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18 March 2016 – Focus on Secondary

Dear Parents/Carers

As we move ever more swiftly towards the Easter holidays (and for many of our senior pupils, the SQA exam diet!), life in St John’s RC Academy remains busy.  Over the past fortnight, we’ve had a Parent Council meeting, our S3 information and reporting evening, and a targeted S4-6 parents’ evening.  Thanks to all parents for coming along as we work together to ensure that all our pupils succeed.  The presentations for S2, S3 and S4/5 parents’ information evenings can be accessed here.

Yesterday our latest cohort of Career Ready graduates attended their graduation ceremony in Perth Concert Hall.   Deryn Martin, Christy MacDonald, Emma McDyer, Kenneth Pattenden, Shannon Powell, Jean Acer Sadian and Aiden Smart 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 (Carolann Burrows, Terri McAllister, Mary Scott, Steven McCluskie, Kerry Clark, Mari Nicol, Andrew Cross) and businesses (Aviva, Hilton Dunkeld House Hotel, Gleneagles Hotel, Sandvik Engineering, Kilmac Construction, SSE) who have supported them.  Special congratulations to Aiden who won the Win Bischoff prize for Perth and Kinross and earned a 10 week paid internship with Standard Life this summer.  Special thanks too to Mrs Ward who has coordinated this for them.

Last night we also had our annual ACTFAST event in aid of the work of SCIAF.  S6 fasted from food from 8am on 17 March to 8am this morning.  They even stayed overnight in school to make sure they could all do it!  The day was a time of reflection too, and the young people had opportunities to learn about life in our world’s poorest nations and how SCIAF supports some of the very poorest people on our planet.  Thanks to parents, family and friends for sponsoring our S6 pupils – your donations are going to a great cause.  And thanks to staff for organising this fantastic event and for staying overnight in the school too!  The definition of going ‘above and beyond’!

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 (particularly from S1-4) 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

  • Around 60 pupils from S3 and S4 took part in the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge recently. The overall school performance was good, and we have 2 pupils – Col Young (S3) and Robert McCall (S4) – who have qualified for the next round – the Kangaroo round, which is a follow-up paper to provide a more mathematically-demanding competition for the top UK pupils. The boys took part in this on Thursday 17th March and we will find out in a couple of weeks how they got on.
  • Congratulations go to Shane Hislop and Ulla Gingule (both S4 pupils) who are now fully trained Maths peer mentors. They will be working with pupils in S1,2 and 3 over the coming weeks and months to help them develop their Maths skills.

Looking Ahead

  • The Parents’ Council will be hosting our Easter Fayre on 19 March (10am-1pm).  The money raised helps children from across the all-through school and support from secondary parents would be warmly welcome.  Come along and spend some money!
  • The SQA exams are fast approaching and we will be holding our annual SQA Assembly for pupils who will be sitting exams in the 2016 diet. We will take them through the process and will be issuing their individual exam timetables at that time. In particular, we will be emphasising that they must not take mobile phones, smartwatches or other electronic devices into the exam hall as this could result in their exam entry being cancelled. We would appreciate your help in re-enforcing this message.
  • An Easter dance camp for S1-S6 pupils has been organised by Active Schools and will run from Monday 4-Friday 8 April from 10am-4pm at NICC. The cost is £45. More information and a consent form is available from the PE Department.

Finally – a word about the upcoming exams.  At this time of year, life can be particularly stressful for our senior pupils.  We ask that you support them (and us), encouraging them positively to study so that they can achieve everything they can this year.  Most of the time stress can be a positive force which drives us forward to succeed.  However, sometimes unnecessary stress is caused by a lack of focus and hard work.  Addressing the causes of stress (rather than avoiding them) often helps.  However, if you feel that your child is struggling too much, please let us know by contacting your child’s guidance teacher for help and support.

With every good wish,

Seán P Hagney

Headteacher and Campus Leader