Mackie Matters - First week shoots by

Well we have returned after our long summer break and it feels like we have never been away.

Let me start by saying a massive thank you for all the messages of support regarding the school uniform. I have been overwhelmed by the response from students and parents in terms of how smart they looked. Whilst there have been a few teething problems in terms of getting orders sorted out we will be resolving those imminently with our suppliers.

The demand for senior ties has been such that the company has run out for the moment but we will have these back in stock in September. The difference it makes around school is palpable – students are taking more pride in their school and their surroundings which is a great thing to see.

Our new Head of Service, Vincent Docherty, was in school last week and commented on how smart our students were and that he is fully supportive of the strong ethos and culture we are building here at Mackie Academy. That is great to hear.

Other works around the school are ongoing from the summer break. We have created another PE changing room to ease access at busy times and we are in the process of moving one of our Music rooms so it is in closer proximity to the rest of the Faculty.

We have also seen our Eco-Group project start to take shape in the quad area this summer with our outdoor classroom and we are awaiting our poly tunnel at the back of the school to aid their growing efforts. We shall have a grand opening when it is all finished to celebrate the team’s efforts and the grant received from Awards for All which has enabled the work to be carried out alongside the team’s fundraising efforts.

In addition to this our Parent Teacher Association is funding some outside speakers for the quad area so that Mackie Academy radio can be broadcast outside at lunchtimes. We are also in the process of upgrading our Front Reception area – new trophy cabinets and notice boards have appeared over the summer and you will soon see a big difference in our front doors and window areas as you approach the school. More to follow on this in the near future.

Our S1 students have made a fantastic start to term and are getting to grips with life here at Mackie Academy. Our senior students are helping them out and ensuring that they get to where they are meant to be and I am sure they are going to be a year group that will do great things here at Mackie Academy.

We are very proud of the results achieved by our senior students this summer. The new Nationals qualifications did not seem to faze our S4 and S5 students who sat them and we had some stunning results which placed us in the top three schools in Aberdeenshire in all key measures.

Our best wishes to those students who are moving onto apprenticeships, college, university or the workplace this year. I am sure you will all do very well indeed.

Life at school is back to normal and with that comes all the activity that you would expect. Our senior students have the opportunity in September to make their way to the SSE Hydro for a pre-referendum debate where some will have the opportunity to take the floor and ask questions.

Rock Challenge are getting ready to audition for this year’s extravaganza and last year’s team got the great news over the summer that they won the National Award for Soundtrack. Yet another plaudit to add to many. Today at lunchtime I joined the string group and dusted down my cello.

Our Junior choir welcomed new S1 students to the fold and many other musical groups are getting their rehearsals started for the year ahead. Sporting activities are well under way and our students continue to perform at extraordinarily high levels. I was speaking to our very own Kelsey Stewart about what she had been up to over the summer and she was telling me that some of her times were not far outside those being run by our own Commonwealth winning athletes this summer. Matthew Duguid in S5 is playing badminton in Germany in the Lagenfeld Junior cup. Not content with just singles he is also playing doubles and mixed doubles. He is also representing Scotland at the UK School Games September 4-5. Our Parent Teacher Association met for the first time this year in advance of their AGM. I cannot stress how valuable the work of the PTA is here at Mackie Academy and if any parents can give up some time to help the work of the group it would be invaluable. Christina Kirkwood steps down as chair of the PTA this year and new blood is always welcome. Please look on our website for further information or contact the school if you would like to know more. I am really excited about the year ahead for Mackie Academy. However, there will also be some significant changes in the early part of the year. Mrs Paul, Depute Rector, makes her way to Mearns Academy on September 8 as Acting Rector. We will be looking for her replacement in the near future.

Mrs Coleman, Support Services Co-ordinator, leaves on August 29 2014 to take up a post within Infrastructure at Aberdeenshire Council. She makes sure that many “behind the scenes” things run smoothly at all time. We wish both all the best in their new posts and they will be missed here at Mackie Academy. However, change is good and it is excellent to see our staff moving on and into promoted posts.

I look forward to talking to you about all our challenges and developments as the year progresses.