This has very much been a week where we are involved in transitions. On Thursday our P7s were through to Harlaw for a social subjects morning and on Friday Miss Douglas and I went round the 4 local Primaries meeting the P7s in their schools. As this was going on our senior pupils were completing their last week of classes before starting study leave.
P7s: This is the time of year where we are stepping up the work to welcome a new generation of youngsters to the school. This year we (and Mrs Rennie in particular) have worked with our 4 local Primaries to help ease the transition from Primary to Secondary. As well as the usual links we have added 6 half day visits – one for almost all of the main curricular areas. This week was the opportunity for Social Subjects to put on something special for the pupils. I will not do a spoiler for the future by saying too much here – but it was really engaging and active. If you are the parent of a P7 pupil please ask them about their visit and try to help them with the follow up task they have been set. Miss Douglas and I visited the 4 local Primary Schools the next day and the pupils were still enthusing about their visit. The purpose of my visit to the Primaries was to chat to the P7s about Harlaw and to answer any questions they might have. Our programme is now the most developed of any school I have ever worked in and I hope it will help the pupils to settle in quickly and reach their full potential during their time with us.
Seniors: This year we spent a lot of time working with seniors and their parents to emphasise the need to maintain focus through to their exams. Too often folk can get carried away with the idea of leaving – so much so that they let themselves down towards the end of their courses. On more than one occasion we used the analogy of the runner who dips for the line too early and falls flat on their face. Whilst there was the odd isolated incident I have a great deal of pride in the mature and responsible attitude shown by the seniors this year. I see in them a determination to do well in their exams and I hope that this is reflected in the grades they achieve. We have two events planned one to recognise the academic achievements of our pupils and the other to recognise their wider achievements. These events will give us an opportunity to say farewell and best wishes to all those who are moving on from Harlaw in summer 2017.
Our main awards event is a bit unusual in that it is planned and ran by the senior prefects. I met with them on Wednesday to discuss ideas and although I made more than one contribution they were able to tell me why my ideas would not work and their ideas were better. They took their ideas to the Parent Council meeting on Thursday evening and received the support of the parents and myself. The other big task the senior prefects have to perform is to help pick their successors. Application forms went out last week and we plan to hold the interviews towards the end of the exam period. In reflecting with the senior prefects on the reasons for moving from head boy and head girl posts to those of senior prefect posts it became clear that we could also be challenged under equalities legislation on the basis of some of the other ‘protected characteristics’. In the light of the pupil views and in consultation with the Parent Council we have made further alterations to our processes – this hopefully is a clear demonstration that pupil voice leads to change here at Harlaw and that equalities is something which we practice as well as teach.