Pupils from Renfrewshire Council schools are being invited to jazz things up a bit in 2012.

Renfrewshire Instrumental Service, in conjunction with Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra is offering free workshops with internationally renowned musicians to young people in Renfrewshire.

The project, funded by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative, is calling for pupils who can play to roughly grade 3 standard and/or are able to play chromatic scales on their instrument. All instruments are welcome, even if they are not traditional “jazz” instruments.

Councillor Lorraine Cameron, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Education Policy Board, said, “This will be the second year of the project following on from last year’s highly successful partnership. It offers a fantastic opportunity to our pupils to be creative and to work alongside a highly acclaimed Orchestra and I’m really looking forward to hearing them perform together in the Spring.”

Renfrewshire also celebrated last year when former Paisley Grammar pupil, Neil Paton, returned to his old school to be presented with one of the most prestigious music awards in Scotland. Neil was chosen as the winner of the Young Scottish Jazz Musician Award for the under 17 category in awards organised by the Scottish Jazz Federation.

So for pupils who would like to follow in Neil’s footsteps, workshops and rehearsals will take place at Paisley Grammar school on Thursday evenings from 4:30-6:30 from 26 January and will culminate in performances at the Annual Spring concert series as well as a ‘side by side’ with Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra, one of Britain’s most highly regarded jazz ensembles.

To register for the workshops, please contact Youth Music Initiative Development Officers on: 0141 840 8925, or by emailing or for consent forms and a rehearsal schedule.

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Paisley Grammar pupils get Eco friendly

As part of an ‘Eco Week’ last month, pupils from Paisley Grammar School visited Barshaw Park, to assist with Renfrewshire Council’s Clean Renfrewshire Campaign. Paisley Grammar is just one of the many schools and community groups that are continuing to keep Renfrewshire clean and tidy following the success of Clean Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean Campaign earlier this year.

More than 20 pupils, aged between 13 and 15, from Paisley Grammar’s Eco Committee took to the park in a bid to help remove litter. This was just one of the many initiatives the pupils came up with as part of their Eco Week, others included an eco energy project and a tidy up of the school garden.

With the help of the Renfrewshire Wardens and local Campus Police officer Bart Simonis, the eco friendly pupils managed to collect a massive 6 bags of litter, which is equivalent to approximately a tonne of waste.

Cllr Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Board, said:
“The continual support from community groups, such as Paisley Grammar School, towards the Clean Renfrewshire campaign demonstrates the enthusiasm and dedication from people of all ages across Renfrewshire.

“We are delighted that the partnership, between Renfrewshire Council’s Clean Renfrewshire team and Strathclyde Police, is working to educate pupils on the importance of keeping their community clean.

“Since its launch in 2008, these individuals and community groups have significantly contributed to the success of the campaign and I am confident that we can continue this momentum with their support. I would like to encourage everybody to get on board and take responsibility to help ensure Renfrewshire is a clean and tidy place to live, work and visit.”

As part of Eco Week, pupils were also given an educational talk by the Environmental Service Graffiti Team, on the problems caused by graffiti. This included a demonstration as to how graffiti is removed. By working together, Renfrewshire Council and Strathclyde Police hope to educate pupils of the repercussions negative actions, like littering and graffiti, have on the community.

Bart Simonis, Campus Police Officer at Paisley Grammar School added;
“The clean up arranged with Renfrewshire Council was a fantastic way to illustrate to the pupils the importance of not dropping litter. The initiative is a great way to teach pupils important messages whilst still having fun.

“This zero tolerance approach to litter and graffiti is in keeping with the school’s environmental ethos. As well as dedicating a week to environmentally friendly activities, the school is part of the ECO Schools Scotland award system. The school understands that by supporting the Clean Renfrewshire campaign, they are educating the children now, in the hope that they won’t have these issues in the future.

“The anti-graffiti discussion from the Environmental Service Graffiti Team really got the pupils thinking. Prior to the talk, many of the pupils would never have thought about the cost of removing graffiti and where that money comes from. Looking after our local surroundings is important and everyone should take responsibility for it. We hope the pupils take this message with them wherever they go.”

To reinforce the activity being carried out by individuals and groups, the Clean Renfrewshire campaign introduced the Renfrewshire Wardens Service last year to increase further awareness about the need to maintain a clean environment. As part of their wider community role, the Wardens also have the power to issue £50 fixed penalty notices for littering and £40 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling to those who continue to drop litter or allow their dogs to foul the county’s streets and parks, demonstrating that Clean Renfrewshire means business.