It was really frustrating to have to deal with a couple of instances this week where pupil deliberately set off our fire alarms.  We had a spate of this earlier in the session and I hoped we had seen the back of it.  It is an extremely dangerous thing to do and also extremely disruptive.

As a school we work hard to promote Children’s Rights.  Two fundamental rights are the right to a safe environment and the right to education.  Those who chose to set off the alarms deliberately put us all at risk and disrupted valuable class time at a crucial time of year.  Our pupils need to appreciate that in our school the people most likely to deny them their rights are other children.  By ensuring our pupils know their rights I hope it will empower the often silent majority to speak up in support of their rights.

The same point is true of litter in the corridors and damage to toilets/building.  This is not being caused by teachers or other adults, it is being done to children and done by children.  We also want to highlight the need for people to be identifiable as pupils, staff or visitors within the school.  We have made new posters which highlight the expectations in a positive and rights respecting way.  Door signs 2018   Toilet sign 2018

I have noted in previous blogs that we were the first, and for a while the only, Secondary School in Aberdeen to gain level 1 (Silver) of the UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award.  I sent out to all families a leaflet about what being a rights respecting school means in Harlaw  (Recognising and realising Childrens Rights at Harlaw Academy).  It was fantastic to see that Ferryhill Primary School gained the Gold Award earlier this month, even better to note that they were actually the first school in the UK to gain this particular award.

I started this blog by expressing my frustration with one aspect of the week.  I want to end it by highlighting three areas which gave me a great deal of satisfaction this week:

  • welcoming our P7s to Haralw for a Health and Well Being visit where they visited PE, Home Economics and PE
  • being part of an annual visit from the Blood Transfusion Service where staff and senior pupils (first time donors) donated over 40 pints
  • seeing my S3 team play and win two matches within 24 hours – the results bring us to a cup final and a league decider in March.

We have many fantastic pupils and staff at Harlaw Academy and their achievements and successes more than compensate for the occasional frustrations which arise. I close this blog with one other poster we will be putting up around the school.  It contains a strong message about both our diversity and about our common purpose (One school poster).  The message it contains says:

  • Harlaw Academy
  • 900 pupils
  • 50 National identities
  • 33 Languages
  • 1 rights respecting school