I hope you had a good festive season, and have been able to read about all the great work that took place last term in our December newsletter. We are trying to reduce our carbon footprint, but please be aware that if you require a hard copy, these are available on request from the school office.
Term has started really well, with everyone rested and looking forward to the year ahead. At the senior assemblies this week, Mr Irving and I focussed on the imminent prelims. The students were receptive and many had clearly been working over the break using the prelim timetable which was on the website in December. Many, but not all, have also been using the Scholar resource ( which I have outlined in previous posts) and I would urge you to encourage them to use this university study platform as research indicates regular use can improve results by one grade. Mr Pye also coordinated another study-skills session by partners LiveNLearn for a smaller group of students identified as likely to benefit from this based on recent data and reports. This went well. After the prelims we will plan further interventions as required but at this stage I would merely mention what we said at assemblies this week about the importance of prelims to future coursing, and as a back-up in the unlikely situation that an exceptional circumstance occurs. We also urged our high attaining S6 continue with the high expectations they set in S5 ( they were the highest attaining S5 cohort ever in Craigmount) as unconditional University offers arrive. I congratulate the S6 students who have already received university offers. Please help us to ensure our able students aim as highly as possible in S6. Prelims start on the 23rd January.
Details of our new curriculum structure also went live on the website this week. A text went out to all parents about this. I am pleased to say that following the extensive consultation we will now be offering up to 7 ( previously it was 6) in S4. There is a Question & Answer paper for parents on the website. Thank you to all those on our Parent Council who have helped to shape and refine the structure, and website communications. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mr Irving if you require further information.
Later today I will be meeting with an architect who has drawn up plans for re-designing the front reception desk in order to improve accessibility for all, and to create a more welcoming first impression. I will keep you up to date with developments in future posts. Our Craft and Design students are also working on a project aimed at improving school signage.
This week I have been dropping in on a range of classes, and particularly enjoyed engaging with the Higher Politics class when, in an assessment, they were comparing role and function of the UK High Court with the American Supreme Court. I was immediately able to see a close connection with close reading assessments in Higher English; which once again shows the absolute importance of having strong literacy skills.
On the extra-curricular front this week our junior and senior netball teams lost narrowly in matches. I am grateful for the ongoing commitment of staff, in particular as there was a delay at a match in the borders caused by a falling tree at the match in Peebles.
Craigmount High School’s debaters participated in the Scottish round of the Oxford Schools competition in Dundee on Thursday night. Despite solid performances from all six Craigmount debaters, it was the home team, Dundee High, that progressed to the finals. Craigmount finished as the highest ranked state school in Scotland. Special mention should go to I Spowart (S3), who more than held her own as the tournament’s youngest participant.
Next week, our S2 will be involved in a whole range of STEM events organised by our very active Business Engagement Group.