops, picnic areas and much more.

You can find out more about Paisley Food and Drink Festival 2019 here:

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Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by this horrific tragedy.

“We stand together with the people of New Zealand and offer our deepest sympathies at this most harrowing of times.

“I will be writing to the Mayor of Christchurch on behalf of Renfrewshire to offer our sincere condolences.”

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