Welcome to my first weekly blog of 2020, issues with our site prevented me from getting it done before now.

Assembly:  One of the things I was keen to share with parents was the assembly I had for all the pupils on our return – Assemblies January 2020.  Slide 1 re-states the vision and values statements we developed in discussion with pupils, staff and parents and slide 2 expresses these in terms of what “you” ie what it means for individuals.  Slide 3 shows some of the negative images used to portray young people and slide 4 shows young people as a force for positive change in our world.  Using images of our own pupils and of Greta Thunberg the assembly asked pupils to make individual decisions to be a positive force for change in their school and in their communities.

Many pupils have responded well to this assembly but a few continue to make poor choices; damaging toilets, leaving litter around and disrupting classes.  Towards the end of the week I reminded pupils that they all have rights as defined under the UN convention of the Rights of the Child (for example a right to a clean environment and a right to an education).  I also highlighted that the people denying them their rights were other children.  We will keep working to inspire all out pupils to make a positive difference in the world.

Senior choice evening:  On Thursday we held our senior course information evening.  It was really encouraging to see between 80 and 100 parents at the event, this high level of support helps the school to work with families to achieve the best outcomes for children and young people.  All of the presentation and documentation associated with course choice is posted on the website and the key points will be covered with pupils in PSE over the next few weeks.  One big change this session is moving from a paper system to one which uses Google forms.  We hope this will speed things up and also allow us to improve our ability to analyse the data and use it to reduce some other paper systems we used in the past.

Parent Council Quiz:  The parent council have a quiz 7-9pm on Friday 31st January.  Tickets on sale at the school office.

Change of Head Teacher:  I indicated before the holidays that I would be retiring.  I am pleased to report that interviews for my replacement took place on the first week back and a preferred candidate has been identified.  Ross McLaren is currently working in Galasheils Academy and hopes to be in post as your Head Teacher in early March.  Part of my decision to retire at this point is to allow Ross to work with staff, pupils and parents to take forward the priorities identified when HMIe publish their report.  I started teaching in 1980 and after almost 40 years I have to accept that it is a job for someone a bit younger with time to see things through.  I have greatly appreciated and valued the support of pupils, parents and staff during my time as your Head Teacher.