Meet Stewarton Academy’s Ayrshire College Award Winner

Ayrshire College has provided a new award for all 25 secondary schools in Ayrshire for pupils who did exceptionally well on their school-college course over the last year.

We offer a wide range of vocational courses that pupils can take along with their school subjects over their senior phase of fourth, fifth and sixth year. Each school decides on which pupil should receive the award and presented it to them during the school prize giving.


Rachel Floyd, is Stewarton Academy’s Ayrshire College Award winner.

Rachel started a Skills for Work Early Education and Childcare course at the start of S5. She aspires to work with children and felt this course was a great stepping stone onto a career path in the sector.

Alexis Barbour, Deputy Head Teacher, commented that Rachel earned this award by “overcoming the challenges of travelling to college, meeting and working with new people and being organised. These challenges can be considerable for some pupils and Rachel initially found it very difficult. However her determination and strength of character developed and with the support of college staff, school staff and her parents she made excellent progress. She now has the confidence to leave school and study at college full-time.”

Why did you decide to take a course in Skills for Work Early Education and Childcare?

I really want to work with children and I feel it is the right career choice for me. I thought doing the course would help me get a job in childcare.

Tell me a bit about the course. What kind of things did you do?

We learnt about the emotional and social aspects of early education and childcare. We would learn the theory of play in childcare, and to help us understand it, you would do the activities yourself. This meant the course had a lot of practical parts to it such as dancing, painting and even an activity involving voice pad technology. It really helped me understand what it would be like for the children doing it and how I could put the theory into practice in a job.

What did you like about the course?

I really liked doing all the play activities, just learning how to play with the children was a lot of fun. We made story books and got to make playdough to see what it felt like to play with. We also made powder paint, which gets everywhere, so I went home pink that day. It was really fun.

What was the most challenging part of the course?

Taking notes during class, as it is different from school. The lecturer talks a bit faster and it’s a different style of learning from being in a school classroom.  One week it was theory, the next week it was practical. There were also assessments every few weeks to make sure that we were on track. It was still really good and I enjoyed it.

How does going to school and taking a college course work?

I went to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday all day and college on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. I took the college course along with Media, Hospitality, English and History at school (National 4 & National 5 levels).  I was also allowed time for vocational learning in a nursery. I gained a lot of practical experience.

How did you balance school and college?

It didn’t really affect me. I had study periods during the week which I used to study.  I didn’t do any extra hours outside a normal school timetable. I also had a part-time job at the same time. I just balanced everything and it worked.

How does college differ from school?

It is a bit different from school. At college you can be yourself and you don’t feel restricted in what subjects you can take. There is more freedom and independence.  I am looking forward to continuing at college.

When did you find out you had won the Ayrshire College Award and how did you feel?

I found out from one of my teachers, who told me I had won. I didn’t know anything about it.  I felt very proud and happy to receive the award. I was so proud of myself all day after my teacher told me.

What have you got planned now that you have finished school?

I am studying National 5 Early Education and Childcare full-time at the College. After that I am hoping to have a career working with special needs children in the hospital. I spend a lot of time with my cousin who has special needs and I think that it would be great helping others. This course has been great and I am excited to keep studying at college.


Jane Henderson, Developing the Young Workforce Manager, commented that “It was great to see Rachel receive her prize and see her achievement recognised with the fantastic Ayrshire College trophy. The school-college courses are a great experience for pupils and really provide them with an insight into a career pathway. I am glad to see Rachel has enjoyed her course and is moving on to a full-time course with us this year”.

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