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Craigmount High School

Aspiration | Drive | Awareness | Purpose | Trust

Dear Parents/Carers

As you will see from the library post below, there’s been a great atmosphere around the school, with library activities at the centre of this, and a really creative link between our equalities work and the promotion of literacy. Such events take a lot of extra commitment and planning from staff and I remain hugely grateful for this.

We also delivered the second in our serious of Time for Reflection assemblies with our Chaplaincy team this week on the theme of Fear. The message was to explain how “fear of the other” provides the energy for a lot of the unkindness and intolerance in society, which linked well with the activities during the equalities week last month. In order to get the students engaged at the start I was invited to taste some sweets from a Beanboozled pack but fortunately I survived the horrible flavours! Next week we will continue to promote our foodbank collection activity, as well as having S6 Ambassadors involved in promoting Student Council work.

We are also looking forward to inviting our P7 students from the cluster primaries to take part in Hour of Code activities led by the Computing and Business Faculty. There has been a lot of planning involved in this and I want to thank the team the faculty team, especially as they have also been working with the senior staff this week as part of a faculty review. This also involved staff from the centre and another school observing lessons, and some student focus groups on learning.

On Monday the Parent Council met and two important items included the recently announced school catchment review, and the government consultation on the new Education Bill next year. I also asked for parent ideas on how we can further develop our support for parents and in particular on ways in which we can better support parents to help with learning at home. We are going to explore this further at the next meeting in January. We will also be running our very successful parent focus group for those parents of students with Additional Support Needs in the new term and look forward to learning how we can continue to further improve in this area.

On the extra-curricular front clubs and sports continue to be well attended. I dropped in on the after-school drama club and there were over 40 students working on performances and having a great time. These things happen because of committed drama teachers and this week we say farewell to Mrs McCallum who takes up a new post in another school. Mrs Cunningham will replace Mrs McCallum as the new permanent drama teacher so I want to welcome her to the staff team.

Below are some updates from the library and the Debating Club.
School Library update

We’ve had a fantastic week, with a real book buzz around the school. A variety of events have taken place around this year’s theme, Nourish, with the emphasis on books and reading. The ‘Mystery Book Drop’ was particularly popular, and involved pupils and staff across the school finding 100 hidden books that they could keep, give or share. A pop-up library in the concourse one lunchtime, which focused on graphic novels and quick reads (for reluctant or struggling readers), succeeded in encouraging pupils to look at books in a less formal setting.

Mr McPake organised a debate about the merits of reading, and the Equalities Group invited Edinburgh Food Bank in to talk about their work. And finally, for those pupils (and staff) looking for a quiet break at the end of a busy week, we had a very successful ‘Readaxation’ session in the library at break time today – no computers and no chat, just some quiet reading.

For further pictures and updates, have a look at the library Twitter account @CraigmountLib
K Swann, Librarian
Debating Update

During November, Craigmount cemented its status as one of the top 4 debating schools in Scotland. 15 Craigmount debaters represented the school across 7 tournaments. In the process, they secured at least one position inside the top four (from 36) of every short preparation debating tournament they attended.

Christina Gordon & Alastair Bowyer (both S6) made the finals of the Glasgow and St Andrews university competitions before finally winning the University of Aberdeen competition. Winning the Aberdeen final came as great relief, after losing the Glasgow final by one single judge’s vote! Nonetheless, their success speaks for itself. From 72 speakers, Alastair finished inside the top 3 every week, while Christina was the 1st in Glasgow and 2nd in St Andrews. Beyond any doubt, they are two of the best debaters in the country.

We have a vibrant group of S1 students who attend debating in the library every Thursday, each of whom contributes a great deal. Consequently, we were delighted when Thomas McKinley & Joe Didcock were the 4th team (from 32) in their first ever tournament at the University of Edinburgh! Laura Kelly also made an extremely impressive debut – especially given that she only took up debating in October! With such a sensational start, we can only hope for bright things in future from Craigmount’s S1s.

We wish to congratulate Theo, Gemma, Lauren, Akhila, Izzie, Freddy, Kiran, Andrew, Aidan and Sean for their efforts throughout the month and their continued hard work in the society. We also wish to thank former pupils Catherine Cranston and Daniel Joffe for assisting the teams. Parents may also wish to note that ex-Craigmount debaters, Duncan Bowyer and Zannah Muir, were involved in organising the St Andrews and Glasgow tournaments, respectively.

Debating takes place in the library during Thursday lunchtimes. There is no need to speak, only to have a willingness to listen and learn. It is large and welcoming community, open to all.
Mr McPake

T Rae
Head Teacher