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9 February 2018 – All through

Dear Parents/Carers

We are racing through Term 3 and the February break is fast approaching!  So far this term we have been busy working hard in classes, and most of our senior pupils have been undertaking assessment opportunities (prelims).  We are now very much in the run up to SQA examinations for N5, Higher and Advanced Higher candidates and I would encourage them to make the very best use of the short period of time which is left between now and May.  Please also remember that study support classes are available for most subjects, and specific individual feedback can be requested from any teacher by a pupil if they are unclear about any aspect of their learning.  Advice on supporting your child is also available on the Parentzone website.

February is also the month of listening for us here at St John’s RC Academy.  We are currently asking for feedback from pupils, parents, partners and staff about how we are doing, and what we should do next to improve.  Parents and carers should have received an email inviting you to take part in this annual survey.  If you have this, please take the time to complete it and if you have not, please contact the office and we will arrange for you to receive this.

We are pleased to announce that we have received our Pupil Equity Fund allocation for 2018-19.  This year it is approximately £67,000 for the primary and £50,000 for the secondary school.  This money is allocated using Free School Meal information, so I hope this acts as an extra incentive to apply for free school meals if your child is entitled to them.  You can follow the link here, or enquire at the school office.

As you know, there have been some staff changes at St John’s RC Academy.  Mrs Philp (DHT, Primary) is currently on maternity leave looking after her new baby, Katie.  Mr Bald leaves us today (see picture) to take up the position of Headteacher of St Fergus’ Primary School, Dundee.  Our congratulations to them.  This has led to a number of changes in Depute Headteacher and Support for Pupil positions.  A summary is on the Contact Us page, with the most important points for parents/carers below.

Depute Headteacher’s year groups are:

  • Mrs Jan Jack – Depute Headteacher (Nursery to P3)
  • Mrs Christine Robertson – Acting Depute Headteacher (P4-P7)
  • Mrs Catherine McCabe – Acting Depute Headteacher (S1)
  • Mr Hugh McAninch – Depute Headteacher (S2 & S6)
  • Dr Robert Staines – Depute Headteacher (S3 to S5)

Guidance teachers’ Houses are:

  • Mrs Margaret Sinclair – Principal Teacher Support for Pupils – Guidance (St Ninian and St Columba Houses)
  • Mrs Fiona Carroll – Acting Principal Teacher Support for Pupils – Guidance (St Margaret House)
  • Mr Steven McLaughlin – Acting Principal Teacher Support for Pupils – Guidance (St Andrew House)

Other Support for Pupils staff are:

  • Mrs Pauline Ward – Principal Teacher Support for Pupils – Developing Scotland’s Workforce
  • Mrs Lora Burgess  – Principal Teacher Support for Pupils – Support for Learning

Heads of House are:

  • Mrs Fiona Carroll – St Margaret House
  • Mr Steven McLaughlin – St Andrew House
  • Mr Graham McLachlan – St Columba House
  • Miss Rebecca Hepburn – St Ninian House

We appreciate your support as these changes are implemented.

We have been seeing the rise in secondary pupils purchasing fizzy and caffeinated drinks and bringing these into school.  Once again, and just to be clear: these have been banned throughout our school for a number of years as the high levels of sugar and caffeine clearly impact on behaviour.  We positively encourage our young people to stay hydrated and we make chilled water available for them.  Tayside Contracts also sell fizzy fruit juices which are not caffeinated and have natural sugars.  These are available for purchase.  We have been assured by Tayside Contracts that these are suitable as part of a balanced diet.  Information is also available from the NHS.  As always, we ask for your support in helping us to promote healthier choices.

Finally, we are celebrating Catholic Education Week in our school and parishes this week.  Thanks to parents and carers who came along to the assembly this week led by P6M.  A letter from me will be read out in some of our parishes this Sunday.  This is also available here.  Representatives from P2 and P6 will be attending 11am mass in St John’s Parish this Sunday along with myself and other staff.  I hope to see some of you there also.

With every good wish,

Seán P Hagney