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Thank you to the hard working teachers, a sad farewell to those that are moving on and a joyous welcome to those brilliant educators joining Breadalbane Academy in August….
One and All have a great summer.
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.
Name: Julie Sanderson
Teaches: Principal Teacher, Business education
My name is Julie Sanderson. I’m Breadalbane Academy’s new Principal Teacher of Business Education. I’ll be responsible for teaching business as part of the Broad General Education phase of Curriculum for Excellence and will deliver Business Management and Administration & IT courses within the Senior Phase.
When I saw the position advertised at Breadalbane Academy I was very keen to apply. I’m passionate about my subject and wanted to have the opportunity to lead learning in this area. Having attended a rural secondary school in Fife, I was interested in working in the same type of school, especially as a contrast to a school in a more urban setting. I love visiting Aberfeldy and the surrounding area, so I knew how lucky I would be to work in such a beautiful part of Scotland.
Becoming a teacher was a career change for me. After a decade of running a busy convenience store as part of a bigger family business, I decided to leave retail to teach business. I love learning and my business experience has given me a wealth of real life examples and contexts to share with my students.
After returning to university to obtain my PGDE in 2009, my first position was as a probationer at Linlithgow Academy. After completing my probation year, I accepted a position as a classroom teacher at West Calder High School, also in West Lothian, where I had the opportunity to teach Business Management, Administration and Accounting, as well as leading whole school development of enterprise and employability within the curriculum.
Name: Ruth Cameron
Currently teaching: P2/3 class
My name is Ruth Cameron and I will be teaching P2/3 this session. I began my teaching career in 1996 at The Community School of Auchterarder as a supply teacher. I then moved on briefly to work in Goodlyburn in Perth, before returning to Auchterarder in a permanent post.
During my time in Auchterarder I taught at all stages in primary, before deciding to specialise in early education. On completion of my studies I was awarded Chartered Teacher status.
I was attracted to the post at Breadalbane because I wanted a new challenge in a smaller school. And having worked in a community school before, I was keen to work in a primary with close links with the secondary department and with the community.
On 29 June Nicola Ross was appointed depute headteacher (school improvement) at Breadalbane Academy. She replaces David Macluskey, who left at the end of the summer term for a new job at Crieff High School. We caught up with Ms Ross to find out a bit about her and what she’ll be doing at Breadalbane.
1. Please can you tell us a bit about your professional background?
I took an honours degree in fine art at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen. After spending some time as a practising artist, I did some voluntary work teaching arts and crafts to adults with learning disabilities. This confirmed for me that I really wanted to train as a teacher. I completed my teacher training qualification at Moray House in 2002 and did a probationary year at Perth Academy, where I secured a permanent post and remained for the next three years. In 2006 I was promoted to principal teacher of art and design at Blairgowrie High School, a position I held for the next seven and a half years. In 2013 I was made acting depute headteacher in Blairgowrie, a post I held until my recent appointment as depute headteacher (school improvement) at Breadalbane Academy.
2. Why did you want to work at Breadalbane Academy?
I have always been interested in and attracted to working in an all-through school. I relish the opportunity of getting to know children early on in their school careers and seeing them progress and fulfil their potential into their senior phase. I enjoyed working in a rural setting in Blairgowrie and particularly liked the close links between the school and the wider community. I felt that the DHT position at Breadalbane Academy would allow me to become part of a new and exciting senior management team and to contribute to the further development of an already thriving community. I was also attracted by the excellent reputation that the school holds within the local authority.
3. What does a DHT (school improvement) do? And specifically, what does the job entail at Breadalbane?
The DHT (school improvement ) leads in areas such as: improving attainment; developing learning and teaching; expanding on the curriculum; building partnerships with employers and further education institutions; reporting to parents; and monitoring and tracking pupil progress. I will also be head of house for Farragon and Lawers. I will line manage a number of departments, meeting regularly with them to discuss, agree and monitor their improvement agendas. The emphasis is on building on and improving what we currently do, in line with national and regional trends and expectations. Since we are a new team we are in the process of discussing our individual roles and responsibilities. The job also involves working with other members of the senior management team to ensure that the school functions efficiently on a day-to-day basis.
4. Based on your experience so far, what do you bring your new role?
I feel I have had a good grounding at Blairgowrie High School, where I had the opportunity to lead on several different projects and areas for improvement such as: developing a robust quality assurance programme; monitoring learning and teaching; analysing exam results and identifying trends and areas for improvement; enhancing our transitions by developing an S1 freshers’ week; getting to know the pupils and staff in my house team and dealing with any issues which arose. I also bring enthusiasm, creativity and commitment and a strong desire to do as good a job as I possibly can.
5. What are your priorities for your first months in the job?
My first priority will be getting to know the pupils, staff and parents at Breadlabane Academy and the local community. I intend to shadow classes, meet with principal teachers initially to build up a picture of how well the school functions to help me identify future areas for improvement. In order to become acquainted with how an all-through school operates I intend to schedule visits to the primary and nursery departments as well as visits to the outlying primaries and to Pitlochry High School. My priorities will evolve in discussion with the headteacher, once we are more familiar with the school. I am happy to catch up and talk about more detailed priorities towards the end of the year, when I’ve been in the job for a bit longer.
6. How can parents get in touch with you, if they need to?
Please phone the school office on 01887 822300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Nicola Ross impressed us with her innovative approach and strong communication and organisational skills”, said Gill Steele, parent council representative on the selection panel that chose Ms Ross for the DHT post. “As acting DHT at Blairgowrie, she started a highly successful freshers week, established excellent links with local businesses which opened up great work experience opportunities for pupils, and improved communication with both parents and pupils. We are looking forward to working with her and the senior management team”.
In November 2014 Mrs Vicky Marshall became the acting depute headteacher, in charge of Breadalbane Academy primary. We caught up with her to find out how she’s getting on and to learn a bit more about her, her priorities and her approach to leadership.
Parent Council: Mrs Marshall, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Please could you introduce yourself and tell parents a bit about your professional history?
Mrs Marshall: I was interested in teaching from an early age and went on to complete a PGCE (Primary) after finishing my degree in agriculture. I came to Breadalbane as a probationer in 2004 and shortly afterwards I got a permanent contract. The start of my teaching career was spent teaching infants and more recently I was teaching expressive arts and providing cover for Probationer teachers. In August I became the nursery teacher then Acting DHT (Primary) in November.
When the Acting DHT post was offered as a secondment, I decided to apply because I was keen to build on things I had started earlier. I had started to work on the tracking and monitoring of pupil learning and attainment since becoming the Acting Depute in November and wanted to further this. As a class teacher I had been in working groups looking at progressing learning and teaching and was interested in taking this further as the Acting Depute.
Parent Council: Can you give us a snapshot of the primary department as it is now?
Mrs Marshall: As the primary is part of the whole school the Primary DHT works closely with the school Senior Management Team. In the primary itself there are eight classes and one Gaelic Medium Education class. In addition there is a nurture class, the Pit Stop. This year in the nursery, there are 32 part time morning places, 16 part time afternoon places and 8 full time Support for Family and Children places. There are currently 212 pupils in the primary and 58 pupils in the nursery.
Parent Council: What are your priorities for the primary?
Mrs Marshall: This year in the primary we are building on the work started last year in tracking pupil attainment. Last year was the first time we carried out baseline assessments in reading, spelling and maths for all children from P2 upwards. When we repeated it this year we were able to track the progress pupils had made. We also track and monitor the writing attainment through an assessed piece of writing every term.
Pupil attainment is already tracked in terms of the Curriculum for Excellence levels, but using these additional methods of tracking and monitoring gives us a more rounded picture as well as additional information such as gaps in learning. Through monitoring the results I can work with staff to ensure that pupils are being appropriately challenged and supported.
As a department we started to look at our planning and assessment formats a couple of years ago, aiming to streamline and make them more manageable. Due to staffing changes we haven’t been able to complete this work. We need to progress further with this and hope to have made significant progress in time for the next academic year.
Parent Council: As part of an all-through school, the primary works closely with the headteacher and colleagues in secondary. Can you give us a run-down of how that works?
Mrs Marshall: The Senior Management Team generally meets twice a week to discuss whole school as well as departmental issues. Staff across the sectors frequently work together with part of most inservice days dedicated to whole school working. There are also whole school meetings held a couple of times each term. Teachers form working parties working on moving the school forward. Again, these are generally whole school working parties.
Pupils from the nursery and primary benefit from being part of all through school and learning in a community campus, for example, through shared resources such as access to the PE facilities. We also have primary pupils from P4/5 upwards being taught regularly in the secondary department. This means when pupils are moving into the secondary from primary 7 they are already know some secondary staff and the learning environment.
Parent Council: Thinking of the future, when you move on from this post, what do you want to able to say about your time as depute head at Breadalbane Academy?
Mrs Marshall: “In my time at Breadalbane I have helped pupils fulfil their potential“
Parent Council: If a parent needs to get in touch with you, how do they do it?
Mrs Marshall: Please phone the school office on 01887 822300 or email VLMarshall@pkc.gov.uk
Parent Council: Thank you very much, Mrs Marshall.
This interview is a summary of a longer presentation, which Mrs Marshall gave at the parent council meeting on March 31, 2015.
The staff speaker at the next parent council meeting, on Wednesday 20 April, 6:30pm, will be Mr Macluskey, depute head (school improvement). Mr Macluskey will explain how the school monitors and tracks pupil attainment, and how to understand your child’s school report.
John Devine, currently a quality improvement officer (QIO) in PKC’s education department, will be the next headteacher of Breadalbane Academy. Present head, Mrs Swan, who announced her retirement at the 4 February parent council meeting, will continue in the post until the 16 August. From 17 August, Mr Devine will be headteacher.
A veteran of 23-years in teaching
A graduate of Glasgow University, where he gained an M.A (Hons) in English Language and Literature, Mr Devine has been a teacher for 23 years. He started his career in 1992 as an English teacher at Kirkwall Grammar School, in Orkney.
After 13 years on the islands, during which time he rose from probationer to the principal teacher of the English department, Mr Devine left Orkney to become the depute head (school improvement) at Blairgowrie High School. He remained in Blairgowrie for nine years, before moving to the Perth and Kinross education department as a quality improvement officer, responsible for standards in a number of secondary schools.
As well as an undergraduate degree in English, Mr Devine has a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), with distinction, from Northern College; an M.Ed postgraduate degree, in educational management, from Aberdeen University; and a Scottish Qualification for Headship, also from Aberdeen University.
The best of ten candidates for the job
Ten candidates from all over the UK applied for the job as head at Breadalbane. A rigorous selection procedure saw this reduced to just two in the final interview. Mr Devine impressed the selection committee with his thoughtful and meticulous approach, his knowledge of and commitment to the school and its Highland Perthshire catchment area, and his inclusive and open leadership philosophy.
“I was honoured to be one of the panel who selected Mr John Devine for the post at Breadalbane”, said Councillor Kate Howie, the elected member on the interview panel. “During the selection process it was obvious he totally understood and was enthused by the challenges and benefits of a rural school and the responsibilities of a headteacher and campus leader. Good leadership and communication at all levels including with the local community were his main key themes and I am delighted that he has accepted the post.”
First message to the school community
“I am delighted to have been appointed headteacher of Breadalbane Academy”, said Mr Devine. “I look forward to working with parents and the wider community in building on the success of the school and the community campus.
“I want Breadalbane Academy to be known as a place where young people want to come and learn and where teachers want to come and work. For me, schools are at their best when they can both reflect and promote their community in the experiences they offer. Breadalbane Academy is already doing this, for instance with its Rural Skills course and Gaelic medium teaching. That makes being a head at Breadalbane a very exciting prospect.”
Mrs Swan working for a smooth handover
Mr Devine already already knows Breadalbane Academy well, thanks to his role as our school’s current QIO. Between now and August, he will be liaising with Mrs Swan and her team in order to get a feel for Breadalbane Academy from a head’s perspective, so that he can hit the ground running.
“I am delighted to be handing Breadalbane Academy over to Mr Devine in the summer”, said current headteacher Linda Swan. “He knows the school well as a result of our close working relationship over his time as quality improvement officer; knowing what we do well and where we need to develop. I look forward to working with Mr Devine over the summer term to ensure the transition is smooth. I wish him well in this post.”
A chance to meet Mr Devine
We hope parents will join the parent council in congratulating Mr Devine on his appointment. We’ll invite him to the first parent council meeting of the 2015/16 academic year, giving everyone a chance to meet our new headteacher and ask him questions. We look forward to seeing as many parents as possible there.
Perth and Kinross Council has offered John Devine, who until recently was depute head (school improvement) at Blairgowrie High School, the job of headteacher at Breadalbane Academy. Mr Devine is a teacher of 23 years’ experience, with 10 years at senior management level. Currently, he is working as a Quality Improvement Officer in the PKC education department. He has accepted the post.
There are still some formalities to get out of the way before Mr Devine is confirmed in the job, but these are expected to be just that — formalities. We’ll post more information on this website, once the appointment has been confirmed.
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 email@example.com.