Author: Breadalbane Parent Council

‘Named Person’ meeting

Named Person posterWhat: ‘Named Person’ meeting
When: 7pm, Thursday 12 May
Where: Breadalbane Community Campus
Who: All parents and carers

This coming Thursday, 12 May 2016, the school and parent council will hold a parent council meeting specifically to discuss the Scottish Government’s ‘Named Person’ policy.

From August this year, every child in Scotland will have a Named Person, usually a teacher for school kids or health visitor for younger kids. According to the government, this person is simply a single point of contact.

Critics of the policy say that the Named Person has far greater powers to intervene in family life than any teacher did before — for instance, that they can access your family’s medical records, even if your child isn’t classed as being ‘at risk’.

The meeting this Thursday is our chance to find out what Named Person really means for us and how it will work at Breadalbane Academy. Attending we will have:

  • Senior staff from Breadalbane Academy
  • Lesley Scott, a member of the No2NP campaign group opposing Named Person.
  • Anne Dalziel, who is responsible for implementing Named Person across Perth and Kinross.

If you have questions about Named Person, or you’ve never heard of it and this is all a bit of a surprise, then this is your chance to find out what’s what.

We hope to see you there: 7pm, next Thursday (12 May), Breadalbane Community Campus.



Careers event, Thursday 21 April

What: Pathways to Work careers event
When: 6:30 – 8:30, Thursday 21 April 2016 (tomorrow night)
Where: Breadalbane Academy Community Campus
For whom: Secondary pupils and their parents

Come and hear about paths to training and employment from representatives of the school, local employers and Scotland’s national skills agency: Skills Development Scotland.

Find out what skills employers are really looking for in applicants for apprenticeships and training schemes. And get inside tips on how you can get your child on the right track for the career they want.

For more information, download the flyer below. Otherwise, see you at 6:30 tomorrow!

Download the flyer

The Pathways to Work event is an open evening organised in partnership with the school, with the support of local businesses and training organisations.

Do you value the IMS? Tell your councillor


The Perth and Kinross Instrumental Music Service is one of the best in Scotland.

On March 9 the council votes on the future shape and budget of the Perth and Kinross Instrumental Music Service (IMS). The IMS provides travelling music teachers, giving kids the chance to learn a far greater range of musical instruments than any single school’s music department could offer. Without the IMS, kids at rural schools such as Breadalbane Academy, just wouldn’t have the chance to learn as many instruments.

There is no suggestion that the IMS is going to suffer cuts or be changed in some way that might undermine the good work it does in Breadalbane. But there’s also no guarantee that that won’t happen. So if you feel strongly that you want our children to carry on having the opportunity to develop a love of and talent for instrumental music, then now’s the time to write to your councillors — before March 9.

Let your representatives in Perth and Kinross know that, whatever the future holds for the IMS, it’s important to you that it continues to be able to offer children in rural schools access to as wide a range and high a quality of instrumental music lessons as possible.

Here are the names and email addresses of your elected representatives:

Ward 4 – Highland

Ward 5 – Strathtay

You’ll find further details, including postal addresses and phone numbers, on the council website.

Thanks to Rok1966 for making the photo used above available under a Creative Commons licence. 

What parents really think about school communications

In May 2015 the school and parent council decided to work together, to ask parents what they thought of school communications: what was working, what wasn’t, and how they’d like the school to communicate with them in the future.

We ran the survey during the first two weeks in October. 17% of parents took part; enough for us to be confident that the survey properly represents parents’ views. This is what you told us.

A mixed experience

The survey asked parents to rate various aspects of school communications — for instance, whether the school kept them up to date on their child’s learning, whether the parents felt well informed about school events, and so on — on a scale of 1 to 6, in which 1 was good and 6 was bad.

Almost all of the answers clustered around the midway mark, indication of an experience that was neither particularly good nor particularly bad. However, when asked if they were satisfied with school communications, 70% of respondents said they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

What parents want

In the survey, we asked parents how they would like the school to communicate with them in future, asking them to choose what they thought were the three best means of communication for the school.

Nearly 80% of respondents chose Group-call texts, over 70% wanted the school to use email more, and just under 50% said the school website was an important means of communication. Bucking the digital trend, around 65% of parents wanted the school to carry on using letters and forms sent home with their children. Almost no one liked Twitter, with fewer than 5% of respondents saying they thought it would be useful in future communications.

What next?

Under the new management, the school has started work to improve communications, producing a regular newsletter. The parent council has formed a communications subgroup; composed of the team who ran the survey and representatives from nursery, primary, secondary, Gaelic Medium and parents of children with additional support needs.

This group is working with the school management team and will help the school with the drafting of a communications strategy. When the strategy is ready, it will be made available for parents to read and comment upon. We’ll post further news on the communications strategy to this website.

Thank you

Running this survey and collating the results has taken over half a year. During this time, the school’s senior management team has been commendably open minded in taking on board criticism and new ideas and has dedicated a lot of time and resources to working with the parent council. We thank them.

Thank you, too, to you — the parents who’ve taken the time to complete the survey, to contribute to meetings or to give us your input and ideas in other ways. Keep it coming!

You can download the full communications report from our website. If you want to provide input to the communications group, as it draws up the strategy, email

Mrs Marshall is new head of primary

Mrs Marshall

Mrs Marshall

On Tuesday 15 December a selection panel chose Mrs Vicky Marshall to be the next depute head teacher (DHT) for the Breadalbane Academy primary department. After just over a year as acting DHT (primary), she is now permanent in the role.

“I am delighted that Mrs Marshall has been appointed to the post of depute head at Breadalbane Academy”, said Councillor Bob Band, who was on the selection panel. “The appointment panel was unanimous in this decision and I am pleased that the appointment has been accepted by Mrs. Marshall”.

“I too am very pleased with the appointment of Mrs Marshall to the DHT post” commented Andy Pointer, one of the two parent council reps on the selection panel. “It has taken a few years, and it has not always been easy, but we now have the right person in post, and the new stability should help the primary school move forward again”.

Congratulations Vicky! There’s no escaping parent council meetings now.

The future of the P7 Lochgoilhead trip

One of the items on the agenda at the last meeting was the future of the Lochgoilhead trip, which is part of the P7-to-S1 transition arrangements.

The school is looking at whether or not it can or should continue to run the trip in its current form. The most likely alternative, is to move the trip to later in the year, and change it from being part of the core curriculum to being a normal, extra-curricular trip.

In the letter below, headteacher John Devine outlines his thoughts on the matter. Mr Devine has asked for any parents who have strong feelings on the subject to email the school with their views, at, by 8th January 2016.

If you could also cc the parent council on your email, that would help us keep track of public feeling on this matter. The email address to use is

To read more about the school’s plans for the entire P7-S1 transition package, click here.

John Devine M.A. (Hons); M.Ed; SQH

Breadalbane Academy
Tel 01887 822300 • Fax 01887 820464

Dear Karl

Lochgoilhead Trip

Further to our initial consultation about the P7-S1 transition at last week’s Parent Council, I felt it might be useful to put in writing my thinking on the Lochgoilhead trip.

It was clear that this trip is very popular. Parents spoke passionately about the benefits of a week’s adventurous outdoor activities; of how children, often away from their families for the first time, discover that they are capable of things they previously wouldn’t have had the confidence even to try.

I hope I made it clear at the meeting that I absolutely accept the value of such outdoor experiences. It’s a joy to see how positively many children react to an experience such as the Lochgoilhead trip. That’s something I want Breadalbane pupils to carry on enjoying as long as I am headteacher.

However, in its current form the Lochgoilhead trip is different. Unlike every other school trip that Breadalbane Academy offers, the Lochgoilhead trip is not an optional enhancement to the core curriculum. It is actually part of the core curriculum, specifically the P7-to-S1 transition package.

It’s a part of the core curriculum, and yet we charge £250 for it, rising to around £300 this year. For some families, this is simply unaffordable. There may also be other children who have perfectly valid non-financial reasons for not wanting to go on a week-long residential trip. For whatever reason, in 2015 one quarter of our new S1 did not participate in this vital part of our transition programme.

These children aren’t just missing out on some of the benefits of the transition package; it’s actually worse than that. By excluding them from the part of the transition package specifically designed to foster friendships between children from different primary schools, we may in fact be making their move to secondary harder.

I’m sure parents are aware that the Scottish government’s highest priority in education is the idea of ‘closing the gap’. At the moment in Scotland, children from deprived backgrounds are significantly less likely to do well at school. This is true in most countries, but the picture in Scotland is poor in comparison to similar countries, including England.

To try and change this, the Scottish government has instructed schools to test all of their practices forinclusivity. Nothing we do should exclude pupils on the basis of income or social background. I’m afraid that, for as long as it is part of the core curriculum, the Lochgoilhead trip fails that test.

However, that doesn’t mean Breadalbane pupils have to miss out on a residential outward-bound trip. We’re looking into offering Lochgoilhead, or a similar trip, as an enhancement to the curriculum at some point in S1, probably during Activities Week.

As well as moving the trip to Activities Week, the other ideas we’re exploring include:

  • The possibility of running a shorter trip as part of the transition, which might allow the school to cover all costs, so that parents didn’t have to pay anything.
  • Funding respite care for Young Carers (children who have caring responsibilities, for instance for a disabled parent), so that they can participate too.

These are worthwhile and exciting possibilities, I hope you’d agree. We’ll keep the Parent Council fully informed of progress on both.

The school hasn’t made a final decision about the Lochgoilhead trip yet, as we are keen to share our thinking with parents in the first instance. However, I don’t think it can be part of the future P7-S1 transition.

I know parents and pupils may be disappointed, but I hope the reasons are clear. I cannot prioritise a school trip, no matter how worthwhile, over the Scottish Government’s policy of inclusion. And even if I could, I wouldn’t want to and I hope parents wouldn’t want me to.

I propose to post this letter on the school website and invite parental comments until mid-January, at which point a decision will be taken. I would also appreciate it if you could share this letter through your own website and encourage parents who would like to express a view to get in touch with the school.

Yours sincerely



John G Devine
Headteacher/Campus Leader
Breadalbane Academy
Breadalbane Community Campus
Crieff Road
PH15 2DU
01887 822300

To see letter in its original form, click here.

November 25 agenda

What: Parent Council meeting
6:30pm Wednesday 25 November
Breadalbane Community Campus
All welcome

  1. Introductions & apologies.
  2. Matters arising.
  3. Head teacher’s report.
  4. Presentation on English teaching at Breadalbane Academy, by Elaine Burke, Principal Teacher English.
  5. Results of the communications survey — Elizabeth Leighton to present.
  6. Update on P7/S1 induction (including plans for the Lochgoilhead trip) — Karen Gatehouse (Depute Headteacher, Pupil Support) to present.
  7. Update from any parent council sub-groups or special projects with matters to report or actions to request of the main committee.
  8. Update from Comann nam Pàrant.
  9. Update on planned vocational-education open evening.
  10. Date and time of next meeting.

You still have a chance to add items to the agenda. Just email us at

Open evening at the school


What: Open evening for parents and carers
When: 6:30pm, Tuesdays 10 November, 2015
Where: Breadalbane Community Campus

John Devine and the senior management team at Breadalbane Academy are holding an open-evening for parents at Breadalbane Community Campus, 6:30pm, next Tuesday (10 November).

Mr Devine will explain his priorities for the school and how the school will be changing because of Scotland’s new Curriculum For Excellence. This is also a great chance for parents to ask questions of the school senior management team and to tell the school what they think its priorities should be. All parents and carers are welcome!

Agenda for 27 October 2015

What: Parent Council meeting
6:30pm Tuesday 27 October
Breadalbane Community Campus
All welcome

  1. Introductions & apologies
  2. Matters arising.
  3. Head teacher’s report.
  4. DHT Nicola Ross presents on the school’s SQA results.
  5. Iona Coutts, Principal Teacher Maths, presents on maths teaching at Breadalbane Academy
  6. Update from the communications subgroup. Progress report on the survey.
  7. Update from parent council groups (Fundraising, ASN Parents, parent reps scheme).
  8. Update from Comann nam Pàrant.
  9. Parent query about parent reps scheme.
  10. Date and time of next meeting.

You still have a chance to add items to the agenda. Just email us at