THIS is my first column since the summer holidays finished and the new school year began.

In my role as education convener, I had the privilege of meeting some of our pupils on the morning their exam results arrived.

I got to hear about their plans and all the opportunities the future holds for them.

More than 2,300 pupils in the local area received their SQA qualifications in National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams. I am extremely proud of each one of them.

I was also busy visiting various SHINE projects held throughout the local authority area over the summer.

A few of those I visited were Golden Friendships, Centre 81, and Haldane Youth Services.

All of them were doing different activities for children and young people but all had the same goal, which was to bring them together to have fun, make new friends, and enjoy wonderful experiences.

As schools started back, I visited Dalreoch Primary and Lennox Primary to officially open their new multi-use games area (MUGA) pitches and it was clear to see from the pupils – and staff – just how much fun outdoor learning and play can be.

Only last week, in my own ward, I had the pleasure of visiting Linnvale Primary to congratulate the headteacher, staff, and pupils on their very well-deserved positive inspection report.

The school was praised for working together to drive improvement and develop strong, positive relationships.

This was so evident to see and I would like to congratulate everyone at Linnvale Primary again.

I was also invited along to Dynamite Gymnastics Club, where I met Jayne Anderson and other trustees who gave me a tour and told me all about their success.

I was blown away by everything they do and was lucky enough to witness amazing gymnasts who were happy to show me some of their moves.

The talent on show at this club really is world class and I heard about just some of the competitions its gymnasts compete in, such as inter-regional contests, Scottish championships, and league finals, not to mention the Gymnaestrada with Team GB.

It really is an amazing club, with so many talented children and young people.

Meanwhile, my councillor surgeries have resumed, with a list of the days and times available on the council’s website. There is no appointment necessary, so please come along.

You can also reach me by phone and I’m more than happy to do house visits.

And, thanks to a motion from myself to council which was unanimously passed, I will be having online surgeries too.