As we go into the September weekend it has been a particularly busy time in the senior school. Many students today were supported by an officer from the Lothian Equal Access Provision (LEAPs) team with their university applications. These meetings support students coming from backgrounds where parents did not attend university. I am also supporting S6 with personal university application statements, a great way to get to know them better. I would be happy to read and offer feedback for any student requesting this. Next week I will be meeting with the students applying to Oxford and Cambridge in order to further discuss the interview process. For students on other routes to positive destinations through the Career Ready Programme, there was an opportunity to meet fellow participants on the programme when Craigmount hosted an event for all Edinburgh schools on Wednesday this week. This was well supported by Ms MacKay.
I also met with members of the S6 Charities Committee this week and we are close to finalising plans for the session. Teenage Cancer Trust and charities supporting people affected by Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean will be supported this year.
This week I have also had communication from the Institute of Biology to say that one of our students was awarded the top grade in Biology in the recent Higher exams. This student also achieved the top grade in Physics for Scotland, and scored 100% in Mathematics. This is an incredible achievement by the student concerned, but also evidence of the teaching quality across Science and Mathematics in the school. Excellent attainment across the senior school will also be acknowledged soon in a variety of ways, including our new Faculty Attainment Evening in October which will promote academic excellence, and in line with our revised school values, the drive needed to achieve such excellent results. Letters inviting students and family members have gone out this week. I look forward to meeting many of you at this event.
This week we also celebrated the achievements of the students awarded Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, and the week before the expedition for those aiming to achieve the Silver Award went very well. The weather in the Trossachs was mixed. But staff tell me the weekend downpours did nothing to dampen spirits. I am very grateful to the staff who supported this event: Mr Cheyne, Ms Grocott and Ms MacKay. Our next major outdoor education event will be the S1 Venture residential, which starts later this month and is open to all S1 students.
On Sunday, our successful annual visit to the Battlefields of Flanders takes place. This is a first class learning experience for all and will be supported by Mrs Crosbie, Mrs Dobson and Mr Higgins. This is an important part of Craigmount extra-curricular provision and I look forward to hearing about it from students when they return. They are always very moved and having led such trips myself at other schools, I know how much impact the experience always has on students.
Assemblies this week were part of our Time for Reflection programme and led by our Chaplaincy team. The theme was “ Be Still” – a reminder to all of us that in a fast-paced modern society we need to take the time to reflect on our own qualities and actions. This was well received by students. Our Chaplaincy Team later met with Guidance staff to explore ways of deepening this partnership as a way of supporting and promoting good mental health. Next week we will be promoting Rights Respecting School awareness at assemblies, and following this students will complete questionnaires linked to gaining this Charter. Mr Gray in PE is leading in this area and had a successful meeting with staff last week who are on the Rights Respecting School Improvement Group. Another important strand of this work is taking place within the Equalities Group. Two immediate goals this session include ensuring that at least 20% of staff undertake LGBT awareness training, and the setting up of gender-neutral toilets in the building. I am grateful to the team of staff working on this, in particular Ms Walker.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the excellent programme put on by the Maths Faculty this week to promote Maths Week. This is a national event and involved a lot of extra effort and activity for staff, which the students enjoyed. I am also pleased to report that we now have a full team of Maths specialists in the school following the appointment of a new Maths teacher this week. Following interviews in Computing, and for an Acting Curriculum Leader in RME/FCT, I have also nominated two successful candidates to the Director. This means we will have a full staff team in Craigmount, despite the current national problems with teacher recruitment.
Enjoy the holiday weekend.