April Newsletter 2013 Message from Mr Brown
Dear Parents This newsletter covers the period since Easter. This is the time of year when our senior students prepare for examinations and we start to review the session and make plans for next year. This newsletter gives updates on these things in preparation for next year. This edition gives a priority to various spotlights on learning in school, opening up a window for parents into the classrooms that young people experience every day. As always, more information is available on our website.
Engineering in Education Scheme Special Feature: Youth Philanthropy Initiative Spotlights on Learning World Challenge School Improvement Priorities for 2013 - 2014
Derek Brown, Headteacher
School Uniform Consultation
Engineering in Education Scheme Champions
Youth Philanthropy Initiative
Engineering in Education Competition Recently a team of S6 students won the national Engineering in Education Scheme. In order to let everyone see the impact that the project had on them, we are publishing three short articles below from some of those involved: Bartozs Gosk, Lauren Scott and David Eze. Bartosz Gosk My roles were mainly researching and doing calculations. In the beginning of the scheme I was researching the electric motors, as those were one of the ways to power the system. I have learned how engineers use problem solving and maths by starting with an aim and endless possibilities and combinations but ending up with a unique and detailed solution which accurately solves the problem. Lauren Scott I was the project planner, so I'd arrange meetings and where meetings were held in. As we began our research we were all given different sections to look in to in detail. I concentrated on looking up hinges and locks along with other members of the group. As a subsection I also looked into bearings and which would be appropriate for our idea. Whilst looking it up we documented all our information to put into the final report.
Our team spent two days a Sparrows Offices developing our idea further. During this visit I concentrated on producing our final AutoCAD Inventor Drawing. You can also produce Inventor animations of the machinery in progress. We agreed this would be the best format to submit our final in. I found using Inventor extremely difficult as it's a complex programme. Producing an Inventor drawing and animation took a lot of time and I had to go down to Sparrows another seven or eight times to complete it.
Engineering in Education Competition (continued) I think the most rewarding part of this experience is that I now know how to use a highly professional programme which will hopefully help me in University and throughout my career as an Engineer. I also enjoyed working with the staff at Sparrows and I've learned a lot about engineering. Overall I really enjoyed the experience and I've learnt a lot about what I can expect from engineering.
David Eze We shared out tasks throughout the project to each member of the team and these tasks varied. Most of the work we did before our visit to Sparrows was researching work, brainstorming and evaluation of ideas and my research was important in them. I learned during this time the importance of thinking things through before making decisions that were so important.
We would do research then analyse the research and make decisions on that basis. When we did go to Sparrows I was tasked with making drawings on AutoCAD Inventor of our agreed arrangement. It was a completely new programme to me but after some tutoring from a Sparrows worker I quickly got to understand it and successfully completed the drawing of our concept at the time.
Overall I enjoyed this process and I have seen the importance of a team being a unit and working and communicating with each other. I have also learned the difficulties caused by poor time planning/ management and the importance of in depth research and evaluation before making important decisions in Engineering.
Special Feature: Youth Philanthropy Initiative How YPI Works The Youth Philanthropy Initiative is supported by the Wood Family Trust. Every year a competition runs in schools across the country designed to encourage young people to engage in philanthropic activity. The winning team in each school is given a cheque for £3000 which is given to the charity that they have investigated.
Young People and Charity The young people involved research a charity that means something to them and prepare a presentation. They have to show a deep understanding of the work of the charity they are researching. This involves detailed research. They also have to make a case for the £3000 being given to their chosen charity. It is important that they make a strong case for the use to which this money would be put.
The Competition There is a team of judges, including representatives from the Wood Family Trust, Mr Brown and Councillor John Reynolds, which evaluates the students’ presentations. This year we had three teams involved, representing different charities: Anchor, Avenue and Lead. The presentations were delivered on Monday 29th April in front of an audience of parents. The team representing the charity Lead Scotland was successful in winning the competition.
Comment from Councillor Reynolds “It’s a tremendous scheme and gives young people the opportunity to do something for the community in raising funds for different projects within the charitable sector. The kids are absolutely coimmitted to this. They did a fantastic job. Everybody should be really proud of themselves. The winning group showed a great commitment to learning about the charity they researched and showed a deep understanding of their work.” Well done to everyone involved!
Special Feature: Youth Philanthropy Initiative Friends of Anchor: Sam Henderson (S5) YPI came to mean a great deal to me as I knew it was about helping people in need. Our group had a hard decision to make as we needed to choose one local charity out of many. We started off by talking about relatives and how they had been affected by cancer, which seemed to be something we were all familiar with.
Personal connection with a charity is an important feature of YPI and I told my group about my grandfather who had leukaemia and died a few years ago. At the time 'Friends of Anchor' really helped him. As we conducted our research, I found became very passionate about this cause and so did the rest of the group. Because of what happened with my grandfather, I knew it was the right choice. Our research also showed us what a difference the money would make to help people in a similar situation to my grandfather. I set myself the task of creating the best presentation possible to win the money for the charity. Even though we did not win the money, the field workers from Friends of Anchor who attended the final told us that we did them proud and helped to spread the good word about work of the charity. In my opinion and the groups opinion this was a win for us and the charity. YPI has made a big impact on us all and we now feel a bond with Friends of Anchor and we will always be there for them if they need help at any events.
Special Feature: Youth Philanthropy Initiative Lead: Gemma Morgan (S5) When I was first introduced to YPI, I was interested but I never ever thought the team and I would become so inspired and involved in the whole programme. The charity we chose to research is called LEAD Scotland and is a voluntary organisation set up to widen access to learning for disabled young people and adults and carers across Scotland. It enables and empowers these people to reach their full potential. As a group, we not only met Aberdeenâ€™s Learning Co-ordinator, Val Smith, but we also got to join a learning group one evening in Ellon where we met learners and were given the opportunity to really see for ourselves the work that the charity does and how it benefits young people. Creating the presentation was also a challenge for us all as we had to work together in a team to collaborate all the information we had gathered and researched into one interesting and unique form. We included detailed information, pictures and videos and were also lucky enough to have a learner join us and share with the audience her experience with LEAD. YPI has helped us all to develop crucial skills in research, teamwork and communication. We have all been genuinely amazed by the charityâ€™s success and inspired by their motivation to help others progress. We learnt that ÂŁ3000 was a massive amount for such a small charity and when we won the grant, we knew it would have a tremendous impact on the charity and its work. We have all expressed interest in volunteering with the charity over summer too. YPI is a wonderful programme that has taught me an incredible amount about giving and helping others as well as learning and tackling new challenges.
Oldmachar YPI winners Casey Taylor, Gemma Morgan, Hannah Urquhart and Lauren Birnie (all S5) with Lead representatives. Images from their presentation are on the next page.
Special Feature: Youth Philanthropy Initiative Images from Winning Presentation and Article by Grant Smith (S6) YPI Experience: Grant Smith YPI is something I hold close to my heart. In 5th year, the process started and our group began researching local charities. It dawned on me that I could actually raise £3000 for a charity that is extremely close to my heart – Friends of Roxburghe House. Both my granda and my auntie had stayed there during the last part of their lives so I knew that the charity could obviously do great work with the money. After all of our group’s hard work we managed to become the reigning Oldmachar Academy YPI Winners! In 6th Year I realised that I should try and help out the YPI groups of this year to produce a good presentation and maybe even win the competition. YPI is something I know I will always be thankful for, and will always be there to support in Oldmachar Academy
Spotlight on Learning: March Artists of the Month Stacy Brodie, Kyrsten Webster and Megan Wright Higher Art and Design: Stacy Brodie The reason I chose to study Higher Art and Design is because I enjoy the subject and I intend going to college to study Fashion Design and Manufacture. I chose “green fingers” as my theme for my still life expressive unit which included observational drawings of related items. In my final piece I used a range of mixed media such as collage, acrylic paint and watercolours. My jewellery design unit is based on sea life. I worked through the design process incorporating the idea of “upcycling materials”.
Pictured right is Megan Wright, modelling her art work. Higher Art and Design: Kyrsten Webster My expressive unit was based on still life and the theme “foreign travel” and I incorporated things associated with this idea. I used different media and techniques. My jewellery piece was based on the theme of “washed up”. I took my influences from the beach. My piece was designed for the catwalk but could be altered for high street fashion. When my practical work is complete, I will focus on preparing for my written exam.
Pictured right is Stacy Brodie, modelling her work.
Spotlight on Learning: Higher Biology Trip The Egg and Sperm Race- lecture at University of Aberdeen Medical School As we arrived at the bus stop the weather took a turn for the worse; it was freezing cold and it had started to snow. We thought it was the start of a terrible trip, but we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the university as they had laid out prospectuses with 3-D glasses! The lecture was good too. It was presented by Professor Matthew Cobb from the University of Manchester who had written a book on the topic. He gave a comprehensive historical perspective to reproductive biology and explained how our knowledge has changed over time. The invention of the microscope was a key factor for the change in our understanding because it enabled scientists to directly observe sperm and egg cells for the first time. It was an interesting talk as it expanded our knowledge of the topic beyond what we had learnt at school. Overall we found it to be an exciting experience which promoted our interest in Biology and extended our knowledge of reproduction. Fraser Strachan 5C
Shannon Hadden 5E
Spotlight on Learning: Home Economics Where in the World? The project has been devised to help pupils become more aware of sustainability how far some foods and ingredients travel before they are bought and used in recipes. The first stage is to choose a recipe, write on a chart the ingredients / foods in the recipe. Pupils then visited ASDA located foods and recorded the country of origin. Research then took place in the Library to calculate the number of miles the foods have travelled to reach Aberdeen. Nutrients were identified and located on the Eat well plate.
Lianna Paterson and Brogan Stewart (S1) For our project we were assigned a recipe to research. We identified nutrients in ingredients and where they can be found on the Eat Well plate. We collected all our information and for homework we had to make a poster filled with information which we presented to the class. This was enjoyable and great to find out how far each recipe travelled to get to our plate.
Spotlight on Learning: SQA Refereeing Award Refereeing in Oldmachar The Scottish Football Association have been working with us this session to help us deliver a Level 1 and Level 2 refereeing course, which is validated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Oldmachar Academy is the only school in the north east running the course, which is sponsored by Spec Savers.
Support for the Project To assist with the delivery of the course the SFA provide resources which students can access on line, as well as the expertise of a retired referee, Robbie Harold. The course is both theoretical and practical. Students learn about the laws of the game, making decisions and filling in match reports. These skills are all applied when they do a practical refereeing session.
Real Life Experience Recently, primary students attended Oldmachar to take part in a series of matches refereed by our Oldmachar Academy senior students, who have followed the SFA course all year. The images here show the students actually refereeing the matches. Mark Pain from Active Schools helped us to set up practical experience for the students involved. Mrs Evans (Principal Teacher, Health and Wellbeing)
World Challenge Update World Challenge Updateâ€Ś24 days to go! The World Challenge Team is now on the final countdown to the departure for Malaysia. After spending the year fundraising both individually and as a group the 21 pupils are now packing their rucksacks for departure to Kuala Lumpur on the 8th of June. The expedition starts with a build up day on Thursday 6th of June where the group meet up with the world challenge leader Will Miller, pack kit and make the first hostel bookings and start the planning for the trek phase of the experience.
The team will spend the first week trekking in the Cameron Highlands in the north west of Malaysia. The base for this phase is Tanah Rata and pupils will experience the lush green hills and white waterfalls, with treks daily into the unspoilt jungle and tea plantations. Pupils take on the different roles and responsibilities when away, to plan the treks, book the accommodation, and budget for the transport and food. Before returning to Kuala Lumpur for the project phase the group will spend a day white water rafting down 7Km of the Kampar River. The second phase will be spent in Tamen Megah Handicapped and Disabled centre. The main focus of the project work will be spending time with residents, playing games, singing songs and supporting them in their day to day activities. Other tasks include general maintenance and cleaning. The group have been asked to take various donations with them for the home and we are currently collecting stationary items, slippers and soft toys.
School Improvement Priorities for 2013 - 2014 Interdisciplinary Learning
Next session students in S2 and S3 will benefit from a new series of programmes which are interdisciplinary in nature. These programmes involve students working with teachers from different subjects to develop projects which draw on knowledge from different areas of the curriculum. The focus is on ensuring that young people have well developed skills for learning, life and work. Information will be provided for parents soon. Ms Forrest is coordinating this programme.
Parents will be pleased to know that in the period between Easter and August a number of new colleagues will be joining the school. We have already welcomed Ms Jamieson to Art and Design and Mrs Shaw-Moir to English. Miss Norrie is joining the Art team on a permanent basis from August.
Restorative Practice As part of our Respect Campaign, Mr Jordan is leading the whole school implementation of Restorative Practice. This involves teachers adopting particular approaches to situations which can occur in classrooms. The emphasis is on building sustainable relationships. It is expected that soon we will run sessions for parents so that they can learn more about the development and how it might affect the way the relationships in school will be managed in future.
Two Design and Technology teachers have been recruited for August and a new Physics teacher as well. We will also have new colleagues in English and Modern Studies and are planning for two probationer teachers in PE and Maths. Finally, we will welcome a new Principal Teacher Personal Support to establish our Nurture Space. All in all, this makes eleven new colleagues, which will give the school a real injection of new talent and energy at a crucial moment of our journey to implement Curriculum for Excellence. This will, of course, reinforce the existing strengths of our staffing team and help us progress further.
National 4 and 5 Courses
Next session we are implementing a new on-line method of profiling learning. Students will be given their own blog area in which they can upload comments on their progress in subjects and on their personal achievements. Time will be set aside so that this can be done on a weekly basis.
One of the biggest challenges we face next session is the implementation of new courses for S4 students. The National 4s and 5s replace existing Standard Grades and Intermediate 1 and 2 courses.
At certain points in the year, parents will be directed to the e-portfolios, which we hope will become an important tool in time for communicating important information about learnersâ€™ progress.
Since these new courses are being implemented in all subjects, this is a major project for all of our staff. However, students will undoubtedly benefit from the energies of everyone being so devoted to this important development.
Parents are advised that the school is expanding its provision for young people with additional needs by establishing a Nurture Space within our existing Pupil Support Context. We have recruited a new Principal Teacher Personal Support to ensure that this space is properly developed.
Parents should be aware that we are currently planning major developments in how we use Tutor Time. All staff have been involved in these developments. As a result, the teachers are strongly agreed about what the priorities are for Tutor Time and how we need to proceed to develop this important slot in the day. More information about this will be provided for parents and students in the next few weeks.
Students with difficulties in managing social and emotional issues, or with managing relationships with others will benefit from this provision.
Announcements School Uniform Update Following consultation with parents, we have agreed with our Parent Council to implement school blazers for next session for S4 â€“ S6 students. A recent vote by students supported a black blazer and a purple tie. Parents will be given information soon on our plans. Parents are reminded that short skirts and leggings are not appropriate dress wear for school and are asked to ensure that young people do not wear these items to school.
Behaviour at Lunchtime
Parents are reminded that during lunch times students are supervised in school by senior staff in public areas. Should parents allow their children to go off-site for lunch, this is outwith the schoolâ€™s supervisory responsibility. Such young people are under parental control.
At this time of year the school is actively reviewing its work and is convening focus groups of students and parents to help with this process. If any parent would be prepared to take part in such a group, please contact Mr Brown directly.
Should parents be concerned about the behaviour of young people at lunch time, our advice is to make sure that they remain in school grounds, where we can supervise them.
The areas we are looking at in particular this session are our curriculum and how we meet the needs of learners. Parents are also advised that students may be involved in these discussions.
Arrival at School Parents are advised that all students must arrive punctually at school for 08.40. Lessons begin promptly at this time. Lateness disrupts learning and repeated instances may lead to sanctions for individuals. Parents are asked to remind students of their responsibility to get to school on time and ready for work. Additionally, parents are reminded that they should not drop their children off by car in the school car park. Everyone should access our park and stride scheme as an alternative.
This week parents will receive information about planning for Activities Week. This is a designated week in the year during which we have a number of different kinds of learning opportunities planned that break up the traditional curriculum. For example, there are residential trips planned for S1 and S2 students to the north of England, where outdoor learning activities can take place.
Parents are advised that in preparation for next session we are running a number of induction events for students moving into S4, S5 and S6. These events will take place at the start of the new session in June. In addition, we will soon be beginning the induction process for primary 7 students coming into S1 at Oldmachar Academy.