Exciting times for all

This week has been a little strange in that students have only been in school for three days.

The staff training days were really productive and we were very lucky on the second day to secure the services of Christine Ward, a trainer for co-operative learning. Originally from Canada, Christine has worked extensively across Scotland and within Aberdeenshire.

She provided an inspirational session that got a spontaneous round of applause from staff at the end and we have lots of ideas about how we can link this work into the progress we are making with the Rights Respecting Schools Award.

Exciting times for all and we will be developing this work further throughout the school.

In addition to the fact that it was a short week it was also Children in Need. With the theme of “Superheroes” for the day we had some fantastic fancy dress outfits which were captured by the local papers and displayed over the weekend.

Over £1200 were raised on the day which is a fantastic achievement for the school. Thanks to the Charities Committee for their organisation on the day.

I am also very proud to let you know that our Sponsored Walk in September 2013 raised over £21,000.

We will be making our presentation to the chosen charity, CRANEs, on the final day of this term and the monies raised for the school will be going towards the completion of the lockers project. The aim is that the locker and social area will be completed by early 2014. At that time we will have our grand opening!!

I was privileged, along with my senior colleagues, to listen to some of our Young Ambassadors speak about their plans to raise levels of engagement in healthy living throughout the school.

They put a presentation together for us and managed to hold their nerve!! Lots of good ideas were put forwards and an action plan is the next stage to make sure that they happen with maximum impact. I look forward to reporting back to you on further developments in the near future.

Our sporting teams have had a hard week with some losses to take on the chin. However, it is all part of the learning process and I am sure they will come back all the stronger for it.

Our boys tennis team lost to Millburn Academy, Inverness in some tight competitions which were not added by some very blustery conditions.

The U18 Rugby team from here, Portlethen and Mearns had a tough match against Gordonstoun in the final of the regional competition and lost 41-0. As Mr Lock said, Gordounston capitalised on their chances and it paid off.

However, the team are already preparing for a rematch in the North Cup. We wish them luck.

The Taipei badminton team continue to fundraise extensively for their trip next year and I was very glad this week to be able to help them with some of their expense from the John Hunter Trust.

This was set up to aid students with funding travel that might otherwise prevent them participating in an event so this seems an ideal opportunity given so many Mackie Academy students are participating in this international event.

I am also proud to announce that Kelsey Stewart of 5U will be our baton bearer for the Commonwealth Games Relay in 2014. Katrina Carr of 4C is in runner up position and both these girls and their nominations reflect the fantastic levels of sporting achievement they have reached at such a young age.

The Court Reporter competition, linked to the Mock Trial win I reported on the other week was won by Mackie Academy student, Matthew Mitchell.

Matthew will receive a presentation certificate and prize on behalf of the school. What is means is that we won everything – what a team!!

Finally our Parent Council met on Wednesday night and it was a meeting with a difference. All of our Faculty Leaders did a short presentation about their areas, priorities and developments for the year ahead. Parents then had the opportunity to quiz and question the teams about key issues and matters relevant to this.

It resulted in some very productive conversations and everyone had very positive feedback from it. It is something that we will look to continue in the future and perhaps make it a more regular feature as everyone benefited from this opportunity.

As we head into winter can I please ask parents and carers to take some time out to talk to our young people about the importance of transporting themselves safely to and from school.

I had some worrying reports last week of students running out in front of cars and misbehaving on pelican crossings.

This is not the sort of behaviour any of us would expect from our young people and it only takes one act of carelessness to result in long term damage.

We will continue to work proactively on this in school.