Developing our Young Workforce (DYW):

You may have seen in the local newspaper a focus on recruiting apprentices.  This is part of a bigger piece of work, sometimes referred to as DYW, aimed at ensuring that all our school leavers are work ready and can leave for positive and sustained destinations.  It is a National initiative and will involve businesses, schools, colleges and many others.  We are likely to see a significant push on this work over the next few months and over the next few years.  This work will go well beyond anything we currently do as it is essential that our young people leave school able to compete in a global jobs market.  The employment situation for young people in NE Scotland is a matter for some concern and we will be putting a great deal more focus on ensuring pupils not only achieve good qualifications but also are equipped with the skills and experiences needed for working life.

Wider Activities and learning from defeat:

It has been a busy week for staff and pupils.  On Monday we held an information for Global Rock challenge – a very big dance/performance event we are taking part in.  Through the week we hosted an inter schools Dodgeball event and an inter schools Netball event.  It was great to see so many other schools from the City and Aberdeenshire using the Harlaw facilities and competing with each other.  Unlike some people I do see benefit in competition – all the successful people I have met speak of the most valuable learning being when they lost.  Most also mention that they have lost far more times than they have won.  The main message is that failure or defeat can be a really good thing – it can spur us on, it can focus our attention on what we need to improve and it can make the eventual success more meaningful.  I encourage us all to push each other on and to fail more often.

On the subject of trying and failing I want congratulate the 4 pupils who represented Harlaw Academy in the Regional final of the UK Maths Trust – Senior team Final.  We finished 3rd but to put that in context the winners were the international School and the second placed team were a private school.  Our team finished ahead of several other private schools and were the best from the NE Scotland state sector.  they should be really pleased with their achievement.

On Friday we had over 100 pupils taking part in a streamed language lesson as part of an attempt to break the record for the worlds largest lesson.  Thanks to all who took part and helped organise the event.  Numbers and evidence needs to be sent off and processed before we know if we were a small part of a world record or not.  Will let you know when we hear any more.

On Friday we also had 8 pupils in Edinburgh on Friday visiting the Scottish Parliament at a “Language in Parliament” event.  I followed their progress on our new Harlaw English twitter page and as well as being delighted on how they did non the day I was also proud to hear how they had supported a fellow train passenger who had fallen unwell on the journey home.  I received a message from members of the public to say how proud we should be of our pupils – I want to share that sense of pride with all who read this blog.

We also had around 70 pupils from S1 and S2 to see a film called ‘the scorch trials’ at Vue in Aberdeen.  The group were all pupils who had been successful ‘star readers’ and this had been a reward for their participation on our reading scheme.  It was a busy week for some of these pupils as four of them were also taking part on a STEM (Science, Technology, engineering and Maths) event at the start of the week.  In midweek 8 pupils from S3 visited the Childrens’ Book Awards at the Beach ballroom.

Happy 10th birthday Harlaw Leos:

The week ended with an evening event to mark 10 years of Harlaw Leos.  Senioor officials from Lions International attended the event and made special awards to the club, the school and some staff who had given the club service over that time.  Pupils, staff and visitors enjoyed a night of cake, ceilidh dancing and the occasional ‘selfie’