Duke of Edinburgh Awards:  I attended an event at a packed Beach Ballroom on Monday evening last week.  It was organised by Aberdeen City Council and was to celebrate all those youngsters who had gained their Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.  In total 77 pupils collected awards on the evening and overall this year we have supported 312 pupils through the scheme this year.  These numbers are over twice those of the next highest presenting centre in the City.  Through the course of the evening our staff members won the Inspiration Award, Laszlo Hajdu won the Young Volunteer of the Year Award, Ruby Nicole-Smith won the Media competition and Blane Danraj and Archie Innes were 2nd in the same competition.  It was uplifting to see Harlaw have such an impact at a City wide event and I wish to congratulate and thank all who make this possible.

School Security:  Keeping pupils and staff safe is a priority and with this in mind we have been working hard to raise the topic of school security with pupils, parents, staff and the wider council.  For pupils this is about;

  • Not wearing outdoor jackets in the school
  • Not allowing strangers into the building
  • Reporting anyone who does not belong in or around the building

Young people have a right to be protected and safe (articles 19 and 24 of UNCRC) but they can be doing a great deal more to help ensure they all enjoy that right.

Our Parent council have been working with the school and local authority to see if more can be done to make the site more secure eg more secure doors/gates, a perimeter fence and some CCTV coverage.  This week we also received guidelines for parents visiting schools (Security Arrangements for Parents – v1.0 March 19).  We will adapt these a little to suit our site and issue them to all parents through group call.  The advice makes it clear that parents are best to make an appointment if they want to see someone at the school.

Consultation on the school week:  At present we have an hour for lunch 12.30-1.30 and the school day ends at 3.15.  We also have a set of winter/emergency arrangements which cut the lunchtime to 45 minutes and takes the end of the school day to 3.00.  This can be disruptive to parents and we are looking to consult on moving to a 50 minute lunchtime and not varying this during the year.  The consultation involves staff and requires two-thirds of staff to accept the proposal.  We also need to seek the views of pupils and parents and take these into account in reaching a decision.  Parent views will be gathered at both the S2 Parents Evening on Wednesday 13th March and the Parent Council meeting on Thursday 14th March.  But if anyone will not make it along to either of these opportunities and wants to express a view please pop these into the school for me to consider.  Under the proposals lunchtime would be 12.30-1.20 and the school day would end at 3.05.  I shall be in contact with you again with the results of the consultation.