The 3rd October

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I was very privileged on Thursday evening to attend a performance by our Higher Drama students entitled “The 3rd October”.

It was an original piece of work involving 27 students and although harrowing in places I thoroughly enjoyed the high level of performance. The concept was based on the London Eye being successfully targeted by an international terrorist group; the play dealt with the lead up to and aftermath for four different groups of people caught up in the attack. The standard of production was very high and this was made even more impressive by the fact that it was S3 pupils in charge of sound and light. There were too many excellent performances for me to pick any individuals but I would like to offer my congratulations to all students involved and to Mrs Crabb for her input as the Higher Drama teacher.

Rock Challenge is gathering pace and this week saw auditions taking place. Given the demand, on Monday evening students were here until quite late which shows great commitment to the show. In addition to this the Rock Challenge team will also be fundraising to support the event and its costs. Many events are planned including a Halloween disco for S1 and S2 students on 1st November 2013.

The Community Learning Development (CLD) group met with myself and members of the team last week and we are working together to ensure that the partnerships we develop support our students both in and out of school. Students already have access to courses that are being run by CLD out of school and S6 are being made aware of a Youth Café that is to be run on Friday evenings.

I attended a really promising meeting last week for the work going on around our quad area which is part of our Green Flag award, led by Dr. Mustard. We are in the process of putting in an application for funding which would allow us to develop this area into a sensory garden and outdoor classroom as well as other facilities which would aid the teaching and learning at Mackie Academy. In addition to this Mr Craig has found us a fantastic opportunity where by a chainsaw wood carver is going to come into school and carve for us a personalised seating area for the quad.

In addition to this the Green Flag and Rights Respecting Schools Award is helping us support our drive in getting students to take greater responsibility for their litter. I met with David Fleming from the Stonehaven Town Partnership this week as well as some parents who are concerned about the amount of litter on routes to and from the school. They are now aware of what our plans are and that it is something that we are working actively with to ensure that students take care of their environment at all times. It is however disappointing to find that some members of the public are disposing of their dog litter on the school site; given all the health and environmental issues around this I would ask those involved to give greater consideration to their actions in the future. It is only where we get people to take equal responsibility that these issues will be resolved.

The school photographer was in school on Friday to take our S1 and S4 photos. They should soon be winging their way to parents and carers to be considered for purchase.

Our U18 rugby team had a fantastic game against Aberdeen Grammar on Monday evening in the Scottish Cup. They had a resounding victory against the city team winning 52-5. We are lucky now to have hosted at Mackie Academy the new Stonehaven Duke of Edinburgh group. If any students at Mackie Academy are interested then please see Mrs McNeill. It is important to note this is not run by the school but we are happy to facilitate Mackie Academy as the centre for such activities given the importance they play within our enrichment structures.

Our senior students are well on their way with their courses now and pressure is starting to hit. I attended a session at Aberdeen University on Monday evening where the importance of “stretch and challenge” in S6 was stressed as well as the need for students to continue and complete all courses of study. The need to develop and extend learning in S6 is essential for higher education study.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the school and local community for making me feel so welcome to my new role. I have thoroughly enjoyed my start here and look forward to the exciting developments over the course of this year.