Auchenharvie Academy : Rector's reports 1972-74

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Auchenharvie Academy : Rector's reports 1972-74

Post by down south » Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:53 pm

Here are the Rector's reports for the first few years of Auchenharvie Academy, starting with 1972.

AUCHENHARVIE ACADEMY

The prizes at Auchenharvie Academy were presented by Mrs Q Wilson, whose husband, the Chief Constable of Ayrshire, addressed the pupils.

A lectern was presented to the school by Mr J S Johnston, chairman of the Parents' Association; chairman at the ceremony was Bailie J Forde, and votes of thanks were proposed by Provost G H Barnett, Saltcoats.

" We must remember that the type of comprehensive education we are endeavouring to provide is almost as new as the school building we now occupy, " said the Rector, Mr Charles Wilson, in his report.

" Indeed, during the session we have had as many visitors to the school concerned with different aspects of our interpretation of the comprehensive school as we have had visitors coming to examine and pronounce on the buildings and equipment.

" The success of any school revolves around a dedicated and hardworking staff, and while it may seem churlish to mention staffing problems in a new school so wonderfully equipped and provided for, the fact remains that this has been a heavy and difficult year. A closer liaison with our primary feeder schools is essential if we are to carry out the objectives of comprehensive education, and to this end we have had a discussion period with each of our primary staffs, and once a term meetings of headmasters, organisers and of the departments concerned and the heads of departments in our own school. Availability of staff is the crucial factor in the further development of this highly necessary scheme, and I am anxious as soon as possible to extend the scheme to cover music and drama.

" However, we are delighted at the way in which the 18 new members of staff, nine of them probationers, have become part of an efficient team. Comprehensive education, to my mind, makes even greater demands on staff, and the community owes a great deal to these hardworking ladies and gentlemen.

" The quality of a school depends largely on the boys and girls who pass through its doors, " continued Mr Wilson, and academic performance has been and will continue to be one of the basic objectives. The first two years of the school give all pupils the opportunity to find out the talents they possess, and to realise that these talents must be used, for they are not qualities which can be kept locked up and released at some time in the future, The school has accordingly continued during the session in developing mixed ability techniques in all subjects throughout the first year, and apart from some setting in mathematics and French, throughout the second year.

"For the first time this session we have abandoned the traditional system of term examinations throughout the first two years, and we are now operating a policy of continuous assessment of each pupil, which at its very simplest means a series of diagnostic tests, highlighting the testing of different skills in each subject, and producing for the staff, for the pupils and for the parents a much more accurate assessment of the pupils' potential in each subject. We must continue with the work of educating both pupils and parents in these exceedingly important two years of the common course towards a recognition that success in the first two years paves the way for meaningful effort in the third and fourth years.

" This is the last session in which the third year will be divided into certificate and leavers courses, for which the school leaving age going up to 16 on the 1st of September of this year, courses in the new session for the present second year - i.e. the new third year - will undergo radical changes. Much good work has been done in third and fourth years during the session, and many of the pupils will perform creditably in the academic field. Nevertheless there are still too many of our pupils, both in third and fourth year, who take far too lng to come to terms with the realities of life.

" To those who have academic talents, I can only repeat a point already made - the talents must be used.I cannot believe that such pupils have not begun to face the harsh realities of the life of work - a life which in the present economic climate means fierce competition for jobs. The better qualifications a pupil has, the greater the range of jobs available. To those pupils whose talents are not academic I would make two points - first, many jobs available in the outside world do not require academic qualifications, and second the school is concerned with far more than the development of academic talents.

" Inevitably, in the comprehensive school serving a society which become more and more complex, guidance is playing an ever increasing part. Guidance is a concern for the total life the pupil is now living and will live in the future, and the school is now geared to promote this very vital educational need.One area of guidance work is vocational, and this year the second year classes had an intensive build up to the choice of courses for their third year, carrying out a careers programme including self-assessment, individual interviews, a careers convention, and meetings of myself and staff with their parents. We continued to make use of the Careers Advisory Service in advising senior pupils of career possibilities.

" Guidance, however, is far more than vocational, and we have launched regular discussion groups during the first 20 minutes of certain mornings in the week. These discussions cover personal, social and moral issues, and they will be developed even more next session. All the staff are involved with guidance groups but the chief responsibility of organising this area of the curriculum rests with the housemasters, or - to give them their new title - principal teachers of guidance.

" These four members of staff have a considerable task in hand for they provide the direct link between the school and the home. The old days of the parent contacting the headmaster about his son/daughter are rapidly disappearing, for in the large comprehensive school the principal teacher of guidance will know far more about each individual pupil than will the headmaster. "

After referring to visits to the school by parents and others, Mr Wilson gave a comprehensive review of the leisure activities undertaken, including sports, and paid tribute to the teachers for their work in this connection. He also thanked the janitor and cleaning staff for their assistance.

Mr Wilson continued :

"Vandalism is not unknown in the school - it would be a strange community if it were - but in this first year we have kept it to a minimum. The long-term answer is a campaign of self-discipline and a recognition by the large majority of pupils - some 98% of the population - that the vandal is a threat to their freedom and liberty. Yes, vandalism is with us , but thanks to the efforts of staff, teaching and non-teaching alike, and the honesty and respect for property shown by the vast majority of pupils, we are containing this cancer in our society.

" It is right and proper that I move on from vandalism to a much more productive element in our school community - the school as a community concerned about and caring for those less fortunate, whether they be in our local area or the wider world. We have in the school a Pupils' Charities Committee, responsible first of all for setting a financial target for Pupils' Charities Collections each session. Their target for the ordinary Penny-a-Week collection was set last August at £300, and I am delighted to report that the final figure was £303. Thanks here are due not only to those pupils who have contributed throughout the session but also to third year leavers boys who have been responsible for organising weekly collections as part of a mathematics project, and I know that their arithmetic, at least, has improved considerably. Special collections taken during the session have added another £50, and last Christmas we undertook the collection of tinned goods etc,and their distribution in the form of 150 parcels for the aged of Saltcoats and Stevenston. "

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7th July 1972


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Re: Auchenharvie Academy : Rector's reports 1972-74

Post by down south » Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:18 pm

Here now is the report for 1973.

'MAKING OF A SCHOOL ' AT AUCHENHARVIE

Presenting his annual report as rector of Auchenharvie Academy, Mr Charles Wilson said that his continuing theme was ' The Making of a School ' .

" It is universally recognised , " he said, " that education is in a constant state of change and development. New subjects, or arrangements of subjects, new procedures, new techniques in and out of the classroom, new structures of organisation, new educational theories are generated at an accelerating rate and provision has to be made for them.

" The vast sums of money regularly committed by the Government and the community to the provision of education in each of our comprehensive schools demands, and rightly so, the wise deployment of resources. The technological age is upon us in education, and we, education authority, staffs and parents cannot and must not be found wanting.

" Against this background, we moved off last August to the best of all possible starts. For four days of the first week, we were a school without pupils, but not a school without a purpose. Meetings, discussions, in-service courses were in full swing, building up the careful preparation which alone can launch an efficient school at the beginning of a new session. Group meetings of senior staff, house staff, guidance staff,staff involved in leisure courses, primary feeder staff, departmental staff, probationer staff, along with meetings of the whole staff to facilitate the administration and to interpret the growing complexities of the modern timetable made the arrival of the 900 pupils on the Friday morning an event which, for the first time in my experience, was taken in our stride.

"Gone were the familiar harassed, bewildered staff faces, and the resultant confidence of the staff was inevitably reflected in the case with which the school population came to terms with the new session. I would like to think that, once the controversy over the four term year is resolved, this would become the familiar pattern. "

Mr Wilson referred to staffing difficulties in the mathematics department, but described his staff as an " efficient team ", and continued :

" If quality of staff is one of the ingredients of success, no one would dispute that the other major factor is the boys and girls of the school. A school must stand or fall by the quality of the pupils who pass through its doors, and I make no apology for stressing first and foremost, academic achievement. Last summer the first two pupils from the school left to go to university, performing there with great distinction, and this year we say farewell to our first sixth year. They have played their part in ' The Making of a School ' and enjoyed considerable success in last year's Highers. It is worthy of note that these young men and women represent 20 percent of their age group ie those left from the first year intake of six years ago. Most of these are moving on to university and college, and my calculations tell me that 18 percent of that intake of six years ago are going on to higher education. This, I am sure, is higher than the national average, and we, and our community, and be justifiably proud of that achievement.

"Our Police Community Course for third year continues to operate most successfully, and with the raising of the school leaving age to 16 staff and pupils have been seeking with some success, to give meaningful expression to courses which do not lead to a national certificate at the end of fourth year. We live more and more in an age of qualifications and certificates, and I feel that the time has come to give serious consideration to the provision of a much wider certificate than the existing academic one. Attitudes, involvement, potential are becoming more and more accepted by employers at graduate level rather than the mere possession of a particular degree.We should be assessing this development and considering its adoption at school level.

" The most explosive area of the school has been in leisure, " said Mr Wilson, and he described the outings, visits and sports activities undertaken, and he continued :

" The school maintained its growing reputation as a community concerned about and caring for those less fortunate. The pupils' charities committee have laboured hard to promote this concern, and at Christmas time £300 was handed over to some 15 local and international charities. Special collections were taken, the most recent of which raised £25 for drought in India. As in previous years, we undertook the Christmas collection of tinned goods etc, and their distribution in the form of 120 parcels for the senior citizens of Saltcoats and Stevenston. "

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 6th July 1973


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Re: Auchenharvie Academy : Rector's reports 1972-74

Post by down south » Mon Dec 16, 2019 4:34 pm

Here finally is the report for 1974. Rather a long one !

TEACHERS 'MILITANT ' BUT AUCHENHARVIE WELL STAFFED

" Just at the time when more and more is being demanded of the teacher - and he is even now expected to play an increasing role in social and moral guidance - society places a very low valuation on his services. " This was stated by the Rector of Auchenharvie Academy, Mr Charles Wilson, giving his annual report at the school closing ceremony on Tuesday.

" Society will get the teachers it deserves, " said Mr Wilson, " and the danger and distress signals are now flying with the announcement from the colleges of education that recruits to the profession are falling.

" The unrest in the teaching profession is growing: in 30 years in the profession I have never known such militancy. If education matters - and it always will, so long as people matter - then the teacher must occupy an honourable place in the structure of society. "

Mr Wilson said that the success of any school revolved round a dedicated and hard-working staff, and those staff qualities had been necessary in abundant measure during the session. He referred to staff changes and said that the school would be well staffed next session. " It is a matter of some gratification to me, " he said, " that Auchenharvie is now - after three years - a school to which staff want to come - long may it continue - another milestone in the making of a school.

" If quality of staff is one of the main ingredients of success, " said Mr Wilson, " no-one would dispute that the other major factor is the boys and girls who make up the school population - the numbers will be 1200 in August. This school community is large enough to cater for all talents - indeed the school is geared to do just that. The first two years are devoted to the discovery by the individual pupil of the talents each one possesses- years three and four are devoted to the harnessing of these talents in a particular direction while years five and six provide the more specialised education necessary to equip the young adult for the highly competitive world of work and further education.

" During the session now drawing to a close we have growing evidence at all stages of the school of some very fine work by many of the pupils - and I am speaking here of the work of the less able as well as the more able. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to note the progress made by the less able pupils, and these days when we are being bombarded by shattering statistics from England of up to two million illiterates we have good reason to be pleased at the excellent progress we are making . Some of these pupils will leave school illiterate, but only if the school is not given the opportunity to handle them, and unfortunately truancy is one of the factors which puts too many children at risk - in this case of leaving school illiterate.

" I am concerned, also, at the failure of too many pupils to make use of their talents, even in the first two years. The habit of study, which means the thoughtful and planned provision of one hour each school evening from all the other activities of TV, youth clubs, organisations, pictures, etc, must be acquired by the end of the second year.Obviously, this will be more difficult for some children than for others simply because of the different home backgrounds, but there is little excuse for any pupil failing to practice self-discipline. The rewards of doing so are great - the realisation of individual talents, and the first stage towards a career which will give job satisfaction. The second stage of school - years III and IV - is the make or break period for so many. This session we had 705 of the age group in Fourth Year sitting their " O " grades, and we await with keen interest - as I.m sure they do - the results when they come out in July. In the final stage of the school, we have the usual number moving on to Higher Education, and I would like to thank our present Sixth Year for their willingness to co-operate, serve, suggest, improvise, compromise and lead, and to wish them well as they move on from the school.

" I have mentioned staff and pupils, and I must at this point complete the triangle by bringing in the parents, " Mr Wilson continued. " This is the most vital piece of the whole machinery of education. Many of the pupils who fail to realise their potential do so because of lack of parental support and encouragement, indeed parental indifference. Behind the vast majority of successful and well-balanced mature young people lies the good home. If there is one area of education I could single out as being in greatest need of cultivation, it is this area of staff-parent co-operation.

"This session we have done much to promote this by involving parents in a large area Careers Convention held in the school last October, by having successful informal meetings with groups of First Year parents in March, by having a Mini-Convention and a meeting with Second Year parents, and a meeting with Fourth Year parents, both in May.

"We see many parents in the school to deal with the bewildering variety of problems that crop up. We try to keep all parents in touch with what is going on in the school; we communicate with parents by letter as often as we need to, although it must be realised that to write once to each parent and post it - sometimes a precautionary step - costs almost £30 in postage alone ! I am constantly exploring new ways of involving parents - the making of a school demands this - and so far there is only one area where the going has been tough - the Parents' Association have been faced with disappointing attendance in the last session. I would appeal to all parents and to my own staff to give the committee the pleasure of their company at the monthly meetings."

Mr Wilson referred to visitors to the school, many of whom had been from Scotland and England, and all with the same object in mind - to visit the Resources Centre.

" I commented in my report last session - we are almost ready to launch our RC. When fully operational, this centralised storing and cataloguing of all the resources in the school together with the provision of a pupils work area and a reprographic area for staff will have far reaching consequences for curriculum development. This has now come to pass, and with a full time staff of librarian, secretary and technician, we are racing ahead in this field. The Scottish Council are producing a Working Paper on our School Resources Centre. We are sorting out our teething troubles, and we hope that by next session video cassette recording and radio recordings will be available readily and efficiently. This is indeed the most exciting development in educational technology, and already pupils are beginning to use the centre as a normal part of the learning process.

" Inevitably in the comprehensive school serving a society which becomes more and more complex, guidance is playing an ever-increasing role. Every member of staff is involved in this as a group tutor, and with five PTs and four assistant PTs every pupil in the school has at least one member of staff to whom he or she can turn. To help in Careers Guidance, we have had two members of the CA service in the school one day each week throughout the session; a considerable careers library is being built up. I myself conducted a series of guidance sessions with senior pupils on the transition from school to university and a member of the university staff came down to talk to the group. Senior pupils take part regularly in visits to Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. In the field of personal guidance, we continued this session to harness the resources of the community in handling the many serious social problems which arise through the regular Community Committee in the school.

" This committee has given the school a wider grasp of the complex nature of the behavioural problems which crop up; it has created a very useful liaison with the different agencies in the community and has given us a wider contact with and a more sympathetic understanding of the parents of many of our pupils. We are hoping to have a Social Worker appointed to the school on a full time basis. I feel that we are beginning to tackle this complex area with understanding, humility and with some degree of success.

" There can be no doubt, " continued Mr Wilson, " that the most explosive area of the school has been in leisure. How fortunate we are to have our own mini-bus, for it has brought a new dimension to leisure activities. Demands for the use of the mini-bus are heavy; advance booking is essential. What an investment this has proved to be !" He gave details of outings by pupils to theatres and concerts; and the activities of the school clubs and societies.

" The school, " Mr Wilson concluded, " continues to express its concern and care for the less fortunate both at home and abroad. The Pupils' Charities Committee do a considerable job in harnessing the energies of the school in this direction. At Christmas time the usual annual distribution of £300 was handed over to some 15 local and international charities , and an Oxfam shop set up in the school at Christmas deserved more support from the general public, but as a result of this effort £152 was sent to Oxfam. A venture to purchase a Talking Book for the blind realised over £100. As in previous years, we undertook the Christmas collection of tinned goods etc, and their distribution in parcel form for the senior citizens of Saltcoats and Stevenston.

" Community Service is now well and truly on its way, and we have pupils involved within the curriculum in helping the blind, the disabled and the handicapped in the community . "

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 28th June 1974


Susan

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