Mackie Matters - Fingers crossed for shortlisted Sue

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I know that I normally speak about the achievements of our students but this week I am going to start with one of our members of staff.

Ms Sue Smith, Faculty Leader of Modern Languages, has been nominated for the Appointee of the Year in this year’s SQA Star Awards Ceremony. Sue has been shortlisted for the award which will be announced at a ceremony in Glasgow on November 7 2014. We wish her all the best and will keep our fingers crossed.

Our Pupil Councils were in full flow last week under the leadership of our House Captains. Each year group met to discuss key issues as well as to bring up other areas for development. Feedback has been superb and our House Captains have risen to the challenges set to them. I am very impressed with what I have seen so far and long may it continue. This is the start of our students taking responsibility for key developments around our school and I have every confidence that they can do so very effectively.

After the success of our Sponsored Walk last week the fundraising continued with our Macmillan Coffee Morning this week. Cakes galore were cooked by staff and pupils alike and significant sums of money were raised. A big thank you to the Charity Committee for all their organising effort.

Our S3 and S4 students were given the opportunity this week to consider work experience placements in 2015. With the advent of the Wood Commission report it is becoming more and more evident that these experiences are an essential part of a pupil’s education here at Mackie Academy. Therefore, we are working hard with our business partners and Aberdeenshire Council to provide as many opportunities as possible. Students have the chance to go out for a maximum of five days in May 2015 but the emphasis is on the student organising the placement. Each year our students have fantastic chances to put their education into practice in a workplace setting and we will continue to build on this in 2015.

This week our S4 Modern Studies students had a great educational experience as they visited the Scottish Parliament. After all the turmoil of the last few weeks it was an ideal time for our students to visit within the context of their studies. In addition to this Ms Swanson has already starting drilling our Mock Trial team for the Scottish Finals in late November this year. As always the competition will be tough but I have no doubt that we can continue our success of previous years.

A big thank you must go the Parent-Teacher Association for their kind donation towards our outdoor speakers which are now broadcasting Mackie Radio into the quad area each day. Whilst the good weather continues this is a great way to engage with our students over the lunchtime period and we hope to build on this with further development of our outdoor classroom and sensory garden. It is all a work in progress but one which by next summer should be complete.

I am trying my best on Tuesday lunchtimes to make it along to the school string ensemble so that my cello playing becomes a little less rusty. Rehearsals are well under way for the Christmas (yes that is Christmas) concert. I am really enjoying being part of this and I am looking forward to playing my part in the concert later this year. A lot of hard work goes into these productions and it is great to see so many members of staff and students involved.

This week I was invited to accompany the English team and students to the Dundee Rep’s production of Sunset Song. This novel holds a special place for me as I studied it for my Higher English many years back. It will be great to see it again, especially now that I am back in the heart of the Mearns.

Finally, we have introduced another level of reporting this year for our students in terms of tracking runs. This emphasis here is ensuring that students, on an individual basis, are remaining on track with their progress and any issues are picked up at an early stage. We are committed to making sure that each and every one of our students attains the best set of results possible once they reach their exams as well as achieving in all aspects of their education.

It is hard to believe but the October break is only two weeks away. This term has flown past and many positive steps forward have been taken and we look forward to continuing this journey.