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Oldmachar Academy Magazine Inside this issue Learner Pathways .. 2—3 Primary Transitions 4—9 Clue Yourself Up ..... 10—17 Transition to S5 ...... 18—21 Transition to S6 ...... 22—25 S2 Parliament ......... 26—27 Wellbeing Days ....... 28—31 Children’s University32—33 Student Survey ....... 34—37 Active Schools ........ 38—41 Ryan’s Adventure ... 42—43 Uniform Update ...... 44—45 Transitions Process 46—47 History Challenge ... 48—49 Other Achievements50—51 Announcements ..... 52

Special Features Read about

February, 2014

Student Perceptions of Oldmachar Clue Yourself Up! Transitions Programmes

Our Learners’ Journeys: Leonard Atorough Description of My Learning in School I have studied in many schools throughout my academic life due to the fact that I moved house very often in the past. At my last count I have been to about eight schools in total and I’ve done a lot of schooling. In my current I am studying five subjects which are: - English which I am taking at a higher level; math’s and chemistry which are both advanced higher and biology and physics which are both higher. I am also doing a baccalaureate project.

Reflection on What I Have Learned I have learnt a lot of skills in the past five years that I have been at my current school, Oldmachar academy, including team working and timekeeping skills as well as many individual skills. I have worked with a wide range of people in a wide range of subjects. In this time I have also learnt a lot of knowledge.

Speculation on My Future Looking at the future I have aspirations of taking this skill that I have learnt and developing them further in my education as I head off hopefully to university. I hope to be able to put the skill I have learnt to good use in the future and to allow myself and others to be able to benefit from it.


Our Learners’ Journeys: Jason Donald Description of My Learning in School The subjects that I am currently studying in sixth year are Business Management and Geography. I am also studying a Business Recruitment Course at Aberdeen College.

Reflection on What I Have Learned During my time in Oldmachar Academy, I have developed new skills that will help me for the future. I have developed computing skills, able to use computer packages such as Excel, Word and Database. I have also developed hospitality skills that will become useful for the future. I am able to cook, I am able to keep a good clean working environment, able to keep track of time and make sure that everything is done precisely.

Speculation on My Future My hopes for the future are going down two different paths. My first option would be to go to college and study Film Production, Camera, Sound Production work. Going into this course will give me an idea of how the filming industry works and how to operate the equipment that I will be given to use and film with. My second option would be to go into the Oil & Gas industry. I would get an Apprenticeship that would help me get the experience in the Oil & Gas industry. Once I have completed the course that I have worked on, I will then go and do more training for the option of working in an office or go offshore.


Musis / Drama Enterprise Group “On Monday 20th January, the Senior Music and Drama Group, which runs as part of the S5 Enterprise Column, hosted their own Burns Celebration. Primary 5 students from local primary schools were at the centre of this project. This celebration followed weeks of rehearsal, which involved learning a lot of Burns songs. We visited local primary schools to coordinate and teach the younger students the traditions and songs of a Burns Supper. The senior students who took part were: Heather Preston, Ashley Craigen, Georgia Gifford, Nyameye Otoo, Josh Richardson, Katie Wright, Jonathon Tweddell, Adrian Chan, Chloe Buchan, Kurtis Anthony and Natalie All of the Oldmachar ASG schools were involved.�


Primary 5 Burns Celebration

The Event Itself “All the students involved had an individual role, land there were leadership opportunities for each child to demonstrate their capacities. There was singing, speeches and poetry in the show, we put on for the parents of the primary 5s. This show was am demonstration of how the music / drama group had developed skills and knowledge to lead such a production. However, it also showed clearly the great talent of the Primary 5 students who performed brilliantly. Everyone’s confidence was boosted as a result.”

Article written by Heather Preston (S5)


Science and Technology Workshops Last month the primary seven visits took place. These are to allow future pupils the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Oldmachar Academy; its layout; its occupants and to prepare them for life at Oldmachar. During their visits they took part in ‘curriculum days’. These days featured fun and engrossing activitie s The pictures shown here show the P7 students working with secondary teachers to develop things that buoyant, following a workshop delivered by science teachers. Students were given materials and had to work collaboratively to design a floating raft. They were set challenges and had to overcome them. All of the activities are designed round the idea of collaborative challenge.


Primary 7 Curriculum Day

Numeracy and Literacy Teachers in the English and Maths teams delivered workshops to help the P&s get used to the way the subjects are approached in secondary. Primary teachers accompanied them, so that they could engage with secondary colleagues and exchange ideas. Since literacy and numeracy are such essential parts of the curriculum, it was important to build this into the curricular transitions programme. Ms Gordon, who coordinated the programme said “ when we reviewed the events with P7 students and their teachers, they gave them a resounding thumbs up. It gave the P7 students experience across a range of subjects. Thanks are expressed to the S6 students, who gave up their free time to contribute to the activities, which says a lot about the level of commitment they have towards the school and helping the future Oldmachar students.�


Created in Oldmachar An ASG Curricular Transitions Project Classes of Primary 6 pupils from the 5 feeder primary schools came to Oldmachar to launch an e-book they had each been working on – Invented in Oldmachar. This curricular transitions project was organised by Jenny Watson, Headteacher of Middleton Park. Thanks to Jenny for all of the work she did in coordinating this on behalf of all ASG schools. The project included a visit by Allan Burnett, author of Invented in Scotland. When he met with students in Primary 6 in all of the ASG schools, and S2 students at Oldmachar Academy, he talked to them about inventions and helped with their writing. Students in different primaries were set different tasks related to the idea of inventions— some of them wrote to inventors; others planned responses to disaster situations; some wrote stories with inventions in them (such as trebuchets). Each school’s book is different, which gave students important opportunities to personalise their learning and schools very distinctive magazines at the end. In Oldmachar Academy, Alan made three visits and worked with three S3 classes, who were involved in our Visual Communications course. He explored issues related to research in recycling. This led to the Created in Oldmachar project, which is published on-line with the primary resources, as an e-book.



What is the “Clue Yourself Up� Project? At Oldmachar Academy, learners start planning their destination beyond school as part of the broad general education. A number of planned inserts to the curriculum make them more aware of the opportunities and challenges presented in different careers. Young people have opportunities to personalise their curriculum within broad parameters from the start of S3 onwards, with increasing specialization as they progress through the senior phase. The curriculum map for the senior phase focuses on delivering two key entitlements young people have. The first is that: All young people are entitled to support to gain as much as possible from Curriculum for Excellence All young people are entitled to support in planning a positive destination from school. The second of these is a particular challenge for us, that involves developing particular ways of working with parents, carers and partners. It also requires that we make young people aware of their responsibilities to seek out information that might help them to plan their future. To do this, we need to investigate sources of information and reach out to people who can help us. Clue Yourself Up is a universal project of community based learningbuilt in Oldmachar Academy that aims to do this.

10 Oldmachar Academy’s Senior Phase Plan

Clue Yourself Up for Students Students follow programmes of learning about the world of work. The focus is on providing them with comparative information to allow them to work out general areas of career interest. These programmes lead to accreditation, under the SQA Personal Development Award scheme. Then it focuses on giving them the opportunity to speak to people regularly who can help them. Lastly, it gives them an opportunity to spend time in a work place environment, learning about the industry, or sector.

Clue Yourself Up for Parents Parents are a key part of the process of helping young people to find important information and a source of guidance for them in determining their futures. However, all parents can benefit from improved information and sources of advice. The scheme will provide this. Parents can also help by signing up to be Future Mentors for our S4 students—a role we explain further on in this leaflet. Most importantly, parents are our partners in supporting the young people.

Clue Yourself Up for Employers / Partners Employers can benefit from early engagement with potential employees. The interface between school and work can be hard to manage from both sides. Clue Yourself Up provides an important learning opportunity for employers, and a meaningful way to engage with education professionals. They can join in our learning programmes, our information management systems and our future mentoring programmes. All of these things are featured in this leaflet.


Clue Yourself Up: Opportunities for Employers Please Help Our Young People We seek the support of employers in a range of areas of work and industry for our Clue Yourself Up programme. This programme will run from July 2014 and will affect all S4 students at Oldmachar Academy. We have already secured the support of a number of key partners and want to make sure that we develop a strong set of partners who are capable of helping us to develop our programme. This section describes the ways in which employers can get involved in detail.

Clue Yourself Up About Jobs Do you do a job that one or more of our young people would benefit from finding out about. Are you willing to describe it for us? Are you also willing for us to publish this information for our student body, so that they can learn about what you and others do? If the answer to these three questions is “Yes�, please send us your information by completing a short online survey. You will be asked the questions displayed on the slide shown here (left). Only factual information about your job will be required. We will publish it in an emagazine for all young people, which will be regularly updated.

Clue Yourself Up: Future Mentoring We need to recruit a group of Future Mentors for our S4 students next session. These people will have a key role in providing support for our young people, especially to develop their thinking about career opportunities. We need to recruit people in a range of different industries and careers. We want to have mentors from the private and public sectors of employment. We want to represent different types of work. All of our young people are different and we would aim to pair parents up with someone who would benefit from their input.


Please let us know of your interest, by completing a short survey monkey survey at the following link:

Work Place Visits Imagine the opportunity to build a relationship with a future employee or colleagues! A young person would visit you in your work place once per month and you could show them your organization and how it works. The young person could gain awareness of opportunities that there might be and the pathways that they need to embark on in order to be successful. Your organization would benefit enormously as a result, as they would get the chance to build a relationship with a person who might turn out to be a future employee.

School Talks Could you spare half an hour so, once every few months to come and speak to some of our young people about what you do for a living? If you feel that you could, you could become one of our Future Mentors. Providing this support for us is a critical means by which we can improve the quality and range of our careers’ advice, which is a very complex issue for us, as jobs are changing so much. Your input could be a source of inspiration for one of our young people.

Tailored Work Experience Could you facilitate a week of work experience, during the Easter or October holiday for one or more of our young people? If so, you could make a valuable contribution as a Future Mentor within our programme. We aim to provide such opportunities on a tailored basis for all of our 160 S4 students next session and hope that you will be able to contribute to this scheme. If your company would be prepared to pay the young person for the work, this would be desirable, but not essential.


SQA Employability Award SQA Award This session we have a number of students involved in working towards the SQA’s Employability Award. This scheme is taken up by young people who have particular aspirations with regard to progressing directly into work after S4 or S5. We launched the programme last month with a three day Business Challenge, which allowed the young people to learn about creative team work, production, sales and marketing. This month they were involved in a three programme of preparatory activities, which would lead them towards work—this programme was coordinated by Your Future in Energy and involved representatives from various sectors of the Energy Industry. However, there was enough to engage even those who did not necessarily see Oil and Gas as being their future career destination. This was because the focus of the activities was on developing skills for the workplace. Students did presentations on their particular area of interest, at the end of the three day programme. Nicole Smith said “It was really great for building our confidence. The day after the programme finished, I had a trial for a job and I got it. I am sure it was because the programme made me more confident in myself.”


A Student’s View “A group of us have been doing the Employability Award. So far, we have done two challenges, both of which lasted three days. The first was making cupcakes and selling them to raise money for the Aberlour Trust. Our second challenge was a three day thing. People from companies came into our school and helped us to make a presentation about what we wanted to do when we leave school. We got treated like we were in a workplace, the main rules were “trust and respect”. The course is very enjoyable and it has given all of us a major insight into what the difference are between school and work.” Cassie Fraser

Youth Achievement Awards “A group of us did the Youth Achievement programme this year. It included four different topics which we had to achieve in 80 hours of activities. We did this programme twice a year for the whole year and everyone found it enjoyable. I was amazed about the amount of work we completed. Two of the activities we did were card making and budgeting. These two things taught us new things. Ingrid from the Community Learning Team, who worked with us, really pushed us to try and complete the award and to get the best result we could. At the end, everyone came out with a bronze certificate.� Stephanie Donald


Employability Skills Development Employability Skills As part of our S4 Entitlements Programme, representatives from Thorpe Malloy Recruitment, came to work with a group of S4 students. This was arranged as part of a Skills for Work module, which has been led this session by Ms Dowie—all S4 students have been involved in it. The module is a general introduction to the issues involved in preparing for the world of work, with some self evaluation activities beginning the process of getting young people to reflect on career aspirations. Thereafter, there is a focus on preparing to gain employment, with an emphasis on selling yourself to a future employer. The students pictured here are undertaking a number of important activities as part of a section of this programme delivered by Thorpe Malloy.


Thorpe Malloy: Managing Aplications for Jobs Thorpe Malloy bring a great deal of experience in managing recruitment processes. They offer a programme to schools designed to meet the needs of young people as they prepare for a successful transition to life beyond school. Students here were learning about the application process and how to undertake it successfully. CV’s, letters of application and interview skills were all explored. Since work will hopefully play an important part in the lives of all of our young people, it is important that they learn to understand what employers are looking for and how to present yourself to them. It is a competitive world out there, and jobs can be hard to come by. So, these kinds of programmes can give you the edge.


How We Plan Options for S5 in Oldmachar This month we feature two articles on S5 for students in S4 on the Transition to S5. These articles are also published separately in our Course Options Booklet for S4, which has been produced for S4 students by S5 students. The articles published here are by Reece Gibb and David Norvall.

David Norval The Process The process of making course choices for the upcoming school year begins by simply considering your options; what can you move on to, and what would you like to study? What does it mean to ‘consider options’ however? It simply means, thinking about courses. This usually involves discussion, and above all else, reflection on the previous year. After this period of reflection and consideration, it comes to decision time; what you have decided to take, and what you will be leaving behind. This decision will be based mainly upon what you feel is possible to pursue, and what you enjoy in school, with consideration to future aspirations. Once all the choices have been made, and a timetable has been drawn-up, the moment arrives – your new courses begin. That’s easy said, but how do you go about with the whole process? What is there to consider?

Things to Consider This rather appropriately titled section covers the various aspects involved in the consideration process. This comes down to four main points: What subjects do I like? What am I good at? How well can I possibly do in these subjects? And how will this assist in achieving future goals? The easiest of these steps is deciding what you do and don’t enjoy. Consider the following points: do I enjoy this subject as a whole, do I enjoy how it is taught and do I enjoy specific topics in this subject? Or is it just my relationship with the teacher that makes it good? The next step is to see how good you are at the subject. This may seem to be the simplest question, but there is more to consider when asking it. Questions to consider: Are you good at the whole subject, or are there areas that you find hard? What makes someone good at the subject? Can you make yourself better at it? Are you ready to work hard to get on top of it? 18

Then ask, “Can you become better at the subject?” This could be in respect to, your understanding of the subject, your use of the subject, your ability to transfer the skills from the subject and so on. Finally, “How will this help me with future goals and aspirations?” This is perhaps the most important question to ask, whether your goals are long or short term. A subject will be useful for your future if it fulfills any of the following points: - Does it allow you to take future courses (as in, apprenticeships, college courses, university, etc.)? - Do the skills learned in the course fulfill a goal of some kind? - Does it allow for progression towards a career? If you can answer these questions for yourself—and are confident you have the right answers, you are probably ready to choose your courses.

Help During the Process The first port of call for help would be to take time to think about the courses on offer. As discussed earlier, do you enjoy the courses, are you capable of studying them… This reflection or ‘clueing yourself up’ should hopefully make choices easier. Then, speak to your friends and family. If in doubt, they will be able to lend some insight, and although they will be helpful, keep in mind that it is your choice to make. It is important to note, however, that as it is your future you will be concerned with, do not do what your friends do, simply because they are taking the subject. Also on hand to offer help with course options are your various teachers. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses in each subject, they will be able to offer valuable insight into potential courses. Guidance teachers will also offer help with the selection process, often handing out support sheets, and the actual course form. There is a lot of information out there on the web as well. But, be careful to check information and ask for advice if you need it.


What’s Involved in S5 at Oldmachar?



Reece Gibb onsortium Arrangements

he whole idea of the consortium arrangement is something that I was apprehensive about. I should explain what a consortium arrangement is: it’s going to other schools for specific subjects, which aren’t offered at your school.

I go to Bridge of Don Academy for Tech Studies for example. Following my initial nervousness, I began to enjoy it. It was great to get to see and use some of Bridge of Don’s equipment. They have great computers and a really comfortable working environment. If you have the opportunity to go, you definitely should! Also, it’s nice to get a break for the walk up or to take the bus, a nice change of scenery!


tudy Habits

bviously, in fifth year it is vital that you study at home and keep up with any homework. I personally have my own style of working and prefer to take my time doing homework and recap at the same time, then when exam times come nearer I’ll start to do past papers – lots and lots of past papers! I think you should know yourself if you haven’t done enough studying, and it will show. Really, it’s all down to you how well you do, or how badly. Don’t put off studying, it’ll catch up with you!




he prelims for me were good fun – I like tests however. I know a lot of people find them a very stressful time and struggle to cope. The best solution to that is exercise. That’s part of the reason I don’t mind doing tests. The Jesmond Gym provides great facilities to get a work out done and to get your mind off of all the theory and equations you’ll have to learn. I personally go to Bannatynes gym, I love to go there to lift some weights or have a nice run. It really helps me to de-stress! If that’s not your thing, then a glass of water and reading a book should help, but DON’T TOUCH YOUR PHONES!


berdeen Pupil Voice Group

he Aberdeen Pupil Voice Group is something I’ve been involved in for 2 years. It involves people from different schools all getting together and discussing things about our schools. We talk about the differences, why they exist and how we can eliminate them, all contributing towards trying to promote a more positive experience for the learners in Aberdeen. So basically we just all get together, have a chat and see if we can make any schools better. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing and would love to get more people from Oldmachar involved. Get in touch if you’re interested!


Transitions to S6 Scottish Baccalaureate: Social Subjects Christy Foster Oldmachar Academy is one of the top schools in Scotland for the Scottish Baccalaureate programme—here two of our students, Christy Foster and Fraser Strachan give their perspectives on the programme. In the Baccalaureate, you need to do two Advanced Higher courses. You also do an interdisciplinary project, which allows students to work across subjects on an area of particular interest.

What was involved in the Baccalaureate? For the Social Subjects Baccalaureate, you have to come up with a project that has value— it’s to be important to you, but also something that others might need to know or learn about. In my case, I am looking into the laws which affect young people as they leave home. For example, laws related to leases and contracts. The biggest complaint that some people have about school is that they can leave school without knowing about tax laws and the laws affecting daily life. I wanted to provide a leaflet that could help people have a basic idea of what was going to affect them.

What was the experience like? I started off just studying information I found on the internet. Then I went on to interview Seb Cooke (Police Liaison) and then Kevin Davidson (a lawyer). I also e-mailed the university halls for information. The other thing I did was a survey of other S6 students to see which areas of law they would find it most useful to know about. I also wanted to find out from them how they would like the information to be presented. Then I put this information together into an information leaflet for students. There are six sections on the leaflet, which will be published for all S6 students before they leave. The leaflet focuses on the following: tax law, employment law, leases, car insurance and student loans. 22

My next stage is to hand the leaflet to S6 students and get feedback on it. I also plan to consult parents at parents’ evenings to get their feedback as well.

How you can use what you have learned in the future? I am hoping to move away from home next year (to study Law in Glasgow). A lot of the information I found out I would not have known if I had not researched it. It definitely makes you feel more confident knowing it. I hope that other people feel the same—that they feel more confident and clued up about the future. I hope that everyone is more motivated to find out about the laws which affect them. My research did not surprise me. Most people lack awareness of the kinds of issues which will affect them. When I did research, I heard a lot of stories of people being caught out by not knowing what to look for in their lease, for example. I am trying to provide something simple that can help. The leaflet was a good format for me to use to present information. I am sometimes a bit wordy in how I communicate. The leaflet format helped me to prioritise information and to be succinct. The other point to make about the Baccalaureate is that it gives you a different dimension in the application process for university. I wanted to have something to make my application stand out and make the university consider me. This programme was part of how I did that.


Scottish Baccalaureate: Science Fraser Strachan

What was involved in the Baccalaureate? In the Scottish Baccalaureate, we first had to come up with an idea for an interdisciplinary project. For the Science Baccalureate, it had to be science based. I am doing three Advanced Highers in Maths, Chemistry and Physics (and have done Human Biology last session as well) so I wanted to do something related to them. I also pay the cello and thought it would be interesting to do something music related. I thought about how when you study you listen to music, which is something that I always do and that a lot of people do. I wanted to investigate whether or not listening to music when you study actually helps you and whether you should actually do this. The interesting thing about the Scottish Baccalaureate project is that you get to do something that you are interested in finding out about, that integrates different subjects: in the case Music and Neuroscience.

What was the experience like? For the project I did a lot of on-line research as this was the quickest and easiest way to gain information. I e-mailed lots of different neuroscientists and some of them replied. These people directed me towards relevant articles and helped me with some queries that I had about things that came up. I also did an experiment, firstly with S6 students. It was a recall test in which they had to remember as many words from a list that had been shown on the board and then removed. I played different types of music while they undertook the test.


The results showed that there was not a large difference overall between the types of music that people listened to and the results of how they performed in a test. The one feature that really stood out was that overall when heavy metal music was played they did worse. This conclusion has to balanced: while overall people did worse when listening to heavy metal while undertaking a test, some people’s results improved—so the experiment was not a total disaster for lovers of heavy metal. This will be great relief to them.

How you can use what you have learned in the future? The study I have done has made me think about whether I should actually listen to music when I study and whether my study habits at the moment affect what I am learning. Others might also benefit. I plan to produce a leaflet for other students and also a presentation. I hope to do the presentation to S6 students in the near future—this is to give back something to those people who helped me with the experiment. I am not considering a career in neuroscience, which I knew before I started the project. I just found it interesting. I have developed important research skills, though, as the Baccalaureate involves independent study. The teachers I worked with know a bit about this area, but much really. So my research allowed me the opportunity to learn about something that even allowed them to learn something. I also learned time management skills because you are working independently and have deadlines to meet. The relationship with the teachers involved was different— more like a university tutor-student relationship.


S2 Student Parliament In January, The S2 Student Parliament convened to review the arrangements in Oldmachar Academy. All the young people in the year group were involved. In a series of two hour conferences, the students discussed the way they felt about the school and suggested ways in which it could be improved. The specific focus of the Student Parliament this session is Learning and Teaching. The students discussed and completed some surveys which were designed to capture their views of learning, both as individuals and as a whole group. The sessions were led by Mr Brown, who also took the opportunity to brief students on the S3 curriculum they will follow—to explain how it was developed and the impact we hope that it will have in the future/


Issues Discussed The following issues were discussed at the recent S2 Student Parliament events: I am enjoying the subjects that I am doing The courses I am studying provide me with a good level of challenge The courses I am studying provide me with the right amount of homework Teachers provide me with good feedback on my learning I am confident in using my pupil planner I am confident in using my e-portfolio The Global Issues assembly programme informs me about important issues The visual communications course is helping me to develop new skills I am achieving success in my learning I am confident I will be successful in my learning in future

The results of this poll will be published for students in due course. The feedback will be used by teachers to reflect on their work and plan future activities for young people in the year group.


S1 Health and Wellbeing Day


Health and Wellbeing Day Activities The S1 year group recently did a Health and Wellbeing Day. This was on Thursday 31st January, 2014. They did different activities in the day. These included: Team Building Personal Care Healthy Choices Effects of Smoking Getting on With Each Other The Team Building activities were coordinated by Adventure Aberdeen. The Personal Care was run by the school nurse. This was all about puberty and changes of the body. Making Healthy choices was run by Ms Dowie. This was about making healthy choices about food and exercise. Getting on with each other was run by Ms Walker. This was all about relationships—how they change and impact on your health and wellbeing. Effects of Smoking was run by the Guidance team. This was about the dangers and risks of smoking. The students had to do research about these things. This was important because students were learning in a different environment, tailored to health and wellbeing experiences and outcomes. Cassie Fraser (S4) 29

S2 Health and Wellbeing Day The Focus of the Day The S2 students had a Health and Wellbeing Day. This is what was involved: Prejudice The students had to chose between a range of activities, including Art, Drama or a research project on the topic.

That’s My Life The students had to watch the That’s My Life programme. This programme showed how people with disabilities are exactly the same underneath as those who don’t have disabilities. The programme shows how everyone should be treated the same way.

Workshops Disabilities There were also a number of individual workshops to show all the different types of disability that can affect people.

Racism There was also a Racism Workshop which was given by members of the police force. This was to show that it was important to respect people even though they are different from you.


Kenny Herriot There was a talk given by Kenny Herriot at the end of the day’s activities. Kenny was in an accident that led him to be disabled. He now uses a wheel chair. He talked about his life and experiences. Kenny is an athlete who has inspired other disabled young people. Students found his story inspiring. It is an important one because it is celebrating diversity. Kenny shows that it is important to respect people, no matter who they are or what they look like. He also showed that no matter how bad things get, you can always bounce back.

By Stephanie Donald (S4)


Children’s University February Update Parents, carers and friends will recall from the January edition that Oldmachar Academy has secured a unique opportunity to develop the Children’s University in the North East. Children’s University is an Out of School Hours Learning Programme for students between the ages of 7 and 14, that creates opportunities for young people to learn in different ways and in wide ranging locations that they would not otherwise be able to. This year we are documenting in monthly features the progress in implementing our Children’s University Project. In the past months we have made significant progress: 1. We have secured 80 volunteers from S1 and S2 to participate in the Children’s University Task Force—these students will be presented with passports for Children’s University 2. The Children’s University Task Force, made up of S1 and S2 students, has met once to plan the kinds of learning that they would like to undertake 3. Representatives of that group met with members of the Children’s University Board (including Jock Brown and Doug Wilson) 4. Mr Brown has met with representatives of Aberdeen College, the Chamber of Commerce and a number of business people to create partnerships that will provide opportunities for young people 5. Mr Charlie Penman (Head of Schools) has agreed to support the scheme, on behalf of Aberdeen City 6. Mr Jooty, Ms Anderson and Ms Issit have all signed up to support the scheme. They will be trained soon in the processes of Children’s University 7. A number of other schools have joined with Oldmachar Academy to build the Children’s University of the North east of Scotland: Northfield Academy, Mackie Academy and Westfield School in Fraserburgh 8. Our ASG schools have agreed to support the scheme We look forward to sharing further developments in the next of our magazines.


Meeting the CU Board Lucas Alcaraz, Logan Thomson, Deacon Harrison, Sam Dempsey, Lisa Morgan and Melvin Meturi all met with members of the Board of Childrens’ University Scotland in February, in order to develop ideas about how to take forward the project. The students shared their ideas about the learning destinations that they would like to have the opportunity to visit. These were: Sam: The Gordon Barracks Deacon: A Safari Park Melvin: Marischall College Logan: Offshore Companies Lucas: Aberdeen College Lisa: Aberdeen Art Gallery The Board members were very impressed with the students they met and made a point of letting everyone else they met o the day aware of the extent to which they enjoyed meeting the young people involved. We are now proceeding to create some Task Force Groups to explore some of the young people’s ideas. Next we will visit sites on a series of Trial Explorations, in order to ensure that the young people think through the process of creating Learning Adventures that other young people can benefit from.


Survey of Pupil Perceptions Context In recent Student Parliament activities we conducted a survey of perceptions of students in all year groups. We can compare results to a survey conducted in June 2010 to see how far we have come in three years.. In the next few editions of our magazine, we reflect on the messages we can take from this new survey. In this edition we focus on two things: young people feel their voices are listened to in school and the extent to which they feel happy, safe and secure in school..

How Happy and Safe Are We in School? The school gathered four aspects of its work together following the survey that all relate to the issue if health and happiness. This allows us to see important patterns. The graph (left) shows them, with the 2013 results shown in the red blocks. The 2010 results were very good, so it is pleasing that the young people feel these things have further improved. The overall approval rating from all of our students’ aggregated responses has risen in three years from:

2010 2013 34

77% 81%

77% 81% All year groups reported that all of these things were improved.

The Most Improved Aspect Of the four aspects, the most improved concerns the extent to which young people feel the school helps them to keep safe and healthy. This element is broken down by year group below. Since this year we have implemented some new arrangements for exploring Health and Wellbeing issues with young people, including a number of planned days devoted to important issues, we are pleased to hear this feedback.

Analysis 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0%

2010 S1




2013 S5


The school helps me to keep myself safe and healthy (e.g. by teaching me about healthy eating, personal relationships and the dangers of drugs, alcohol and smoking)

Next Steps

The actual statement we tested listed a number of factors. Involved in personal health, safety and happiness: Diet, Personal Relationships, Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking) The approval of students for the statement was higher for all year groups, but particularly so for S1 and S2 The perceptions of students in S3 and S4 were only slightly improved—we will reflect on this information for future planning

The results of this survey will be processed by staff and students in consultation activities. We will relate it to the information we received from the parental survey we conducted last term, which gave us valuable feedback on how parents saw this issue. We have also discussed these issues with our parent council, and we are clear about the priorities for parents, particularly in relation to healthy eating. We look forward to outlining plans for further improvement in due course.


Survey of Pupil Perceptions How Are Our Voices Heard in School? For this aspect, students rate the school more highly than they did three years ago. Three statements were tested related to how young people feel they are treated in school. Since we are trying to develop the young people as Responsible Citizens, it is important to us that these things develop. This involves us listening to young people and treating them fairly—their involvement in decision making is also something important. The graph (left) shows the overall results, with the 2013 results shown in the red blocks.

The overall approval rating from all of our students’ aggregated responses has risen significantly in three years from: 65% 75%






This is the most improved area of school activity overall from three years ago.

The Most Improved Aspect The most improved aspect relating to Pupil Voice in School is the extent to which young people feel their voices are heard in deciding how we can improve the school. This element is broken down by year group below. Since 2010 we have evolved our programmes to promote citizenship and respect. It is interesting to see how the young people now perceive the school as a result.

Analysis Compared to 2010, all year groups think that they have more say in improving the school, with S1 and S4 recording the largest improvements The Respect Campaign launched in 2011 led to various developments, that have contributed to the improved perceptions of young people, including:

Next Steps The results of this survey will be processed by staff and students in consultation activities. We will relate it to the information we received from the parental survey we conducted last term, which gave us valuable feedback on how parents saw this issue. We have also discussed these issues with our parent council, and we are clear about the priorities for parents, particularly in relation to healthy eating. We look forward to outlining plans for further improvement in due course.


Active Oldmachar

Sports Leadership Academy In the past year Oldmachar students have completed the Sports Leaders UK Award through Sport Aberdeen’s Leadership Academy. The programme provides an ideal starting point for young people who wish to develop leadership skills, under the supervision of a Sport Aberdeen tutor. It develops generic skills that apply to a variety of sports, as well as contributing to the personal development of learners. Level 1 consists of 6 practical units that aim to develop leadership skills in a sporting environment: UNIT 1 UNIT 2 UNIT 3 UNIT 4 UNIT 5 UNIT 6

– – – – – –

Plan, Lead & Review a Sport Developing Leadership Skills Lead activities that promote a healthy lifestyle Fair play in sport The role of the official Opportunities in sport & recreation.

Students are also required to complete 10 hours of voluntary work in a sporting environment and also to lead a sports coaching session. The Leadership Academy is led by Wendy Carrick the Active Schools Coordinator for the Bucksburn ASG and is held at Hazlehead Primary School 6-8pm every Wednesday. Eilidh Inglis and Aria Lynch from Oldmachar are currently completing their Level 1 Sports Leadership qualification. Eilidh supports a P1-3 Athletics class. Coach Dawn Mitchell says, “Eilidh is an absolute gem, she has an excellent relationship

with the children and is learning all the time.”

Aria Lynch is a keen gymnast and leads a gymnastics club at Oldmachar Academy every Thursday for S1 pupils. She is also a Young Ambassador for the school and volunteers at various sporting events throughout the year, including the Giant Heptathlon event that took place at Aberdeen Sports Village in February.

TABLE TENNI S -Eve Academ ry S1 p y had t upil at he oppo nis. Th Oldmac r tunity t ank you har o try ta to the for pro b le T a tenble Ten viding t nis Ass he coac ociation hes.

HOCKE Y -S1 p upil, To number ny Flyn of Act n parti ive Sch cipates hockey ools Ac and rug in a tivities by . includin g

in a Gitook part s e t le h t a char CongratS - Oldma ts Village. r o p S ATHLETIC n e e erd e final hlon at Ab ho made th w m a ant Heptat e t y mela he Young A the girls r t o d t n s a n r o e ti d ula k Alexan e team. you to Mar k n a h t porting th p d u n s a d n a g for coachin bassadors

all squad ar Basketb h c a m ld -O LL BASKETBA r school. esday afte u T y r e v e train

Lead 2014 Conference The following pupils have been selected to attend the Lead 2014 conference at Robert Gordon’s University on the 14th March 2014 : Eilidh Inglis Aria Lynch Cammy Anderson Cammy Duncan Brodie Collie Lily McLeod Lead 2014 is a partnership between Youth Sport Trust, sportscotland and Glasgow 2014 that aims to harness the enthusiasm and potential of young people to create the next generation of sports leaders. The conference will be led by university students who hope to inspire the young people to host their own local commonwealth games themed festivals. Chair of Sportscotland, Louise Martin CBE, said “Through Lead 2014, Scotland’s younger generation will be given the tools and endless encouragement to use their own initiative to host events across the country and play an active part in celebrating the coming of the games.”

Active Oldmachar

“Active Schools is a national network of staff working across Scotland to provide more and higher quality opportunities for young people to participate in sport “ CONTACT Jacky on to sign up!

Timetable Day






P6-S1 Rugby


Oldmachar Academy



P6-S2 Dance


Alex Collie

£2 per session




Oldmachar Academy

£2 per session




Oldmachar Academy

£2 per session




Oldmachar Academy

£2 per session


Table Tennis


Oldmachar Academy





Oldmachar Academy


Ryan’s Adventure in Shetland

Ryan Stewart (1E) I recently visited Shetland for the first time to witness the festival of Up Helly Aa. The festival is a celebration of the connection with Norway and the Vikings taking over Shetland, it started in the 1830’s. It also gives the people of Shetland a topic to talk about. The Up Helly Aa of 2014 was important to me because The Guizer Jarl was my Great Uncle and the Guizer Jarl is like the head Viking. You have to be part of a Jarl Squad for 15years before getting the chance to be chosen as Guiser Jarl so it was important for my family to support him. 42

The festival was jammed packed. It started on Sunday with photographs taken of the squad at St Ninian’s Isle. It is 18 miles southwest of Lerwick. Neil Oliver from BBC television show Coast was filming the event which will be shown on tv at some point. Day 2 was when everyone went to the galley shed where there was the signing of the bill which is all about the Guizer Jarl. There was also the official naming of the galley which this year was called the Congo Warrior, and the unveiling of the picture. This year it was a Viking god looking over the water while 3 ships sail towards Shetland. The morning after, the Jarl squad and pipe band marched to the galley shed where they picked up the galley. They then marched the galley through Lerwick town centre before being laid up close to the town hall for the rest of the day. Bad weather meant that it was moved to outside the town hall rather than its traditional place of the pier front. Later that night the torches were lit and the squad paraded through the town with the galley followed by the other squads to the burning site. The Guizer Jarl rode on the galley while it was paraded and with great ceremony of marching and dancing the Guizer Jarl leads the burning of the boat. I think the idea of Up Helly Aa was to find a reason to drink a lot and have a big party although I was not allowed to take part in the drinking bit. 43

School Uniform Consultation Planning for 2014 –2015 Parents, carers and friends are advised that Oldmachar Academy is developing plans to implement a formal school blazer and tie for all students for August 2014. This builds on the steps we took in the current session to implement these arrangements for S4—S6. The blazer, modelled by students on the right is black in colour. A white shirt should be worn with it. The tie is purple, with two pairs of stripes (grey and blue). There is an achievers tie (see the students with Mr Brown on the next page), which is blue in colour which is awarded to students who have had particular achievements. It is expected that boys wear black trousers and shoes—girls have the option of wearing skirts, but these should be of reasonable length. We had an arrangement last session with Logo-Xpress, who provide an ordering service for blazers. Logo-Xpress reps will brief parents on their service in the coming months. The Logo-Xpress ordering and delivery facility is designed to take the hassle out of uniform buying for parents, while ensuring quality. The key dates section below shows how this will work.

Key Dates for Parents Wednesday 5th March (6.00pm): P7 Parents Briefing— Logo Xpress will attend and give information Wednesday 5th March : S1—S3 (7.00pm): Parents Briefing—Logo Xpress will attend and give information Wednesday 2nd April: Logo-Xpresss Sizing and order process August: Logo-Xpresss deliver uniforms to school

Consultation Process We have surveyed the perceptions of our parent body about uniform and found that they supported the idea of extending current arrangements to S1—S3. The Parent Council has subsequently discussed this and endorsed the idea of consistenly applying uniform policy. Students have also been consulted in the recent S1—S3 parliaments and also in assemblies. The planned briefings will also give parents the chance to seek more information.



Spotlight on Learning: History Trench Challenge


Armed with a written description of a trench, a set of labels and tub of play dough pupils had to build their own WW1 model trench. The challenge allowed them to develop their understanding of what life was like for soldiers fighting in the war. It also gave them a chance to work in groups, be creative and apply their knowledge in a practical setting. Ms Marsland 47

Managing Transitions Planning for 2014 –2015 In March we begin the challenging process of timetabling the school for next session. This year, Ms Gordon (DHT) will work with Mr Brown to develop the timetable for 2014—2015. Since so many students are making so many decisions about what subjects they want to study, this is a great challenge. To give everyone an idea of what’s involved, we ask people to bear in mind: All S2 students select eight subject options for S3 (from four curriculum areas) All S3 students select six subject options for S4 All S4 students select five subjects for S5 All S5 students select four subjects for S6 (3 if they are studying 3 Advanced Highers or the Scottish Baccalaureate) All S1 and S2 students are entitled to a broad curriculum as well, which enacts the ideas which underpin Curriculum for Excellence.

Options Process 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Mr Brown briefs parents on options process SMT brief students on the process Information about courses is published Students consult teachers and parents about possible progression routes and subjects Information about preferred options is entered electronically Guidance colleagues discuss individual students’ choices with them Guidance colleague agree academic programmes with the Timetabling Team Parents are consulted to confirm arrangements A new timetable is established that agrees a curriculum for each child and young person.

We are here to help... When students are unsure of what to do When people have anxieties or change their minds When results come in in August and people have different ideas of what they should be studying We can’t help if we don’t know—please just ask for advice! 48


Other Achievements

Thanks to Mike Watson and Sandy Smith, the Oldmachar Academy school badge has been restored to the Foyer.

Mr Brown awards the first ever Oldmachar Academy Achievers Ties to Reece Gibb, Heather Preston and Bethany Galley—the team of students who led the implementation of the former school uniform. 50

S5 students (including Laura Blaikie and Sophie Harvey, above) have published a magazine of Course Options information for young people in S4.

S6 students who coordinated and led some of the recent programme of curricular transitions for P7.



Park and Stride

Monday 3rd March: e-portfolios pub- Parents are reminded that they lished for parents (S1—S6) should not bring cars into the school Wednesday 5th March: Parents’ Brief- car park in the mornings before ings (Transitions and Uniform) Monday 10th March: S3 Parents’

school. If all of our parents were to do this, we would have a gridlock sit-

Tuesday 11th March: Parent Council

Parents can use our Park and Stride

Evening (Briefing on Transition to S4) uation.

Friday 14th March: Options for S3— S6 Entered on Survey Monkey Monday 17th March—Friday 26th

scheme, which allows them to use the car park of the health centre as a drop off point.

April (Course Options Process, includ- Litter ing one-to-one discussions with Guid- We ask parents to remind their ance colleagues) young people that they should not Week of 31st March: S1 Reports pub- drop litter in the local community.

This a problem at lunch time in par-

lished to parents Monday 31st March: Spring Concert Friday 4th April: End of Term

ticular, when pupils are not under created by several hundred Oldmachar Academy students can


be a problem for residents. Punctuality

Parents are asked to ensure all All parents are asked to bear in mind students arriving at school comply the importance of monitoring the with school uniform regulations for punctuality of students arriving at the particular year group. school in the morning and after lunch. Students in S4—S6 are required to wear blazers, shirts and ties. Proper black shoes should be worn. For girls, skirts should be of a reasonable length; denim and leggings are not allowed.

If you are clearing out your wardrobe over the holiday period, please note that we will be having a Rag Bag Collection early in the new term.

the supervision of the school. Litter

Tuesday 21st April: Summer Term

School Uniform

Rag Bag Collection

Lateness causes disruption to the learning of other students and can lead to consequences for students. In cases of persistent lateness the Home School Liaison Officer is

The deadline for delivering bags to school is Monday 3rd March.

Oldmachar Academy Jesmond Drive Bridge of Dnn Aberdeen AB22 8UR Phone: 01224 820 887 Please contact us at:

Please visit our school website at:

February Magazine  

A magazine capturing the events in Oldmachar Academy in February 2014. It includes information on our new employability programmes.

February Magazine  

A magazine capturing the events in Oldmachar Academy in February 2014. It includes information on our new employability programmes.