A very successful ski trip

On January 29th, ten pupils and four staff members headed for Glenshee on the 3rd Annual Ski Trip, an event which rewards the boys for their sustained effort and positive attitude in the school.

It was an amazing experience on all fronts. Involved right from the start in the planning and organisation of the trip, the boys could work on their teamwork and action planning skills. The trip also gave them plenty of opportunities to build on their social skills and strengthen relationships as they got to know each other away from the school and their daily routine.

As for the skiing, the boys made great progress and they all came back with a Snowsport Scotland award. This is how some of them described the experience:

“It was something to work towards, it helped me make good choices about behaviour.”
“The trip means a lot to me because it proves that I’m doing well and my effort is recognised.”
“It was good getting to know the boys better, as a day pupil I feel I have bonded.”
“The residential is great. Staying with the boys away from the school, it’s worth behaving for.”
“The jumps were fun. I liked getting the freedom to ski on our own and be trusted.”
“I was proud to have skied the longest run in Scotland and to have completed my first red run.”

One of the staff members said:

“This year’s ski trip to Glenshee was an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience. The boys who participated were both a credit to themselves and to the school. Their enthusiasm and determination shone throughout the trip.”

While the skiing was rewarding and enjoyable, the focus for staff was much more on the residential experience with all the skills that this can promote, On these occasions, the boys may find themselves having to face different challenges. There was one unexpected challenge on this trip. One of the staff members described what happened:

“On Wednesday the weather was particularly wild for an hour at the end of the day. This meant the steep descent road from Glenshee was quickly covered in snow and ice. This resulted in a lorry crashing and blocking the road. The consequence of this for our group was a 4-hour, 135-mile detour. Although this was a frustrating event, it actually did not detract from the week because it reinforced the process and choices made about the boys attending. Each of them handled the situation brilliantly and proved through their behaviour that they did indeed deserve to be there.”

All the boys declared that the trip was the highlight of their year. It will undoubtedly live long in their memory and be one of the many positives they will reflect on about their time at the school. With the appropriate preparation and focused support, a wonderful time was enjoyed by all – pupils and staff alike.





10 Questions for Ruairidh

Ruairidh has been a pupil at Falkland House School for four years. He is now in the process of planning for life after FHS and is attending the NC Creative Industries: Access to Computer Games, Web Development and Animation Course at Fife College – Halbeath Campus. The transition from school to college can be a challenging one. We asked him about the experience and how he is adjusting to this new environment:

1. How did you feel going into your college interview?
R: I felt good. I was confident and I knew lots about the course.

2. What was the most difficult question they asked you?
R: Probably the bit where I had to say what skills I had for the course.

3. How did you feel when it was over? 
R: I was relieved and happy. I thought I had done well. 

4. How long did you wait for the result?
R: It was about a week and it was a bit nerve-wracking.

5. What was it like to get on to the course?                            
R: It felt absolutely amazing. I have been interested in games all my life.

6. What did you feel when you went to start your first class? 
R: I had butterflies in my stomach. I was still really nervous about it.

7. How long did that last? 
R: Just as soon as the class started, I was fine.

8. What are your fellow students like? 
R: They are a pretty nice and caring group: really friendly and ready to help out at any time.

9. How are you managing the studying?    
R: Really good. I suppose I’m a bit slow but I get there. In my first exam I got 99%.

10. Will you stop at NC or go on to higher things?  
R: Probably higher things. I want to be a sound producer so I’ll need to look at NC Sound Production in Edinburgh.

FHS pupils lead the way on Living Wage

Falkland House School has joined the growing number of accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland. The idea initially came from the Pupil’s Council. MSP Annabelle Ewing dropped in to the school at the end of January to speak to some of the boys involved in the campaign and to praise them for their initiative. The Pupil’s Council, which gives the boys a say in the running of their school, is now planning to write to all the school’s suppliers to encourage them to follow in FHS’s footsteps. That’s Pupil Power!

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said:

“Congratulations to Falkland House School on becoming an accredited Living Wage employer, and congratulations to the pupils who campaigned for this to happen.

“It is great to see young people leading the way on the Living Wage, and being able to make a positive change to the lives of others.

“We hope that other young people will be inspired by the success of these pupils, and will replicate this campaign in their own schools.”

Stuart Jacob, Director of Falkland House School, said:

“It’s heartening that pupils can research an issue like poverty in Social Studies and have the conviction to campaign for change in the way they did, using the proper channels to bring it to fruition.”

Lewis B. (4th year pupil), said:

“We are encouraged to use the Pupil Council to make our lives in school better. Social Subjects help us think about the lives of others.  Here we brought these two things together to hopefully make a difference to the lives of people who work hard to support and care for us at Falkland House School.”

Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment Annabelle Ewing said:

“Falkland House School does fantastic work, supporting the needs of each and every one of the boys who attend.  Having spent some time with their pupils last year, I am not surprised that they have used their initiative to propel the school towards Living Wage accreditation.

“Uniquely, they are now the only Scottish school outwith local authority control to be accredited and I wish them well in encouraging their suppliers towards accreditation.”






An apprenticeship can change a person’s life

Over the last few months, the school has drawn attention to a number of events and campaigns on issues that can impact the lives of the pupils and others with ASN (Additional Support Needs).

One of these was Scottish Apprenticeship Awareness Week. To mark the campaign, Stuart Jacob, Director of Falkland House School, urged Scottish businesses considering recruiting an apprentice to look at the abilities and talents of vulnerable young adults such as those with Additional Support Needs (ASN), and offer them an opportunity to gain experience and develop their employability skills.

At Falkland House School, planning the transition from school to post-school education and the world of work starts early, with career advice and work experience tailored to the strengths and needs of each individual. Pupils are encouraged to consider how their personal interests and abilities can lead to future vocational opportunities.

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/stuart-jacob-an-apprenticeship-can-change-a-person-s-life-1-4037623#ixzz42PBYRsZQ