The history books will note that Friday of this week marked the date when UK leaves the European Union.  Whether this is something you are happy about or not, much of the debate was  around issues such as – Identity, Pride and Protection.   Where do we belong, who will best represent our interests and who will help us be safe and flourish?  These are particularly high in our minds as it has also been a week where we have been remembering the Holocaust and thinking about issues such as genocide and antisemitism.

Almost 100 years ago people who attended our school were also struggling with these issues as they tried to envisage a school badge – a symbol of belonging to give the pupils, staff, parents and wider community a sense of;  Identity, Pride and Protection.

In the 1920s the Lord Lyon gave their approval for a heraldic symbol to be given to the High School for Girls and, around 50 years later, in the 197s permission was given for this symbol to transfer to the school as it became Harlaw Academy.  This symbol takes the form of a school badge and it carries with a great deal of meaning as you will see on this link – Weekly blog 31st January 2020

Identity – Our badge is shaped like a shield and below it there is a golden banner.  Had it been used back in the times of real battles we would have rallied around our crest, the emblems and gold ribbon would have given us a sense of pride and common purpose, our shield would have identified who was on our side and would have protected us from those seeking to harm us.  Today it has no less significance, we should rally around each other, proud of who we are and with a common purpose to be successful for ourselves and for all those in our group.  We should look out for ourselves but also look out for those in our group who need our help.  But we also need to know that the badge alone will not bring us success, for that we need to be prepared to work hard and work together.

Pride – The badge includes messages about being; calm (the blue colour), ambitious (the gold banner), hopeful (the lily of the valley) and honest (the white colour).  The badge highlights our common purposes; education (the book and the word ‘learning’) and respect (the word ‘courtesy’).  Every day I see the majority of our young people not just wearing the badge but also living out these messages through their actions and deeds.  Every day I also see some who wear the badge but who do not show a commitment to what it stands for and some who neither wear the badge nor sign up to its messages.  In what remains of my time as your Head Teacher I will continue to praise those who help develop a sense of pride in their school and will help educate those who damage our reputation and fail to show respect for people, learning and community.

Protection – The shield is a symbol of protection and the towers symbolize security, people should feel secure behind their badge.  Translate this into the school this week and it is about us welcoming pupils to the door and thanking them for taking off their outside jackets and showing their school badge.  But also this week asking very serious questions of people who had no right to be in our school but were brought in by some of our pupils.  We need to work together on this issue of protection.  Parents need to support staff in respect of pupils wearing the school uniform and pupils need to take off their outside jackets and some need to stop letting people in who have no reason to be in the school or on our ground.

The story and history of our school is rich in significance and meaning.  Where that story goes in the future relies on the current people who wear the badge do so in a way which offers us all;  Identity, Pride and Protection.