When I meet people for the first time and they ask me what I do for a living, the reaction to “I am a headteacher of a high school” is frequently greeted with the response “I don’t know how you can do that job!”, writes Mark Edie (Penicuik High School).
People are a little taken aback when I tell them I have the best job in the world. I work with great young people, fantastically supportive parents and have in my school some of the best teachers I have ever worked with. I find it strange that people have bought into the myth that schools are full of young people who are out of control, taught by apathetic staff planning for their next holiday while the despotic senior leaders fend off an army of whinging parents. This view is simply untrue.
You will find, across Midlothian, schools that are at the very heart of their communities engaging with people in a wide range of projects. At Penicuik we are actively involved in working with our community in a number of strategic projects that go beyond the traditional. We have pupils involved in the Storehouse project, in the Penicuik First project, in the Scottish Youth Awards and Burnt out Records as well as a whole host of other activities.
Allied to this work with our local community, we are also an International School as recognised by the British Council. This international outlook is one which is shared across Midlothian with schools having links to Malawi, India, South Africa and China.
Over the last few years, Penicuik High School has been involved in the European Union’s Comenius and Erasmus+ programmes. Our Model United Nations Day regularly has almost300 young people from 25 different state and private schools coming together to discuss some very challenging issues. Across Midlothian, schools are rooted in our local communities whilst having an outward-facing outlook to help us provide a world-class education for all our young people.