Mackie Matters - A diverse week..

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This week we have had a number of diverse and interesting activities, taking place here at Mackie Academy.

On Monday, we started with our S4 pupils’ development work to aid their pathways choices at the end of the year. The year group heard a talk given by Carolyn Maniukiewicz of “Ideas in Partnership,” ahead of Careers Fair and Senior Phase evening in February. It may seem strange to be thinking about the next academic year already, but we think it is really important that pupils are provided with as much information as possible about their next steps, at as early a stage as possible.

Our Senior Phase evening on Tuesday, February 10, allows pupils and parents to discuss with staff course choices; discuss career pathways with Skills Development Scotland, Further and Higher Education institutions, as well as rest and recuperate over a cup of tea! Last year was a great success and I have no doubt that it will continue this year.

Our school newspaper had its first publication on sale this week. This is the same team that has been working with the Mearns Leader on their monthly, pupil-led column and I am very impressed with the standard. If anyone wants to purchase a copy, they are 50p from Front Reception in school or you can browse a copy whilst waiting in reception.

The team hope to produce another one at Easter, followed by an end-of-year publication. A massive thank you to Sammy, Isobel, Robert and Matthew for all their efforts in getting this production together.

Our Pupil Councils had another busy week of discussions, but we have a slight delay to our feedback meeting with the House Captains, due to the prelim exams, which will now take place next week. It was a busy agenda, with feedback to pupils from our Quality Improvement visit and an opportunity for pupils to talk about how best we proceed from here.

In addition to this, we are currently undertaking a Healthy Eating audit across the school and we are going to use the results to focus on work on this as the year progresses.

Deputy Head Alan Tullock and I have started our visits to our primary schools, to meet primary seven parents as our Transition programme gets under way. All primary seven pupils have the opportunity to take part in the Transition Youth group, which will operate over three four-week blocks from mid-February to May.

This year, as part of the feedback received from parents last year, we are offering a P7 Parents’ Information Evening, where sessions will address issues of concern. One such area we will be covering is that of Social Media, and how parents can best support their children to be responsible users. We are really proud of the partnership work between Mackie Academy, our cluster primaries and our CLD team, which supports pupils and parents alike, in the process of transition from primary to secondary.

The recent bad weather has brought the majority of our outdoor fixtures to a grinding halt, but there is no halting the success of the sports going on indoors. Our S3 netball team continued their stratospheric rise, with a 19-1 victory against Robert Gordon’s College this week in the Aberdeen Junior League. That means they are still unbeaten, which is a fantastic record to hold. Our tennis team were due to play this week but with the wind speeds being recorded in excess of 60mph on the day, it has thankfully been postponed for a couple of weeks!

Pupils have started the New Year with a couple of major projects for us. Our S1 Children’s University pilot group are well under way, with Mr Tullock at the helm and, again, this is a partnership project with our cluster primaries and Primary 5 pupils. A group of our S2 elective pupils, led by Mr Lock, are participating in the BBC News Report this year.

This takes place in March and is the culmination of pupils reporting on a local news item, putting together a report and publishing it online. As always, there are prizes to be won and pupils also benefit from the input of professionals on the day, to support the making of their end product. We will be hosting the final result on our website, so you will all be able to see the fantastic work put in by our pupils.

It is always great to be able to recognise the work of pupils and staff in school, and that is what we have done through the “Inspiring Aberdeenshire” awards. We have to wait and see whether or not we are successful in any of the categories, and we have also offered the services of our Expressive Arts Faculty to provide entertainment on the evening.

Finally, on Friday we had a visit from Professor Colin Graham from Edinburgh University. Professor Graham joined us to speak about inter-disciplinary learning. He met with staff and pupils, to speak about current practice, and was very complimentary about those discussions.

We are looking to utilise this input, to look at what we are doing and develop this further in S1, to build on the work our pupils experience whilst at primary school. Professor Graham will hopefully be returning later in the year, so that we can continue the work. It is always great to have such input to our curriculum at Mackie Academy, as it challenges us to always think about how else we can improve our learners’ experiences.