Page 1

Oldmachar Academy Magazine Inside this issue Learner Pathways .. 2—9 Student Parliament 10—15 Parental Survey ...... 15—19 Student Survey ....... 20—23 Study Skills ............. 24—25 Employability Award 26—27 Children’s University 28—29 Youth Philanthropy 30—31 S5 Enterprise .......... 32—35 Spotlight on Modern Languages .................... 36—37 S1 Football Review . 38—39 University Visit for Biologists ............................... 40—41 Announcements ..... 42

January 2014

Special Features Read about Stakeholder Surveys

Happy New Year to all students, teachers, parents, carers and friends of our school!

Employability New Out of Schools Hours Learning Programme

Managing the Direct Transition to Work Moving to Work from School For a number of our young people, the opportunities to enter the workplace are attractive, on leaving

Natalie Gordon Currently

Recruitment co-ordinator for M&S (3 months)

Academic Study in School

Higher – Business management and Modern Studies Intermediate 2 English, Biology and Childcare

School Experience

Childcare enabled me to complete a 12 week placement at Glashieburn Primary where you taught p1/2 pupils. Gave the skills and confidence to manage a group of pupils, organise activities, deal with adults outwith school. This had a big impact in terms of raising confidence and ability to speak out whereas very shy and quiet prior to this.

Preparing for a Positive Destination

Felt that wanted to try something new after S5 and had discussions with those who had completed the Applied Social Sciences course and enjoyed the course. Left at the end of S5 to go to college to study Applied Social Sciences HND (2 year course. Course was hard work but prepared me for University. Felt more confident about going on to University following this than I would have been straight from school due to having to mix with older people on the course. Then went into third year at RGU to continue studies in Applied Social Sciences. Achieved a 2.1 BA Honours. Graduated and then went on to work for Marks and Spencers.

Future Plans

Would like to take up a HR role in an Oil company in the near future.

school. In this section we tell the story of how three of our young people have managed this transition directly on leaving school. Each of the stories is different, with the people concerned having different academic profiles and aspirations. The stories are also interesting because they show how the transition to work can lead to further study later. This might reassure some young people planning a similar pathway.


Lisa Duncan Currently

Receptionist at University of Aberdeen, Campus Services.

Academic Study in School

Achieved General level Standard Grade Maths, English, Science, German, Office and information studies – Credit, Modern Studies - Foundation Practical Catering - pass

School Experience

Liked school as the teachers were friendly. S1/2 same people in the class gave you chance to settle into the academy and then felt comfortable by the time S3 came and classes were mixed. Felt that following S4, employment would be the best option.

Preparing for a Positive Destination

Left at the end of S4 and initially worked as a domestic assistant at Foresterhill Hospital full time before successfully gaining employment at Travel care as a modern apprentice. Took part in on the job training with day release to college. Achieved a SVNQ level 3 in Travel and Tourism. Gained promotion to a Travel Consultant before being further promoted to cashier in the Bureu de Change. Left to work in the University of Aberdeen.

Future Plans

Currently Grade 2 at University of Aberdeen. Would be looking for internal promotion through the grades. Building on skills developed so far.

Jordan Clarke Currently

Working at Scotia Instrumentation – 3 year apprenticeship – Apprentice technician.

Academic Study in School

PE – 2 Maths – 5 English – 4 Biology – 5 Computing – 4 Modern Studies – 4 Geography – 3 Craft and Design - 3

School Experience

Really enjoyed school – Good Part of the school football team run by the S6 – played in regular matches. Played for under 17 at Inverness Caledonian Thistle – sad to leave – wanted to put all efforts into job. Now play for Turriff Highland team. Felt that teachers were really helpful especially in preparation for exams, wanted to do well.

Preparing for a Positive Destination

Mr Strudwick told him about the apprenticeship and they were a good company. Was unsure about what to do at the end of S4 – through discussion felt this was the best to . Feel that this was a good decision as he enjoys what he is doing.

Future Plans

Would like to continue to work for the company. In the apprenticeship you are in all departments within the company there are approximately 8 deprtments , – change department every 4 months. Go to work in the department where excelled.


Managing the Transition to Further Education College Programmes Further Education at college offers a

Robyn Scott Currently

Working at Hydra Sun – HR administrator Left at end of S5 to do HND at college – Administration and Information technology – 2 year course Originally a 2 + 2 course – Intention to go to University – work experience at company – offered job.

Academic Study in School

Achieved three Intermediate 2 awards in Biology, English and Maths and two Higher awards in Geography and Business Management

School Experience

Really enjoyed school – Felt that S6 was not for me. Looked at college courses and went through the process of application. Ms Rennie inspired the desire to Business.

Preparing for a Positive Destination

Careers advisor – had a meeting, narrowed choices to business but not specific area at College course (accounts / marketing / economic/ HR) did HR and enjoyed this.

Future Plans

Plans to complete CIPD at college / RGU in order to gain promotion.

wide range of opportunities for young people on leaving school. The college sector is geared up to address the needs of people aged 16—25 and has a strategy to ensure that they all develop skills and knowledge that will help them to progress to employment. The stories that shown here are of students who saw an opportunity at college to find a pathway forward. These pathways have led on to other opportunities for them.


Nicole Gordon Currently

Recruitment co-ordinator for M&S (3 months)

Academic Study in School

Higher – Business management and Modern Studies Intermediate 2 English, Biology and Childcare

School Experience

Childcare enabled me to complete a 12 week placement at Glashieburn Primary where you taught p1/2 pupils. Gave the skills and confidence to manage a group of pupils, organise activities, deal with adults outwith school. This had a big impact in terms of raising confidence and ability to speak out whereas very shy and quiet prior to this.

Preparing for a Positive Destination

Felt that wanted to try something new after S5 and had discussions with those who had completed the Applied Social Sciences course and enjoyed the course. Left at the end of S5 to go to college to study Applied Social Sciences HND (2 year course. Course was hard work but prepared me for University. Felt more confident about going on to University following this than I would have been straight from school due to having to mix with older people on the course. Then went into third year at RGU to continue studies in Applied Social Sciences. Achieved a 2.1 BA Honours. Graduated and then went on to work for Marks and Spencers.

Future Plans

Would like to take up a HR role in an Oil company in the near future.

James Burns Currently Academic Study in School

School Experience

Preparing for a Positive Destination

Future Plans

Left school and went to study Electrical engineering at Aberdeen College – NC level 6. Currently working as an Instrument technician at Scotia Instrumentation Int 2 English – C Int 2 PE – A Int Product Design – B Int 2 Biology C Higher Maths – Unit passes Enjoyed time at Oldmachar. Really enjoyed the Product Design class with Mr Paterson as the course was very varied and gave an insight into design and different materials could be used. Mr Paterson was also enthusiastic about the subject. Felt that would not have passed English without the help of Mr McCabe. This was down to the way in which he taught the course. He was enthusiastic and would go into depth about what was being covered. Was unsure about a career path in S4 so stayed on to S5 to get an idea about what he wanted to do. Half way through S5 started to look at college courses and decided on a course. Went along to the college open day and spoke to the head of Engineering who discussed the subjects he was taking and offered a place which meant that he did not need to have an interview for a place. Had to ensure that passed the units for Higher Maths. Progressed from electrical department and now in research and development. Have an interest in the future to possibly work offshore as an instrument technician.

Alan Duncan Currently

Assistant Accountant at QTEC Energy Services Limited

Academic Study in School

Achieved five Credit Standard Grades in S4 and three Intermediate 2 passes in S5

School Experience

1st to 4th year was a very positive and enjoyable experience, having a great group of friends and some helpful teachers to achieve this. Found that it was important to give subject choices a lot of thought and consideration as this begins the foundations of your career path, if chosen wisely. Guidance teacher was very helpful with picking standard grades and very supportive with career choices which helped a lot. Appointment with career advisor in 5th year then confirmed my thoughts/plans for what I was going to do after I left school. I felt that 5th year was the right time to leave.

Preparing for a Positive Destination

After leaving school I went on to complete a 2 year HND Accounting course, at Aberdeen College, and then on to complete a 1 year Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and Finance at RGU (this could have been a 2+2 course with the final year being Hons year at RGU but chose not to do this as UNI was not for me). After leaving Uni I then went on to work as a temp administrator with the NHS before landing the job I am in now. I am now in my 3 year with my current job.

Future Plans

Hoping to progress my accounts and finance career and within the next 3-5 years qualify as an Chartered Accountant. To achieve this I will need to register with ACCA (Association of Certified Chartered Accountants) and undertake the required examinations.


Film in Education Project

Documenting Learners’ Journeys From January to May, our Flim in Education Project Team will be embarking on a Learners’ Journeys Project. This project will involve making short documentary films about their education so far and their plans for the future. The films will show how they made their decisions and what aspirations they have for the future. Some of the outlines for these stories are showcased here, with Hannah Gough, Lauren McNaught and Caylum Matson all describing their learner journeys in a series of short features.

Telling Our Stories Through the Medium of Film The young people are learning about filming in order to tell the stories. They are working with Scottish documentary film producer, Beatrix Alexander, to develop their work. Beatrix is helping them to realise their stories and to do so in a way that helps them to get their ideas across most effectively. They are thinking about the visual impact of what they film, as well as the message.

How Others Might Benefit In future, we hope to have a bank of such films available to our young people so that they can access resources that can help them at course options time. This is part of the school’s strategy to plan positive destinations from school and to ensure that there is high quality information about possible careers and their relationship with the experiences young people have within our curriculum. Helping young people to see the pathways and to feel confident in the decisions they make is a source of support that can help them be more motivated and can stop them feeling overwhelmed. More information will be provided in forthcoming magazines about the development of this important project and our future planning to support young people in planning to move to positive destinations beyond school.

If any parent would like to help us in our work in this area, please get in touch!!


Our Learners’ Journeys: Hannah Gough Description of My Learning in School In the past two years at school I have studied Highers in English, Maths, Chemistry, Human Biology, Art, Business Management, Modern Studies and RMPS. In S6 I also have important leadership responsibilities—I am part of the Film in Education Group, a Learning Buddy and helped with the 30th Anniversary Project. I have part time jobs at ASDA and the AECC.

Reflection on What I Have Learned Studying a broad range of subjects has helped me to know both what I do want to do and what I don’t want to do. Entering S5 I had plans to get a job in the medical profession but as time has gone on these plans have changed. I am leaving S6 ambitious to work in a high paced business orientated job.

Speculation on My Future I currently have a conditional place at RGU to study Business Management and Marketing, or International Business Management. After university, I am interested to use my degree and go into the oil and gas industry.


Our Learners’ Journeys: Caylum Matson Description of My Learning in School I am currently doing 4 subjects in sixth year; these subjects are Computing, History, Maths and RMPS. I have also done a range of other subjects in past years such as Graphic Communication, Drama, English and many others. I also did 4 years of my education in Aberdeen Grammar before moving here to Oldmachar.

Reflection on What I Have Learned In my 6 years of education, I feel that I have learnt a lot of life skills. I have also learnt a lot in the subjects I took and have enjoyed my education at both schools I attended. My education has also helped me about how to respect other pupils and also teachers.

Speculation on My Future My hopes in the future is to have a full time job in the IT industry, I hope to achieve that by going to college, where I will study two different sides of computing which I then have to choose one before going to university to study that side of computing which will hopefully lead to me getting a job out of the degrees. I also am interested in later life when I have settled down with this career path to have a voluntary job in charity, as I feel that I really want to give something back to the world and help the unfortunate in the world.


Our Learners’ Journeys: Lauren McNaught Description of My Learning in School In the past two years at school I have studied Highers in English, Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Human Biology, Business Management and Advanced Higher Chemistry. In S6 I also have important leadership responsibilities—I am part of the Film in Education Group and the Sparrows Engineering in Educatoon Scheme Project. I have a part time job at McDonalds.

Reflection on What I Have Learned Before I began my Highers I was unsure about what subjects I was most interested to learn about. After studying all three sciences, I was able to realize that a course relating to physics was what I wanted to do. Realizing this helped me decided what I wanted to do next.

Speculation on My Future I am planning to go to Robert Gordons University to study Mechanical Engineering. I have not decided about which particular aspect of engineering to specialize in after I finish university but most likely I will enter the oil and gas industry.


S6 Student Parliament In December, the S6 student parliament convened to review the progress of the S6 year group up to that point. The students reviewed their academic progress by updating their eportfolios. They also reviewed the S6 experience as a whole. Lastly, the students undertook assessment for the SQA Leadership Award. The students gain this award by completing two units. The first provides an Introduction to Leadership; the second allows an exploration of Leadership in Practice. It is important that students get as much out of S6 as possible and that they use the opportunities we are providing effectively. The student parliament is a crucial way for us to reflect on the commitment of young people up to that point and the extent to which the way that the year planned and delivered meets their needs.


SQA Leadership Award The SQA Leadership Award involves all S6 students. Unit 1 is an Introduction to Leadership and was undertaken in June, as part of the S6 induction process. Young people researched leadership and prepared presentations on leaders they admired. Unit 2 is a course on Practical Leadership, whereby young people undertake leadership projects themselves. They develop these projects with the support of the senior management team of the school and work to deliver them. In December, students did presentations to review these experiences so far and to reflect on what they have learned about their own leadership skills and styles. We have regularly featured the S6 Leadership projects as we have gone through the year in our monthly magazines. Thanks to our S6 students for their contribution to the school this session. We hope that they sustain this contribution as the year progresses.


S5 Student Parliament On the last day of term before the Christmas holiday, our S5 students convened as a Student Parliament to review their S5 year so far and to reflect on how effectively they feel they are prepared for the challenge of the forthcoming prelims. This gave them a chance to reflect on issues affecting them and to compare notes about how they go about things. Mr Brown did a mentoring session for them as part of this process, focusing on strategies for active revision and ways to ensure that they processed information for exams effectively. The pictures shown here are of the students involved in the parliament activities. They came up with a blueprint for success, which is described on the next pages.


Organising Studying All S5 students agreed that at this stage of year they should be devoting three hours per evening to studying. They also agreed that it was important to do more than just read over things. Making studying organised, interesting and a challenge were important parts of the process of preparing. Mr Brown asked students to visualise the first exam and opening the first page. He asked them to imagine how they needed to prepare to ensure that this moment was a positive one. He also counselled them about coping with setbacks and bouncing back when things did not go their way. Most importantly, having a rigorous study programme can take a lot of stress and tension out of the process of preparing for examinations. It can help the young person cope better and take some of the anxiety out of the process from the point of view of parents.


The Students’ Views on Studying Students in the S5 Student Parliament came up with a number of ideas which we have organised under four headings, all of which are pertinent to planning effectively to be successful in examinations. The four headings are: Maintaining Your Health Being Organised Active Revision Overcoming Challenges The advice offered in this section is expressed on a number of posters which are being published around the school. The images pictured here show how the students expressed the ideas themselves in a number of collaborative activities. We hope that sharing this blueprint for success helps people to understand how they can cope better with the challenges examinations present.


Looking after your own health is central to being successful in the stressful time of examinations. Students suggest: Include time for exercise / recreation in a study plan Have a good night time routine: get enough sleep Eat healthily and avoid things that damage health Have a good breakfast every day Maintain good mental health by doing the following: Don’t compare yourself with other people Be positive about yourself and what you can do De-stress yourself: have a hobby Take time to have a laugh with friends and family Build on success—reward yourself if things go well

Using active revision strategies is critical to success. Students advise the following: Don’t just read over notes—it’s not enough; you need to work with the material more creatively Have a clear task for each study session (do or make something that you can measure at the end) Making mind-maps or lists can help you process information actively—remember that you need to work with information to get it into your head Short bursts of studying more frequently are helpful ways to build your confidence and learning power Going over things until you are confident that you know it well—get someone to test you on what you have worked on Ask for help when you are not sure about something—we are here to help you

S5 students thought that personal organisation was central to being successful. They suggested that students preparing for examinations should: Organize time—devote portions of time each evening to study in a clearly described plan Make sure that the study plan describes clearly what is to be covered Make sure all subjects are equally covered Make sure all tasks are completed Do a bit each evening to get on top of the problems caused by examinations Keep your notes tidy and well ordered

S5 students believe that coping with difficulties and challenges was central to being successful. They suggested the following strategies: When you panic, recognise that it will pass soon— this allows you to take a few deep breaths and start again When you have a setback, recognise the problem, put doubt aside and begin to bounce back Remember, that bad situations pass—recognise the big picture and don’t get overwhelmed Find the positives in difficult situations—you can always learn something


Survey of Parental Perceptions Promoting Health and Wellbeing In Curriculum for Excellence, all young people are entitled to “develop skills for learning, life and work, with a continuous focus on… health and wellbeing.” All teachers have a shared responsibility for this and the school’s curriculum map ensures that health promotion is effectively planned for and delivered. In the recent survey we undertook of parental perceptions, we gained important feedback on how our parents perceived this delivery. Several aspects were tested, including our programmes for social education, as well as how we promote healthy lifestyles in our young people. The feedback from parents suggests that we could do better in encouraging a healthy lifestyle through diet. There is much less approval for this than for the comparative indicator for how we promote health through exercise. We will explore this aspect as a priority in the next few months and use this information to inform the updated school improvement plan.


Social Education and Happiness We have thought deeply as a staff about what kinds of attitudes we want to encourage our young people to have and how these attitudes might help them be happier in school. At the heart of health and well being is the sense of person has of their own self worth and how able they feel they are to improve their own circumstances. A sense of achieving things in school helps a young person to feel motivated and positive about themselves. Teachers understand the importance of setting relevant and challenging work for young people. Constructive feedback on work can play a big part in developing the skills and confidence of young people. We are always happy to hear from parents if they have questions about such things. If parents have any doubts about their children’s learning, it is better to raise there concerns at an early stage. We hope that as our systems for profiling learning bed in this session and next, and parents have better information about their children’s progress in learning, we can improve the perceptions of parents about the wellbeing of their children in school.


Survey of Parental Perceptions (continued) Overall Picture

Level of Challenge

One of the things that teachers are reflecting on is the extent to which our courses and programmes are challenging to the young people. Overall, 11% of parents believe that their children are being pushed too hard in at least one thing. While, 30% of parents believe that their children are not being pushed hard enough in anything. By and large parents seem happy with the curricular challenge faced by young people, but there is some evidence that we can improve their perceptions. Each faculty will reflect on this information and we will reflect on how we can get better information to parents about what we are trying to achieve in each of our courses. We will also be reflecting on how we can ensure that each young person has a significant challenge in the curriculum.


S3 & S4 Compared 2011—2013

Here the views of parents of S3 and S4 students from 2011 are compared to the same year group for 2013. Fewer S3 parents think their children are being pushed hard enough in anything—but many more S4 parents think their young people are being challenged than in the previous survey. This is a sign of our new curriculum taking effect. There is greater challenge in the new National courses than in the Standard Grades that people previously did. However, we probably need to consider the relationship between S3 and S4 in detail, having delivered the courses for a year. We will do this as part of our Standards and Quality process this session.

Pushed too hard?

Analysis In particular we will be considering parental feedback on these two year groups, especially as half of our S3 parents have told us that their children are not being pushed hard enough in any one thing.

Not pushed hard enough?

Since our S3 curriculum is designed to promote breadth, this is perhaps not surprising. Indeed, almost 30% of parents thought their S3 child was being pushed too hard overall. Teachers will want students to feel challenged and will reflect on how to take forward the S3 curriculum. On the contrary, S4 seems to present a much more significant challenge that it did two years ago. Significantly, fewer parents think that their children are not being pushed hard in anything. Overall, our students seem to be being challenged more than two years ago. This is confirmed across a range of year groups, for each of the two tables shown.


Survey of Pupil Perceptions Context This session we have conducted a comprehensive survey of the perceptions of students in all year groups. We are comparing the results to a survey we conducted in June 2010 to see how far we have come in the past three years.. In the next few editions of our school magazine, we will reflect on the messages which we can take from this new survey. In this edition we focus on the overall information we can draw from the survey overall. We also look at the way in which our young people feel learning and teaching has developed in the past few years.

85% 80% 75% 70% 65% 60%


2013 S1






Overall Rating

The overall approval rating from all of our students’ aggregated responses has jumped significantly in three years from:






71% (Good to Very Good) to 78% (Very Good to Excellent).

Overall, our students rate the school much more highly than they did three years ago. Every year group reported the school as having improved significantly. The graph (left) shows this, with the 2013 results shown in the red blocks.

Overall Ratings The overall school rating is an average of the ratings the young people gave the school by rating 20 individual statements. These statements correspond to a wide range of issues affecting the perceptions of young people about school. Students are asked whether they Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree or Strongly Disagree with the statement. This four point scale is used to calculate a value, which is expressed as a percentage. The table below shows the figures for 2013 compared to 2010. In every case, students report an improvement.

2010 2013 I enjoy being at school

70% 75%

Teachers explain things clearly

70% 75%

Staff in the school are good at dealing with bullies

65% 71%

At least one teacher knows me well

78% 84%

Teachers tell me how I am getting on with my work

70% 76%

Teachers help me when I am having difficulty

76% 83%

Teachers tell me when I have done something well

70% 79%

I get about the right amount of homework

70% 76%

Teachers listen to what I say

67% 77%

I know what to do at school if there is something that worries me

73% 81%

All pupils are treated fairly in the school

60% 69%

Pupils have a say in deciding how to improve the school

67% 78%

The behaviour of pupils in school is good

63% 68%

Teachers expect me to work to the best of my ability

83% 88%

Statements with around 85% approval we take to indicate an area of our work which the young people consider to be Excellent Statements with 75% approval, we take to be Very Good Statements with 65% we take to be Good No statement was rated lower than 68%, so no area was found to be less than good.

If there is something that worries me, the school is good 67% 76% at helping sort things out I get on well with other pupils

84% 85%

I feel safe and secure in the school

77% 81%

My teachers are good at letting me know how my learning can be improved

70% 77%

Teachers check my homework

71% 79%

The school helps me to keep myself safe and healthy (e.g. by teaching me about healthy eating, personal rela- 77% 84% tionships and the dangers of drugs, alcohol and smoking) Overall

71% 78%


Survey of Pupil Perceptions Our Students’ Perceptions of Learning Below we have highlighted a number of statements about learning that students across all year groups rated. These statements are all rated more highly than in 2010, with some of them improving significantly. Overall, the students’ rating for learning across these statements has improved 6%. They now rate it as very good. We have provided some graphs to show the change in perceptions, which is down to a lot of hard work by all students, staff, parents, carers and friends. The evidence of improvement over time shows how we are coming together as a learning community in support of our young people’s ambitions. The statements we test relate directly to how young people learn. Their feedback shows the impact of some things we have focused on improving for them. Teachers are working to continually improve learning from the perspective of the young people. The learning experience in the classroom is at the heart of how we help them to achieve.

Conclusion Our learners are now ore aware of their progress as learners. Developments in profiling and Building Learning Power have helped.






Clearer feedback to young people about how to improve their work, is probably the most important thing we have improved.

What has changed since 2010? Below we highlight three things that see to have improved since 2010. These are things that happen in classroom and the feedback they provided through the survey suggest that young people are benefiting from different approaches to learning and teaching being taken. Increasing the level of expectation of them is part of this improvement, but alongside that is the need to improve the quality of support that all teachers need to give them. As always, we continue to work on improving these things.

Three things that seem to have improved for all year groups are:

95% 90% 85% 80% 75% 70%

2010 S1

2013 S2





Teachers expect me to work to the best of my ability

The extent to which our curriculum provides a challenge for learners The way in which teachers provide positive reinforcement and praise for learners The feedback teachers give learners which can help them to improve their work Notably, our S1 and S2 students feel that there is a greater sense of challenge than three years ago. The S4 rating was slightly lower, which we will explore—especially since this information contradicts the feedback from parents.

100% 80% 60% 40% 2010

20% 0%

2013 S1





All year groups report an improvement in the feedback and praise from teachers.


Teachers tell me when I have done something well

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

2010 S1



2013 S4


My teachers are good at letting me know how my learning can be improved



Study Skills Evenings for S3/S4 Parents What are Study Skills Evenings? Study Skills Evenings are designed to build the learning power of students and to help their parents understand some of the principles of active revision. Parents are encouraged to attend the events along with their young people, so as to help them build a better understanding of how best to prepare for major assessments. We use the S4 briefing to launch our S4 Building Learning Power mentoring programme, explaining the principles of mentoring for young people. The S3 event is used to mark the beginning of the process of preparing for the transition to the senior phase of education and the course option process that will take place in advance of their S4 timetable beginning in June.

Mr Reid is joined by David Norvall, Caylum Matson, Rachel Millar, Christy Foster and Georgia Gifford. Along with Malcolm Law, they delivered the workshops on revision for parents and S3/S4 parents. The study skills night was to encourage S4 and S3 pupils to prepare productively their exams. We had three workshops in which parents and pupils took part. The first workshop was about distractions. This workshop was to show what kind of things that will put off your study, for example: mobile phones, technology and social activities. The second workshop was about active revision. This workshop was about ways to study. You must take regular breaks and rewards yourself. You must break the revision into sections and avoid spending a few hours on one subject which can be tiring and can stress you out needlessly. The final workshop was about creating a timetable. This helps pupils to have clear structure when studying but it can be challenging to do—-and even the parents were struggling as well! Malcolm Law 6D


Students Teaching the Parents! Christy Foster (S6) said, “I enjoyed the evening. I wasn’t nervous at all about leading a workshop. It will be of benefit to the people who came.”

Have a Plan Rachel Millar (S6) said, “It is good that parents can come in with their sons and daughters to get help and make a proper study plan.”

Studying is Important Malcolm Law (S6) said, “It is important for the students to revise and stick to the timetable if they want to get their qualifications at the end of the year.”

Take the Stress Out! Mr Reid (BLP Coordinator) said, “Having an organised approach can take the stress out of the pre-exams period. If you know what you are doing and have confidence in that, you feel a lot better.”

Why do we do this? There are three reasons why we run study skills evenings: 1. Our Parent Council asked us two years ago to run workshops for parents on how to study. The Study Skills Evenings are how we have planned to meet this request. 2. In our Building Learning Power surveys a number of our S3 and S4 students told us that they were not confident in certain areas of studying. While we have coordinated activities to address these issues in school, it is important that parents are aware of the kinds of issues young people can encounter in studying and how to help them 3. The main source of tension in many families prior to exams is the pressure that young people and their parents feel in preparing for examinations. Parents have anxieties about whether young people are studying effectively, or enough. Students worry about whether or not they are going about studying properly. By helping families understand these issues from different viewpoints, we can support everyone’s health and wellbeing in the run up to exams. 25

SQA Employability Programme for S4 Students SQA Employability Award: The Facts The Employability Award is an SQA programme of learning which leads to an additional award at National 3 or 4 level. This is to be done in addition to the six National Qualifications courses that young people undertake in S4. It is designed to meet the needs of a particular group of young people who are doing two or fewer National 5 courses and who, therefore, do not have many final exams to prepare for. We have been planning the programme of learning which will lead to the Employability Award for some months. Mr Lambrou is coordinating this programme. The programme aims to orientate young people towards their planned career and to help them reflect on the skills they will need for that career. It contains an important element of tailored work experience, which allows young people some opportunity to prepare themselves for the challenge of the career they intend to follow. This programme is an important part of our strategy to ensure that all young people have a positive destination from school. 26

Announcing a New Programme of Learning This session we are building a new programme of learning focused on generic employability skills, to enable young people to have a positive destination from school—either to college or directly into the job market. Those involved will develop skills and attitudes which will be applicable across all areas of employment.

Our Plan for May

SQA Employability Programme for May 2014

In May, during the National 5 examination period, the SQA Employability Award will be offered during a five week period from Monday 28th April to Friday 31st May. Young people themselves will be involved in planning this programme in order to ensure that it is relevant to them. This means that we will be delivering a meaningful programme of learning for them, during a period in which there are no scheduled classes and other students are on their study leave. A full range of issues related to preparing to enter the workplace will be explored, with people from industries relevant to the young people involved in planning the activities. There are a number of important incentives to young people to be involved in this award scheme. These are shown on the slide shown (left). Young people who take part will benefit from the energy of our teachers and a number of important new partnerships we are building with employers to deliver the programme.


Children’s University What is Children’s University Children’s University is an organisation which signposts you to exciting learning activities which take place outside the normal school day - it could be before school, during lunchtime, after school, during weekends or holidays etc. The activities are all voluntary, it is up to you to choose what you do and when, and the learning always has a link to something you could go on to do at a 'grown up' university. Children and young people between the ages of 7 and 14 can be involved. Many activities will be designed so that parents can go along with their young people to centres of learning like colleges and universities. This should open up new horizons for young people and help us to engage them in a dialogue about the future from a young age. More information is provided at the Children’s University website: http://


"Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand!" - Anon Oldmachar Academy has been given a fantastic opportunity to establish the Aberdeen centre for the Children’s University. This will allow us to restructure our extra-curricular provision internally for next session, which should result in more coherent information for parents and more comprehensive information for students. However, we are also going to be working with local partners to create new kinds of learning programmes of learning which will benefit young people in our own ASG schools, as well as others in the city and shire. We are particularly pleased as the initiative will create great leadership opportunities for our S1 and S2 students. Many of them have already signed up be part of the Children’s University Task Force, which Mr Jooty will coordinate. These young people will be able to get involved in designing what Children’s University will look like in Aberdeen.

Example Learning Programme: Further Education for 10 Year Olds An example of the kind of work we might be able to get involved in taking forward might be for our young people to design a Saturday morning programme of learning about further education, which can be delivered in a local college. Our young people would visit college sites and consider what would be of interest to their peers and younger children. This would lead to a Children’s University Learning Adventure Map being developed, which we would then ask the college to turn into a number of exciting activities, such are: Children’s University College Adventure Tour Visit to the music and film studio to see how it works An introduction to plumbing for 10—12 year olds * Please note, this example is merely an illustration of what might be possible—no programmes will be created until the young people have worked to create them.

Opportunities for Employers Employers might also be able to get involved. They could invite our Children’s University Task Force to visit their premises and create a Learning Adventure for other young people.

How does it work? In Children’s University, students are given a passport to complete. Out of hours learning can be counted, as long as it is actual learning and the organisation that provides the learning agrees to accredit it for the Children’s University. As you go along, you count up hours towards particular awards. At the end of the year there is a graduation ceremony, at which young people received Children’s University Awards. Awards are calculated based on the amount of hours of learning you put in: Bronze: 30 hours Silver: 65 hours Gold: 100 hours

This would allow a company to open up its doors to young people in a very different way and contribute to their education in the process. A company might learn a great deal about itself in the process and might even meet future employees in the process. Since this programme is for children between the ages of 7—14, this is an opportunity for mums and dads to help us out, by volunteering to invite us into their workplace to make up a learning adventure.


Youth Philanthropy Initiative XdysleX Many with dyslexia lack self esteem due to educational challenges and difficult experiences through their school years. At XdysleX, we aim to support them to gain confidence, and by coming along to our youth club (where their academic and processing abilities are not the focus), find out what their strengths are and be themselves without any judgement. We have discussed organising a camp for some time and the YPI money will go some way to making it more of a possibility. With the help of this YPI money, we hope to be able to put a training package together that will offer that possibility to other Dyslexia Scotland branches across Scotland. For a large charity, £3,000 might not have gone very far, but for our small local charity, it will help make a huge difference to many youths with dyslexia; helping them to appreciate their own worth, strengths and build self confidence that they will need to support them in life's challenges. Thank you again for organising the YPI event, it really does make a difference! Kind Regards, Susan Strachan XdysleX Youth Leader


XDyslex XDyslex is a charity run by volunteers, many of whom have dyslexia or have children affected by it. It holds monthly youth clubs for dyslexic children of all ages to go along to and just have fun. It acts as almost a safe area where they don’t have to be worried or embarrassed about their dyslexia. If given the right support dyslexia need not hold you back in life. Our aim for our presentation was to make it interactive and interesting. We tried to combine everyone’s skills. We chanted a cheer about dyslexia, played an interactive game with the audience and judges allowing them to experience what having dyslexia is like and also included a variety of music and video clips throughout. Overall we all found the experience of competing in YPI rewarding, as it allowed us to gain knowledge on dyslexia, develop our communication and presentation skills and gain an idea on the hard work that goes into volunteering at a charity. We know that the £3000 we won will make a tremendous difference to the charity. Taylor Legge, Emily Meldrum, Rebecca Anderson, Kimberley Tosh, Joanne Mitchell

How does YPI Work? In the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, young people compete to earn money for a charity of their choice. The Wood Family Trust provide £3000 for the winning team in each school to donate to the charity concerned. As part of this, the students in each group select a charity to research. Depending on how well the present a case for this charity to get the funding, they may be able to win the funding for them. Presentations are made to an expert panel of judges.

Beards for Bairns As part of our YPI project, we chose to research The Archie Foundation. When we went to Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital for our visit, we discovered that Archie was running a special fundraiser, Beards for Bairns. This meant that we had to approach as many male teachers as possible so that they could be sponsored to grow a beard. This was independent fundraising separate from the YPI competition. We are grateful to the following teachers currently sporting a beard for a month who supported this fundraiser: Mr Booth, Mr Brown, Mr Fogiel, Mr Lambrou, Mr Mann, Mr Paterson Sophie Gill, Megan Gill, Lauren Reid, Chloe Emslie

Students need to show how they have engaged with the charity and that they understand its mission to help others. Successful pitches often show how young people have tried hard to get to know what the charity is and what it does. They also tend to be able to get over to an audience the importance of the charity’s work. In this way, our young people show their philanthropic interest.


Spotlight on Learning: Enterprise Textiles As part of my textiles Enterprise programme I designed a baby’s dress targeted at new born babies to be worn during the Summer months. The product had to be light weight and safe for a young child to wear. I chose to design a child’s dress because I thought it would be a simple thing to sew for my first project however due to it being so small I found it challenging to complete. In this course I have learned many valuable techniques such as threading a machine and gathering and fitting processes. I am enjoying the course. Hannah Ross 5B


S5/6 Enterprise – Fashion and Textile Technology

Creatively we have progressed since the start of the year. Designing a bespoke cushion for the home has developed our crafting abilities. The cushions we designed have 1960’s influences reflecting our personal taste. We appreciate how you can apply your individuality to any format of textiles. We made a large decorative cushion for a bedroom. The target market for the project was women aged 16- 30 years of age and the unit was called: “Your Life is a patchwork Quilt” Louise Clark 6B & Stacey Dale 5E


Spotlight on Learning: Enterprise Textiles Our Young Enterprise business is called Linked Aberdeen. After much deliberation we decided our products would be wooden plaques with various quotes on them with the aim of inspiring people. We sold them at many local school fairs and parents nights. At the end of November we took part in our first judged fair at Inverurie. This fair really made us aware of the standard of the other businesses we were competing against and allowed us to see what we needed to improve on. Our final judged fair was at the start of December where we had a stall for a weekend at the Bon Accord Centre alongside the other schools. The week leading up to this was all go for the team. We advertised on our social networking sites and tried to perfect our stall. The thrill of selling and excitement of answering the judges’ questions was the highlight for many members. Our hectic weekend was all worth it when we received the ‘Best Product’ award at this event. All the sore feet were forgotten at this point. However the hard work does not end here for the Linked team. We now have a report to complete and hopefully we may progress further in the competition. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone on behalf of the team who has supported us and bought our products. Young Enterprise has been an amazing experience. It pushes you to become a stronger more confident person. I would encourage anyone to take part in this rewarding experience. Taylor Legge, Managing Director


S5/6 Enterprise – Fashion and Textile Technology

The Young Enterprise programme runs as an extra-curricular experience. It is an important opportunity for young people to learn important skills in entrepreneurship and creative team work. The students develop a project which leads them to learn about how enterprise work. Apart from the important skills they learn, they also gain valuable experiences that they would not have otherwise. The young people have to make a commitment to their project that spills over into Out of School Hours Learning—with weekends being set aside for parts of the project. The organisation of the group also helps the students to see how business works, with groups established to help them learn about specific roles, such as Managing Director.


Spotlight on Learning: Modern Languages My Pen Pal In our S2 French class we have been sending Christmas cards to our pen pals. My pen pal’s name is Maelle and she told me that she loved building snowmen and she liked making snow angels in the snow. At Christmas, she got lots of presents from her family and friends. She also hopes I had a very Merry Christmas like she did. I have enjoyed writing to Maelle even though I don’t know her she is a nice girl in my opinion. I hope I can keep writing to her. By Katrina Duncan 2D

French Pen Pal Project At the beginning of this session, I was delighted to find out that one of our ex-pupils, Jemma Wilson, had fulfilled one of her dreams of moving one day to Paris. She is now working as a language assistant in a French Secondary school called Emile Zola in Igny, a small town near Paris. Jemma asked me if I would be interesting in starting a project with her English lunch club. I thought that this would be a great opportunity for pupils in Oldmachar to put their language skills into practise and find out more about the life of French pupils. All my classes were very enthusiastic and we have now started to exchange information with Jemma’s pupils. Different classes are working on different projects. My S1 pupils have been sending Christmas cards and writing letters to introduce themselves. My S2 pupils have done similar activities but have also typed some information about our school and will be sending soon posters about their favourite films. I am also hoping to start something with my S4 pupils after their Prelims are over. Look out for more information in our next newsletter. Miss Cussac

Last term we received letters from some pupils in France. They wrote to our school because Jemma Wilson, a former pupil of Oldmachar is working at that school. They wrote to us in English and we tried our best to write back in French. We all got to practice writing in a different language. I got a letter from Lou who told me she is 11 and has 1 brother and 1 sister. She also told me her favourite animal is a wolf and in her free time she likes to go rock climbing and play handball. She asked lots of questions like where I live and how old I am. When I wrote back to her I tried hard to answer all of her questions in French. At Christmas time we received cards back from our pen pals. I feel that writing to someone from a different country is good for us to practice our French. Even though I haven’t met Lou it is good to talk to her and find out what her life in France is like. Sophie Coutts 2F


Response from France This is the response we received from the school in France.


S1 Football: Mid Season Review Mr Grieve and Mr Biggart

Season Review

This session we have re-established our S1 football team under the stewardship of Mr Biggart and Mr Grieve.

Firstly, Mr Grieve and I have been delighted by the commitment shown by the boys at the football club and the matches thus far. The results have been encouraging too: one draw, one loss and three wins catapulted Oldmachar Academy into joint second and thus securing a place in the top league.

This feature shows the team’s progress over the session, with a short article by Mr Biggart. The first year of re-establishing our football teams has been quite successful, with some notable results along the way.

Unfortunately, the top league hasn’t gone according to plan with narrow losses to Aberdeen Grammar and Harlaw Academy. However, Mr Grieve and I are confident that the boys will show resilience in the remaining fixtures and secure some vital points. Mr Biggart

We hope that as we go forward we can have more success. We also hope that everyone will come and support our teams. Prequalifying League Results Cults Academy 2-2 Oldmachar Academy Bucksburn Academy 7-4 Oldmachar Academy Bridge of Don Academy 1-2 Oldmachar Academy Walkover wins given for the fixtures against Torry Academy and Kincorth Academy as they were unable to fulfil the fixture

League A Results Oldmachar Academy 0-1 Aberdeen Grammar Oldmachar Academy 1-2 Harlaw Academy Upcoming Fixture Bucksburn Academy v Oldmachar Academy (Away to Bucksburn, kick-off: 9:15 am)


Response from France This is the response we received from the school in France.


University Visit for Biologists 3—D Show During the last term S2 and S3 Biology pupils were taken on a virtual tour of the human body by Dr Phil Lavery, from Aberdeen University Medical School. The 3-D show included introductions to micro-organisms and their role in the body and the main body systems. The state-of-the-art visualisation techniques used in the show are the same ones that are employed to teach medical students. Miss Butcher

What We Did Pupils were given voting pads (like the ones from “Who wants to be a millionaire?�) and were asked to vote on the numerous medical ethics questions that arose about controversial issues such as stem cell therapies, regenerative medicine, replacement organs and bio-mechanical augmentation. For some sessions Science Ambassadors from the Aberdeen University were on hand to answer questions and share information about their particular area of expertise. Local Primary schools also attended and were met by our own S6 student volunteers. The event aimed to make young people aware of the new technologies used in medicine and to make them think about the decisions that doctors and patients could face in the near future. And, if nothing else, to marvel at a 2 metre brain revolving in the air in front of their faces!


Opening Up Learning

Oldmachar Academy runs a number of extra-curricular trips and experiences which allow young people to benefit from different kinds of learning opportunities. This trip is an example of the kinds of things we do. In this case, we have developed a partnership with Aberdeen University to facilitate a unique experience for our young people. Perhaps our parents have ideas about how they could provide, through their workplace, similar kinds of exciting opportunities for the young people in our school. If they do, we ask them to get in touch, so that we can discuss possibilities.

Students at the university, learning about the human body through 3—D Imaging Techniques. 41


Park and Stride

14th February: In-service Day

Parents are reminded that they

17th February: Spring Holiday

should not bring cars into the school

18th February: In-service Day 19th February: S4 Parents’ Evening

car park in the mornings before school. If all of our parents were to do this, we would have a gridlock situation. Parents can use our Park and

25th February: S5/S6 Parents’

Stride scheme, which allows them to


use the car park of the health centre as a drop off point.

School Uniform Parents are asked to ensure all students arriving at school comply with school uniform regulations for the particular year group. 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.


Prelim Exaninations


Parents are advised that prelim examinations arrangements are as follows:

We ask parents to remind their young people that they should not drop litter in the local community. This a problem at lunch time in particular, when pupils are not under

Friday 31st January

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 created by several hundred Oldmachar Academy students can be a problem for residents.

All parents are asked to bear in mind the importance of monitoring the punctuality of students arriving at

S4: Monday 27th January—

Rag Bag Collection

school in the morning and after lunch.

The deadline for delivering bags to school will at the end of Febuary. Oldmachar Academy Jesmond Drive Bridge of Dnn Aberdeen AB22 8UR Phone: 01224 820 887

Lateness causes disruption to the

S5/6: Friday 31st January—

learning of other students and can

Wednesday 12th February

lead to consequences for students.

Please contact us at:

In cases of persistent lateness the Home School Liaison Officer is involved.

Please visit our school website at:

Oldmachar Magazine: January 2014  

Events in Oldmachar Academy in the period up to the end of January 2014