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Schools & Education


Education News Archive
2003  Onwards

3 December 07
Council warns motorists to slow down near Caithness school.

Motorists are being warned that part time 20mph speed restrictions have been introduced at another school in Caithness for children's safety. The new speed limit came into force this week at Wick High School and will operate when pupils are expected to be arriving or departing from the school.

Drivers travelling near Wick High should be aware that the 20mph part time speed limit applies on school days from: 8.40am to 9.00am; 12.45 to 1.30pm; and 3.30am to 3.45pm.

This brings the total number of schools in Caithness operating with 20mph speed limits to 9 out of 20 and the overall total in Highland to 127.

Motorists are reminded that if they speed in the vicinity of Highland schools then the penalties will be tough. The Highland Council, Northern Constabulary and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Highlands and Islands Area) are clear that if motorists are caught speeding near Highland schools where a 20mph limit is in place, then robust enforcement action will be taken by both the Police and the Procurator Fiscal Service.

4 November 07
Who is the Lucky Wick High Pupil?

Ten S5 pupils from Highlands and Islands schools are over the moon with the news that they have been chosen to attend a once in a lifetime experience at the 2008 Careers Scotland Space School at the NASA Space Camp, Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Space School is designed to increase participation and motivation of school students in science and technology and to help young people to understand how the subjects apply to real career choices.

The successful candidates, from Dingwall Academy, Elgin Academy (2), Fortrose Academy(2), Glen Urquhart High, Kingussie High, Lochaber High, Wick High School and Lomond School, are all students of Careers Scotland Space School, a world-leading programme managed by Careers Scotland and supported by the Scottish Government and NASA.

52 pupils from schools across Scotland have been selected from around 3,000 to attend one of two Space Schools in January and September in 2008. The students have all successfully completed a programme of distance learning developed by Careers Scotland in conjunction with NASA scientists.

The programme is designed to supplement studies in Higher Grade Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths and Space School aims to further develop the young people's skills and knowledge in science, technology and enterprise.

The students will spend ten days involved in a full timetable of space related learning activities including lectures and group work with NASA space cadets, astronauts and scientists. They will have the opportunity to visit the space shuttle, NASA laboratories and get a behind the scenes view of the world of space exploration.

A further 45 pupils from across Highlands and Islands have been given the opportunity to attend a week long residential summer school either at Edinburgh University or one run jointly between Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. Members of the NASA team will travel to Scotland to be involved with the Glasgow and Edinburgh summer schools, the content of which is similar to that of the Houston model.

Alex Blackwood, of Careers Scotland, said, "Space School is a unique programme for young people that gives them an extraordinary insight into the world of science and education and a taste of the diverse career opportunities available to them. Not only will the young people develop their skills in science and technology but they will also increase their confidence, motivation and self-belief.

"It is frequently described as a life changing experience and early indications suggest that the Space School is making a difference to the levels of interest in and the uptake of science among young people in Scotland. In fact more than 80 per cent of participants of the Space School have now gone on, or intend to go on, to study science, technology, engineering and maths at university.

"We look forward to the 52 successful pupils from across Scotland, joining us at Careers Scotland Space School next year."

29 October 07
Healthy Highland School Lunches
To encourage the new intake of  primary one pupils to have a healthy school lunch, The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Service undertook a pilot exercise at the beginning of term and offered one free lunch voucher to every Primary 1 pupil in the region.

Just over 2000 pupils received a “Highland School Meals Welcome Pack” to take home and results have shown that 50% of Primary 1 pupils are now taking a school lunch which is an increase of 20% from this time last year.

The Welcome Pack included

  • a free lunch voucher which can be redeemed for a 2 course meal including bread, fresh fruit juice or milk;

  • sample menu

  • information about the nutritional content of school meals;

  • a sticker incentive card to encourage pupils to continue taking school meals

  • ‘pick a number finger snapper’, an educational game that promotes healthy fruit and vegetable choices.

Sharon Cameron, Highland Council’s Food Services Co-ordinator said: “School meals in Highland offer young people the opportunity to have a variety of freshly cooked and tasty meals at lunchtime which provide one third of their daily nutritional requirements. Our menus are healthy and nutritious; we consult pupils through their School Nutrition Action Group (SNAG) or Pupil Council about the choices we offer, menus are seasonal using fresh ingredients, and sourced locally wherever possible.

“As part of the Scottish Governments drive to improve the health and social well being of children in Scotland, Hungry for Success was established to revitalise the school meals service and set nutritional standards for school lunches . The council comply with these standards by sourcing ingredients which are lower in fat, salt and sugar and by providing a choice of fresh fruit and vegetables, including salad, every day. As part of the councils School Food, Nutrition & Health Policy, guidance is given to parents and carers of children who require special diets.

“Pupils are encouraged to sit down together with their friends and have an enjoyable lunch time experience. A well fed child is much more likely to learn and concentrate. What more could any parent or guardian want for their child?”

Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: “The results of the free meal voucher pilot are encouraging but I would still urge parents and carers of all Highland pupils, not just primary ones, to take up school meals and join the 15,000 already enjoying them every day. Improving healthy eating is a key aim of the Council’s administration that we are committed to. Having healthy well-fed children will also help to raise levels of attainment in literacy and numeracy among our pupils.

“I know that for many working parents, school meals save them a lot of time and trouble. It is much easier to just write out a cheque every week and not to have to bother shopping for and making up sandwiches and filling lunch boxes every morning when they are trying to get to school on time. They can also be happy in the knowledge that school meals are healthy for their children and setting a life long example of healthy eating and healthy choices.”

Families who receive income support, job seekers allowance, child tax credit or support under part iv of immigration & asylum act may be entitled to free school meals for their children. Each year, a letter is sent home with every Highland pupil from the Director of Education, Culture and Sport encouraging parents / carers who are entitled to free school meals for their children to claim them.

20 October 07
Thurso High School Closed For 1st and 2nd Year Pupils Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd October

There has recently been a routine, general survey of CLASP buildings throughout the Education Authority. This general survey showed that there were no issues relating to asbestos material which would compromise the safety of building users.

However, in the course of construction works at Thurso High School, asbestos material was discovered in a ceiling void area of E block.

As a result the construction works were halted and a consultant was appointed to carry out air tests within the building, assess the levels of risk and identify the appropriate course of action. The consultants have advised that there is no risk to building users but advised that action should be taken to remove asbestos material from the ceiling voids.

An asbestos removal contractor has been appointed and the material in the ceiling void will have been removed prior to reoccupation of the school on Monday 22 October.

The rooms in E block will then need to be thoroughly cleaned and made fit for pupil use.

This means that the school will not be able to accommodate all pupils on Monday 22 October and Tuesday 23 October. Pupil in S3, S4, S5 and S6 will be accommodated in other parts of the school but pupils in S1 and S2 should not attend the school. The school intends to be open for all pupils on Wednesday 24th October.

20 October 07

Every primary school in Scotland is being urged to allow pupils to watch the 2014 Commonwealth Games decision live from Sri Lanka on Friday 9 November.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in Broughty Ferry today to meet children from an out-of-school club, announced that the First Minister will be writing to all schools asking them to play a part in making this a great day for Scotland, by making it a memorable event for pupils and staff.


Glasgow's 2014 Bid Team is preparing an online educational resource that will be available to all Scottish schools, encouraging pupils to watch the 2014 decision live on television on 9 November and take part in sporting activities to participate in decision day.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Scotland will be holding its breath as we discover if we have won the race to host the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

"There is a real buzz building across the whole country as our bid to
host this major world sporting extravaganza approaches its climax.

"The impact of hosting the Games in Scotland is potentially greatest for our children and that is why we want school pupils and their teachers across Scotland to share in the anticipation and hopefully, the celebration."

Steven Purcell, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "November 9 will be an incredibly exciting day for all the people of Glasgow as we wait to find out if all our hard work has paid off. "I sincerely hope that children across Scotland, some of whom may themselves be participants at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, will be able to share that experience - and then hopefully join with us as we celebrate."

Councillor Laurie Bidwell, Dundee City Council Convener of Education
said: "Friday, 9th November will be a momentous day, and we eagerly await a positive decision which will be great for Scottish sport and also for the whole country. "The Commonwealth Games is an event with the potential to bring enormous benefits to all of us and young people in Dundee are 100 per cent behind Glasgow's bid. "It is also right that we should make children and young people aware of the significance of this decision for Scotland."

Glasgow 2014 Bid Director Derek Casey said: "I'm delighted the First Minister is writing to each school asking them to allow pupils to watch the decision on November 9th. "We want as many young people as possible to have the chance to watch the bid decision, as a Scottish Commonwealth Games would be a fantastic event to look forward to over the next few years.  "This generation of young Scots are the ones who would make a Commonwealth Games in Scotland a reality, whether they are competing, volunteering or gain the benefits of legacy of facilities and venues left by the Games. "In just one month we will find out if we are successful or not, and it
will be fantastic to think of everyone supporting us from home when we are in Sri Lanka."

School teachers can download the online educational pack on 22 October by visiting www.glasgow2014.com

6 October 07

With the environment the hot topic of the moment, school pupils across the Highlands and Islands are discovering more about renewable energy sources for themselves with a series of workshops being rolled out across the region.

Around 100 primary schools are taking part in the workshops being run by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as part of its year-long public information campaign to deepen understanding about the role of renewable energy.

The first workshops got underway this month at Pulteneytown Academy Primary in Wick and Miller Academy and Pennyland Primary Schools in Thurso.

Elaine Hanton, head of renewables at HIE said: "The purpose of these workshops is to make learning fun while at the same time encouraging youngsters to take seriously things such as energy efficiency and the development of different kinds of renewable energy technologies.

"We tested out the format of the workshops in a number of centres and got very positive feedback, so we are confident the content will really engage and enthuse young people."

Each workshop includes a series of games about climate change and energy efficiency plus simple science-based experiments. Children also get to make a wind turbine and try out an anemometer so they can measure wind speeds at their schools.

The workshops are being co-ordinated by Community Service Volunteers (CSV) on behalf of HIE. Elanor Gordon, project co-ordinator for CSV, said of the first workshops: "The children were fully engaged in the range of activities and learnt plenty about the importance of reducing carbon emissions by being energy efficient and changing to renewable sources of energy.

"The feedback from their teachers also showed them to be enthused and empowered to teach pupils further on this topic."

The workshops will be running across the Highlands and Islands until Christmas.

24 August 07
Council urges young people to apply for allowance
Young people staying on at Secondary schools in the Highlands are being urged by Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Service "not to miss out" and to apply for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) which could be worth up to £1,500 to each pupil.

An EMA is a weekly payment of up to £30, paid directly to eligible young people who stay on in school after they reach statutory leaving age. Young people may also be eligible for two bonuses of £150 if they remain on their course and make the necessary progress with their learning.

EMAs were introduced nationally by the Scottish Executive in August 2004 to provide financial support to young people from low income families staying on at school.

Highland Council’s EMA Co-ordinator, Katie MacLean said: "Eligibility for the academic year 2007/08 is dependent on your household income and date of birth. You must also live within the Highland Council area, meet residency criteria and attend a Highland Council school or be home educated for over 21 hours a week. Payments are dependent on students completing a Learning Agreement with their school and complying with it for the full academic year."

The income eligibility levels for the 2007/08 academic year are as follows:
Household income weekly payment
• Less than £21,302 £30
• £21,303-£26,116 £20
• £26,177-£31,528 £10
• Over £31,528 nil

Application forms and further information are available throughout the Highland Council area from Secondary Schools and Service Points.

13 August 07
129 New Teachers Arrive In Highland For Induction
A total of 129 probationer teachers start work in schools across the Highlands this week when pupils return to school following their summer break.

63 probationers have been allocated to secondary schools and 66 to primary schools – 19 in Caithness, 9 in Sutherland, 41 in Inverness, 23 in Ross and Cromarty, 12 in Nairn, 7 in Skye and Lochalsh, 15 in Lochaber, and 3 in Badenoch and Strathspey.

Three of the primary probationers will be teaching in Gaelic Medium schools, and two secondary probationers have been allocated to teach Gaelic in high schools.

Councillor Bren Gormley, Vice Chairman of the Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee welcomed the probationer teachers at their induction day on Friday 10 August. He said: “I am delighted to welcome our new probationary teachers to Highland. This is a very exciting time in education and we have a real opportunity to make a difference to the lives of young people in the Highlands.

“I hope that all of our probationer teachers will have a positive experience on our schools and I wish them all the very best at the start of their career in this very important profession.”

The probationer induction day is the first of four in-service training days throughout the year specifically allocated to probationer teacher induction and training.

Three new schools will open their doors this week as 34,750 Highland nursery primary and secondary pupils begin the new school session.

Scotland’s first purpose built Gaelic Medium School opens on Tuesday (14 August) at Slackbuie, near Inverness Royal Academy. The £4 million Bun-sgoil Ghaidhlig Inbhir Nis will be a focal point for Gaelic learning in the Inverness area, being available for a wide range of Gaelic-related events and performances. It will open with 100 pupils and 45 nursery pupils.

Also opening on Tueday is the nearby Inshes Primary School, Inverness. The £6.6 million school is the first new primary school to be built for a generation to accommodate a new community. Inshes will welcome 301 pupils from more than 20 schools, including 100 from Drakies.

And on Thursday, a new £4.7 million primary school opens at Cawdor. To mark the occasion, pupils will be led by a piper from the old school to the new school, which will feature hugely enhanced provision, including six classrooms, a nursery room and a multi purpose hall.

The schools are among 11 being built by Alpha Schools (Highland) Ltd, a consortium of Morrison PLC and Noble Fund Managers, in a second education PPP scheme, valued at £134 million. Resolis and Culbokie primary schools opened in April of this year.

Next year; Portree High and Dingwall Academy will open in May; Kinlochleven Primary and Kinlochleven High School and Drummond School, Inverness, will open in June; and Millburn Academy, Inverness, will open in September.

Hugh Fraser, Director of Education Culture and Sport, said he was delighted with the opening of the three new schools.

He said: “We are delighted that these schools are coming on stream on time. It demonstrates our commitment to providing our communities with modern schools which are available to everyone in the community to use.”

24 May 07
Council Urges Young People To Apply For Allowance.

Young people staying on at Secondary schools in the Highlands are being urged by Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service "not to miss out" and to apply for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) which could be worth up to £1,500 to each pupil.

An EMA is a weekly payment of up to £30, paid directly to eligible young people who stay on in school after they reach statutory leaving age. Young people may also be eligible for two bonuses of £150 if they remain on their course and make the necessary progress with their learning.

EMAs were introduced nationally by the Scottish Executive in August 2004 to provide financial support to young people from low income families staying on at school.

The Highland Council's EMA Co-ordinator said: "Eligibility for the academic year 2007/08 is dependent on your household income and date of birth. You must also live within the Highland Council area, meet residency criteria and attend a Highland Council school or be home educated for over 21 hours a week. Payments are dependent on students completing a Learning Agreement with their school and complying with it for the full academic year."

The income eligibility levels for the 2007/08 academic year are as follows:

Household income weekly payment
Less than £21302 - £30
£21303-£26116 - £20
£26177-£31528 - £10
Over £31528 - nil

Application forms and further information are available throughout the Highland Council area from Secondary Schools and Service Points.

1 May 07
HMIE report on Thrumster Primary School, Caithness

A recently published HMI report on two-teacher Thrumster Primary School in Caithness, has praised the very good standards of attainment in English language and mathematics, together with teachers' high expectations of pupils' overall achievements. Also highlighted are the pupils' positive attitude to learning, the high quality of teaching and the very good leadership of the head teacher. The good quality of relationships between the school, home and the wider community is praised as was the warm caring climate fostered by the staff. They recommended that the head teacher should develop the role of parents in monitoring and evaluating the life and work of the school.

The inspectors encouraged the staff and the authority to strive to continue to provide the high quality and improving standard of education they found during their visit. They noted in their report that the school is in a strong position to develop further approaches to involve pupils in improving their learning across the curriculum.

While the resources in the school were generally highly commended, inspectors would like to see improved facilities to develop pupils' skills with information and communication technology. At a more basic level, they proposed that the authority should plan to improve the toilet facilities.

Mrs Linsey Mackay, head teacher, commented: "I am extremely pleased that the report recognises the effort that staff and pupils have put into creating a school we are all very proud of. The inspection was a valuable experience for all of us and the points for action will be included in our School Development Plan for the coming session. Some work has already begun to address the main points for action."

On reading the report, the Chair of the School Board, said: "The school is very well supported by parents, carers and the local community. As the school progresses towards more parental involvement we expect it to go from strength to strength. The HMIE report has given us tremendous encouragement to continue working at increasing the strong links between the parent body and the school for the benefit of everyone involved."
Full Report Published 1 May 2007

25 March 07
New Director of ECS Appointed by The Highland Council

The Highland Council has appointed a new Director of Education Culture and Sport. He is Hugh Fraser, the Council's Head of Support Services since 2002. Mr Fraser takes over from Bruce Robertson, who is now Director of Education and Recreation with Aberdeenshire Council. Educated at Kirkton Primary School, near Inverness, and Inverness Royal Academy, Mr Fraser taught modern languages in schools in East Lothian, Midlothian and Edinburgh after graduating from Edinburgh University. He returned to the Highlands in 1988 as assistant divisional education officer for Inverness with Highland Regional Council. He rose through the management ranks and was appointed Area Education Manager for Ross and Cromarty in 1999. Resident in Ross-shire, Mr Fraser is married with two daughters.

13 March 07
HMIe report on Canisbay Primary School, Caithness
A recently published HMIe report on Canisbay Primary School, Caithness has praised pupils~ attainment in English language and mathematic.

The inspectors were impressed with the positive climate for learning and the effective use of ICT across the curriculum. They noted the friendly and welcoming atmosphere in the three-teacher school, together with the high standard of behaviour and the positive approach to learning.

Also highlighted in the report are the high quality of pastoral care of the pupils and the very good arrangements to include pupils with additional support needs in all aspects of the life of the school. The report commends the committed teachers and the good strategic leadership of the head teacher.

26 February 07
Improving Protecting of Children and Young People

In a move to ensure the safety and well-being of pupils The Highland Council has sent a letter to all parents giving details of its new policy to manage unexplained absences.

The Council has being looking closely at its practices regarding pupil absence to see how, in partnership with parents and carers, protection for children can be improved. From this review a new three day rule for schools has been developed which lays out a clear set of procedures to follow in all unexplained absences.

The Highland Council's Head of Children and Young People Services, Bill Alexander said: "Parents, carers, schools and the Council all have a part to play in maximising attendance and health, safety and well-being. Our new policy gives clear guidance to parents, head teachers and school staff on what action must be taken when a child does not arrive at school as expected. For the new policy to work effectively we are relying on parents to help by working closely with our schools."

In the letter sent to parents they are asked to sign an agreement giving a commitment to inform their child's school of any prearranged absence such as a hospital appointment or other unavoidable event, prior to the absence taking place. They are also be asked to ensure they notify the school of their child's absence by 9.15am on the morning of the first day of absence and to provide written confirmation of the absence as soon as possible.

Forms are also enclosed to ensure parents provide an up-to-date list of emergency contact telephone numbers, including mobile phones which the school can use to contact them on.

The Council's review follows on from the new national child protection guidance from the Scottish Executive called ~Safe and Well~, which highlights the requirement of each school to have a clear and robust absence policy to ensure that action is taken if a child does not arrive at school as expected.

Similar Guidance specifically for pre-school and partner centres is currently being developed.

The new three day rule for dealing with unexplained pupil absence is as follows:

DAY 1: First day of unexplained absence of pupil
The school will endeavour to make contact by telephone, text or e-mail to parents, carers or emergency contacts informing them that the child is absent and requesting a reason for the absence. If no contact can be made with the parent/carers or emergency contacts on the first day of absence, this will be noted by the school. If the family is known to other agencies because of possible concerns about his/her well-being, then contact will be made with these agencies.

DAY 2: Second day of unexplained absence of pupil
The school will make vigorous attempts to contact a carer or family member by telephone, text or e-mail. If no contact can be made on the second day of absence, this will be noted by the school.

DAY 3: Third day of unexplained absence of pupil
If no contact is established, secondary schools and schools with support staff, will arrange a home visit to check the situation. If the child is not found and no satisfactory explanation is given for absence, the police will be notified of the child's non-attendance. The police will treat this as a missing persons alert. For small schools, the police may be involved to conduct visits where it is not possible for the school to do so.

9 February 07
Big hearted Highland pupils to raise funds for Gambian skills centre
The Big Heart charity fundraising event to be held in all Highland schools later this month will raise money to fund a new Skills Centre for young people in The Gambia.

On Friday 23rd February 220 primary and secondary schools will raise as much money as they can through creative and inventive fundraising activities of their choice.

The first Big Heart Day Highland was the idea of the Director of Education and Cultural Services, Bruce Robertson in response to the Highland Councils concerns for the communities affected by the Asian tsunami over two years ago. Since then Highland schools have been involved in raising over £80,000 of aid for communities affected by the Tsunami - the first year it was for the Disasters Emergency Committee Tsunami Earthquake Appeal and last year a specific community fund in the South of India - Mallampuram.

Bruce Robertson said: "This year we have identified a project in The Gambia for our support. This has come about through the work of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award in Scotland developing a Skills Centre in Bakau during the last 15 years, which has resulted in vocational education opportunities for many thousands of under-privileged young people in one of Africa's poorest countries. This Skills Centre is now delivering Day School education for youngsters whose parents cannot always afford to pay for it. I visited the Centre 2 years ago with a group of Gold Award participants from Highland who established a wonderful computing room and last year a group of our teachers visited the Centre and spent 10 days training local teachers in ICT Skills.

"The next phase of the GAMSCOT Project is to develop a second Skills Centre in a place called Kerewan which is about 40 miles inland from Bakau and is in one of the poorest parts of the country. We plan to use money raised by Highland pupils to help get the basics established for the second Skills Centre which requires water, a generator for electricity, buildings and equipment. This will allow education and training to take place and in particular ensure that there is a sustainable project in place so that there can be a long-term legacy in The Gambia."

Highland pupils are already busy thinking up novel and fun ways of raising money for the Big Heart Highland Day.

11 September 06
Council Urges Parents To "Park Smart"
Parents and carers who drive their children to and from school are being urged to park safely and considerately around Highland schools through an initiative called "Park Smart". Balloch Primary School, Inverness is currently participating in the "Park Smart" scheme and over the next two months other schools participating will include Park Primary, Invergordon on 11th September; Duncan Forbes Primary, Culloden on 25th September; and from 2nd October, Cradlehall Primary, Drakies Primary and Muirtown Primary in Inverness will be combining "Park Smart" with Walk to School Week to encourage parents to leave the car at home.

Mount Pleasant Primary, Thurso and Grantown Primary, Badenoch and Strathspey will also be running Park Smart during this week.

Each school decides on a time when they would like to run "Park Smart" which usually runs for one week. A ~Park Smart~ banner is erected outside the worst affected parking areas of school and a letter is sent home to parents and carers with a "Park Smart" leaflet.

On the week of "Park Smart" the school designates a "no parking" zone around the school. The Banner is put up in the no parking area, along with ~Park Smart~ posters. Parents must drop their children off outside of the no parking zone, and the children must then walk in to the school grounds.

Ailsa Campbell, Highland Council's School Travel Coordinator said: "Park Smart tries to get across the message that even parking for a short time on yellow zig-zags makes it dangerous for children who want to cross the road.

"Adults should try to remember what is was like to be at child-height - try getting down to your child's height and see how difficult it is to see over cars. Parked cars stop children from seeing approaching traffic and drivers from seeing them. Parents and carers should walk their children to and from school and show them how to cross carefully.

"If you really have to drive your child to and from school, park well away from the school, and never park on the zig-zags. Remember to consider other children who are walking to and from school (not just your own) and always look out for them."

1 August 06
Wick High School Modern Synthetic Pitch To Be Ready Soon
Work is progressing well on a £584,000 floodlit synthetic sport pitch for Wick High School. Contractors, Malcolm Construction Services Ltd. working for The Highland Council took delivery of the synthetic turf which arrived from Germany and work to lay the turf and perimeter fencing has finished. Environmental re-instatement works for the pitch surrounds are soon to be completed followed by a site tidy up. Weather-dependent, it is hoped that all the site works will be finished for the new school term. Funding for the development has been provided by The Highland Council's Education Culture and Sports Service. The pitch will be developed as a multi-sports use playing surface for use by the school and the community by arrangement through the school. The types of sports which can be played on the pitch include football, hockey, shinty and netball. Councillor Roger Saxon, Chairman of The Highland Council's Caithness Area Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: "I am pleased to see the good progress on the all weather pitch and look forward to it being well used by the school and the local community. I commend the project management of the development by the Council and the good works being carried out by Malcolm Construction Services Ltd."

2 June 06
Hillhead Primary School Wins ICT Learning Award In Glasgow
Highland Successes at Scottish Education Awards

"What a day for Highland education!" This was the reaction of The Highland Council's Convener Alison Magee on learning of four successes at the annual Scottish Education Awards held in Glasgow today (Friday 2 June 2006).

The Council won the local authority award of the year - Making a Difference - for its partnership working with NHS Highland in securing health promoting school status for every school in Highland.

Raigmore Primary School, Inverness, picked up the Healthy Living Award, and Hillhead Primary School, Wick, won the ICT Learning Award.

Alistair Tait, principal teacher of technological education at Fortrose Academy, won the Gold Award for being Teacher of the Year. The school nominated Alistair, who has worked for 37 years at the school, for his outstanding contribution to school and community life.

The winning schools received a trophy and £1,000. Individual winners won £500 and £1,000 for their schools.

Dougal McCrow, Grantown Grammar, was runner-up in the Probationary Teacher of the Year award and Jim Steven, Invergordon Academy, was runner-up in the Scottish Daily Record Gold Award for Head Teacher of the Year.

Councillor Magee said: "This is terrific news. I am so delighted that we have done so well in these prestigious awards. It says so much about the quality of education being delivered throughout the Highlands and everyone involved deserves our sincere congratulations on such a stunning success."

Councillor Andy Anderson, Chairman of the Education Culture and Sport Committee, who attended the ceremony, was equally delighted. He said: "This is a fantastic day for Highland education. My congratulations go to the Director and his team and to our teaching staff and pupils for delivering this success. . Parents can be assured we will strive to maintain the very high standards we have set."

Bruce Robertson, Director of Education Culture and Sport, said: "This is by far the proudest day of my career. I am really grateful to our partners in NHS Highland for helping us deliver the Health Promoting Schools Initiative."

29 May 06
Council Encourages Claims For Schools Meals
And Assistance With School Clothing
Parents, who think they may be eligible to apply for free school meals and assistance towards the cost of school clothing, are being encouraged to submit claims to The Highland Council's Education Culture and Sport Service so the support is in place at the start of the new school session in August.

From this time, the Council is streamlining the application system so that anyone who qualifies for free school meals is automatically entitled to a clothing allowance, which is increasing from £40 to £50 per eligible pupil per school year.

Free school meals and assistance with school clothing can be claimed if parents or guardians are receiving any one of the following: Income Support; or Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance; or Child Tax Credit, but not in receipt of Working Tax Credit and if income is less than £14,155 (as assessed by the Inland Revenue).

If pupils are 16 ~ 18 yrs old and receive any of these benefits they can claim for themselves. Asylum seekers receiving support under part VI of the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999 can also claim for free school meals and assistance with school clothing.

Norma Murray, The Highland Council's Catering and Cleaning Manager, said: "I would urge anyone who thinks that they might qualify for this help to apply for free school meals and assistance with school clothing. Often people's personal circumstances change and they may not be aware that they qualify."

All enquiries about free school meals and clothing assistance should be made to Catering Services, Education, Culture and Sport, 30 Harbour Road, Inverness IV1 1UA tel: (01463) 251300 e-mail: marilyn.ross@highland.gov.uk  or fax: (01463) 715180.

14 May 06
Education Culture And Sport Service Newsletter Spring 2006
A Pdf file

20 March 06
The new Head Teacher of the 860 pupil Wick High School is Alister Traill, the current Depute Head Teacher at Thurso High School. He will take up his post after the Easter school holidays.

Alister Traill began his career as a teacher of Geography at Fraserburgh Academy and then held the post of Principal Teacher of Geography at Wick High School for sixteen years before his present post in Thurso High School. His interests include sports and travel.

He said: "I am looking forward to taking up post as Head Teacher in Wick High, and I wish Mr Manson all the best in his retirement."
Alister Traill takes over from Ian Manson, who is retiring after 16 years as Head Teacher.

Mr Manson said: "I am pleased to be handing over the reins to Mr Traill, someone I have known and worked with over the years, and I wish him every success in his new post."

25 January 06
Chloe Mackay Keiss Primary
A Winner In Calendar Competition

Twelve Highland pupils have won top prizes in an art competition to design Lyreco Office Supplies 2008 calendar. Each winning pupil received an i-pod prize and their design will appear in one month of the calendar. The winning pupils include:

  • Chloe Mackay from Keiss Primary School;

  • Sean Dugan, John Rutledge, Graham Brown, Elizabeth Pirie, and Sarah McWilliam from Grantown Grammar School;

  •  Holly Dalgetty from Ferintosh Primary School;

  • Iona MacInnes from Crown Primary School;

  •  Rebecca Skeoch, Christina Stephenson, Kilchuimen Academy;

  • James Wilson, Kilchuimen Primary School; and

  •  Mairi Macleod from Invergordon Academy.

The twelve runners who received DVD players included:

  • David Mardon, St Joseph's Primary School;

  • Shelly Mackay and Danny Gunn from Mount Pleasant Primary School;

  • Cameron Young, Merkinch Primary School;

  •  Tara Macrae, Kyleakin Primary School;

  • Demi Maclaren, Bishop Eden's Primary School;

  • Iona Hounsom, Kilchuimen Academy;

  • Danielle Slater, Wick High School;

  • Zaac Harry, Drew Coupland from Mallaig Primary School;

  • Siobhan Keegan, Alvie Primary School; and

  •  Jamie Beveridge, Tongue Primary School.

The Lyreco catalogue will be distributed to all schools and Council Services.  Andrew O'Sullivan of Lyreco said: "We were delighted with the quality of the 2,500 entries in this year's annual Lyreco schools design competition. We decided to produce an office calendar this year so that more of the pupils' efforts could be showcased, rather than just one overall winner which we used to publish as the front page cover of our catalogue.

22 January 06
Highland Schools Go For Big Heart Day  - 8 February 2006

Pupils at primary and secondary schools in the Highlands are gearing up to raise thousands of pounds to help communities and young people across the world who are trying to re-build their lives following the devastation caused by last year's Asian tsunami.

In February last year, all Highland schools were involved in raising money for the victims of the Asian tsunami. The successful Big Heart Day Highland 2005 raised a total of £65,301 for the appeal. However, one year on from the disaster, many of the tsunami affected areas still have a lot of work to be done to help people regain livelihoods, homes, health, education and community life.

This year, Bruce Robertson, Director of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service, has asked schools to support another Big Heart Day Highland 2006, to mark the anniversary of last years event, and help support in rebuilding communities. On Wednesday 8 February, all 220 schools across the Highlands will be asked to raise as much as they can, through activities of their choice.

Mr Robertson said: "Following the success of last year's event, we would like to continue our support of the rebuilding of tsunami affected communities. The region of Tamil Nadu in southern India was one of the worst affected areas, so the money raised this year will go towards the ongoing work in that region. It is hoped once again that children will come up with creative and inventive fundraising ideas, to make this another great day."

Last year schools organised a wide range of fund-raising events including:

* Sponsored Street Dance Workshop
* Wacky Hair Day
* Talent Show
* Pancake Day
* Non-Uniform Day and Wear Your Pyjamas to School Day
* Sponsored Spell
* Fun Quiz
* Sporting competitions

20 January 06
Inspectors call for improved support for pupils ‘missing out’
Scottish education must do more for pupils at risk of leaving school without getting the most from their education according to education inspectors. 

In their report, Missing out - A report on children at risk of missing out on educational opportunities, inspectors  look at the experience of pupils who may not achieve highly at school for a range of reasons, including difficult family circumstances and deprivation.

Inspectors say that more support has to be offered to pupils who face barriers to learning and highlight the importance of the Additional Support for Learning Act as an important opportunity to tackle this issue.

Graham Donaldson, HMIE’s Senior Chief Inspector, said:

“Too many of our pupils leave school without the skills and positive experiences that put them strongly on the path to becoming confident, successful Scots. We need to look closely at how everyone involved in education can make a difference to these young people’s educational experience.

“There has never been a greater opportunity to engage with and support these youngsters through the pupil-centred reforms underway in Scottish education like the review of the curriculum and the Additional Support for Learning Act. We must make the most of chances like these to ensure that all children get the very most from their education.”

Children's Services

Young People From Caithness Attend
Highland Youth Parliament
Young people from Caithness travelled to Sabhal Mor Ostaig, gaelic college in Skye, to attend the Youth Voice Bi annual conference. 
The event was opened by Gary Coutts, Chair of Highland NHS Board.  The main theme of the weekend was health. The young people were given the opportunity to have their say on health issues affecting them and identified best practice for addressing these issues.  The weekend programme also included workshops on Youth Voice web development, production of Highland Youth Voice magazine and new media. Presentations were given on domestic abuse, Youth Bank UK and Duke of Edinburgh award.  While the young people had a weekend of hard work, the young people who attended found it a worthwhile experience and enjoyed meeting up with other young people from across the Highlands and enjoyed the evening entertainment.

23 October 05
PPP Schools  - Do You 'Know what Is Happening?
Public Private Partnerships are coming in to nearly all parts of Scotland.  But many people are worried about the implications for the schools  and aspects such as the loss of Green Spaces which in come places are being turned over to developers to build houses and other buildings on as part of the deal

January 2005
No. of schools in Highland:

29 Secondary Schools; 184
Primary Schools; 6 Special Schools; 1 Nursery School = Total no. of schools in Highland = 220
No. of school pupils in Highland:
Secondary - 14,967; Primary - 17,743; Special Schools - 187; Nursery - 73 = Total no. of pupils in Highland = 32,970

Comment: Jenny Hjul: Preening Peacock puts ideology before children - Sunday Times 28 Nov 04

Find Out About Your School
Reports on every Scottish school by H M Inspectorate

Children's Services
Started 4 September 2003 to begin to draw together information on Children in various parts of the site.

Highland Schools Emergency Helpline
The helpline number is 0870 054 6999 and parents should then insert the PIN number relevant to their school.

21 October 04
Science Festival Winners At Culham Science Centre
This year’s Caithness Science O4 winners collected their prize in October.  Their UKAEA-sponsored reward for winning the children’s essay competition, as part of the Science 04 Festival held in Caithness in March, was an all-expenses paid trip to UKAEA’s Culham Science Centre. The two winners, 17 year old Louis Morril and 15 year old Alisdair Rankine, both of Thurso High School, were accompanied on their half day visit by their physics teacher, Andy Smith.  Culham education outreach manager Chris Warrick enjoyed meeting the students and said “I feel both Louis and Alisdair learnt a lot from the trip – on how the science they study in the classroom can be applied in a research environment”

19 April 04
Secondary 1 and 2 students in The Highland Council area are being offered the opportunity to be part of Am Baile, the new Highland history and culture website and the chance to win a digital camera by taking part in a social history competition.  The Am Baile schools competition, 'A Day to Remember', is inviting students to write a short factual story about the Highlands. The winning entries will be showcased on the Am Baile website at www.ambaile.org.uk in the autumn.  There are nine prizes to be won. The overall winner will receive a digital camera and there is a £25 book token prize for best entry in each Highland Council area.

26 January 04
A new scheme aimed at encouraging young people from low-income households to remain in full-time education between the ages of 16 to 19 will be introduced into Highland Schools from August 2004 and is expected to be fully operational by 2006. Funded by the Scottish Executive, the new 'Education Maintenance Allowances' will be administered by The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service and will replace the existing system of Higher School Bursaries.

5 January 04
Young Culture Vultures Encouraged
To Enter Website Competition

Primary 4 to 7 children in the Highland Council area are being invited by Highland Libraries to take part in the Am Baile Children's Competition.  The competition consists of 10 questions and has been designed to encourage children to find out more about the Scottish Highlands and Islands and what has gone on in its past. All the answers can be found in the Am Baile website which can be accessed at www.ambaile.org.uk, and up to 18 lucky winners will receive a £10 book token each.

16 December 03
Scottish Schools Online
A new web site from the Scottish Executive to allow you to look up a range of information about schools from exam results to where people go when they leave and much more.  Link will be on the education page for future reference.

15 December 03

The Highland Council is one of 10 councils in Scotland which has been successful in bidding for Scottish Executive funding which supports enterprising pupils who are determined to succeed. Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Jim Wallace has announced that the Council will receive £1.75 million over three years through the Executive’s £40 million Enterprise in Education strategy.

21 November 03
Three Caithness Schools Share
Safer Routes To School Cash

£10,100  to
Canisbay Primary for improved school signage and road markings in Canisbay Village and the construction of a footway and fence round the bus stop at Lower Gills.   £4,100 to Mount Pleasant Primary in Thurso for the building of a ramp at the front of the school to improve cycle access, the lining of car park bays on Castle Terrace and the school car parks.  £15,000 from the new “20 mph limit at schools” grant was awarded to put a 20 mph limit on Castle Terrace and associated traffic calming at either end of the road.  £11,000 to South Primary in Wick for a zebra crossings, zig zag markings and two yellow backed school warning signs on Roxburgh Road outside the front of the school.........

20 November 03
The Traditional Musicians In Schools project run by Fèis Rois is continuing to sweep through primary schools throughout Scotland this winter with the Caithness area next to be visited. Fèis Rois, a Highland traditional arts organisation.  The group will visit 17 Primary schools over a six-day period beginning at the end of November. The visits will take place in the following areas; Wick, Thurso, Reay, Halkirk, Castletown, Dunnet, Bowermadden, Keiss, Watten, Thrumster, Lybster and Dunbeath. It is estimated that 900 children will benefit from the experience.  The visits will be conducted by a very experienced team being led by acclaimed local musician Addie Harper. He will be accompanied by fiddler Claire Campbell, singer Maeve Mackinnon and harpist and singer Kathleen Graham.....................more

23 October 03

Planned strike action in the Unison Nursery Nurses dispute for the dates Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th October has been suspended following a series of meetings over the October holidays between Unison and Highland Council officials.  Although no formal agreement has been reached, there has been enough common ground covered as a basis for discussion for a final agreement.............

1 October 03
Song Of Wick Rehearsal At South School

South school at rehearsal for their part in "The Song of Wick" a portrayal of a few historical events in Wick's past.  Grey Coast theatre company have been coaching the children at four Wick schools for the past three weeks.  Dress rehearsals begin on Thursday afternoon for three performances starting on Thursday evening in Wick High school.  The show is a sell-out already.

30 September 03

Thrumster Primary School has won Scottish Natural Heritage's 2003 competition celebrating Scottish Schools Grounds Week.  The first prize is an expenses paid excursion for all from the two teacher Caithness Primary School to a wildlife site in the north with bus hire, picnic lunch, activities and expert guides..............................


17 September 03
Partnership Promotes Sports Leadership
 In The Highlands

In a groundbreaking partnership between The Highland Council, Gael Force Ten, sport coaching project and the New Opportunities Fund, many hundreds of people in the Highlands and Islands will now be able to participate in the British Sports Trust, Sports Leader Awards bringing valuable benefits to themselves and their communities.   Over the next three years, the SCALP project (School and Community Activity Leaders Programme) will help over 400 pupils from 29 Scottish secondary schools and 360 community volunteers gain a Sports Leader Award, a nationally recognised qualification.

12 September 03
Shares For Schools Investment Competition
You can apply for sponsorship to join in the competition but if not awarded you need to be able to say you might be able to raise the £1500 for yourself.  But if you do not enter you can always practice in the stock market by just buying a newspaper and writing down what you might have bought and following its course and selling it when the prices is right and buying another one.  You will not get rich but you cannot lose anything and you will learn a lot.

31 August 03
Has Your School Got a Community Project In mind?

Barclays New Futures is the UK's largest education sponsorship, presented in collaboration with CSV (Community Service Volunteers).
Barclays New Futures has more than £1 million in cash awards, educational resources, training materials and support for secondary school projects, where students are tackling social, community or educational challenges through school/community partnerships. In all projects, whether new or existing, the judges will be looking for projects that: Enhance and increase student learning and personal development; Promote student empowerment through ownership and management; Meet a genuine need in the community and have lasting impact; Are sustainable through effective management and integration into the school; and Inspire other schools to undertake similar projects.

There are four different awards to choose from depending on the scale and duration of your project. All projects must have at least one community partner (other than a school) eg local business, charity or community group.

Barclays New Futures Individual - School Awards of £5,000 - A one year award for a school and its students working with a community partner on any social, educational or community challenge.

Barclays New Futures School - Partnership Awards of £10,000 - A two year award for schools tackling similar challenges as the £5,000 Award but working in partnership with at least two other schools in addition to their community partner. Partner schools may include preparatory or primary schools.

Barclays New Futures Challenge Award - for Citizenship of £20,000 - A two year award to realise and promote an outstanding vision in the field of citizenship education. The winning project will meet the same criteria as the award levels but it must demonstrate national impact and exceptional opportunities for young people. Up to five schools will be shortlisted and will each receive £2,000 to cover the costs of their final submission and presentation to the judges. The  entry period for 2003 awards is mid October - end of 2003.

Kallaway Ltd, 2 Portland Road, Holland Park, London W11 4LA Tel: 020 7221 7883 Fax: 020 7229 4595 E-mail: barclaysnewfutures@kallaway.co.uk Information is also on web-site: www.barclaysnewfutures.co.uk Applications can be made on-line.

13 August 03
For thousands of young people across the Highlands and Islands, the long wait to find out the results of their Standard and Higher Grade exams will soon be over.

Tuesday 12 August is the day results are due to be delivered and, depending on the contents of the envelope, many students will want expert advice before choosing their next step. The good news is that help is again at hand through the One Life: Results Exam Helpline.

Callers to the freephone number 0808 100 8000 will be put in touch with Careers Scotland advisers who have access to the latest course vacancies at colleges and universities across the UK.

Now in its tenth year, the helpline offers fast access to the UCAS clearing system which helps students find a university place which matches their qualifications. Helpline advisers can quickly let students know which places are still available.

Careers Scotland advisers can also give guidance on re-sits, time out from education and opportunities in the world of work through vocational qualifications and Modern Apprenticeships.

The helpline is managed and run by Careers Scotland, the information and guidance organisation for people of all ages, and is based in Stirling.

Lines are open on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 August, 8.00 am - 8.00 pm and between 10.00 am and 6.00 pm from Thursday 14 - Friday 22 August. Careers advisers are also on hand in each of the 17 Careers Scotland centres in the Highlands and Islands.  Catriona Eagle, Director of Careers Scotland in the Highlands and Islands, said:  "The One Life: Results helpline is a great opportunity to get the latest information and advice from Careers Scotland's experts and the telephone call won't cost a penny. It's really important for students to call the helpline as soon as they can, as colleges and universities make their final selection once the results are out. We can discuss the options and look at the different courses and institutions that are available and help the caller make an informed choice that is right for them.

"When the results are issued, don't panic if the outcome is not what you expected, just call 0808 100 8000 to talk to one of our experts."

4 August 03
Environmental Research Institute New Web Site

19 May 03
Calling All Potential and Current Playworkers
Mount pleasant Primary, Thurso -  Saturday 24 May 10.00am - 3.00pm
Playworkers, Childminders, Youthworkers, and anyone with an interest in Playwork might be interested in a one day seminar aimed at raising the profile for play.  If you are thinking about a career in working with children then this day may help you.  This is a pilot project to promote Play and Playwork in four remote areas of the Highlands and Islands.

16 May 03
Thirty nine Nursery classes across Highland will be affected when 65 Nursery workers intend withdrawing their labour on Wednesday 21st May.   Approximately 975 pupils will lose a pre-school session on this day.  These are the likely impacts of strike action on Wednesday 21st May by Unison members employed by The Highland Council as nursery assistants and auxiliaries.  Bruce Robertson, The Highland Council’s Director of Education, Culture and Sport said: “Headteachers will advise parents affected by the strike by letter over the next few days but overall the classes involved are: Caithness: Hillhead, Pulteneytown, Mount Pleasant and South Nurseries....more and other areas

13 May 03

Highland primary and secondary school pupils are being encouraged by The Highland Council to put their best foot forward and support ‘National Summer Walk to School Week’ from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd May.  Not just aimed at improving the health of pupils, the national campaign aims to improve the well-being of families, and communities who are both involved in and live around or on routes to schools.....

9 May 03