As we approached summer there was good and bad news.  The good news was that work started on repairing roofs and windows.  The bad news is that a number of our staff secured jobs elsewhere.

Over summer work on the windows and roofs proceeded well and by the end of the week it looks like we will be back to school which is more watertight and better looking than it was.  I want to pay particular thanks to the janitorial and cleaning teams who have ensured the school is looking bright, clean and shiny for our return.

Work on recruiting staff to replace those who got new jobs in the last week of term could not commence until just before schools returned and when we get back we will find ourselves in a very difficult position in some subjects.  We presently have no faculty head in Modern Languages and Mr O’Neill will be covering his DHT post and that of Faculty Head of English.  We will have no computing teacher and as a result I have written to families who selected the subject to asked them to choose from other options.  We will also be short staffed in Biology and in English and Business Education.  We will have 6 live adverts and hope to be in a better position soon but it is not the start we wanted and a great many staff will be picking up extras to help us get underway.  Guidance staff too will be very busy working through numerous unexpected course changes.

Many schools find themselves in a similar position and you will have seen the issue highlighted in local press.  I serve on the General Teaching Council Scotland and in that role am seeking to highlight the issues we face in NE Scotland.  There have also been high level meetings between NE councils and Scottish government to find innovative ways to address the issue.  Twelve people from the Energy sector will soon year embark on a training programme to become teachers.  In the first year it will involve time at university and a day a week in school.  Harlaw have agreed to support the scheme and will host one of the new intake.

We have also had a first glimpse of the SQA results.  It takes time to study these in detail but my overall impression is a positive one.  The overall ability of youngsters varies quite a bit year on year and my general feeling was that our results may be a little lower this year than in the recent past.  I felt that if we managed to stay roughly the same we would be doing well – the initial data seems to suggest we may have done a little better than that.  If this proves to be the case I would be very happy.