The theme of assemblies this week has been community and during the week we had two events aimed at involving the wider community in the life of the school.

The first of the community events was a curriculum evening aimed at helping parents to gain a clearer insight into the new National qualifications.  There were presentations from Mr Duncan (Faculty Head of Mathematics), Mrs Rigby (Faculty Head of English) and Mrs Urquhart (Faculty Head of Science) aimed at describing the courses from the point of view of teachers.  This was followed by a presentation from a parent, Mr Cromar, who described both the demands made on his daughter and the supports which were available.  The final presentations came from 2 senior pupils, Holly Haigh and Sabir Rahman.  They spoke about the need to work at a pace from the start of the new courses, to work to a high standard (to avoid re-assessments) and to take advantage of the supports available.  Mrs Lawrence concluded the presentations by letting parents see some of the support resources – these can be accessed through the school website.  Although the turn out was less than we had hoped for, around 30 parents attended, those who were there indicated that they had found it very helpful to hear directly from those with direct experience of the new courses.  I have attached two of the presentations from the evening for those who want to find out a bit more – each has references to other useful resources for pupils and parents.

NQs in English

NQs in Mathematics

The second community event took place on Saturday when Harlaw took part in Doors Open day for the second year.  Over 100 visitors took the opportunity to see around the historic Archibald Simpson building.  In addition to guided tours, there were displays of work, memorabilia from the past and refreshments/shortbread to enjoy.  Some visitors were simply curious to see round the place, others were past pupils and some were families of primary age pupils wishing to get more idea of what the secondary school was like.  I wish to pay tribute to the 20 senior pupils who gave up time on a Saturday to act as guides for the visitors.  I think everyone enjoyed the event and it helped build a greater sense of the role of this school in its community over a long period of time.

There are also some aspects where we need to do a bit better – and aspects which have been raised by the community include:

  • misbehaviour of a few pupils on public transport
  • antisocial behaviour by a small group around Holburn Junction at lunchtime
  • the actions of a small group of smokers in the lane behind the school
  • litter left by some pupils in Rubislaw Gardens at lunchtime

It is not a long list and not a lot of our pupils but their actions are having a negative impact on our school and our community.  I would welcome the support of all of the community in our on-going efforts to identify the individuals involved.  My initial response will always be to try and educate the individuals to respect their community but if this is unsuccessful then we can look to enforce measures to reduce the community disruption caused by the individuals.