THE S4 parents’ night went off without a hitch on Tuesday, February 3. A large percentage of parents came along to find out how their children are progressing.
Normally these events are held in the dining hall area. Due to the renovations in the Crush Hall, this area was inaccessible and the event was held in the mathematics department.
Interestingly almost all parents felt that this was a much better venue. The SMT will now canvass ideas of staff before taking a decision on whether or not this should be a permanent move.
All parents are requested to return an evaluation sheet to the school in order that their views can be taken into account when decisions are being made regarding aspects of life in the school.
LETTERS have now been issued to parents giving details of the Burns Ceilidh which will be held on Friday, February 20. Preparations are well underway for what promises to be a really enjoyable evening.
Tickets are on sale at the school office. Cost £12 per adult, £6 per child, and £30 per family ticket (two adults and two children).
LAST week was Catholic Education Week and the theme was Living Values. Members of staff from across Queen Margaret Academy cluster attended Mass in all churches in the cluster, and in all schools in the cluster there was a focus on how they practice their values.
Each morning in Queen Margaret Academy an assembly was held, during which members of the guidance team discussed with year groups the importance of sharing their Christian values and living those values in how they treat people and in how they contribute to society both in school and in the wider world.
BISHOP Cunningham will meet with Diocesan representatives to discuss issues pertaining to Catholic schools across Ayshire and to make plans for the future.
Mrs Gray will attend this meeting on behalf of the cluster and to represent Catholic secondary head teachers from across Ayrshire.
A MEETING of all South Ayrshire head teachers, from all sectors, was held in Ayrshire Management Centre on Wednesday, February 4.
During this meeting a variety of issues were discussed, including aspects of Curriculum for Excellence, planning for next session and issues affecting primary and secondary schools.
THE RENOVATIONS to the modern languages and RE departments are now underway. Builders are working at evenings and on weekends to ensure the there is minimal disruption to the school.
The two new temporary classrooms which have been built in the centre of the open area are much larger and more solid than staff expected them to be. Initially there was a major problem with sound-proofing and builders have co-operated closely with the school in making improvements and in attempting to meet our needs.
THE NEW flooring in the Crush Hall should have been laid between Monday and Wednesday of last week. When the old flooring was lifted, however, it was discovered that the work would be more extensive than previously thought.
Nevertheless, managers from South Ayrshire Council were on site with incredible speed and a solution has been found. We are hopeful that the Crush Hall will be fully operational within a few weeks.
ON Friday, pupils from the Supported Learning Centre met with their drama teacher in the dance studio. During these sessions they learn to relax, to lose their inhibitions, develop their artistic skills and their skills for life through the medium of drama.
The pupils report unanimously that these sessions are brilliant. Miss McCabe Ayr College is doing a wonderful job.
Mrs Gray is hoping that this can be developed across the school so that all of the pupils can enhance their performance and artistic skills.
THE FIFTH and sixth year examinations are well underway and pupils have approached these with the maturity and diligence which the school has come to expect of them.
Following these examinations, the results will be scrutinised closely by staff and pupils and support will be given to pupils to ensure that their performance is maximised when the final examinations take place in the summer.
Currently the school management team are putting support strategies into place for fourth year pupils who are preparing for their national examination.
Third year students are reminded constantly by staff of the importance of maintaining a strong work ethic. Their national examinations are just around the corner and the next year will fly past. Parents are asked to support the school in reinforcing the importance of homework and private study.
First and second year pupils are already undertaking national tests where appropriate, and these will be reported upon at the appropriate time.
STAFF from the Pupil Support Team and the Supported Learning Centre of QMA are already busy visiting their associate primary schools in order to glean information about every pupil who will join them next year. This will ensure that they are well prepared to support their new first year when they join them in August and they will continue to have their talents and skills recognised and developed to their full potential.
The school looks forward to the visit of next year’s first year which will take place in June.
ON Monday afternoon, staff from the associate primary schools visited Queen Margaret Academy to collaborate with Mrs McMillan, principal teacher of English, and the staff of the English department to carry out a moderation exercise in 5-14 marking. They are delighted to say that no problems were encountered and there was complete concordance between sectors.
QUEEN Margaret Academy is a pilot school for embedding DofE in the curriculum. On Monday, February 23, an awards ceremony will take place for pupils from the authority who are receiving awards at bronze, silver and gold levels.
They are proud to report that a large number of QMA pupils will receive their bronze certificate and several will also receive their silver award.
Many thanks go to Vincent McWhirter, development officer for DofE, who works tirelessly with the pupils, organising field trips and lots of other events to support the pupils in their endeavour to gain awards.
Corinne Barr (geography department) and Gary Devlin (technical education department) also spend a huge amount of their time in supporting and guiding the pupils towards success.
Twelve other staff have volunteered their services to support a variety of activities relating to DofE. This is, of course, over and above the call of duty for these busy people, but they are all very keen to go the extra mile for the pupils.
GLOW training is being undertaken by all staff in the school. This will enable staff and pupils to gain access to the Glow website with its links to a variety of prestigious educational bodies, including Learning and Teaching Scotland, SQA and HMIe.
More importantly it will enable teachers across South Ayrshire and further afield to share expertise in learning and teaching and ideas for the curriculum for the 21st century.
Irene McIntosh is the trainer for Queen Margaret Academy and she has been doing a wonderful job both in training the staff and enthusing them to use the website.
LAST week Queen Margaret Academy was named School of the Week by the Scottish International Aid Society because of the Shine a Light on Sudan campaign which they ran before Christmas. Pupils lit candles and sent messages to children in Sudan and these are being read out on Sudan radio. The aim is to highlight the poverty and hardship which children and adults experience in that part of the world.
The article can be accessed through the SCIAF website on www.sciafyouth.org.uk
THE OPTIONS programme for current second year, moving into third year, is well underway – as is the programme for fourth year pupils moving into fifth year.
Staff from subject specialism will induct pupils in the intricacies of their subjects in order that students can make wise choices from a position of understanding.
The options choice booklets are being updated and options evenings have been arranged for parents and pupils so that they are given a flavour of subjects which pupils might choose to study next year.
GEOGRAPHY pupils Cameron Brown, Alasdair Johnstone, Mark Lawrence, Rachel Home, Kate Haining, Amber Main, Louise Girvan and Katie Houston have been finding out about the world in preparation for the Worldwise Quiz held in January at Belmont Academy. Thanks are due to the Clydesdale Bank for supporting the quiz and supplying the prizes.
Congratulations to team A for coming third in the Ayrshire final. Team members are Alasdair Johnstone S4, Rachel Home S3 and Kate Haining S2. These three were ably supported by the other five pupils in the run up to the final in Belmont Academy in January. Many lunchtimes were spent finding out about such topics as Scottish islands, world climates and New Zealand. Both teams did well in the first round, but team A went through to the final and were beaten into third place by only three points.
THE DESIRE to encourage young people to be active continues in Queen Margaret Academy, driven primarily by the PE department under the leadership of Anne Logan and supported by Kirsty McKay, active schools co-ordinator.
The Scottish Schools Indoor Track and Field Championships took place recently in Kelvin Hall. Three pupils were entered: Gary McLeod, 60m; Ciara Gracie, long jump; and Sarah Cassells, 1500m.
Aaron Gray of fourth year is a talented runner. Last year he was fourth in Scotland for under 17s following only four months of training, and he was also third in Scotland at high jump. What an athlete.
Meanwhile pupils are able to attend a variety of in-house sports including football, rugby, basketball, dance, table tennis, badminton and cheerleading.
A VISIT to Newmilns dry ski slope on Monday, February 9, was organised by Mrs Logan. Forty pupils and accompanying staff – Mr Gray, Mrs Gilgallon and Mr Campbell – enjoyed the morning, with real snow adding to the experience. The pupils were from S1 to S3.
THE ANNUAL ski trip, organised by Mrs Logan, heads for the Italian Alps and the resort of Pila in the Aosta Valley on Saturday, February 28. They will fly from Edinburgh Airport to Malpenza and transfer by coach to the Hotel Dujany in Pila. They will ski four hours each day and are provided with a meal in a mountain restaurant. Entertainment is included – ten pin bowling, pizza night and nightclub disco being just a few.
QUEEN Margaret first year boys and first and second year girls took part in the annual Coca Cola 7s tournament at Greenwood Academy on Tuesday, February 3. Although both teams were thrown together at short notice they managed to put some respectable performances in.The boys’ team won three out of five games, drawing with Arran and only losing to eventual winners of the group Marr in their final game. They beat Cumnock 4-1, Kilwinning 2-0, and Ayr 3-0, then drew 0-0 with Arran before losing to Marr 2-0. Top scorer for the boys was Kyle Campbell who scored three goals, the rest were spread around the team.
The girls’ team started brightly with a 1-0 victory against Arran, goal scored by Amy Strang, then had narrow defeats from Belmont (eventual group winners), Ardrossan (also qualifiers), and Marr College, losing 1-0 in each game. They never had the opportunity to fulfil all fixtures as the bus had to leave, so they missed out on the chance to play Prestwick and Auchinleck.