Although I joined Penicuik High School way back in 2005, my recent secondment as School Group Manager with the council meant that I had an awful lot in common with our new first years at the start of term.
The anticipation, the excitement, the challenge of getting to know new staff and students and maybe even, quite naturally, a wee bit of trepidation about starting anew. In fact the question I have been asked most frequently by colleagues, parents, carers, students and partners since August has been, ‘What’s it like being back in school?’. The answer is easy, ‘It’s brilliant!’.
We have a wonderful community here at Penicuik and no matter where you look across the school from students to teachers, from office to catering staff, from learning assistants to janitorial, there is an absolute commitment to do the very best for all of our pupils. Getting things right for all of our pupils is a real team effort and we are very fortunate to have a great team in place here at Penicuik High.
The pace of life in secondary school is phenomenal and it is amazing just how much has been crammed into the first few weeks of term. Our Duke of Edinburgh Silver and Gold candidates have successfully completed their final expeditions and our first years have been working in the community creating their ‘Postcard from Penicuik’.
Schools are about learning and it has been tremendous to be back in classes to see how positively our students are engaged with really high quality learning and teaching. Delivering the best learning experience for our young people is always our highest priority and unsurprisingly this is again a main focus for the school with teachers looking very closely at how effective particular learning approaches are for individual students.
We have worked very hard at Penicuik High to put our school values of PRIDE (Participation, Respect, Inclusion, Determination and Excellence) at the heart of everything we do and one of the most exciting developments happening at the moment is the work to become a Rights Respecting School, an accolade few secondaries have achieved.
With our commitment to student voice, nurturing approaches, student mentoring, and partnership working we are confident that we are in a great place to achieve this status by the end of this session.