At the end of last week our seniors left to prepare for their exams.  We had a holiday on the Monday and on Tuesday staff had an in-service day.

In the morning we had a range of activities for staff to work on these included;

  • Commenting on our improvement plans for this session
  • Identifying priorities for next session and thinking about our school calendar for next year
  • Looking at google classroom – a way for us to put lessons on-line for pupils and parents
  • Discussing ways to recognise and realise the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Working on our annual professional reviews
  • In the afternoon staff had time to work in their subject areas.

It was good to see so many Seniors pop in through the week to take advantage of the additional study sessions we run at this time of year.  It was also great to see them arrive for their English exams on the Thursday and Geography on Friday.  Running the exams is a major undertaking and as well as our school staff there are a team of SQA invigilators required to help not only with the main exam halls but also numerous other spaces we need for pupils who have special arrangements to allow them to cope with exams.

During the week Mrs Rennie and I also visited the 4 Primary schools to speak to the P7s about transferring to Harlaw Academy.   I spoke to them about the anxious seniors who were heading into the exam room and the anxieties some of them may have about the transition.  Anxiety is not a bad thing and I know all schools do a great deal to help pupils develop resilience and confidence.  I was really impressed by the P7s they were full of enthusiasm and are a credit to their schools and families.  We have had them through to Harlaw a couple of times and plan to see them through again a few times more before summer.  In addition we are working more and more with Primary staff so are developing more common approaches which will help with transition.  If you are a P7 parent reading this and have any questions about transfer please do not hesitate to contact the school and ask for Mrs Rennie who is the expert in this area.

Anxiety was also a it of a theme in another important job I was involved in this week – interviews.  We had a number of jobs advertised and I spent most of Wednesday and Thursday afternoon interviewing staff keen to work with us at Harlaw.  The areas we were looking for staff were in hard to fill subjects – Physics, Biology, Technology and Business Education.  I was very pleased with the standard of applicant and, along with my colleagues on the interview panel, did our best to put them at their ease.  At this point in time all 4 of our preferred candidates have indicated they would want to work with us and we now have to complete some checks before confirming their appointment.  It is very difficult filling posts and if I am to attract the best applicants it is really important that Harlaw is seen as being progressive, supportive and ambitious.  I am particularly keen to get pupils to appreciate the role they have in helping me to recruit the best teachers.  If pupils have a reputation of being keen, enthusiastic and well behaved it makes a massive difference.

The enthusiastic seniors who I saw turning up for exams and revision sessions, the enthusiastic P7s I met this week and the many other fantastic youngsters I work with every day are a source of inspiration for all associated with Harlaw Academy.