2 November 2015
Dear Parent / Carer
Implementation of a Fourth House at Bucksburn Academy
As you will be aware there has been an increase in the school roll over the last five years at Bucksburn Academy. The school roll is projected to rise further year on year over the next few years. This has led to us reviewing the Pupil Support provision we have in place to ensure that all of our students are well known by our Principal Teachers of Pupil Support and receive the best possible support from them. Following this review we have decided to introduce a fourth house alongside our current three houses of Alba, Caledonia and Scotia. We have already appointed a fourth Principal Teacher of Pupil Support, Mr Greig Ewing, who will become the PT Pupil Support for our new house. This is an exciting opportunity and we are now ready to share further information with students and parents/carers.
We have put together a series of frequently asked questions below which explain the rationale of introducing a new house, which classes will be moving to the new house and the implications for students in those classes.
We are sure that this change will result in an improved pupil support experience for all our students. Should you have any further questions about the impact on your child please do not hesitate to contact your child’s current Pupil Support teacher or if you have further general questions or comments please feel free to contact me. There will be further updates on the school website, letters and in the school newsletter.
Thank you for your ongoing support of the school.
Mr K Mohamed
- Which classes will be moving to the new house?
The following classes will be moving to the new house:
1S1, 1C1, 2A2, 3C1, 3A1, 4S2, 5S1, 5C1
We decided to move whole register classes rather than individual pupils to ensure peer and friendship groups in registration classes were kept together and keep disruption to a minimum. This also means there are no changes to subject classes that students attend or to students’ timetables. Students will also keep their current register teacher ensuring ongoing consistency.
- When will the changes take effect from?
The changes will take effect from Wednesday 6 January, the start of term 3. This will give us enough time to complete the final stages of planning which are highlighted in further questions below.
- Can you give more information about why there is a need to create a new house?
As stated earlier the school roll has been growing year on year with the projected roll over the next few years set to continue to rise. This is good news and is the result of the hard work of students, staff and parents in ensuring a very successful 5 year period since the new school opened. This means that the caseload (the number of students each Principal Teacher of Pupil Support has responsibility for) for each Principal Teacher of Pupil Support has also risen. With 3 houses, each Principal Teacher of Pupil Support has a caseload of approximately 180 students.
During this time there have been significant changes to the curriculum through the implementation of curriculum for excellence and to the exam system following the introduction of new qualifications in the Senior Phase (S4-S6). As a result it is now more important than ever that the Principal Teacher of Pupil Support knows every student in their caseload well – their strengths, their development needs and their aspirations for the future. They have a key role in supporting students on their learner journey from transition from primary, during their time at Bucksburn Academy and through to their post school transition.
By introducing a new house each PT Pupil Support will have a smaller caseload which will allow them to offer an ongoing high level of support in line with the above and ensure all our students continue to benefit from high quality pupil support.
- What will be the impact on my child if they are in the new house?
Beyond what has been stated above, each of the classes moving to the new house will have a new Principal Teacher of Pupil Support – Mr Greig Ewing. He will take over the role that your child’s previous Pupil Support teacher carried out. He will also be teaching Personal and Social Education to the classes in the new house. Your child will keep the same Register teacher and there are no changes to the composition of register classes. Apart from the change of teacher for Personal & Social Education there will be no changes to the rest of your child’s timetable.
- What about siblings who are in another house?
As you will be aware we always try and keep siblings together in the same house. This means that parents/carers have the one point of contact for all of their children who are at the school. We have tried to ensure to that as much as possible we have been able to take this into account in introducing the new house. However, it has not been possible to keep this link in all cases. It may be that some parents/carers will have different Pupil Support teacher contacts as their children may be in different houses. While we realise this is not ideal we hope you will understand that a change such as this can be quite complicated and we feel the advantages for individual students far outweigh any disadvantages. In the future, siblings starting in S1 will be allocated to the same house as older siblings.
- How will the students be informed and involved?
Throughout this week there will be a series of assemblies informing the students of the changes and what it will mean to them. Students will also get further information and an opportunity to discuss the changes in Personal & Social Education lessons this week. Students who will be moving to the new house will be involved in agreeing the new house name, colour and badge to ensure they are fully involved in establishing the new house identity. The new house will be competing for the first time during the house day we hold towards the end of term 4.
- What about House PE kit, House prefect ties and House Captains?
Once the new house colour is agreed your child will be provided with a new House PE t-shirt free of charge from January. If your child is a House Prefect they will take on that role in the new House and be provided with a new Prefect tie in the new house colour. Any house captains who move to the new house will maintain that role.