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4 March 2016 – Focus on Secondary

Dear Parents/Carers

The February break is but a distant memory and the young people within the secondary department are hard at work here in St John’s Academy.  As the weeks roll on, the exam diet and assessment deadlines come ever closer and we’re encouraging all our students, especially those in the Senior Phase, to up their efforts.  This is a crucial time as they target success over the next few months.  Please encourage your child in every way you can – and if you feel you need advice on how best to do this, check out these study tips from Parentzone Scotland.

You may have read recent news reports about the use of smartwatches in exams.  I would just wish to clarify that SQA rules forbid the following:

  • mobile phones
  • electronic devices including, but not limited to, MP3 players, iPods, tablets and smartwatches
  • calculator — except in specified subjects
  • dictionary — except in specified subjects
  • cases — calculator or pencil, etc
  • books, notes, sketches, paper of any kind, or any other prohibited item

Any candidates found with any of these will forfeit their exam and SQA can cancel all exams in that diet.  The SQA simply don’t negotiate around these rules and they always enforce them (as I’m sure you’ll appreciate).  We would ask parents and carers to remind their child of these rules.

We continue to ask parents and carers to drive and park responsibly around the campus.  Please do not drop off and/or collect your child within the turning circle. We also ask for your support around litter which remains a significant issue.  Many pupils are not playing their part in keeping our environment clean and tidy for everyone to enjoy.  Please encourage your child to be responsible in this.

Looking back

  • The Glasgow Science Centre visited our school last week to deliver various presentations to secondary pupils. Our pupils were treated to a Body Vision 3D show, Shape with a Difference, Zombie Science and Genes of the Damned. This was delivered in partnership with the Strathearn Science Festival and our secondary science department. Feedback from all year groups suggests that they all had plenty of fun while learning about various aspects of science.
  • Fairtrade Fortnight has begun.  We are proud to be a Fairtrade School and lots are happening in classes and in our school to promote a better understanding of how fairly traded products can make a real difference to the lives of producers in poor countries.
  • Our school hosted the Get Set for Community Action training this week with young people from across Perth and Kinross.  This is an Active Schools initiative on behalf of the Youth Sport Trust.  Our young people will be designing and carrying out projects within our local communities.  We wish them well in this exciting initiative.

Looking forward

  • Our annual course choice exercise is well underway, with the S2 into S3 choices and S4 and S5 pupils almost complete! The S3 into S4 choices take place in March, with the information evening at 5pm on Tuesday 15 March. We look forward to seeing you there.  You can book appointments by logging into the on-line booking system here.
  • An S4/5/6 targeted parents’ evening will be held on 10th March. A letter explaining all about this has been emailed to parents/carers.
  • On 17 March our latest cohort of Career Ready ‘graduands’ will be attending their graduation ceremony in Perth Concert Hall.   These young people have been part of a 2 year mentoring programme, including a month long work placement, to help them to prepare for the world of work.  Congratulations to them, and huge thanks to their business mentors and businesses who have supported them.  Special thanks too to Mrs Ward who has coordinated this for them all at St John’s Academy.
  • Also on 17 March, most of our S6 will be getting sponsored for SCIAF and taking part in a 24 hour fast from food!  We wish them all well – and thank parents and friends for your generosity.
  • Study leave for S5/6 pupils for the SQA exams has been agreed and will be from Tuesday 3rd May to Friday 3rd June inclusive. Information regarding S4 study leave will be sent out individually by letter in the near future.
  • The Parents’ Council will be hosting our Easter Fayre on 19 March (10am-1pm) and are looking for help as well as lots of support on the day.  More information can be found here.
  • The next parents’ council meeting will be held on 9th March at 7pm in the school.  All parents are welcome.
  • There will be a Catholic Education Commission Open Forum tomorrow at St John’s High School, Dundee between 10-12.30pm. Parents, and anyone interested in Catholic education, are very welcome.

Other useful information

  • Please remember that all pupils should use their lockers for outdoor clothing/footwear and have full uniform during the school day within the building.  If there are any difficulties with this, please contact your child’s Guidance Teacher.
  • There’s a last chance to get your views about the school to us via our annual parent questionnaire.  We really appreciate you taking the time to gives us feedback.

Finally, thank you so much for your continued support of your child’s teachers and all the staff in the school.  We really appreciate this, and look forward to seeing you during our S3 parents’ night and at the Easter Fayre.

With every good wish,

Seán P Hagney

Headteacher and Campus Leader