Have a good Christmas and New Year

This week, it has been great to see all year groups in assemblies.

It is always a lovely opportunity for me, to be able to take a theme that is pertinent to particular age groups, and hopefully manage to get a clear message across to our pupils about the ethos and values of our school – integrity, excellence, teamwork and commitment.

Leading on from this are our house assemblies for the end of term, which is a great way for us to recognise the achievements of our pupils across the board and something that we will be working hard on, this academic year.

One of the things I asked our S2 and S3 pupils to do, was to think about one achievement that they are proud of so far this academic year. For some, they were on their feet very quickly; others more reticent. Whilst we do not want our young people to be arrogant about their achievements, it is really important that they are prepared to be vocal about them, when appropriate, because if they are not prepared to go out there and sell themselves then who is going to listen?

Last week we had our God and the Big Bang seminar day for senior students from both Mackie, Mearns and Portlethen Academies. It was fantastic to see so many of our senior pupils engaged in debates covering the full range of arguments of Science through to religion and philosophy.

The day was such a success that the RMPS teams across the three schools are looking to run this as an annual event, with a different location each year. Thanks to all staff members involved for making this a memorable day and our external speakers for such a thought-provoking event.

The last day of the week heralded the inter-house Cheerleading competition. The Main Hall was packed out at lunchtime and some of the sights had to be seen to be believed – clearly some S6 boys had spent a long time on their costumes! Competition was fierce but, at the end of the day, Fetteresso were triumphant with a disappointed Dunnottar close behind. When I asked Mrs Stark what had made her team so successful, she was quick to mention the fantastic team spirit but also mentioned Mrs Dey’s star turn. In the final week of term, there is the Christmas card competition and inter-house notice boards to be added to the totals and we will see then which house is in the lead.

Activities Days information is out and about for our pupils. Whilst June seems like a long way away, we know it will come around quickly. Mr Tullock is new to this challenge, in his role as DHT here at Mackie Academy, but is quickly getting to grips with the issues. We already have a great programme of events going on, and more will be added for those who may be disappointed by not getting their first choice.

There are two final things that I need to share with you, as we move towards the Christmas break. First of all, we had our return Quality Improvement visit from Aberdeenshire Council over two days last week. A massive amount of effort has gone into taking on board the feedback from our last visit in March and making the necessary improvements to the standard of education here at Mackie Academy. What was fantastic, was that in each of the key areas highlighted, the team saw significant progress and commented on the pace of change. The report is an excellent platform for Mackie Academy’s three year improvement plan and congratulations must go to staff, pupils, parents and community partners for what has been a very worthwhile visit. It makes me very proud to be the Head Teacher of Mackie Academy.

Finally, at Christmas, we say goodbye to another long-serving member of staff here at Mackie Academy. Doug Watt has been a teacher of English and Principal Teacher of Guidance here at Mackie Academy for 34 years. Doug retires and is moving with his wife nearer to family in the central belt. We wish him all the best in the future, and I know students and parents will do the same. There will be interim arrangements for Dunnottar House whilst we look to recruit into the post.

It is hard to believe that another year is past here at Mackie Academy and I would like to wish you all a peaceful Christmas and New Year.