Mackie Matters - No major concerns or incidents

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We have had a little rest the past few weeks as exams have taken place.

From here on in my column will become a fortnightly affair during term time.

Our exam season has gone without any major concerns or incidents which has been great for our pupils. I must take this opportunity to thank our team of invigilators and, in particular, our new lead invigilator, Mr Alan Brown who have ensured that everything has run as smoothly as it possibly can. It is important that our pupils feel as confident as possible during the exam season and I think the team has done us proud this year in achieving this.

Despite half the school being on exam leave it has not been a quiet time. Our S1 and S2 pupils had a busy time in mid-May with a production of “Bin-It” bringing them on board with the issues around littering in the community. The school has also been in discussions with the Stonehaven Community Council about how best the community, including the school, can respond to issues created by unwanted littering. The school recognises that there are issues that need to be tackled and we look forward to working with community representatives on this in the new academic year.

Last week saw our S3 pupils complete their Broad General Education phase before entering into the Senior Phase. We held an evaluation event for them which will allow us to improve our provision within S1-S3 as we move forwards because, ultimately, we need to get it right here to ensure that our pupils are prepared in the best way possible for their examinations in the Senior Phase. In addition to this many of our S3 pupils took part in work experience week at the end of May which was a great opportunity for them to experience the world of work and the skills that will be required of them in years to come.

It is not only our S3 pupils that have been taking these opportunities on board – some of our S4 pupils have been putting the time to good use when exams are over and done with gaining work experience.

One of our S4 pupils has been at Whittaker Engineering for a period of work experience. So impressed has the company been with his approach that they have interviewed him for an apprenticeship position. Comments were passed that everyone in the company has been impressed by his maturity, ability and work ethic.

Despite the exams the sporting accolades continue to roll in for our pupils, some of whom are about to leave us for bigger and better things. Kelsey Stewart was chosen to represent Great Britain in the U20 4x400m team in Loughborough in mid-May which continues a spectacular season for this budding star of the future. Alongside this Kieran Preston was named as being selected to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa this September.

As only one of six swimmers to be selected from Scotland it is a great achievement for this young man and we wish both him and Kelsey all the best as they leave Mackie Academy. Finally, our boys tennis team continue to make excellent progress and have now reached the semi-finals in Edinburgh which take place in mid-June. We wish them all the best alongside our girls team who take on Beaconhurst in their competition.

In May some of our pupils took part in the ITF World Taekwon-Do Championships in Jesola, Italy. Jodie Boydell, one of the youngest Scotland squad members, competed in individual pattern and team pattern and did very well in her first international competition but out with the medal positions.

Danielle Simmers was reserve for team pattern and team sparring in her first competition and enjoying gaining the experience and holding a valuable role within the team. Katrina Carr competed in several categories but was out with the medal positions despite some close decisions. In the individual sparring 50kg she tripped the light fantastic around the globe beating Ireland, Argentina, England and Kyrgastan eventually losing to Poland in the final by a narrow margin.

Last week included our Activities Days for S1 to S3 with a variety of opportunities available for all. Trips headed off to Spain, Alton Towers and Glasgow for a few days whilst others stayed closer to home but still had great opportunities to get out and about in the Aberdeenshire countryside. Thanks must go to all our staff involved in these visits which made them a memorable experience for all involved.

Finally, as we look ahead to the end of term things don’t slow down. We welcome our new S1 pupils from 17-19th June and on Friday, 26th June 2015 we have our first whole school Sports Day which, this year, includes our “1000 mile” challenge in conjunction with Ury Estate. Reflecting the challenge set by one of the estate’s previous owners, Sir Robert Barclay, to walk a 1000 miles in a 1000 hours our pupils and staff will be taking part in a one mile loop of the Ury Estate as part of Sports Day to raise awareness of our partnership and the legacy associated with this estate.

It promises to be an excellent day (weather withstanding!!) and parents are welcome to join us for the competitive and fun elements of Sports Day. Our PTA are looking for support in operating a barbecue for fundraising efforts so if you are interested in helping out head to their Facebook page.