Category Archives: Newsletter

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you are well and coping with this new normality we find ourselves in. In a bid to improve communications I have committed to producing a regular update on the machinations of school life and the developments and focuses with which we are engaging. I hope that this will bring clarity for you all and lead to a greater understanding of what we are doing on a daily basis.

It has been a very positive beginning to the academic year. We are now three terms in and appear to have made up the academic ground we lost during the lockdown earlier in the year. In response to this we will be reintroducing the electives programme into our timetable on Thursday afternoons. We have already had some excellent suggestions from pupils and staff and our provision will be bolstered by the addition to the team of the new Outdoor Learning Workers.

We continue to re-assess the regimen and routines we have put in place to mitigate against COVID-19 transference. Our risk assessments are informed by the most current Government Guidelines. Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to maintain a rigorous approach to keeping the school community safe and healthy.

On the staffing front we are currently advertising for the post of I.T. teacher. This is something which has been requested by pupils and will hopefully capture their interests and progress their learning in the digital field.

Through the good work of our Outdoor Learning Worker, Kevin Robb, we have created a partnership with ‘Our Bright Futures’. As there are parameters for age, we are trialling this with four of the senior pupils and hopefully, if it proves successful, we will continue to engage with the initiative in future years. I am sure there will be plenty of updates to come.

In line with developing skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work, we have developed some work experience opportunities within the school setting. Initially this will happen in the School’s Kitchen. Applications were made and interviews commenced, with three successful candidates now accessing the kitchens on a weekly rota. I am sure they will gain invaluable skills and knowledge, and have an insight into the reality and expectations of working with a dynamic and hardworking team. We are aiming to provide more, similar, opportunities by reinvigorating the School’s contract services company and creating opportunities for horticultural skills development by utilising some of the land next to the Log Cabin to grow consumable produce. This will also link in to our health and wellbeing targets and Healthy Schools Award.

It will be another challenging year for teachers and senior pupils as we navigate a path through the required changes for SQA courses and qualifications. I know that the pupils are in capable hands and, having personally completed the course submissions for the year, it looks like this should hopefully be another very successful round of qualifications from National 3 to Advanced Higher.

Staff training continues as always with staff having had the opportunity to complete training in CALM, outdoor first aid and online Autism training courses. I hope to be able to deliver ever more appropriate, valuable and effective training as we regain our liberties after COVID 19.

As always I would like to thank you all for your continued support of the school through what has been an incredibly testing year for everyone. Let us look forward to a brighter new year and revel in the brilliance of our medical and pharmaceutical scientists who are offering the potential light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Morrison
Head of Education

Walking 500 miles for Ben

Ben was a pupil at FHS for nine years and a prominent and popular member of our school community. When Ben passed away suddenly in April, his fellow pupil and friend Luca decided he wanted to create a fundraising campaign in Ben’s memory.

It was important to Luca that all the money raised would go to a charity or organisation that had touched Ben’s life in a significant way. For this reason Luca decided to divide donations equally between Epilepsy Scotland and Beeslack All Stars Sports Club, where Ben showcased his athletic prowess for many years,

One of Ben’s favourite songs was ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ by The Proclaimers. So what could be more fitting than setting a goal to walk 500 miles over the coming months. Staff and pupils at FHS are supporting Luca in this challenge he has set himself.

Luca has created a ‘Just Giving’ page where you can make a donation or simply follow his progress in this admirable endeavour.

In honour of Ben’s passion for football and the amazing progress he made during his time at FHS, we’ve also created a new annual award for proficiency in the game. Callum is the the first recipient of the trophy that carries Ben’s name.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Many of the skills the pupils are developing during our Outdoor Learning sessions are helping them prepare for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme that will start in early 2021.

The DofE programme is about personal challenge and development, and can be adapted to each participant’s interests and abilities.

There are currently 12 boys signed up for the challenge. Eight will work towards the Bronze Award and four are aiming to achieve the Silver Award, which includes a two-night expedition.

The boys have explored their activities, skills and volunteering options, and have come up with a long and varied list. In the coming months they’ll be developing their chess, driving, piano, coding, animal care and electronic music/composition skills, to name just a few.

For the Physical section they’ll be seeking to improve their fitness and achieve a healthy lifestyle by hiking, bowling, cycling, skiing, kayaking, weight training and playing basketball. Their volunteering efforts will include dog walking, conservation/tree planting, and helping out in local shops and cafes.

Confidence, independence, resilience, focus and motivation are just a few of the many benefits the boys will gain by participating in the programme.

With the support of staff at FHS, we’re sure they’ll accomplish everything they set out to do.

Outdoor Learning Programme

There are only benefits to being outdoors, so we’re taking more learning time outside with our new Outdoor Learning programme.

Led by Mr Shaw and Mr Robb, the boys have been looking at navigation and basic survival skills. They’ve been using maps on walks through Fife, and have been kayaking on the tidal pools in Cellardyke and at Lochore Meadows

In the Bushcraft project, the boys excelled at Den Building, creating a large Den Fort and Lean-to with very little guidance from staff.

What’s more, they’ve been finding out about tree identification and conservation, and taking cuttings from indoor plants and planting them.

And among a variety of other options to choose from, they have fishing on the river Eden to look forward to when the season starts in February.

Celebrating success

Every year, just before the summer holidays, we invite the pupils’ families to join us in school to celebrate the boys’ individual achievements over the past year.

However as we approached the end of what has, latterly at least, been a rather unusual school year, we knew we were going to have to do things a little differently this time.

So Mr Morrison has been busy producing videos which will soon be mailed to parents and carers. These have been created in lieu of the usual Celebrating Success Day and carry personal messages of congratulations to all pupils from key staff.

Moreover, in the last week of term an extended assembly was held for the pupils in residence in school, when awards and certificates of achievement  were presented. This year’s EATL points winner is Luca, seen in the photo above holding his trophy. The annual award is presented to the pupil who achieves the highest score consistently, throughout the year, for their effort and attitude to learning. A very well done to Luca!

Hopefully service will resume as normal after the summer break and we can look forward to another year of successes and achievements at FHS.

The FHS Upcycling Project

A group of pupils chose Furniture Upcycling for their Thursday Elective over the winter/spring term. The aim was to collect donations of furniture, then use their skills to refresh, repair, then sell them.

Mr Melville put out an appeal on Facebook and received various chairs, tables and chests of drawers – some salvageable and some not!

Junior Teacher Mrs Meiklem wanted her small table spruced up so it was sanded and painted with walnut wood stain and returned to her for a small donation.

A tall stool was used as an experiment in paint techniques using spray paint and chalk furniture paint. It was finished off with furniture wax and then sold to a staff member who is now using it as a display table.

The person who donated the old chest of drawers wanted it back so the boys concentrated on making a good job of it. The old paint was stripped off with heat guns and electric sanders, then undercoated and given three coats of high quality gloss paint. The drawer handles were boiled in soapy water, soaked in coca cola and polished with brasso to make them look new again. Finally they waxed the drawer runners using a candle to ensure smooth opening and closing. Another delighted customer made a donation.

Our budding furniture restorers raised a total of £40, which they have donated to the FHS swimming fundraiser.
Great job, boys!

Q&A with Bradley, Head Boy

Towards the end of last year, a job description for Head Boy was circulated among senior pupils. Aspiring candidates were asked to submit an application giving reasons as to why they thought they would be ideal for the role.

In December, after an interview in front of the Principal and the Head of Education, Bradley was appointed Falkland House School’s first Head Boy. Bradley has been a pupil at the school for four years. He is part of the school’s Peer Support Group, which offers support and guidance to fellow pupils, and a member of the school’s Ground Care team. He also carries out voluntary work at Falkland Palace.

We asked Bradley how he was approaching his new responsibilities:

What subjects are you currently studying?

B: Higher Maths, Digital Music, Nat 5 English and Biology

What would you like to do when you leave FHS?

B: Games Development

What are your personal strengths?

B: Logical thinker and technologically minded, encouraging, inclusive and welcoming

Why did you want to be Head Boy?

B: I want to inspire other boys to become better. I noticed that the school had minor issues that I could hopefully fix. 

What does your role involve?

B: Being a positive role model

What challenges do you think you might have?

B: Potential misunderstanding and bullying

What would be your advice to new pupils starting at FHS?

B: Have tolerance, understand big deal/little deal, approach someone if in trouble or if you just fancy a chat

What is your biggest achievement at FHS?

B: Hopefully I’ll be the first pupil at the school to get Higher Maths

Good luck in your new role, Bradley!

Bikeability – promoting good physical and mental health

The school has faced a number of challenges with regards to promoting good physical and mental health since lockdown started in March. However, our care and education staff have, as always, gone above and beyond to ensure all the pupils in school have been kept safe, healthy and active in these unprecedented times.

Long hikes on the estate, ninja squirrels, gardening, overnight camping in the school grounds and scrumptious barbecues are just a few of the activities they’ve enjoyed over the last few months.

What’s more, our pupils have been swept along on the wave of enthusiasm for cycling that has been felt across the nation recently. Fortunately, FHS is well prepared to accommodate cyclists of all abilities.

Through the school’s Bikeability programme, Bradley and Kieran have recently learned to ride a bike. Mr. Shaw, their instructor, has praised both boys for their great tenacity. They’ve now joined the beginner’s cycling group and can explore the Red Squirrel trails on the Falkland Estate and beyond.

Darren, Ross, Callum, Harris, Robbie, Oscar and Thomas have also discovered cycling to be a great way to get regular, daily exercise and, with growing fitness and confidence, they’re now exploring areas slightly further afield.

Mr Shaw feels Cormac deserves special mention for his incredible aptitude for cycling. Cormac likes to cycle as far as possible and as hard as possible – putting staff’s fitness and endurance to the test on occasion! Nevertheless, the staff at Falkland House School have run with Cormac’s new passion, and to help him go further and faster, he has been given access to a Road Bike. Cormac has had to get used to clipless pedals, the turbo trainer and indoor rollers to help him achieve his first 100 miles. Throughout the summer programme, Cormac will be introduced to the more advanced levels of Bikeability, bicycle maintenance and, if all goes well, the Audax.

With so many health benefits, we hope the boys will continue to enjoy cycling for a long time to come.

EATL rewards

Well done to the nine hardworking young men who were recently rewarded for their high EATL (Effort and Attitude to Learning) scores.

The FHS rewards system aims to inspire a positive attitude to learning and encourage positive classroom behaviour. Effort and attitude is tracked and points are awarded in every class.

Points are averaged over the weeks, the terms and then finally the year. All pupils achieving a target threshold of 75% or over receive a reward.

The boys were given the choice between two overnight trips as a reward for their continued hard work.

Five of them opted for Scarefest at Alton Towers.

The group stayed overnight in the rural village of Cauldon Lowe. The next morning after a quick breakfast they headed off for Alton Towers.

According to Mr. Bryson, who accompanied them, it was a spine-tingling event!

He commented: “The boys and Miss Findlay were very brave, participating in all the rides, but I did have to wonder if we are an all-boys school as there was a lot of high pitched screaming being heard during the rides and attractions.”

The other four boys chose an overnight outing to Manchester to watch the UEFA Champions League tie between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk, which ended in a draw. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the experience of visiting a big stadium.

Mr Gannon, who accompanied the boys on the trip, reported that they were all great company and represented themselves and the school excellently.

Keep up the good work, boys!

A word or two from the Education Team

As we go forward into 2020 there are even more young people preparing for examinations at National 5 and Higher level, including Biology, Music and Mathematics with English Literacy thrown in for good measure!

We have also added The SQA employability award to our curriculum. We have introduced SCHOLAR which is an online aid to study for National 5 and above.

We have strengthened our practise by developing and implementing stronger, more comprehensive approaches to tracking and monitoring progress, especially at the Broad General Education level. Both our new self-evaluation framework and self-improvement plan have been created and implemented and we have undergone an HMiE inspection with a great result!

We’ve secured a number of college experiences for those pupils who are at the appropriate age, and hopefully the course topics on offer will fulfil their personal interests and ambitions for the future.

We have employed a new Music teacher and English teacher and are looking forward to benefiting from their considerable expertise and experience.

Moreover, we’ve introduced the role of Head Boy and are pleased to announce that after a rigorous application and interview process we have appointed Bradley as our first Head Boy. Bradley will begin his duties in the New Year.

We have had visits to the Pantomime and Chemistry Lectures. We have also seen trips to Alton towers and to the Etihad stadium to see Manchester City play, as some of the pupils reaped the rewards of their effort and attitude to their class work.

As we crest into the New Year we will see more residential excursions, including a ski trip to Italy and further experiences in the Cairngorms.

There are exciting times ahead but first a well-deserved rest over the Christmas period. From all of the education team we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.