Mackie Matters - Quiet start to the year

Having filled you in last week on all the goings on from the end of last term it has been a fairly quiet start to 2015.

I think this is partly because our senior students are well under way with their preparations for their prelim examinations which, this year, are happening over a much shorter period of time. This is due to the changes in exam structures but what it means is that we can maximise the learning time of our pupils before their final exams in summer 2015.

As the weather has been a bit of a mixed bag since our return we have been spending some time with our pupils in tutor time on road safety awareness. Thank you to those members of the public who have phoned into school with their concerns about how some of our pupils present when out and about in Stonehaven regarding their awareness of what is going on around them.

We realise that sometimes our pupils are putting themselves at risk and, where possible, we are trying to make them more self-aware. However, the school would also like to take this opportunity to remind parents and members of the public about the need to drive at an appropriate speed while in and around Mackie Academy.

In the mornings and end of the school day we would ask that if you are going to be using the school car park that visitors spaces are used and that the traffic systems in place are used appropriately. Senior staff will challenge individuals if they are putting the safety of our pupils and staff at risk as we have a duty of care so please don’t place yourself in a position where this may be required.

We realise that space is at a premium at certain times of the day but road safety is a top priority for us all as the consequences of not being vigilant can be life changing. I hope you will appreciate why I have brought up this topic and we are in discussion with Aberdeenshire Council to ensure that the school site is as safe as it can possibly be.

In addition to this the weather has brought some challenges for our transport partners over the past week. However, the school is receiving information well in advance, where possible, and this will be passed onto parents through text messages and the website. With the likelihood of more bad weather we would remind parents that if closure of the school is likely this can be accessed from the Aberdeenshire Council website and information on this is also available on the school website. Hopefully it will not come to that!

On Friday, our PE Team had their “Champions in School” programme running with a group of our S1 and S2 pupils. Champions in Schools is a role model programme from Winning Scotland Foundation that places Scotland’s top athletes in schools across the country, enabling them to inspire and encourage young people to fulfil their potential. Through a series of workshops the Champions aim to inspire pupils to achieve their own success, encourage pupils to learn from their mistakes and assist pupils in their own quest to achieve their best. Our champion was Vikki Bunce who has over 120 caps for Scotland and 11 for Team GB in Hockey. Thanks to Vikki for taking the time out of her busy schedule and for tweeting about her visit. Thanks also go to Mr Thomson for organising the visit.

As we head into 2015 two of teams are busy preparing for their competitions which both land at the end of March. The Mock Trial team are busy fundraising for their trip with a ceilidh organised for Friday, January 30. Tickets are on sale from the school priced £6 for adults and £4 for those under 18. The Rock Challenge team are taking on their regional final in Dundee this year and are also fundraising to meet the expenses of their involvement in this. I have no doubt that both teams will do us proud in the final weekend of March.

Finally, on the final day of term in 2014, our YPI group that fundraised for the Friends of Carronhill had a Christmas Jumper Day and raised a fab total of £356 to add to their other fundraising efforts. What I liked most about this was despite not winnin, the YPI competition, the boys remained committed to raising as much money as they could for their charity. I think this shows what this initiative is truly all about and the group should be very proud of their efforts.

We all have our fingers crossed at this end of the line that the snow comes to nothing over the next couple of weeks so that pupils can sit their prelim examinations uninterrupted. Best wishes to each and everyone.