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20 November 2017 – Secondary

Dear Parents and Carers

Since the start of Term 2, things in the secondary have been focused on classroom learning.  In the senior school, pupils are very busy completing coursework and preparing for tests, final pieces of work and exams.  Don’t forget to encourage your child to come along to extra supported study classes.  Information can be accessed here.

Learning, of course, also involves lots of opportunities outside our classrooms to extend and deepen our learning.  We have recently used some of our additional funding for this year to secure a modern apprentice and additional time with our Outdoor Learning specialist.  Lots of our young people (in the primary and secondary) are gaining from new opportunities this session.

S3 recently organised the Halloween Disco and it was a spooktacular event!  The event was made extra special by the  fang-tastic efforts with costumes and make up! (Enough!)  The money raised will go towards the S3 YPI fund and support a local charity which will be decided later this year.  Thanks to all for supporting.

The whole school has been marking the month of November as a special month of remembrance for all those who have died. This began with the whole school celebrating the Feast of All Saints, and senior pupils represented the school at the Remembrance Day Civic Ceremony at St John’s Kirk.  Tutor groups across the secondary also made their own memorial poppy display (see picture).  St Margaret’s House also celebrated their feast day this month, and parts of the mass were recorded by the Scottish Catholic Education Service who are making a documentary entitled, ‘Catholic Schools: Good for Scotland’ to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Education (Scotland) Act which brought Catholic schools into the national schools system.

The music department has been especially busy.  The recent Instumentalist Evening was a great success, and our musicians recently had the honour of playing at the Catholic Secondary Headteacher’s Conference in Stirling.  Many thanks to them for being excellent ambassadors of our school.

This week the Scottish Fire Service are in our school to deliver the ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’ message.  The event targets all S5 pupils, some of whom will soon be taking driving lessons and are perhaps already saving for their first car. St John’s Academy pupils will attend the event on Tuesday.  This event is very hard-hitting and designed to deepen their understanding of the dangers of driving recklessly. The message can be harrowing for our young people.  Please be assured that there are staff on hand to assist those who find it particularly difficult to cope with. I would encourage you to speak with your children about this before and after they have attended this event.

Also involving the Fire Service, local representatives spoke with our senior pupils about the life-giving work of the Anthony Nolan register.  Over 50 of our senior pupils joined the Anthony Nolan register after this input – well done to them.  You too can sign up by following the link.

The Parent Council AGM recently took place and we have new office holders. Many thanks once again to Julie Flynn for her work as chair in recent years, and for 16 years of being an active member of our parent council.  Donna Plotner takes over the role of chair.  I offer my thanks to Donna for ‘stepping up’ and supporting the school in this important role.

The Scottish National Standardised Assessments are being introduced across the country this year.  Parents and carers can find out more at: https://standardisedassessment.gov.scot/parents-and-carers

Finally – just a reminder once again about dropping off and parking. I ask all parents to be considerate to all our users and not to drop off in the turning circle.  A reminder too that, in the interests of all,  this is a no smoking campus – this includes campus grounds.  The office staff have also said that there’s been a big increase in the amount of things (jackets, lunches, equipment, etc) being handed into the office during the school day which need to be passed on to children around the school.  We are happy to do this, but again, please show your consideration for our staff.

Please don’t forget that the Family Mass, led by our own Bishop Stephen, will be held in the school on St Andrew’s Day, 30 November at 6pm.  It would be great to have as many families as possible coming along and supporting the whole community.

Many thanks for all your support.

With every good wish,

Seán P Hagney

Headteacher and Campus Leader