This week, I wanted to focus on some of the fantastic co-curricular and cross-curricular work that has been going on in the School. It’s really wonderful to see the pupils exploring their interests and discovering new talents in so many different areas.
First up, is the first edition of The Hydra: the new arts magazine for our school. Parents, guardians and pupils have already received a copy of this by email, but I just wanted to reiterate my commendation for this excellent collection of pupil-contributed poems, short stories and artwork. The Hydra was inspired by a magazine (first published in 1918) made by and for the shell-shock victims at the Craiglockhart War Hospital. Our school version is a great example of a collaboration between different academic departments (Art and English) and a style of learning where pupils get to link together their knowledge of a subject with their own personal response, and create a worthy product that resembles the type of work someone would do in the “real world”.
Another example of a “real world” style activity is the school drama productions. Here, new recruits can be apprentices and learn from the more experienced senior pupils. Unfortunately, the lockdown meant that this year’s J4/J5 production of The Twits was not seen by an audience. However, I am pleased to say that Dr Mayoh has done a sterling job of editing a recording of the rehearsal, and you can read his report on our website here.
School debating also provides an opportunity for pupils to hone their public speaking and critical thinking skills. Before lockdown, we hosted our Inter-House Debating Competition, but sadly during this summer term we have not been able to carry on with debating activities. We did however offer our pupils a public speaking competition and I am delighted to announce the winner in today’s congratulations section.
Of course, within the academic subjects, the rigour of the teaching and learning is designed to challenge and encourage independent thinking, and as pupils progress through the school, the work that they produce reflects more and more the kind of work that students do at university level. The project-based learning this summer term has also been a great way to encourage horizontal/associative thinking and to apply knowledge to something practical. Well done too to all those involved in their own projects at home: from experimenting in the garage, to developing a marketable product, their self-motivation, creativity and ingenuity is impressive!
The key to this kind of learning experience is that pupils are getting to experience the “whole game” at junior level, and that by repeating the “whole game” at increasing levels of sophistication, they develop their knowledge and ability. They also get to create authentic products and performances that they can feel proud of. So, my thanks to everyone who is helping make these experiences happen. Co-curricular activities really depend on the expertise of the teachers who can deliver them, and the feedback from pupils and parents is really important for shaping these activities as we go forward.
Congratulations to Cliff who has been announced as the overall winner of the Summer Term Public Speaking Competition. You can watch his impressive performance here.
Well done to everyone who took part in the Edinburgh to Bulawayo Virtual Trip to help raise money for the Our Neighbours Community Project. We are wanting to fund as many “£25 basic food packages” as possible for the people of Bulawayo. Please help us reach our target of £13,000 by donating on our fundraising page. You can find out more about what we are fundraising for by listening to this podcast, watching this video or reading the news article on our school website
If you are a parent, you will find the full version of the Headmaster’s weekly message on the Parent Portal. Please also visit the News Centre to see all our latest news, blog posts, podcasts and social media posts.