School started back smoothly after the October break. The joint Art/Modern Studies trip to New York was a major success, with a variety of curricular-related visits taking place. It has also been really good to now know the S1 much better following the Lagganlia Venture trips earlier in the term. It means members of the senior team have a very good collective knowledge of our S1. I have enjoyed talking to the first years during breaks and lunchtimes and they are a really friendly bunch.
This week we also opened our doors to P7 students and parents who were invited for a tour of the school on Wednesday afternoon. We used S2 as guides once again ( rather than take senior students out of classes) and the feedback on these S2 students was very positive. Approximately 140 parents and P7s attended and were able to see a typical afternoon at Craigmount. I am not aware of many schools who offer a visit such as this, and I am proud that Craigmount is confident enough to do so.
On the in-service day, alongside other curricular development activity, Ms Wallace led a session for all staff on the City of Edinburgh 1 in 5 Poverty awareness training. This was well-received by staff. The training provided new insights for staff and we will continue to review the cost of the school day as the session progresses. Craigmount has a rich programme of extra-curricular provision, and we want to maintain this, but, in line with Scottish Government and Council expectations, we are also reviewing what we do in terms of equity and fairness. We are in fact doing this in a cluster context and I was very proud of the two S1 students from Hillwood who filmed the presentation they had delivered to the council when in P7 last session to support our staff training on Monday. This initiative is linked to our Health and Wellbeing planning, and the Rights Respecting School work we are doing and there will be a major cluster event to showcase the work across the cluster in March. Debating, led by our seniors, will play a major part in this event.
Assemblies this week were for S4-6 and led by Mr Irving, who shared some key messages on senior school life and expectations. I want to commend the Honduras visit students for their on-going fund-raising campaign for the trip. I also commend the group of senior girls who raised £1293 for Cancer Research UK by participating in the Pretty Muddy 5K this month. Last week, our 8 Career Ready seniors also met with their business mentors. The meetings went well and I am grateful to Ms McKay in PE for leading on this. Companies involved include: Standard Life, Scottish Gas and Leidos, to name but a few. Career Ready is of course only one of a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring our young people better understand the world of work; just before the break Mr Irving also ran a very successful session with our Business Advisory group. If you have workplace skills, or can support in any way, Mr Irving would be delighted to hear from you.
This week, the Christmas Concert rehearsals for staff choir also took place at lunchtime. Ms Hannah has asked me to ask for parental/carer support to ensuring students attend all rehearsals where possible, as we all want the concert to be of the usual very high standard.
Finally, can I remind you once again ( as requested at the last Parent Council meeting) not to use the carpark entrance as a turning area when dropping off students. This ensures access for the school taxis for a number of our students, and contributes to ensuring a safe start and end to each day. Our Campus Liaison Police Officer, Tara Adam is monitoring the situation, and has also asked for the support of environmental parking wardens with this matter.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the forthcoming parent evening. Mr Pye, DHT and Mrs Bryce ( Business Manager) have now set up the new online parent booking system. As with everything, this is a trial period and there will be glitches. Please contact either Mr Pye or Mrs Bryce with any feedback so that we can address this promptly.