Month: February 2015

Don’t miss the school achievement awards

Throughout March Breadalbane Academy is holding its annual school achievements awards. At these events, pupils are recognised for their achievements as members of the school community. All parents and carers are welcome. No need to book, just turn up on the day.

Each school house has its own award ceremony. Dates are:

  • Farragon: Tuesday 3rd March, 10.50-11.20.
  • Lawers: Thursday 5th March, 10.50-11.20.
  • Mhor: Tuesday 10th March, 10.50-11.20.
  • Schiehallion: Thursday 12th March, 10.50-11.20.

This is a great opportunity to show the pupils that their achievements as individuals matter and are recognised by the wider community, so please come along if you can.

And remember, to make sure you never miss important events in your child’s school life, regularly check the news section of the school website. You can find it here:

Do parents want a university-admissions open event?

A parent has asked if the parent council and school could work together to organise an open event on the subject of university admissions. What do other parents think?

The hope is that we could arrange an event which would give parents and senior pupils the opportunity to chat to school careers advisors and external specialists about things such as:

  • The Curriculum for Excellence and its impact on university admissions procedures.
  • Funding options.
  • Gap years and their impact on study plans.
  • Qualifications and entry requirements.

The school is willing to work with us on this. We’ve been in touch with several university admissions departments and all have said they’d be willing to send a representative.

Is that something you’d find useful? Would you come along? Before we organise an event like this, we need to know there’s sufficient demand among parents to justify it.

Please let us know either by leaving a comment below or sending an email to

Updated agenda for meeting on 26 February

Parents have been in touch to ask that we put the following items on the agenda for 26 February:

  • The PKC funding cuts to instrumental music lessons and their impact on Breadalbane Pupils.
  • The possibility of Breadalbane Academy running an after-school club for the children of working parents.

We’ve added both items to the agenda. You can download an updated agenda from this link.

How to promote science, engineering and employability in schools

Andrew Rae

Andrew Rae, Professor of Experimental and Applied Aerodynamics at the UHI

Andrew Rae, Professor of Experimental and Applied Aerodynamics at the UHI, has agreed to present to Breadalbane Academy Parent Council on why now, more than ever, it’s crucial that schools promote science and engineering.

His talk, at the next parent council meeting on 26 February, will cover how this can be done, how schools can work with outside bodies to achieve this aim, why careers advice for science and technology is changing fast, and — crucially — the role we can expect headteachers to play at this time of change.

As well as being an expert in his field, Professor Rae is also a Breadalbane parent. We’re happy he’s agreed to present to the parent council and we hope as many parents as possible come along to hear what Professor Rae has to say.

The next meeting of Breadalbane Academy Parent Council is on Thursday 26 February at 6:30pm, at the Breadalbane Community Campus.

You can download the draft agenda as a PDF.

How to use the senior-phase options form


Depute Head, Mr Macluskey

Some parents have been in touch to say that they’re not sure how to use the senior-phase options form. The parent council spoke to Mr Macluskey (Depute Head School Improvement) and asked him to take us through the form.

What do the initials ‘AH, ‘H’ and ‘Nat 3-5 & WA’ stand for?

  • ‘AH’ stands for Advanced Higher — the old CSYS.
  • ‘H’ simply stands for Higher.
  • ‘Nat 3-5’ are the pre-Higher ‘National’ 3, 4 and 5 qualifications.
  • ‘WA’ stands for wider achievement.

How many subjects should children choose?

  • Pupils in S3 going into S4 will study seven subjects, including mandatory Maths and English (not on the form). They should choose a subject from each column.
  • Pupils in S4 going into S5 should also choose five options
  • Pupils in S5 going into S6 should choose four options, UNLESS they are studying three Advanced Highers. In that case they should choose three subjects.

 Can my child choose any subject he or she likes? 

Not quite. Here’s a guide:

  • S4 — normally an S3 pupil going into S4 wouldn’t choose any Highers. He or she would choose five optional subjects from this form. The bit that’s most unfamiliar to parents is probably column 5, from which the pupils choose either a ‘Wider Achievement’ award or a 7th National 5 option (as long as they meet the criteria set out on the form).
  • S5 – pupils going into S5 no longer need to take mandatory Maths and English. They can choose from any National qualification or Higher, but not usually Advanced Higher.
  • S6 – can choose from any of the subjects.

Don’t worry about choosing the right level (3, 4 or 5) for the National qualifications. You just need to choose the subject. The school will know, based on your child’s performance so far, at which level they should take any given subject.

What happens if my child doesn’t get into one of their first choices?

If that happens, we do what we call a ‘re-coursing’ interview with your child. We’ll sit down with him or her, talk through the available options, look at how the reserve course fits in with their other options and with their plans for the future, and help them build a plan for their senior phase that fits their needs.

Why does the last column on the right look different to the others?

The bottom cell in this column contains two different types of qualifications:

  • The ‘wider achievement’ options. These are modules that give pupils the chance to develop a range of applied skills.
  • Full National 4 and National 5 courses.

So what do the characters in brackets after each option mean?

After most of the options in the last cell, right-hand column, there are some characters in brackets. These mean the following:

  • (S5/6) — these courses are only open to S5/6 pupils, not S4 pupils. Because they no longer take mandatory Maths and English, S5/6 pupils have enough time to study optional subjects, whereas S4 pupils don’t.
  • (N4/N5) — these are full national level qualifications at the level indicated.
  • (L6) — these courses are pitched at Higher level (also called level 6), but aren’t a full higher course.

What if my child really needs a subject, but didn’t get into it this year?

We’ll do our best to make sure he or she gets to take it next year.

Any parents who have questions about the options form are welcome to contact Mr Macluskey directly at

In case you missed the link above, you can find a PDF of the senior-phase options form on the school website:

Next meeting — Thursday 26 February, 6:30pm

The next meeting of Breadalbane Academy Parent Council is on Thursday 26 February at 6:30pm, at the Breadalbane Community Campus. If you ask at the main reception, they’ll tell you which room the meeting is in. The meeting is scheduled to last for two hours.

The draft agenda is as follows:

1. Introductions and apologies
2. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
3. Update on the selection process for a new headteacher. Includes a Q&A with Peter McAvoy, Head of Education Services (Secondary) at PKC.
4. Promoting science and technology in schools. A short presentation by Professor Andrew Rae on promoting science and technology subjects and careers in school—and the crucial role played by headteachers.
5. Fundraising sub-committee – brief presentation from Emma Burtles and call for ideas and volunteers.
6. A communications strategy for the parent council. Dr Ashcroft will present the parent council’s communication plan and seek parent feedback.
7. An open evening on university admissions, for senior-years parents. Do parents want one?
9. Date and time of next meeting

Something else you think should go on the agenda? Please get in touch and let us know. Email

You can also download the draft agenda as a PDF.

When should we meet next?

If we stick to the planned schedule, we’ll have two meetings in February. This has happened because the meeting originally scheduled for 26 January had to be postponed until 4 February, due to heavy snow. Should we meet as planned on the 26 of February or should wait until the next date, March 31?

Two meetings in a single month is more of a demand than we would normally presume to make on people’s busy schedules. But it would give everyone a chance to meet again before the interviews for the new headteacher. So if you have strong feelings on how the replacement should be chosen, a meeting on February 26 would be the time to tell us.

Let us know what you think.

Choosing a new headteacher for Breadalbane Academy

We had a fantastic turnout for the last Parent Council, on Wednesday 4 February. The debate was robust and parents raised some important issues, some of which we’ll be returning to. So watch this space.

But by far the most important issue, is the job of choosing a new headteacher. Linda Swan, Breadalbane Academy’s current head, will be retiring at the end of this school year. I’m sure everyone will join the parent council in thanking her for her hard work and wishing her well for the future.

Interviews for a new headteacher for Breadalbane Academy take place in March. Two parent council members will be on the interview panel. This is a very important time for the school community. Headteachers can stay in the post for a decade or longer; so this could be our only chance during our children’s time at school to influence who we have doing this job.

Is there something you, as a parent or carer, think we should prioritise when looking at the candidates? This is your chance to tell us.

Let us know, either by leaving a comment below or sending an email to