Dunoon Grammar crowned World’s Best School for Community Collaboration


Dame Emma Thompson congratulates UK’s Dunoon Grammar School on winning inaugural World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration

The five World’s Best School Prizes, founded this year by T4 Education in collaboration with Accenture and American Express, are the world’s most prestigious education prizes and see winning schools share $250,000

Academy Award winning actress Dame Emma Thompson and actor and producer Greg Wise today congratulated Dunoon Grammar School in Scotland – which has galvanised students to fix the brain drain in its rural community – as it was named the winner of the inaugural World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration. The five World’s Best School Prizes, founded this year by T4 Education in collaboration with Accenture and American Express, are the world’s most prestigious education prizes and see winning schools share an award of $250,000.

Dame Emma Thompson said:

“Hello, Dunoon Grammar and all who sail in you. You have won the World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration from T4 Education. And you’ve put Dunoon Grammar School into a kind of global recognition moment. The spotlight’s on you, small as we know rural community in Scotland. It’s the most extraordinary achievement. It actually made me cry when I heard about it. We’re so thrilled for you, and so proud of you, and I hope you all just feel, well, on top of the world because at this moment in time that’s where you are.”

Greg Wise said:

“Dunoon Grammar School, congratulations you’ve won T4 Education’s World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration. It’s a testament to you, and to your teaching staff, and the school and the support staff, that you have done so much for the community, so much for the Dunoon Project, for which we thank you. And we congratulate you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said:

“Congratulations to Dunoon Grammar School for winning the World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration. It’s time for world leaders to sit up and listen to institutions like this outstanding UK school.

“Far too many children will continue to be left behind in the wake of COVID unless governments take urgent action to tackle the education crisis. As a first step, they must turn to the knowledge and experience contained within our schools because those on the frontlines of education know better than anyone else the change we need to see.”

David Mitchell, Head Teacher at Dunoon Grammar, said:

“For Dunoon Grammar School to be awarded with the World’s Best School Prize for community collaboration is overwhelming. We are still in shock, but as you can imagine we are absolutely delighted with this global recognition.” 

Paul Gallanagh, Principal Teacher, added:

“This was a dream we didn’t dare to dream! It is testimony to the fantastic community work we have been dedicated to over the past few years and this will further fuel our ambition to be truly a school at the heart of our community. We have so many local, national and global partners to thank as well as our fantastic staff, parents and of course our wonderful young people. Together we have achieved this prestigious accolade. Thank you T4 Education!”

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said:

“This is just really tremendous news – I am absolutely delighted. What a truly outstanding achievement. They are truly word class.”

The five World’s Best School Prizes – for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives – celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress especially in the wake of COVID.

Dunoon Grammar School was chosen as the winner of the World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration from among the Top 3 finalists, which also included PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel, in India, and EMEB Profª Adolfina J. M. Diefenthäler in Brazil.

The prizes were founded by T4 Education in collaboration with Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah, Templeton World Charity Foundation, and the Lemann Foundation to share the best practices of schools that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference to their communities.

About the school:

Dunoon Grammar School, a state secondary school in Dunoon, Scotland, is galvanising students to turn around the fortunes of its rural local area, which has seen an exodus of young people lacking opportunities.

To help reverse this “brain drain”, Dunoon Grammar School evaluated the community’s needs and gaps in the workplace and it facilitated over 50 skill-based courses to empower students to work in professions vital to the local economy. Its practical, experience-based curriculum allows students to learn about crucial industries such as travel and tourism, design, and maritime studies.

The school works hard to develop entrepreneurial skills in its students, allowing them to establish their own local enterprises and to contribute to regeneration projects. It is a key player in the Dunoon Project, the town’s plan to build a massive mountainside tourist attraction with a gondola, mountain bike tracks, alpine rollercoaster and zipwire experiences, creating jobs for Dunoon’s young people.

Working with Apps for Good – an educational charity that promotes coding skills – students have generated ideas and coded prototype apps, IoT and Machine Learning solutions to benefit society. When COP26 was held in Glasgow students conceived and coded apps to address the climate crisis.

The school has also offered learning experiences for children and parents to enjoy together in areas such as health and wellbeing, numeracy, literacy and digital skills. Its family liaison officer also supports families with applications for government benefits, helping to address the poverty-related attainment gap.

Dunoon Grammar School will use the prize funds to assist with transport and invest in more advanced remote learning technology.

The five Prizes:

The winners of the five World’s Best School Prizes were chosen by a Judging Academy, comprising distinguished leaders all across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector, based on a set of rigorous criteria. Judges were informed by a public advisory vote in which nearly 50,000 people from around the world voted for their favourite schools.

At the same time, Curie Metropolitan High School in the US won the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives. Escuela Emilia Lascar in Chile won the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation. Project Shelter Wakadogo in Uganda won the World’s Best School Prize for Overcoming Adversity. And Bonuan Buquig National High School in the Philippines won the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action.

A prize of US$250,000 will be shared equally among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$50,000. 

All shortlisted schools across the five Prizes will share their best practices through School Transformation Toolkits that showcase their “secret sauce” to innovative approaches and step-by-step instructions on how others can replicate their methods to help improve education everywhere. These will be available on the new T4 Communities app launched at World Education Week.


We believe every child everywhere deserves a good education. We are building the world’s largest community of teachers and schools to achieve this. Together. Our digital media platform provides opportunities for educators to network, collaborate, share good practices, and support each other’s efforts to improve learning. We work to amplify teachers’ voices because the world we want to see will only be built by listening to those at the heart of education.


For more information, please contact Salman Shaheen: salman@t4.education / 07743108598

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