It’s BACK to school time and many of our children and young people are full of excitement for the academic year ahead.

A lot of parents and carers are just happy to see the school doors open and a return to “normality” after the long weeks of summer holidays.

The exam results in West Dunbartonshire were excellent yet again. Not only are we ahead of the Scottish average for passes at National 5 and Highers but we are also beginning to see real progress in closing the poverty related attainment gap.

Academic results, however, are only part of the story. The ability to take those exam passes and use the knowledge in a practical way is key to success.

For those young people who didn’t get the results they wanted, the strength to recover from disappointment and redirect themselves is a bigger achievement.

The support is definitely there for those who need it and the focus on developing life skills is paying off for our young folk. There’s also a wealth of new qualifications being developed year on year to suit almost everyone.

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There’s been a lot to enjoy locally over the summer with the Highland Games at Balloch and the Pipe Band Championships in Dumbarton (pictured right).

We’ve had a real mix of weather, amazing sunshine and heat for the first event, then a bit of a wash-out for the second. Outwith these two large events, have been many others that are what make our area a community, like the Bowling Gala day which I was lucky enough to attend at the start of summer.

A lot of work goes into organising community events and I know the reward is much more about seeing your community thriving and happy than anything else.

Looking at the local press and local online groups, I can see that if you’ve got the will, there’s lots going on to get involved with. The Friends of Dumbarton Foreshore welcome new hands to pick litter and if there’s not a group to suit you, why not start your own?

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By the power of social media it’s not that hard and the community engagement staff at the council are always more than happy to assist.

As we head into autumn I’m looking forward to the Bowling Fun Run on September 14, and more litter picking down the shore. Hope you find your thing too.