Mackie Matters - Return from mid-term week

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We have returned from our mid-term week – which was very welcome – to a very focused and busy term as we prepare our Senior Phase pupils in the final stage prior to their final examinations and coursework submissions.

It is a stressful time for many but it is important that pupils recognise that hard work and commitment are necessary ingredients for success in everything that they will do.

As always I have plenty of examples of success where pupils have already shown that commitment and hard work that is key to our ethos and principles. Our Parent Teacher Association (PTA) ran an art competition before the half term break in conjunction with our Art Team with the pupil population voting for the “People’s Choice”.

With over 370 votes cast the winner was Charlotte Taylor, S6, with her picture entitled “Red Cloud Jacob”. Runners up were Eve Smith and Gemma Ross, both in S2. Chosen by the PTA the Art Show Winners were Catalina Irving, S1, which is a fantastic effort from one of our youngest pupils. Runners up were Ciara McIntosh and Eleanor Douglas, again both in S2. A massive thank you Chantel Ayers-Kalish for organising this event along with other members of the PTA.

This week we said good bye to Miss Robertson who has left to become Head Teacher at Perth Grammar School. This was Miss Robertson’s sixth year at Mackie Academy as Depute Head Teacher and she will be missed. Until Mrs Thoirs joins us in May 2016 Mr Drennan and Mrs Agnew will be sharing the post.

A couple of weeks ago Mr Kenny and some of our S2 pupils made their way to Lairhillock Primary to provide internet safety sessions for both pupils and parents. This was a great success and I received some lovely feedback from parents at Lairhillock Primary regarding our young people:

“I am a parent at Lairhillock Primary who attended the Internet Safety evening yesterday. Just wanted to take a moment to thank and compliment the four Mackie pupils and Mr Kenny for a very professional and informative session. I now feel much better equipped to discuss online safety with my own children. Your S2 pupils were a credit to the school - and more importantly to themselves. Thanks again.”

The pupils have done such a good job that they will be joining Mr Kenny to help present similar sessions to P7 parents who attend our Transition sessions in March, April and May 2016 alongside the Youth Transition Group for our Primary 7 pupils run by our partners in Community Learning Development.

Just before the mid-term break we had our Senior Phase evening where subject, Further and Higher Education alongside careers services were present to provide a “one stop shop” for pupils and parents making the decisions around choices for either S4, S5 or S6.

Making the right choices for future pathways is one of the most important decision making processes our young people make so the more informed everyone is the better. One programme we have offered to our Senior pupils for the first time is the Career Ready programme – a unique way to combine industry experience with school qualifications. Isobel Maughan, Regional Manager, sent us the following feedback:

“It was great to be part of the support to parents and young people re the opportunities available at Mackie Academy in the Senior Phase. Greg and Callum were fantastic ambassadors for the programme and whilst leaflets were available, it is really powerful having our own students talk about their experiences, which they did really well and with great enthusiasm.

“As our first students from Mackie Academy graduating from the programme, Greg and Callum have been great ambassadors in general and I’m looking forward to celebrating with them on the 17th March at the all Scotland graduation in Perth. It is great to see a larger number of Mackie students in S5 participating in the programme and I hope we have helped in raising awareness with the S4 group through the event last night.”

Finally you may remember that in my last column I told you all about the successes of our young people in varying hospitality competitions. Well, due to another competitor dropping out of the competition Heather Nisbet will now represent the area at the Rotary Young Chef Regional Final in Livingston on Saturday, March 5. Bruce Lawrence, from Entier Limited, is going to continue to mentor Heather as part of her preparation for the competition.