As the schools have returned from the summer break I’d like to take this opportunity to wish pupils across West Dunbartonshire all the best for the year ahead.

For those attending primary or secondary school for the first time the coming weeks will be very exciting settling into new surroundings and forging new friendships that may last a lifetime.

I’d also like to congratulate everyone who received their SQA exam results. It can be a nerve-wracking time waiting for that text, email or envelope to arrive, but hopefully all the hard work over the past year has paid off.

It was fantastic to see West Dunbartonshire pupils achieve their best ever higher exam results since the introduction of the new national qualifications. A record 79 per cent of S5 pupils received a higher qualification – continuing the trend of improving results across our schools.

Of course not everyone will have received the exam results they’d been hoping for.

Despite being dyslexic and leaving school at 16 with no qualifications, I took the opportunity to enrol in a college course before going on to university and earning a master’s degree.

West Dunbartonshire is home to fantastic schools, and I always feel inspired after meeting our hardworking teachers and pupils. During a visit to one local school earlier this year, I was delighted to see pupils doing the “The Daily Mile” which encourages pupils to walk, jog or run a mile every day.

It’s inspired me to take up running again, so I’ve signed up to do my first ever half marathon later this year. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able keep up with some of the younger runners, but I hope to raise as much money as possible for the Carers of West Dunbartonshire.

To sponsor me, please visit