Learning Professional Award: Highly Commended - Shelagh Toonen and Claire Dancer

Scottish Book Trust are delighted to announce the two Highly Commended educators in our Learning Professional Award: Shelagh Toonen and Claire Dancer.

Shelagh Toonen

Shelagh is the librarian at Elgin Academy, and has worked tirelessly and innovatively to develop an inclusive reading culture at the school.

Shelagh has spearheaded a number of fun initiatives which have made Elgin's library a place everyone wants to be! Highlights have included author visits, themed library weeks, a host of different clubs and monthly book talks which have inspired pupils to seek out new reading material.

Our panel were impressed with how Shelagh has worked to make the library a hub for cross-curricular activities involving different departments. You can check out her fantastic mental health project inspired by the work of Juno Dawson here!

Claire Dancer

Claire is the Curriculum Leader of Support for Learning at Wester Hailes Education Centre, and has dedicated herself to making reading accessible for everyone.

In her Support for Learning role, Claire has set up a paired reading programme for S1 and S6 at the school which has helped pupils develop confidence in reading aloud and nurtured positive reading relationships.

She believes strongly in the power of writing as well as reading to raise confidence and self-esteem, and has led many school-wide writing projects, leading to pupils' work being published. She also used funding available through the Live Literature School Residencies programme to invite author Lari Don into school to work with pupils. This led to pupils creating stories to share with younger children.

Claire is committed to helping students overcome barriers, and has developed differentiated reading programmes to ensure that every pupil has a rich and appropriate range of reading material to enthuse them about books. 


Watch out on our site over the coming weeks for more web features on Claire and Shelagh!