This week saw senior pupils start their prelim exams.  These exams serve several purposes;

  • they give pupils practice for the main exams in May
  • they give us all a clearer idea of how pupils are doing in their course
  • they better inform decisions for levels of study for next session
  • they provide us with evidence in the event that a pupil is unable to sit their final exams

I know pupils and staff work hard for the prelim exams and hopefully this hard work will be reflected in the marks.  If not there is time to do something about putting things right by the final exams.

I had hoped to be in a position to appoint a Modern Studies and a Physics teacher this week.  On the plus side we had a high level of interest in the Modern Studies post and were able to make an appointment at interviews this week.  Unfortunately we had only one applicant for the Physics vacancy and we could not proceed as the person did not fully meet the requirements for teaching in Scotland.  I shall be re-advertising this post and in the meantime we have covered classes with a combination of Science, Technology and Maths staff with relevant qualifications.  For certificate Physics classes there is access to SCHOLAR an on-line resources from Heriot Watt University and also some ‘drop in’ support sessions.  I am also in discussion with the General Teaching Council Scotland to see if we can find flexible routes into teaching.  I am sure there are a lot of very well qualified people who, given a downturn in the local economy, could be attracted to teaching if there was a way in which they could ‘earn whilst they learn’.

Over the next few weeks we have a set of meetings with parents either to discuss progress with individual teachers or to outline course options and career opportunities.  These are really important events which are generally very well attended.  I know many parents and youngsters will be concerned for the future.  What I would say it that is remarkable how quickly things can change.  It is just over 3 years since I took up post and in January 2013 our outlook was optimistic.  Wood Group Kenny had just moved into new offices in our area, GDF Suez and Enquest were putting up new offices and more was planned for Union Street.  The oil price was over $50 and the future looked pretty bright.  We are now in a new reality but one in which talented people can still come to the fore – whether that talent is in a trade, a skill or an academic area.  We have to be resilient, determined and optimistic and we need to instil resilience, determination and optimism in our young people.  In their future we will have a western peripheral route, superfast broadband, cruise liners will be able to dock in Aberdeen, there will be a new exhibition centre, city centre redevelopment and much more.  The jobs people do might be different from the jobs we have seen in the past but people with skill, ambition and drive will continue to thrive.  We need to work together to help young people recognise and to work hard to ensure they can take advantage of these future opportunities.