National success:

The highlght of the week was being able to tell people of our success at a National level.  We use a system called accelerated reader to promote reading for our pupils.  The company behind this Renaissance Learning keep an eye on how well it is being used and as a result we were in a short list of 3 Scottish Secondary Schools at a National Awards Event in London the other week.  At the event Harlaw Academy were confirmed as the best Secondary school in Scotland and as well as picking up a trophy we also got a good feature in the local press:   


There are a whole lot of situations which can disrupt the normal running of the school and over the years we have developed plans to respond to each of these.  They range from our winter weather arrangements, fire alarms, heating systems not working, lack of water, gas leaks, lack of phone/IT systems, intruders and a host of other situations.

Most days things tick along without incident then every so often something crops up which puts us into one of our ‘response plans’.  Wednesday was one of those days when we needed to get pupils out of the building safely and assess a situation.  As it took place within the last 20 minutes of the school day we took the decision to ask pupils to leave the building with their bags so they could be dismissed from outside the school.  As it was wet and cold the decision was taken to get them heading home early rather than hang around for 20 minutes in the rain.  Experts came to check the concern and were able to confirm everything was safe and we could open the following day as normal and a group call massage went out to confirm this.

I know when things such as this happen it can cause anxiety for pupils and parents.  Our plans seek firstly to keep people safe and thereafter keep them informed.  In the main our processes worked and the people involved responded in the correct way.  We understand some parents may have wished more information on what was happening but this was not initially possible as we were ensuring people were safe and after things had been checked there was nothing to report other than we were all clear to open normally the next day.

Each situation is different and after each situation we de-brief and make adaptations where necessary.  As part of the de-brief I want provide staff, pupils an parents with reassurance that not only did our our plans/systems  work as intended but our people also all responded as intended.