Mackie Matters - Where does all the time go?

As always, preparations are under way for our Christmas events but there is still plenty going on around school.

Last week saw our staff attend two training days to reflect our school’s improvement plan for the years ahead. The previous week also saw our Faculty Heads leading working parties on our strategies for Literacy, Numeracy and HWB which was great to see in action. One aspect of how this has been influencing practice can be seen in our Art team. Here fortnightly sketchbook work has changed to termly challenges. Each year group is set a challenge and expected to spend four to seven hours on the work. So far it has been exceptionally productive with S1 pupils producing excellent portrait parodies, S2 making 3D still life objects and S3 pupils designing themed shoes which are displayed on our TV screens already. All of the S2 work is currently on display in our Library so if you are in school feel free to pop up and see it.

One of the other areas of school that we have been working hard on with our pupils is that of wider achievement. This week I want to share with you the experiences of one of our S1 pupils who took part in the production of Jesus Christ Superstar at HMT, Aberdeen recently. Lauren Fowlie wrote:

“Since the age of four I have been attending Stagecoach in Aberdeen on a Saturday morning where I enjoy studying drama, singing and dancing. Before the October holidays, I auditioned to be part of the kids chorus for Jesus Christ Superstar which was coming to HMT Aberdeen. My audition went well and I was lucky enough to be picked. I was very excited but also nervous. There were 12 of us in the chorus, so at least my friends were there and we were able to help and support each other. We met the cast at rehearsals on the Tuesday afternoon. They were awesome and one of them had been a finalist on the X Factor six years ago – Rachel Adedeji. My first show was on the Wednesday night and it was great fun. I have been to the theatre many times before but this was my first time on the stage so it was very different. In total I did three performances and it was a great experience. All the kids got named in the programme and then the cast signed our programmes and we also had photos taken with them.

“I feel really lucky to have been selected and being given the opportunity to perform on stage with such talented people. It’s something I will never forget.”

I am always amazed at what our young people manage to combine with their school studies.

Staff have also been busy out in our feeder primary schools with Alison Oliver from our Science team supporting sessions in Dunnottar, Arduthie and Mill O’Forest schools. What has also been great is that our pupils have also been out with Mrs Oliver to support this work in their former primaries and it has been a great experience for all involved. The Maths team have also been working with our senior pupils outside of the classroom to support their learning. Mr Macdonald put an application into the Edinburgh Mathematical Society and has gained a grant of £500 to support our in-house Maths revision weekends focusing on our Higher Maths pupils. A group of our S6 pupils have been part funded through the John Hunter trust fund for their Baccalaureate trip to France, Italy and Germany as part of their interdisciplinary project for this qualification. The aims of the projects were diverse – comparing how languages are taught in different countries, investigating how different countries are dealing with the refugee crisis and how the media deals with gender issues. Congratulations to Mollie McVey, Tamara Scherwitzel, Eilidh Finlayson and Erin Blackwood for taking such a proactive approach to their learning. Finally a few staffing changes to make you aware of. After the Christmas holidays we will be welcoming Mr Duncan Whyte to the Pupil Support and Attainment team. Mr Whyte is joining us from Brechin High School and will be taking over Cowie House. We look forward to welcoming him then. Ms Kirsty Dormand is joining the Modern Languages team in December to replace Mrs Stevenson. She is coming from Elgin Academy and we are very much looking forward to welcoming her onto the team. The final change to the team is quite significant as Ms Fiona Robertson, Depute Head, has gained her first headship at Perth Grammar School and will be leaving in the New Year. It is always good to see staff achieving and moving on – just as our pupils do every year – and we will be working hard to recruit into her post soon.