Planning Your Senior Phase of Education
Inside this magazine Describing the Senior Phase
S4 Curriculum and Achievements
S5 Curriculum and Achievements
S6 Curriculum and Achievements
Special Features Read about Personal Development Building Learning Power SQA Leadership Awards
In the senior phase of education, young people work towards qualifications and awards, which in turn help them to plan and achieve positive destinations from school. Their pathways are towards employment, further and higher education. Young people need to be thinking about different ways to progress.
Our Aim for Learners Oldmachar Academy takes seriously its responsibilities to support all our young people in planning a positive destination from school. Our planning for the senior phase of education in Curriculum for Excellence is based on this idea. This leaflet contains information about the senior phase of education and what young people can expect at each stage of it. It should help them to make decisions about options available to them and understand the relationship between the curriculum we have planned for them and other support mechanisms that are available to help them to achieve and have their achievements recognized. The leaflet should be seen in the context of other information about the senior phase which is set out in a related series of leaflets. These are:
Planning Positive Destinations from School Describing Learner Pathways through the Senior Phase of Education Clue Yourself Up (Future Mentoring Scheme)
Describing the Senior Phase of Education The Senior Phase of Education covers the years S4â€”S6 in Scotland. Obviously, not all students stay on to complete the entire senior phase, so it is important that any planning done in school provides young people with clear pathways, but also flexibility to exit school at the moment which is most suitable to them. Out curriculum plan, which is described below, allows this. In the senior phase, young people study curricular subjects towards SQA qualifications. In addition to the number of subjects, the school has planned supports and programmes of achievement to add to the young peopleâ€™s experiences and qualifications, so that they have the kinds of experiences which prepare them for the destination they aspire to have on leaving us. Employability skills and leadership opportunities feature prominently in our planning and we are building a number of important partnerships to help young people achieve. Overall, our plan works towards the objective of ensuring that all young people become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.
Our Curriculum Map structures the pathways for young people. In S4 learners study six curricular subjects, each of which are allocated four periods of study. There are two periods of Physical Education, one periods of Religious and Moral Education, one period of Study and two periods of Senior Phase Entitlements, which are described inside. In S5 young people follow a curriculum of five curricular subjects, which are allocated five periods of contact. In addition, there are two periods of accredited Enterprise activities, two periods of Sporting Activity (Get Fit for the Weekend) and a period of study, which also allows an experience in RME. In S6, young people have four subjects of study, supplemented by the SQA Leadership programme, a programme of learning towards Positive Destinations and a unit of study, which allows experience of RME.
This is all supplemented by learning about Health and Wellbeing, profiling and our Global Issues programme.
Describing Pathways Underneath our curriculum map sits a plan for learner pathways through the senior phase, which is shown in the graphic (left). In set activities which are described in this leaflet, students work to orientate themselves in relation to these pathways. It is important to stress that the pathways are not mutually exclusive and that the young people are encouraged to consider alternative plans in each of them. You can never be too clued up about your future and young people can benefit from reflecting on different possibilities that there might be for them. In fact, the message of the school goes further: take control of your life; take control of your learningâ€”itâ€™s your future. To support this message, Oldmachar Academy provides a range of opportunities throughout its senior phase for young people to learn.
S4 Curriculum In S4 learners undertake six curricular subjects, which must include English and Maths. Therefore, they can choose four subjects from their S3 curriculum to take forward to S4. It is really important that students choose things that they are good at and which will open up the pathways that they are most interested in. In addition to the six subjects, students also gain awards in Literacy and Numeracy. However, it is also important that the school is open to the possibility of young people changing direction at different points. The work we do in planning a seamless transition to S4 is painstaking. It begins with a briefing to parents and a separate one to students about course options. Then, Guidance colleagues discuss options with young people as we build our curriculum plan for the forthcoming year. We aim to make sure that everyone feels that they have had a curriculum planned to meet their needs. The school offers a wide range of options in S4 at National 3â€”5 levels. Included in this is a number of Skills for Work courses, which are delivered in partnership with employers. Some of these courses are delivered at Aberdeen College.
Student Parliament Our Student Parliament reviews our curricular provision annually and helps the school pan future developments. The parliament involves all students in the year and meets once per term with Mr Brown. The curriculum we have designed for our students has been heavily influenced by the views of our students who have experienced the programmes. This session the parliament has focused on ensuring that we promote ambition in all of our young people. The students agreed a set of values which have become school policy.
Planning Options for S4 Most young people are advised to keep their options as open as possible for as long as possible. This means trying to maintain as much breadth in their choices as they can. Generally, undertaking learning in sciences, social subjects, the arts and languages is a good thing, although some young people may prefer to narrow their focus towards a particular area. Students are advised not to do four subjects from the same curriculum area, as this can become too restrictive later. Choosing a Skills for Work programme can be a useful option if you plan to leave school and enter a particular job, which relates to one of our Skills for Work courses. Most importantly, you need to be happy when you finally settle on your options. You need to feel that the subjects are relevant to you.
SQA Personal Development Award An Integral Part of the S4 Plan All students work towards the S4 Personal Development Award. It is a mechanism by which we structure the S4 year. The year begins with a week of induction activities (late May), in which students complete their S3 profile and build their Senior Phase Plan. The centre piece of this week is a Careers Fair, two which parents are invited. Students identify three jobs they are most interested in and select an area of career interest. At the end of June, students go on a week of Work Awareness with an employer in the industry or career area that they have identified. This week becomes an important element in the Personal Development Award. Throughout S4, a programme of Senior Phase Entitlements runs for two hours per week, in which Skills for Learning, Life and Work are developed. Employers support the delivery of this programme. In addition, through the Clue Yourself Up Scheme, we hope to go give all S4 students a Future Mentor from the world of employment. The mentor and the student will be paired up based on the studentâ€™s interests. We also hope that this scheme will provide additional work experience for the young people.
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.”
Tailored Work Experience As a result of the preliminary programmes we have run, we now know what our young people wish to do for the two weeks of work experience, which is at the heart of the Employability award programme we have designed for them. Students have identified areas of career interest, which we will satisfy during this programme, by providing a work placement in that career area. In the five week programme, we will build in time for the young people to evaluate their work and to ensure that they learn from the experiences they have. 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.”
There will be a focus on the process of applying for jobs and ensuring that the young people understand how best to sell themselves to future employers. We are building a number of key partnerships to ensure that this programme is relevant and challenging to the young people and that they gain from it. Most importantly, we want the young people in this group to know that we are investing in their futures and that we want to make sure that when they leave us they go on to do something they want to do.
Cassie Fraser 11
Skills for Work Courses
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 doâ€”-and even the parents were struggling as well!
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. 15
S5 Curriculum In S5 learners undertake five curricular subjects, which for most students includes English and Maths. It is recommended that students continue on from subjects they studied in S4, as this continuity is important in ensuring successful progression routes. Subjects studied at Higher level are particularly important in relation to planning applications to university and college. Students need to think carefully about the entry requirement tariffs for such courses and also seek information from universities regarding whether or not the going rate for entry has been different to the published entry requirements in recent times. The courses in S5 are challenging and students can experience a jump in level, which can be demanding for them. Students must prepare for success by applying themselves fully from day one. Good study habits are really important, as students will testify. In addition to the curricular subjects, we also have a number of Enterprise programmes, which are included in our curriculum, so that young people benefit from them.
Student Parliament The Student Parliament for S5 this session worked on developing advice for students about successful preparation for examinations. A series of posters has been developed and information about these has featured in the schoolâ€™s monthly magazine. Students reflect on the importance of good organisation, which is an important part of maintaining your health and wellbeing, whilst negotiating challenging programmes of learning and preparation for very demanding examinations. The message is: if you want to be successful, learn to manage a busy life.
Planning Options for S5 This session, in response to feedback from our S5 student parliament, we have revised much of the information we use to inform young people about the course options available to them. It is important to us that students have relevant information that they value. We reflected on this and made a change. The students in S5 wrote a magazine for their counterparts in S4, explaining the nature of S5, the options process and what Higher courses are like. We hope that the S4 students find this useful. In addition to this information, we are providing more technical information about new Higher courses at a later date, when we are sure that the students are ready to process the information.
How We Plan Options for S5 in Oldmachar 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?
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.
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!
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!
The Studentsâ€™ 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
S5 Enterprise Programmes Textiles As part of my textiles Enterprise programme I designed a babyâ€™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 childâ€™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
S5: Enterprise Programmes 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 â€“ 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 Learningâ€”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.
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.
S6 Curriculum In S6 we create space in our curriculum for students to specialise in areas of importance to them. Deeper study at Advanced Higher is one example. Consequently, we stipulate that young people should undertake four academic courses in S6, and can reduce this to three if they are following three Advanced Highers or a Baccalaureate programme, since this will involve significant amounts of individual study. However, some students require to undertake a programme of five academic courses due to their circumstances. Guidance colleagues engage in a detailed conversation about these options as part of the planning process. The periods in the week which are not allocated to courses are set aside for other types of learning, such as community involvement and leadership activities. We expect our S6 students to play a leading role in the school and to be a means of supporting younger learners in classes and in our support base. Some young people engage in support activities at local primaries and special schools.
Student Parliament Our S6 Student Parliament focused on the ways in which the school ensures that all young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens. They reflected on planned activities and the kinds of achievements that our learners work towards. They made a list of these things, which the school will use for self-evaluation purposes. The students also gave advice on planning future developments to our learning programmes for S6.
Planning Options for S6 S6 is not for everyone. You should only really consider an S6 year if you are prepared to sign up for what is involved. Most importantly, unless you have a relevant and challenging academic programme, it will most likely prove to be an unsuccessful experience. Mrs Stopani meets all S6 students prior to the year beginning to ensure that they have a clear project plan for the year, which incorporates academic courses and also significant personal challenge. Consideration should be given to studying a Baccalaureate project, or a Skills for Work programme, as these can help young people tailor their experiences towards a particular route.
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. 32
My next stage is to hand the leaflet to S6 students and get feedback on it. I also plan to consult parents at parentsâ€™ 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 sameâ€”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.
S6 Leadership Programmes
In the following pages we describe some of the leadership projects that our S6 students undertake. All S6 students work towards the SQA Leadership award, which has two components:
Introduction to Leadership Leadership in Practice This programme allows young people to develop important skills in a practical way and to prepare themselves to lead in future situations. Students agree to undertake certain projects on behalf of the school and work collaboratively to deliver them, dealing with all the issues involved in planning and realizing them. The projects we highlight here are actual things that the young people have delivered, each of which had a positive impact on other people. 36
Training Leaders for Next Year S6 students undertook two days of leadership development activities in preparation for the important role that they will have in the school next session. Students researched leaders they admired and completed the first of the two Units involved in the SQA Leadership Award. They also investigated leadership styles and behaviours.
Reflection and Planning In addition, students underwent a Myers Briggs personality profiling exercise to help them reflect on their own behaviour preferences and the impact that these might have on others. Finally, there was extended discussion of how to manage projects successfully from conception to closure. This work will underpin all of the planning of projects that the group will deliver next session.
S6 Team Building
“We really enjoyed the chance to work together and have fun. It will help us to bond as a team in future.” Christy Foster (Event Organiser) Mains of Scotstown “Thanks to Martin Young, Proprietor of Mains of Scotstown for laying on a barbecue lunch for everyone. Martin has been a staunch supporter of the school over the past few years and we appreciate his efforts on behalf of the young people.”
The Team Building Day Our S6 students recently spent a day at Balgownie Playing Fields. We hired a number of inflatables for the day and laid on a barbecue. The students organised the day themselves. A number of personal and team challenges were built in to the day. The pictures here show the students enjoying themselves. The quotes provided show the positive response to the young people.
Inflatables Challenge at Balgownie Playing Fields
Caylum Matson “The team building day was a day of fun team building activities which the whole of S6 participated in. It was a great day in which the whole day communicated with each other.”
Cameron Inglis “The day was buzzing. There were loads of activities to keep you busy for the day. It was interesting working with other people that you don’t normally speak to.”
“I would definitely do this again!!!” Cameron Inglis
“It was a very enjoyable day—it was good to get everyone speaking and getting along. The activities were exciting and fun. I would, for sure do something similar again. It was a very worthwhile experience overall.”
Hope Wilson (6A)
Primary 7 Curriculum Day
“During the Primary 7 visit, the sixth years volunteered to show the P7 students the varying subjects which take place in the school. I took students to Biology and Music—they also went to the library and Maths. By allowing the primary 7s to interact with children from different schools, teachers and students of Oldmachar Academy helped them get used to the idea of coming into S1. This in turn builds a strong connection with the P7 students and Oldmachar Academy, making the transitions from primary to secondary an easier process. It was good fun to do.”
Building Links with Primaries Last session we built a comprehensive programme of curricular transitions with our associated group of primary schools. This was done to improve the community links between Oldmachar Academy and the different schools. It was also to ensure that teachers worked together across the sectors to learn about each others’ practice. The programme also created leadership opportunities for our students. These students in S6 take a great deal of responsibility for managing the transitions days and for ensuring that the P7 students have a great experience. In these pages, there are images from the day. You can see the interaction between the students.
Caylum Matson The P7s came to Oldmachar Academy to experience the curriculum of the school, and also the school as a whole. They were taken around by many S6 students who volunteered and they took them to many different classes, such as Music and Maths. Also, half of them did a team building game, called The Trading Game. This tested their ability in Maths, Problem Solving and also communication with students from different schools. They worked in teams to trade as countries of the world with each otherâ€”learning about Fair Trade in the process. This was a huge success and an important experience for both P7 and S6 students. It gave the S6 students an opportunity to organize an event and develop our leadership skills in different ways.
Referendum Question Time Event Question
Will you be eligible to vote in the election?
Do you have a clear idea at this stage of how you will / would vote next
Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?
The results of the poll we did on the day of the debate with S4—S6 students voting in a mock election. These results were shared with candidates at the start of the debate. “Both during and after the debate the pupils questions, comments and behaviour were first class and are a credit to the school. The opportunity for young people to engage with both sides of the debate and ask questions is a major part of this process, particularly given it is the first opportunity for 16 and 17 year olds to vote.” Callum McCaig (Yes Scotland) 42
Our Referendum Project Leadership team pictured with speakers after the event
“I think it is a fantastic way of engaging students, not only in the road to the referendum but, in democracy and citizenship.
The panel debates the issues at stake.
Political Literacy at Oldmachar On Wednesday 18th September the school hosted a referendum question time event in the common room to inform S4-S6 pupils of the upcoming referendum on Scottish Independence. Representative for the Yes Scotland campaign, SNP councillor Callum McCaig, and representative for the Better Together campaign, Conservative councillor Ross Thomson attended the event. Henry Hepburn, a journalist who is a former pupil of the school, chaired. Each representative had a university student who supported their views with them to reinforce their arguments. Hepburn asked the representatives questions which pupils had contributed to him and it was so successful that the event ran over time. The audience were able to ask questions at any time as well which helped contribute to the event as a whole. Pupils were also able to stay behind after the event to speak to the representative oneon-one if their questions had not been answered.
Politicos and pundits always talk about declining turnout at elections, by engaging with people when they are younger and still studying it helps enhance their understanding of the whole democratic process and the value of playing their role as a responsible citizen. I hope that more events such as this can help raise awareness and understanding and in the longterm help improve turnout at election time. The pupils I spoke with afterwards were engaged, articulate and intelligent, I was genuinely very impressed.” Ross Thomson (Better Together)
Mr Brown introduced the event and helped four 6th year students—Rebecca Anderson, Scott Hendry, Ryan Taylor and Shannon Hadden—organised the event. They were very much pleased with the outcome. and are planning another event in six months’ time to mark the six months before the referendum on Scottish independence to inform the students even further. They hope this will give pupils a full understanding of the referendum in an aim to develop the political literacy of young people, which is something the September event managed to achieve for the pupils who attended.
Shannon Hadden (S6)
Film in Education Project Giving Pupils a Voice in Education We were approached by Scottish film producer, Beatrix Alexander about doing a film project.
The idea is to help young people learn to tell their stories through the medium of documentary film making.
Beatrix has worked with a number of students in S6 since the start of session. Every Monday they meet to plan, shoot and edit the films.
What students have learned about Students have learned about all aspects of production and have worked in pro-
Thanks to Beatrix for supporting
ject teams, so as to have the experience of making films in a way that repli-
our students and for providing
cates the conditions in the film and television industry. This is a work experi-
them with this important oppor-
ence project as well as a Student Voice project.
In the future, we plan to give more students the chance to make films about their experiences in school and to build up a library of films about our school.
Pictured right are four members of the group: Jason Donald, Leonard Atorough, Lauren McNaught and Hannah Gough (all S6).
The students involved in the project are: Ebony Diack, Leonard Atorough, Jason Donald, Lauren McNaught, Emily Reid and Hannah Gough.
Emily Reid and Hannah Gough
Our film has S1 students speaking about their experience of coming to Oldmachar Academy. It also has teachers describing the process that we go through to help new S1 students settle in.
We made a film that focused on the support that S6 students provide for the new S1. We had lots of film of the S6 students explaining what they did to help.
In our team we had me, Leonard Atorough and Jason Donald. We worked well as a team.
Our team had us in it and also Lauren McNaught. We decided together what things we needed to include.
Leonard Atorough We call the Film in Education Project Film Club. It has been running since the start of the year. There are six of us involved and we have worked in two teams. Each team has made a short film.
We made films about first year pupils settling in to Oldmachar Academy. The pictures shown here are from our film.
We had a lot of challenges to overcome in making the film. We lost some of our footage and had to start again.
But we learned a lot about making films and how to put them together technically.
We showed the films to parents at the S1 Parentsâ€™ Evening. They seemed to like them.
World Challenge After nearly a whole year of planning and fundraising our journey had finally begun on the 8th June! 24 hours of travelling later and the group had made it to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We were all extremely tired but it didnâ€™t stop us taking in the first moments in the busy city. We couldnâ€™t enjoy it for long though as our first tasks were to find accommodation for 24 people, exchange money to the local currency and arrange transport for the days ahead! The pupils were responsible for all decisions that were made throughout the expedition. Our first stop was to the Cameron Highlands where we were to embark on four days trekking in the Malaysian jungle. For four days the group struggled up the jungle terrain, however making it to the top of a mountain during day three was a mutual favourite of the whole trip. The tough treks seemed worth it after that! Another highlight for many in the group was how our first week ended; white water rafting! Flowing down the river while working as a team with close friends was a frightening but unbelievable experience! The second week of our expedition was undertaking our project at a disabled home for all ages.
Residents had wide-ranging disabilities from downs syndrome to the inability to move their legs. Many were severely disabled and unable to respond to any attention the group were providing. We had brought simple things such as colouring pencils and soft toys which the residents were grateful to receive.
Our days were spent drawing pictures and occupying the residents which many of us found quite challenging to begin with, however it got much easier as the week went on. After an emotional project phase the group were able to enjoy a couple of days resting and relaxing in the city.
We managed to visit the Batu Caves, see the sights on a hop-on-hop-off bus and go up the worlds largest twin towers; The Petronas Towers. Our final meal as a group was spent at the top of the KL Tower in the revolving restaurant which we would all say was a wonderful well-deserved treat! The expedition by far was life-changing for all that took part.
We had all realised that the littlest things like cold water and a decent shower was something we had taken for granted! We all certainly realised how lucky we were and without a doubt would not hesitate to participate in another World Challenge.
Diana Award Winners Congratulations to all of our Award Winners Every year we submit the names of S6 students whom we think have achieved highly in community volunteering activities. This year we had seventeen award winners, which is a record. This is partly due to the increased opportunities open to students in the senior school to undertake leadership roles.
In November we staged an Award Ceremony in school to present the successful students with their awards. Pictured above are people attending the event, which was held in the Oldmachar Academy staffroom. Mr Brown presented awards to all of the young people who are shown here.
Pictured on this page are the members of the Senior Student Leadership Team (2011 – 2012). They are: Katie Milne, Kris Mavor, Gaynor Lawrence, Iain Scott and Alan Simpson. This team worked closely with the Senior Management Team on behalf of the school to ensure that students’ voices were heard in the school. They also organised Parents’ Evenings, Charities Events and other major projects. We are proud of all of the students and are sure that they will all go on to be successful.
The Senior Student Leadership Team (2011 – 2012) with Mr Brown Hannah Pirie also won an award but was unable to
Congratulations to the E-Sports Committee Pictured to the right are members of the E-Sports Committee. This group developed and ran a programme of extracurricular activities throughout last session, often raising money for charities. The boys involved showed a lot of leadership, excellent teamwork and a real commitment to bringing together the gamers of the student community. Some members of the group were unable to attend. We thank them as well. In particular, the Children in Need Dance-a-thon, which involved teachers and students in competition was one of the highlights of last year. Pictured above we have Conor Smith, Scott McEwan, Thomas Hyland, Carson Cheung, Ali and Ahmad Baker. Well done to the boys on their Award.
Congratulations Lewis Parley Special mention has to go to Lewis Parley who won a special category of Diana Award. This award was in the Diana Champion Volunteer category and is a new award. Lewis very much deserves this award for his commitment to Eco-Schools throughout his five years in Oldmachar Academy. He coordinated projects in recycling and led a team of volunteers to do so. He also designed and manufactured a sign for the school’s Bike Shed. He was instrumental in the school being awarded an Eco Schools Green Flag. He made a noteworthy contribution to Northsound’s Cash for Kids project. We feel this award recognises Lewis’s entrepreneurial flair and his dedication to help others. Well done Lewis!
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