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Baldragon Academy pupil’s child poverty investigation wins city-wide Harry McLevy Award

Baldragon Academy pupil Maia Finnon is the city-wide winner of the research-led Harry McLevy Award.
Baldragon Academy pupil Maia Finnon is the city-wide winner of the research-led Harry McLevy Award.

A Dundee teenager’s efforts at exploring how child poverty can be reduced has earned her the annual Harry McLevy Award.

Maia Finnon, an S3 Baldragon Academy pupil, investigated the issue which impacts thousands of youngsters in the city after discovering how children in her community were suffering with food and financial poverty.

The competition is run by Dundee’s Modern Studies Association and challenges S3 pupils to research and complete an investigation into a social topic studied in school.

Maia chose a topic that interested her in the community and investigated how to make it better.

Maia’s investigation found that Dundee had the fifth highest number of people in Scotland, including children, living in areas classed as deprived data zones.

She then showed off her literacy and research skills by investigating the reason why child poverty was so prevalent in the city, as well as looking at ways to prevent the issue.

Maia was the school winner as well as the city-wide champion of the research-based competition.

The competition celebrates the work of Dundonian Harry McLevy, who was one of Scotland’s leading trade unionists.

This is Baldragon Academy’s second time winning the award, after victory in 1998, the year the competition was launched.

Maia was delighted to win, according to mum Deborah Strachan, who said her daughter always goes “above and beyond” in her schooling.

And Maia could go on to study law and history or criminology at university.

Scott Baikie (PT Modern Studies) who supported Maia’s investigation and Maia Finnon with her trophy.

Scott Baikie, principal teacher of modern studies, said: “Maia’s successful investigation was into the issue of child poverty in Dundee and was chosen by competition sponsors Unite the Union ahead of five other strong entries from Dundee secondary schools.

“Maia was presented with the Harry McLevy Memorial Award as well as two cheques for £20 as Baldragon Academy school-based winner and £50 for being chosen as the Dundee City winner.

“Maia was in fact the first Baldragon Academy winner of the long-standing competition since 1998.”

Head teacher Hugh McAninch also expressed his delight at Maia’s achievement which saw her tackle a significant issue affecting the city.

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