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Preston Lodge High School 7 February 2013

February Newsletter

Page 1 Issue 4

Inside this issue:



School Updates


Learning at PL – Mindsets


House Update


Learning In and Out of School


Dates for your Diary


Our 2013 Burns Supper Top Table

Dear Parent/Carer Welcome to our first newsletter of 2013, and a very Happy New Year to all of our families. Anyone who has been following our website will be aware that we have now made two important decisions about our Senior Phase (S4-6) curriculum for next session. Full details of these decisions can be found on page 3. This newsletter also provides an important update on the work that we are currently doing around mindsets. Please do take this opportunity to update yourself about that work and if your child is currently in S1, 2 or 3 do also take the opportunity to talk about mindsets with them. They should now be capable of discussing their own mindset with greater insight. Over the course of 2013 we very much hope to use an increased focus on mindsets to develop student engagement with our five key Aims and Values. Working together our whole school community can ensure that we focus on learning, achievement, respect, community, and happiness. I look forward to that work and, as ever, to meeting many of you at our wide range of school events. Yours faithfully Gavin Clark Head Teacher


Stage 3 2009�2012

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School Updates Staffing Update This term we welcome Elaine Cargill into our Science faculty as a Physics teacher. Elaine will provide maternity cover for Rebecca Pique. We also welcome Richard Bueckardt into Technologies as a part-time CDT teacher. However, this term we say goodbye to Jacquie Grocott who has been teaching Biology in Science and to Kat Hayes, one of our classroom assistants. Michelle Williams also leaves our office team. Many thanks to all three of these staff and we wish you all the very best in your future careers. In our Health and Wellbeing faculty we welcome Clare Scott to the team as a Home Economics teacher and we also welcome back Mhairi Beattie. We are delighted that Heather Archibald is joining our Science team and Bruce Dalzell is joining our Technologies team as long term supply cover. PL Burns Supper Preston Lodge High School hosted its annual Burns Supper on Thursday 24 January. Over a hundred people – members of the local community, parents, teachers and Sixth Year pupils - packed out the hall to celebrate the life of the gregarious, romantic and sharp-tongued Ayrshire bard Robert Burns. As well as fantastic food prepared by Amanda, Elaine and Pam in the kitchen, there were some brilliant performances. Scott Naylor, one of our Deputy Head Boys, started proceedings with a rendition of the very fitting poem ‘A Bottle and a Friend’. All the Senior Team performed on the night – Anna Wright recited ‘John Anderson, My Jo’, Lauren Edmond ‘To a Mouse’, and Paul Smith gave a fine Selkirk Grace (no need for a microphone for Paul!). Our Head Boy, Jamie Halvorson, gave a witty and memorable Toast to the Lassies and Head Girl, Rebecca Muir, responded with no less wit in her reply. All six did themselves and the Sixth Year proud. The musical performances were outstanding. Jan McClean, teacher of physics during the day but lover of all things musical by night, proved once again that science and the arts do mix; she gave a lovely rendition of ‘Lady Mary Ann’. Ana Filogonio, all the way from Brazil and attending only her second Burns Supper, raised the roof with her beautiful interpretation of ‘A Red, Red Rose’. Quite

what Ana makes of this strange Scots race which celebrates a dish made largely of oatmeal, offal and sheep’s blood encased in the lining of a sheep’s stomach, is anyone’s guess! Margaret MacFarlane, Prestonpans born and bred, accompanied by Gordon Reynolds, gave a very moving rendition of ‘Ae Fond Kiss’. PL teachers – Gareth Evans, Chris Bishop, Gail Lugton and Stuart Wilson – played a great selection of ceilidh dances to end the night. No Burns Supper is complete, of course, without the two main events: The Address to a Haggis and The Immortal Memory. Finlay Lockie of Northfield House took the knife to the haggis in a very entertaining and funny ‘Address to a Haggis’. Clare Boothman in S4 did a great job of piping in The Chieftain. Jean Thomson, a retired speech therapist, former pupil and well-known Burns aficionado, gave an enlightening Immortal Memory which was just perfect for her mixed audience of members of the community, teachers and Sixth Year students. Our two main performers certainly didn’t disappoint and their performances were truly memorable. From the pupil servers (delighted to make a few quid from well-deserved tips!) to the terrific performers and appreciative audience, it was, all in all, a great evening and wonderful display, once again, of the best that Preston Lodge and its local community has to offer. Jan Ainslie

French project

Finlay Lockie addressing the Haagis

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Kirsten McCann 1B1 put a little extra into her project on La Francophonie. Sticking with France as her choice of country, Kirsten baked a cake with a lovely French theme. With lashings of Nutella, her classmates were give a real treat when she shared the cake amongst us all. Miam! Miam! J Fitzpatrick

now will allow students to use their mobile phones briefly during period three each Friday. Do have a look at #pupilfriday if you are interested about finding our more about what our students have to say about their learning. The tweets are growing and growing each week and provide a really interesting snapshot of student perceptions of learning in our school. Our Senior Phase Curriculum Many thanks to all parents who contacted us to express opinions around two key questions that we posed around our Senior Phase Curriculum. We have now concluded the parental consultation and have considered evidence from staff, students and parents in deciding on the following:

‘ La Francophonie’ project

Timetable Change We recently consulted all staff on whether or not we should retain an August timetable change. We also discussed this issue with our Parent Council. Last year staff were almost unanimously in favour of an August timetable change. This year, there has been much more debate about an August timetable change, but we have now concluded that we will stick with an August change for 2013. We think that this will allow our new S3 programme to properly establish itself and better prepare our students for the rigours of S4. #pupilfriday We recently received a student proposal for S5 and S6 students to be able to Tweet about their week’s learning in class on a Friday. Following a very impressive presentation by Jamie Halvorson to our Extended Management Team, we agreed that we would support this interesting and innovative initiative. Students have been given clear guidelines about how to handle this new responsibility and teachers

In session 2013/14 all S4 students will be able to sit up to 6 qualifications at National 3/4 or 5 level. Student and parental information events planned for February and March will provide a wide range of opportunities to discuss the reasons for and implications of this decision. A letter will be forwarded to all parents of S3 students prior to the February break outlining in some detail why we believe this decision is in the interest of all young people at Preston Lodge. Where relevant, S5 and S6 students will sit National 4 and 5 qualifications in 2013/14 rather than Intermediate 1 or 2 qualifications. Highers and Advanced Highers will remain unchanged next academic session. A separate letter will be forwarded to all parents of S4/5 students outlining why we believe this decision is in the best interest of all affected students. Parental feedback, both through our Parent Council and our recent consultation has been very valuable in helping us to reach this decision. We look forward to continuing the conversation over the coming months

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Learning at PL Mindsets A new year brings new challenges and opportunities. Some of us face them by setting ourselves resolutions; targets for the year ahead; motivation to do something new or differently. For some, these resolutions are fulfilled and the change becomes embedded into everyday life. For many however, the change is fleeting and by the end of January, we are back to the same old habits and routines. At PL this session, we’ve been dipping our toes into the waters of Mindsets: a simple idea put forward by psychologist Carol Dweck over decades of research into achievement and success. It suggests that there are two basic mindsets; In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have these qualities. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.


During the January In-service day, all staff spent time looking at mindsets and how we could use it to boost motivation in ourselves and our learners. We looked at four aspects of a motivational framework to support mindsets; goals, responses, effort and strategies. The key differences are summarised on the next page.

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Fixed Mindset

Growth Mindset

Goals: performance

Goals: learning

Those with a fixed mindset tend to create performance goals.

Those with a growth mindset tend to create learning goals.

They believe that a person’s potential can be measured. They aim to receive validation from others. Receiving low marks mean that they are not smart. Both success and failure cause anxiety.

The goal is mastery, confidence and competence. Scores and marks reflect how people are doing now and do not measure a person’s potential. Creating goals for learning has shown to increase performance and enjoyment and decrease negative emotion.

Response: helpless

Response: mastery

When faced with failure or challenge, people with a fixed mindset:

When faced with failure or challenge, people with a growth mindset:

do not pay attention to learning information get depressed, become de-energised and lose self-esteem put themselves down - “I’m stupid”, “I’m not good enough”, “I cannae dae it…” under-represent past successes and overrepresent failures (pessimism) explain the cause of events as something stable about them.

pay attention to learning information, and so do better on future tests. focus on what they are learning, rather than focusing on how they feel. try out new ways of doing things. use self-motivating statements such as “the harder it gets the harder I try”. when faced with tests which are impossible to pass will factor in other reasons and not blame their intellect eg ‘this test was beyond my ability for now.’



Those with a fixed mindset view effort as a reflection of low intelligence.

Those with a growth mindset see effort as a necessary part of success.

Hard work means “I don’t get it”, “I’m unintelligent” Effort = lack of ability

They try harder when faced with a setback. Effort = success. They use effort to overcome difficulty.

Strategies: fixed mindset

Strategies: growth mindset

Carol Dweck has found that people with a fixed mindset keep using the wrong strategy when faced with a problem. Then they disengage from the problem. Finally, they give up.

People adopting a growth mindset tend to generate other, and new, ways to do things. If one route doesn’t work they will try others. They will think ‘outside of the box’ to solve problems because they believe that they ‘can’.

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We are all very sensitive to the messages we receive about ourselves. The way we interact with others can foster either a growth or a fixed mindset. People will reflect the mindset they see modelled to them so we should all praise for effort rather than for ability. It encourages people to adopt a growth mindset and encourages them to create learning goals and display a mastery response when faced with setback. This increases motivation and success.


A small group of staff and several interested individuals are looking at how sharing such information on Mindsets could impact on learner motivation, confidence and independence within PL and we hope to share our finding with the wider PL community in June. In the meantime, the key points to take away are; a growth mindset helps people to be motivated and to succeed; a growth mindset can be learnt; we can foster a growth mindset in others by the type of feedback we give and by teaching them about the brain’s huge potential; role models give children evidence of the growth mindset in action. If you are interested in finding out more, go to the Centre for Confidence and Well-being website, and click on the Mindset link. Jeni Allan, PT Classroom Practice

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House Update

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smoothie (the most delicious the judges had tasted). It was an exceptionally close contest, and all entries were highly praised for their imagination and enthusiasm. There was also a prize for the best support from an S3 pupil; which was won by Rachel Cuthbert.

House Blind Date In recognition of Valentine’s Day, the House Captains also intend to present their own version of Blind Date during the month of February. Unfortunately, the big day lands whilst we are all on Half Term holiday but this is not proving to be a deterrent and information about this event will be distributed to registration classes in due course. A video trailer to promote the event is being filmed as we write – watch out for it in registration and on the school website! Jillian Binnie

Learning In and Out of School

This is the second year of the competition at Preston Lodge; hopefully it will become an annual event. Our thanks to East Lothian Council for their support with the prizes and to all schools for their National Farmhouse Breakfast Week - Preston involvement. Lodge Cluster Competition Battlefields Reunion with Dalry High School Wednesday 30th January saw pupils from Prestonpans, St Gabriel’s, Prestonpans Infants, In late November, a party of Preston Lodge Cockenzie & Longniddry schools represented in veterans made a reunion visit to Dalry High School the final ‘ Breakfast Cook – Off’ held in the Home in Dumfriesshire to be reunited with the friends they Economics department of Preston Lodge. Each made last summer on the joint trip between the two school held a competition to ‘Design a healthy schools to Belgium and France. breakfast recipe to serve two people’. Mr Bishop kindly offered to drive the Preston Lodge The pupil’s came with their winning design to make contingent down to Dalry in the school minibus on a in front of the judges – Mrs Elizabeth McDougal dreadfully dreich day – though we were met by a (Chair of Lothian RHET - & Ms Shamin Akhtar ray of sunshine as soon as we arrived. Teachers (East Lothian Councillor and Chair of the Council’s Paul Bannister and Sheila Nelson met us at the Education Committee), they were ably assisted by front door with their Head Teacher, Mr Simpson, S3 pupils on the day. The Judges found it a very and welcomed our pupils by providing much difficult process as they were observing not only appreciated refreshments and something to eat the dishes developing, but also how the pupils after a long journey. A tour of this small, rural worked as a team and supported each other school followed with our contingent astonished by throughout. A wonderful opportunity for all the small scale of everything they came into contact involved, inspired by the national campaign to with. The stories they had heard from their Dalry encourage everyone to recognise the importance Pals about how tiny their school was were very much brought to life, as we went from one of our first meal of the day. department to another – or should we say, one The winning pupil was Melissa Tucker from St classroom to another. Dalry has less than 100 Gabriel’s Primary school who created wonderful pupils in total on a campus that includes both ‘breakfast muesli muffins with a tropical fruit primary and secondary pupils. They find it almost

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impossible to organise or justify residential trips because of this and were delighted to be able to share transport and accommodation with Preston Lodge last summer. Following the tour of the school we congregated in the school hall which is about the size of one of our science labs and watched a series of presentations made by both schools to mark our joint trip to the Battlefields. In addition, Josie, a 3rd year pupil from Dalry, read the poem, In Flanders Field by John McCrae. Shona Bell then showed her excellent Remembrance powerpoint from our own school assemblies of the week previous, before the children were allowed some free time to socialise and mix with one another and the adults do the same over a cup of coffee. Many of our pupils spent time having an informal chat with the Head Teacher, Mr Simpson, impressing him enough to write the following day to us saying: “Great to see you all yesterday ‐ what a really nice bunch of young people and not a bit of strangeness or awkwardness about them. I know that both Paul and Sheila would love to team up again with you in 2014 and I appreciate this very much ‐ as a ny school, we cannot realis cally run trips like this on our own”. Such was the success of this joint trip in 2012, we have already agreed to have Dalry accompany us again in 2014. Everyone involved is very much looking forward to it. Some sad farewells were followed by a long journey home and heavy hearts. Thank goodness for email and Facebook – something not around in WWI times – allowing our youngsters and adults alike to keep in touch. Finally, Battlefields 2013 will be heading off in June this year. There are three spaces left if any pupil would like to take part in this fantastic experience. More information can be obtained from Mrs Binnie or Miss Armstrong. *The Battlefields 2012 veterans would like to thank Mr Bishop for his time and kindness. It is much appreciated. Laura Armstrong

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Butterdean Woods On Thursday 13 December our 1st year class went on a survival day at Butterdean Wood as part of our PL Challenge. We got there by minibus but we got a bit lost so it took longer than we expected but we eventually got there. At first some of us got fleecy red jackets to wear and all of us got working gloves for our day outdoors. We all had to take some equipment as well as our bags and we all headed up into the woods. We took both the main path and a secret path. We got split into two groups and started our tasks. If we finished the task and worked well as a team we would get ingredients for vegetable soup which was cooked on a fire. The tasks were called the spider web and the vampire worm crossing task and after we had completed the tasks we all had a break with hot chocolate, hot juice and had a game that was called stealth. After we had the game of stealth we all gathered round the fire, had lunch, toasted marshmallows and we all had a go at making a fire. After we had put out the fire properly we had to leave no trace which means we had to make it look like we had not had a fire burning, as we all had cold feet and toes we all started dancing to Christmas songs to warm us all up. The last major task that we did was making a shelter. Our group had finished first so we got to judge the other group. Making a shelter was good fun. While we were making the shelters our Ranger Leigh had brought her puppy Daisy to let us meet her. Finally we packed up all the equipment and walked back up to the minibus. By Amy and Lucy 1C1

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Dates for Your Diary!

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Please note that these dates are subject to change

Monday 18 February

Staff and Pupils Resume

Monday 25 February

S4&5 Options Meeting (Evening)

Tuesday 26 February

DTP Vaccinations

Friday 1 March

S3 Reports to Parents

Monday 4 March

S2 Options Event (day) and S2 Options Meeting

Wednesday 6 March

S3 Options Event (day) and S3 Options Meeting

Thursday 7 March

HPV Vaccinations (Girls Only)/ELC Cross Country

Wednesday 13 March

S3 Parents Evening

Thursday 14 March

S5/6 Reports to Parents

Friday 22 March

All Break

Monday 8 April

All Resume

Monday 15 April

Spring Holiday

Tuesday 16 April

All Resume/Monday Timetable on Tuesday

Thursday 18 April

Sports Personality Evening

Friday 26 April

S4 last day in school

Monday 29 April

First Day of S4 Exam Leave

Friday 3 May

S5/6 last day in school

Monday 6 May

May Day Holiday

Tuesday 7 May

Pupils Resume/Start of S5/6 Exam Leave

Thursday 9 May

Monday Timetable on Thursday

Friday 10 May

S1 Reports to Parents

Thursday 16 May

S1 Health Day

Monday 20 May

Victoria Day Holiday

Tuesday 21 May

Inservice Day

PLHS Newsletter Feb 2013  

Preston Lodge High School. Newsletter February 2013

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