Well revived by the Easter break

We are all back now having been revived by our Easter break. During this time two fantastic visits took place for our students. – one to South Africa and one to New York and Washington.

The students have literally been “buzzing” about their experiences. Our thanks must go to the trip leaders – Mr Macdonald and Miss Arthur – as well as the other members of staff who accompanied the trips. Certainly a once in a lifetime experience for many and I know that the trips were jam packed full of great opportunities.

Our Duke of Edinburgh teams were also in operation over the Easter break with day walks taking place on the final weekend. Thanks must go to Mrs McNeil and the team of volunteers who help make this possible for our students. We have a significant number of students now signed up for the Bronze and Silver Awards and we hope it won’t be too long before the first Gold Award is in the bag.

At the end of last term a group of students attended the Scottish Liberal Democrats Conference in Aberdeen. They had a fantastic day with Ms Swanson and Mr Kenny and gained a great insight into the political process. We were one of only two schools in Aberdeenshire who took up the offer to attend. Following this I received a letter from the Deputy General Secretary of the Scottish Police Federation. He was in attendance at the conference to show a number of powerful and thought-provoking videos about real life situations that police officers find themselves in. Our students were engaged in watching these and he wrote to say how impressed he and his colleagues were with the way our students conducted themselves.

He said: “They were polite, interested, engaging and displayed a maturity beyond their years in the discussions on the issues raised by the videos.”

He thought it was necessary to write and share this positive message with us when, quite often, young people are only depicted in a negative way. What a fantastic message for us as a school to receive.

Our S1 and S2 student councils met at the end of last term and, as always, had lots to talk about. The council’s voice is becoming stronger at Mackie Academy and one of the things that we need to work on now is ensuring that everyone gets to know about the work that is going on.

This is really important so that everyone can recognise the developments that are taking place because of the student voice. In addition to this I saw all year groups in the final week of term to discuss the outcomes of our quality improvement visit and what will be happening from here on in. Students have been given the opportunity to say what they think should be the top three priorities for Mackie Academy in our improvement plan as we move forwards, as have staff and parents / carers.

Ms Stalker took a group of S1 students who attended Gourdon Primary to Arbuthnott House at the end of term for them to see the fruits of a project that they started when in Primary 7. This has been carried on by the current Primary 7 students and it has resulted in an e-book being produced which allows people to be toured around Arbuthnott House as part of a partnership between the owners and Historic Scotland. Having spoken with the students it was great for them to see this in action and thanks to Mrs Japp at Gourdon Primary for extending the invitation to us. The school has been busy over the Easter break as well. A number of facility developments have taken place with the front reception currently being revamped so that it displays more clearly what Mackie Academy is all about and the efforts of our students and staff. This is a work in progress for the summer term.

Our drama staff are also very happy with their new classroom space which has been painted black!! It may seem a little strange but they tell me it is exactly as required for their performance pieces. In addition we look forward to the replacement of the Sports Hall Floor at the end of this term which will make a massive difference. Finally, it is always good to end with a good piece of news and it has come to my attention that Patrick Young has been successful in being selected to represent the North of Scotland (Tennis) in the U14 County Cup held in Wrexham over the May Bank Holiday weekend.