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Alford Academy Bulletin

The Newsletter for the pupils, parents, staff and friends of Alford Academy October 2010

Message from the Head Teacher

Our new session has again got off to a terrific start. The school is 'bursting at the seams' with over 590 pupils. Two new classrooms are on site and we continue to cope with the lack of social space for our young people. S1 pupils have settled well into school life, building on their experiences during the five day visit. All pupils are encouraged to 'reach for the stars' meeting our highest expectations in terms of school dress code, positive attitudes and engagement in learning. As a school we continue moving forward this session. We aim to develop e-communication links with parents and I urge you to explore our website which has useful resources and information for parents. (see page 6). From the end of next term onwards, this bulletin will be posted on the website for parents to download. (paper copies will be available from the school office on request)

In this issue: P2 Senior School Showcase

P3 The Term in Pictures

Sponsored Walk 2010

P4 9/11 Concert Lessons from Auschwitz Geography Fieldtrips

P5 Amazon Adventure Staff News

Thank You!
Stop Press
Sponsored Walk total so far - 3,743.77.

P6 Parental Study Support Dates for Your Diary Great Thinkers on Success
Term begins on Monday 25 October Have a good break!

Alford Academy Bulletin

Senior School Showcase

Quest-yin Time for Billy
(Headline from Evening Express, 29/9/10.) This term, S5 and S6 pupils were treated to a special audience with comedian, Billy Connolly, as part of their PSE programme. Our thanks go to Guidance Teacher, Pete Comfort, and a parent for setting up this unique opportunity during Billys recent visit to his Candacraig Estate. Pupils had prepared questions in advance of the visit and, for one hour, Billy enthralled pupils and staff with stories and jokes about his travels, acting career and general take on life! This was Billys first gig in a school and one which will be remembered and savoured for a long time!

There was a buzz around the school that day. I think we had all seen him before at the Lonach but to actually meet him and speak to him was that bit different, that bit special. Fraser Lennon, S6

Senior Executive

House Assemblies

House Assemblies, which were led by the relevant Principal Teacher of Guidance, took place at the start of term. During the assembly, the Senior Executive and House captains outlined their role and newly elected prefects from each House introduced themselves.

Glasgow University Open Day

On September 1, S5 and S6 pupils attended Glasgow University Open Day, during which pupils found out about courses on offer, bursaries and student accommodation. Guidance staff and pupils found the day worthwhile as it gave a valuable insight into university life and offered senior pupils the chance to speak to students and lecturers about specific courses. This term, senior pupils are encouraged to visit the universities and colleges of their choice and to contact Admission Officers in order to make informed decisions about further education choices. There is a designated parents' section on the main UCAS website at ww.ucas.com/parents with lots of useful information. The site also contains clear guidelines about the UCAS application process and top tips on how parents can help their son or daughter through what can be a daunting and stressful time.

The Senior Executive for session 2010-11 is Steven Bain (Head Boy), Eilidh Ritchie (Head Girl), Kern Lasocki (Depute Head Boy) and Clare Harper (Depute Head Girl). Congratulations to all four on their success following a rigorous selection procedure. Their role is to work closely with the Senior Management Team and Staff in promoting the school and in ensuring its smooth running on a daily basis. The Senior Executive co-ordinates the prefects and organises rotas for corridor and campus patrols as well as for Chill Out Room supervision. This session, the Executive has decided to organise prefects into 4 groups with each group accountable to one of the Executive. In addition, they have each taken on a personal project. Steven will work with the mountain bike club, Kern with the rugby club, Eilidh with the PE Department and Clare on producing a P7 art magazine. Look out for our focus on House Captains in the December edition of the newsletter.

S5/S6 Unit Assessment Calendar 2010 - 2011 Every pupil/family should have one! Download from the school website: www.alfordacademy.aberdeenshire.sch.uk/ Documents/ General

l-r: Kern, Clare, Eilidh & Steven

s e r u t ic P in m r e T e Th

P etro C hallen


Paul Lawrie and Alford Academy golfers at the Paul Lawrie Schools Challenge.

or Malawi Visit

Norths ou Challen nd Oil and G ge as

Sport ge s Villa

T ree of Knowledge

Motivational company, Tree of Knowledge, has been working with S3 and S4 pupils this week on self-belief and preparing for exams. They will work with S5/S6 pupils on Monday 25 October.


o om at Sea

Skills for Work

S1 History Field T rip

P ASS workshop at Aberdeenshire P arents' Conference

S1 History Field T rip

Alford Academy Bulletin

9/11 Concert - by Ashleigh Brand and Hayley Muirhead, S3

The September concert is an event which is held every year in hundreds of countries in remembrance of 9/11 and being part of the first ever September concert in Scotland was amazing! We sang in a choir which was made up of school children from around Scotland, In-Chorus and the Lothian and Borders Police choir. We were conducted by Andrew Russel, who directed the whole event in the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. At rehearsals, it was nerve-racking backstage but we were very excited. Walking on stage was one of the best feelings ever and the butterflies disappeared as soon as the piano started playing. It felt like magic to sing Give us Hope which is such a meaningful and beautiful song about children and their voice. The Ashleigh and Hayley with choirmaster, Mr Sande concert was really touching and all the performers were brilliant. The 9/11 Concert was an unforgettable experience for us.

Lessons from Auschwitz

- by Isabella Cook and Mikey Smith, S5 We were two among 200 Scottish pupils who had the chance to visit AuschwitzBirkenau in Poland. The visit was organised through the Holocaust Education Trust as part of a project called Lessons from Auschwitz. On 14 September, we flew out to Krakow and first visited a Jewish cemetery to remind us that, before the war, the Jews in Poland were integrated in society and led normal lives. Next, we went to Auschwitz where political prisoners and Jewish intellects were held by the Nazis. Many of the barracks have been converted into museums and we saw exhibits of clothes, personal belongings and, most horrifyingly, hair of the prisoners. Finally, we visited Birkenau, the huge concentration camp where at least 1.2 million people died. We were able to see the terrible conditions Isabella and Mikey in which the prisoners had to live. We also took part in a memorial ceremony at Birkenau. Poems about the Holocaust were read out and prayers said. We were all given a candle which we lit and laid along the railway tracks into the camp. Our task now to think about what we have learned from visiting Auschwitz and how to disseminate this to other people and relate it to our everyday lives.

Geography Fieldtrip Reports

Geology Fieldtrip 7 enthusiastic S5 Geology pupils and Mrs Gray spent an enjoyable day at Cowie and Crawton, where they were joined by Peter Craig, a local geologist. Activities included observing, describing and identifying geological features and explaining the processes which shape the landscape of North East Scotland. The day ended at Crawton beach where pupils collected and identified different pebbles and not a raindrop in sight all day! Higher / Int2 Geography Fieldtrip High winds, a high tide and stormy seas formed the backdrop for the fieldtrip to Muchalls and St Cyrus beaches. Both locations helped pupils understanding of the Lithosphere and Biosphere units of the course. A ranger talk at St Cyrus Nature Reserve highlighted the importance of the Dune system as well as adding some historical and geological facts about the area. Pupils completed a sand dune transect and developed observational, measuring and field sketching skills. Advanced Higher Geography Residential Fieldwork In September, Advanced Higher pupils, Olivia Jackson and Caroline Rodger, took part in a 3-day residential trip to Kindrogan Field Centre in Perthshire. 37 pupils from schools across Aberdeenshire completed an intensive course which covered all of the physical fieldwork techniques required by the SQA for Advanced Higher Geography. They investigated and collected data about soils, rivers, surveying, land use mapping and the recognition of glaciated landforms. Each evening, time was spent analysing and presenting the data on tasks set by the tutors from the Field Centre.

Amazon Adventure
In the summer, S6 pupil, Mhairi Lawson, took part in a 5-week expedition to the remote Peruvian Amazon with the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES). The aim of the expedition was to access the upper reaches of the Samiria river and undertake four phases of field work. Mhairi shares her diary with us: Phase 1 Flew from Heathrow to Houston, then Lima. Slept on the airport floor before flying to Iquitos. Flew over the Andes saw the highest mountain and first view of the rainforest- amazing! Heat and humidity hit us on arrival! Spent 2 days in Iquitos, the largest city unreachable by road and where the tributaries of the Amazon meet. No cars only tuktuks and scooters. From there, went upriver in canoes. Torrential rain meant bailing out our canoes! Slept in big group shelter which we made every night (with the help of Victor, our Peruvian guide!). Phase 2 On the research boat, Lobo de Rio. Worked with scientists. Saw river dolphins, macaws, turtles and monkeys. Went fishing and caught small piranhas (too small to eat!). Meals being cooked for us fish and rice and plantain. Luxury!

Phase 3 Hardest week the jungle trek. Carried all our food (not much because of the weight). Lunch always Ritz biscuits and a flapjack. Learnt how to put up my hammock and make a rope swing into the river. Saw a snake for the first time! Hard-going swamp and clambering through thick bush (bags kept getting stuck on branches). Bitten by fire ants!

Phase 4 Last phase! A week in village of San Martin. Villagers (Cocama tribe) built a large hut for us- wooden, open sides, palm roof. Completed community projects fence for the kindergarten, aprons for the school and built a bread oven. Sad to leave the village. Travelled in a pechi-pechi to the ferry. Ferry journey cows and chickens on the bottom! Was on the top deck with open sides storm in the night with slanting rain! Back in Iquitos. No more rice! Went a bit mad buying chocolate and ice-cream! I had an amazing time, made new friends, did some really hard things but I am really proud that I managed. I didnt speak to my family for 5 weeks, didnt shower in clean water and didnt sleep in a proper bed. That said, I got to do things which I will never do again. How many people can say they have held a caiman and had their spirit cleansed?

Staff News
We welcome the following new staff: Ms Kerry Canning (SfL), Mrs Hilary Davies (Physics/ Science), Mrs Donna Gerrie (SfL), Ms Claire Langmore (SfL), Mrs Sheila Lowe (Modern Languages), Ms Heather Neill (English), Mrs Elsie Rasmussen (English), Mrs Jenny Urquhart (PE). Dr Usha Jayaram has been appointed to a full-time post at Cults Academy. Mr David Morris will cover her classes until a new appointment is made. Congratulations to Rebecca and her husband on the birth of their son, Charlie.

English Teacher, Mrs Gillian Shearer, climbed Kilimanjaro with her husband during the summer to raise money for Breast Cancer Care and Friends of the Anchor Unit. Below is an extract from her story. To get the full account, go to www.alfordacademy. aberdeenshire.sch.uk/news pages
Rising 5895 meters above the plains of Tanzania; Kilimanjaro is the tallest free standing mountain in the world. The snow covered mountain with its thick collar of cloud is an alluring sight indeed. It is so large that it encompasses four seasons and four landscapes. Various routes take you to the summit but we opted for the Machame route on the South Western side of the mountain. It is by far the most scenic route passing through a variety of landscapes. From the humid cloud forest of the lower tracks you move higher and higher to the boulder strewn paths of the Shira Plateau as it twists its way up to the formidable Lava Tower at 4600 meters. Our climb began easily enough. . . . .

October 2010

Alford Academy Bulletin Dates for your diary

Monday 25 Oct. Start of Term 2 Monday 15 Nov. In-service Day (no pupils in school) Tuesday 16 Nov. In-service Day (no pupils in school) Wednesday 17 Nov.Tuesday 30 Nov. incl. S4 study leave / prelims. Thursday 25 Nov. S5/S6 Parents Evening Wednesday 1 Dec. Careers Evening Thursday 9 Dec. Christmas Concert Monday 13 Dec. Junior Dance Wednesday 15 Dec. Senior Dance Tuesday 21 Dec. Last day of term Wednesday 5 Jan. Start of Term 3

Parental Study Support (PASS) Workshop S3 - S6 Parents

On Tuesday evening (5 October), parents of pupils in S3-S6 participated in a pupil-led study skills workshop. During the evening, parents gained an insight into pupils learning styles and strategies for revision. They were also given handouts to help them support their childs study and were given a presentation by motivational company, Tree of Knowledge. Any parent who could not attend the workshop can access the handouts on our school website (see Take 5 below) or should contact Mrs Bell for copies.


Useful resources to support your child with study and revision.

1. S5 and S6 Unit Assessment Calendar www.alfordacademy.aberdeenshire.sch.uk/documents 2. S4 - S6 Examination Summary www.alfordacademy.aberdeenshire.sch.uk/documents 3. PASS Handouts www.alfordacademy.aberdeenshire.sch.uk/Parent Study Support 4. SQA website www.sqa.org.uk
5. Study Skills www.ltscotland.org.uk/studyskills/index.asp

Parent Reminders
33 All parents / carers must phone the school office (8.15am8.45am) to let school know of their child's absence. 33 A number of pupils have still not returned family up-date forms, despite reminders. All up-date forms need to be returned. 33 Parents calendars were issued to pupils last week. Any parent who has not received a calendar may download one from the school website or get one from the school office. 33 The mountain of lost property gets higher and higher! Lost property display is on Thursday 7 October from 12.15pm12.45pm outside the school office. Tel: 019755 62251

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E-Mail alford.aca@aberdeenshire.gov.uk