Report to Currie Community Council, 14th December 2009
Marie Ann Lakin, teacher of English, will retire at Christmas after 34 years service to the school. Ms Lakin leaves with all our good wishes and thanks for her commitment to the pupils and the English department. Jan Peaston, teacher of Biology and Lianne Rae, teacher of Modern Studies, started their maternity leave at the end of November. Niall Tinney and Gayle McIlhatton have joined Biology and Modern Studies respectively on a temporary basis. Lisa Coffey, who has been acting Depute Head Teacher during Mr Farren‘s absence, has been appointed to the post of temporary Depute Head Teacher at the Royal High. Her start date has to be confirmed. Her substantive post of PT Support for Pupils will be filled on a temporary basis. Mikey McManus has been appointed as temporary Audio Visual/Information and Communication Technology (AV/ICT) Technician.
Eco Schools Award — Third Green Flag
We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded our third green flag in the Eco Schools initiative following the assessors‘ visit on 2nd December 2009. This is still a relative rarity in terms of Scottish secondary schools. Congratulations to all pupils and staff who have worked hard to achieve this with particular thanks to Alison Nind, Environmental Projects Co-ordinator, Andrew Watson, DHT, Phill Pache, Business Manager and Kate McGravie, teacher of Art & Design. Our next target will be our fourth (and permanent!) green flag.
SQA Star Award — SQA Champion
We are very proud that Dr Andrew Watson, DHT, received the annual SQA Champion‘s Award for outstanding practice at their prestigious awards ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel, Edinburgh on 30th October 2009. This is well-deserved recognition of his excellent work as SQA Co-ordinator for the school.
Standard Life Edinburgh Achievement Awards 2009
We were very pleased to be highly commended in the Partnerships in Practice category of these awards. Our submission "Powering and Empowering for a Sustainable Future" focused on our on-going commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by improving energy efficiency at the school while working in close partnership with professionals from the Council and other organisations.
Instrumental Music Service Review
Notification of this review was sent to me in June 2009. The purpose is to reorganise the service to meet the requirements of a 5% cut in the staffing budget. This is likely to hit Currie CHS hard. Kathryn MacPhee, Principal Teacher of Music has given me an update which is summarised as follows:
The preferred way forward in the proposals is a banding approach. They would like to cut down on instructors‘ travelling time from school to school so are looking at allocations to Clusters. They want smaller schools and primaries to have more opportunities made available to them. Each secondary school would have instruction in guitar, percussion and voice or piano/keyboard and a percentage of wind/brass or strings based on the roll of the school.
The allocation of Youth Music Initiative instructors, of which we have two, has been extended until June 2010. However it is likely that this will not be available next session.
Implications for Currie are very worrying. We would lose either our voice or piano teacher, either woodwind and brass or our string Instructors plus our two fantastic YMI instructors in voice and the double bass. I see this as limiting the choice of instruments that pupils will be able to study to certificate level. It will have a great effect on our extra-curricular programme. This is at odds with the principles of Curriculum for Excellence: personalisation and choice and the provision of a broad range of opportunities for wider achievement.
We work incredibly well as a team and although I know that cuts have to be made, it is a very depressing situation. All of my instrumental staff are very uneasy about the future at the moment, quite understandably so. We recognize that we are fortunate in the number of instructors which has been built up over my 18 years here. However we feel that this is in response to the demand which exists in this area and which is evidenced in the concerts and school shows we stage every year.
FREC Christmas Fayre
The Christmas Fayre at the school on Sunday 29th November 2009 was the first venture of this kind by the Fundraising and Events Committee (FREC) of PiP. Over £750 was raised which will ultimately go to support pupils at the school.
Shoeboxes for Eastern Europe
Pupils, families and staff provided goods to fill 107 shoeboxes to be sent to Eastern Europe by the charity Blythswood Care. Thanks go to all for their generosity and to Catherine Mackenzie, PT Modern Languages for organising this each year.