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Good Citizen Award 2019

Well done to Jamie, the winner of this year’s ‘Good Citizen Award’. North East Fife PCs Euan and Phil presented Jamie with the trophy during our Celebrating Success ceremony.

Jamie joined Falkland House School fairly recently. In this short time, he has impressed staff and pupils alike with his good nature, his courteous manner and his affability, not to mention his enormous enthusiasm and determination to do well.

Here is an excerpt from Mr Storrie’s speech explaining some of the reasons behind the decision to give the award to Jamie this year.

It is not just in the classroom that Jamie has distinguished himself. He takes this award because he has also demonstrated his capabilities to magnificent effect in the community. As a Duke of Edinburgh Award student, Jamie built up a portfolio of voluntary work experience at a local café in Aberdeen, taking orders, waiting on tables and performing general customer service. He very quickly achieved his Bronze Award and latterly has just completed his Silver. Typical of the man, and with characteristic haste, he is keen to push on and complete Gold and, with this in mind, he has been volunteering with the grounds maintenance at Falkland Palace.   

He is a fiercely competitive sportsman, as one or two staff members have found to their cost. Jamie is an excellent footballer and I particularly like the way he gives free reign on the field of play to his steely determination to score goals and win, taking the knocks and holding his own in fairly robust company, always playing fair and with a generous spirit and proving that being a nice guy does not necessarily mean being a pushover.

For me, it has been an absolute delight to welcome Jamie into our school. I have not been impressed merely by his outrageous work ethic but also by the good grace and humour he brings to everything he does. I am acutely aware that Jamie commands a particular presence in our school as a quiet and unassuming leader, a figure who by virtue of his endeavour and attitude provides a magnificent role model for our younger boys to follow.

Jamie, I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for this Award. In the short time you have been with us, you have won friends and won the respect of all the staff. It has been a great six months or so, Jamie, and you have proved yourself to be not only a credit to the school but to the values you reflect from your family and friends. It is my enormous pleasure to invite you to come up now and receive your award.”

Residential Trip to Glenshee

On Monday 22nd April, Brodie, Connor, Harris, Jamie, Luca and Shaun headed off on a three-day residential trip to the Compass Centre in Glenshee. After an introduction by staff at the centre, the boys spent the first evening settling in and playing the card game ‘Loot’, which has become something of a tradition on trips away from school.

Day one started off with raft building. The boys were given some tips on how to design and build a raft that could be floated on the loch. They were then split into two teams. While Mr Gannon’s raft (built by Brodie, Shaun and Jamie) sat perfectly on the water, Mr Robertson’s didn’t stand up to the test and collapsed almost immediately. So as well as taking part in a great team building activity, Luca, Harris and Connor had the opportunity to put their problem solving skills to the test, and it wasn’t long before they had the raft shipshape.

The afternoon saw the pupils up in the tree tops tackling the high ropes course. To quote Mr Gannon, one of the staff members who accompanied them there: “All the boys managed this excellently: some were naturals and took to it like a duck to water ….or a monkey to trees,” while the less confident did an excellent job overcoming their fear of heights. A special mention must go to Brodie who completed the course in record time for his age group.

On Day two there were more fun activities designed to present the pupils with different challenges and help them develop various skills. The climbing wall was a particular favourite and, again, all the boys managed it excellently. In the evening some of them took part in a ‘bat walk’. This involved using a ‘bat detector’ to locate bats around the building and local area. Not only great fun, but also an educational session where they learned some interesting facts about the flying mammals.

The next day, the group stopped off in Dundee for lunch and some trampolining before heading back to school. The boys unanimously agreed that the trip had been a great success. Well done to each of them for their determination, and for conducting themselves in a manner that represented the school in such a positive light. Finally, a big thank you to the Compass Centre staff, who once again ensured everyone was well looked after and entertained throughout the stay.

Some comments from the boys:

I enjoyed being away for a few days, doing the activities. My favourite was the sky trail where I got the fastest time for my age group ever on that course.” (Brodie)

I had a good time, I really liked the high ropes course. It was a good place to stay and the staff were really kind and funny.” (Jamie)

It was fabulous, there was lots to do like high ropes and raft building. The centre was good, it had everything we needed and I would definitely go back.” (Luca)

Click below to see the photos:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Falkland-House-School-278758555572183/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2101378606643493

 

Luca’s Day at Forth Radio

A big thank you to the team at Radio Forth for giving FHS pupil, Luca, an insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a radio station.

Last month Luca was thrilled to find out that he would have a day’s work placement at the Edinburgh studios of Radio Forth 1 and 2.

When he arrived, he was first given a tour, then afterwards he had the opportunity to be involved in some of the technical and creative processes behind radio broadcasting.

Under the expert guidance of Jordan and Mark, he even got to try his hand at producing an advertisement for radio. Luca did some research on the subject of the ad, wrote a script, chose the jingle, and later heard his advert being recorded by a professional voice over artist. He was then shown how to cut it to the allocated time (30 seconds and not a second more!) and edit out any pauses or unwanted background noise.

Luca was fascinated by the whole process, and very grateful to the team at the studios who were so willing to answer all his questions.

He also got an insight into some of the technical aspects of radio production, such as operating the studio equipment, controlling the playlist, crossfading, and ensuring a smooth transition between tracks and ads.

Luca’s ambition is to be a voice actor so it was the perfect placement for him and he loved every minute of it. He has already discussed his aspirations with the school”s Skills Development Scotland collaborator and carried out his own research on websites like ‘My World of Work’ to find out how to go about achieving his goal. One step he has taken towards this has been to join a local drama club.

Luca is a regular performer at Falkland House School concerts, and judging by the talent and determination he shows each time, we fully expect to see his name in the credits one day!

FHS Ski Trip 2019

There may have been no snow in Glenshee for this year’s ski trip but the boys had a fantastic time just the same.

The school is grateful to the staff at the Compass Centre, who went above and beyond to create great experiences during what could have been a potentially difficult week due to the boys’ disappointment at the lack of snow. Our thanks also to the Tayside Mountain Rescue Team for organising some great activities for them.

And a massive well done to the boys who took part. A few days after the trip, a teacher who had also been staying at the Compass Centre with her P6s contacted the school to sing the praises of our “amazing group of staff and pupils”.

FHS Independence Worker, Mr Gannon, gave us this report on the trip:

The pupils headed off on February 25th for a three-night stay at the Christian Compass Centre in Glenshee where we’ve stayed numerous times in the past. On our arrival we received a warm welcome and were well looked after by the excellent staff at the centre. The days were filled with plenty of activities to keep the boys busy. Unfortunately the `Snow Gods` had not been kind to us and there was no opportunity for the pupils to ski. Thankfully we had made a contingency plan to ensure that they still had a fun and active week.

The activities formed the main part of our days in Glenshee, with the pupils participating in a Munro hike (well… we cheated slightly by taking the chairlift up, but we walked down!!), quad biking, archery, crate climbing and a terrifying high ropes course. Not only were the activities great fun, they also provided the boys with the opportunity to push themselves outside their comfort zones in a safe and supportive environment. All this helps to build their confidence, resilience and self-esteem. They all managed the activities admirably. Despite some natural trepidation, they threw themselves (literally, in some cases) into everything they did and conducted themselves in a manner that was a credit to the school and one they can pride themselves on.

As with all our residential trips, this was about more than just getting away for a few days. The pupils learned a lot of skills along the way. They were involved with the planning and preparation of the trip including making inquiries by phone or email, sourcing equipment and minibus hire and costing everything to stay within their budget. During trips like this, the boys are given an extra bit of trust to manage themselves, and they have the opportunity to build on their social and teamwork skills as well as develop their resilience and confidence.

All the boys declared they had had a great few days away. On our way back to the school we stopped off for a nice lunch in a restaurant before going ice skating, which was a great end to an excellent trip.”

Here are some of the pupils’ comments:

“It was really fun, and interacting with the others was good. I enjoyed doing lots of different activities, especially the quad bike. The Compass Centre was a great place to stay.” (Ben)

“I liked doing the high ropes course, I enjoy being up high. The meal and ice skating was very good.” (Kamran)

“It was fun, I enjoyed doing all of the activities as well as the social aspect. I overcame my fear of heights on the high ropes course and pushed myself outwith my comfort zone. I’ll feel more confident in the future to overcome any challenges.” (Liam)

Click below to see the photos

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Falkland-House-School-278758555572183/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2023070807807607

 

Blesma Workshop and Fundraiser

Mick and Owain from the Blesma Community Programme held a Making Generation R Workshop at FHS on Thursday, 21st March.

The programme aims to help young people become more resilient in the face of life’s challenges, big and small. it exposes them to the stories of people who have had to deal with and overcome great adversity, and encourages them to find coping strategies to deal with both everyday issues and bigger hurdles.

RAF Police Veteran Mick’s account of his experiences as an Arms & Explosives Search Dog Handler and of how he lost a limb following an injury in Afghanistan in 2011 quickly captured the pupils’ attention and prompted a lot of good questions from them afterwards.

One of the many meaningful messages he communicated to the boys was how important it is  to find the right strategy to cope with adversity. He described to them how finding someone he trusted to talk to helped him to deal not only with his injury but also with PTSD, and advised the boys to use this strategy themselves whenever they find themselves in difficulty.

During the workshop that followed Mick’s presentation, Owain discussed with the boys hypothetical struggles young people might face at school and at home, and encouraged them to think about good choices people in those situations could make, again getting a lot of positive feedback from the pupils.


In recognition of the amazing work the Blesma team do, our pupils did a sponsored walk on the Falkland Estate after the workshop and raised £215 for the charity, which supports injured veterans. Thank you to everyone who donated and to Mick and Owain for their truly inspiring visit.

The FHS Cabin Project

The FHS cabin project was set up to create a holistic learning experience for our pupils. The venture helps the boys develop important technical skills in areas such as maths, construction, woodwork, planning, ordering materials and PPE awareness, as well as essential life skills like problem solving, decision making, working as part of a team, and communicating effectively.

The cabin is being built in the school grounds, as far as possible using local resources.  This year we have been fortunate to have expert support from Marek and Laura from ‘Simple Shelters’ who have joined the boys and staff at Falkland House School to continue the building work.

Firstly, the boys had to think about who would be using the cabin and what it would be used for. This led to them producing ideas for a floor plan. They then took these ideas into the cabin to see how well they fitted into the actual space.

This process is known as developing a Design Brief. This is what they came up with:

To design a space for the pupils to hang out and spend time in

(approx. 6-7 boys at a time)

 It must have:

comfy seats like a sofa and bean bags

a projector to watch films and play games

a table with chairs to sit, work and eat at

a platform with a bed for staying over

a second door or hatch for a fire escape

a stove for heating and sitting around

a small fridge for food

a separate room for hammocks that also has sensory features 

The Floor Plan:

Over the past year, the boys have worked on the decking, handrail, window and door fittings, membrane fitting, circulation, batons, cladding and insulation, performing their tasks with enthusiasm and self-confidence.

Click on the link below to see the most recent photos.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Falkland-House-School-278758555572183/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1904893799625309

 

Munro Challenge Report

At the beginning of October, pupils Jamie P, Jamie R, Luca, Oscar and Sol bagged their first  Munro in aid of charity as part of the school’s elective program. The boys spent a lot of time time doing various local walks (including the East and West Lomond) to prepare for the challenge and  build up their confidence and fitness.

Part of their task was to research what type of charity they’d like to help. Each pupil came up with a suggestion and presented their case to the rest of the class. They then held a vote, and after much deliberation, agreed on ‘Save the Children’.

In the days leading up to the walk, the boys kept an eye on the weather forecast as they studied maps and routes, and made a list of the equipment they’d need.

On the day, they all arrived well prepared for the hike, with plenty warm and waterproof clothing, food and drink. They arrived in Glenshee around 11am, and set off up the mountain. The further up they climbed, the more challenging the weather conditions became. As they nearer the summit, they had to hold onto each other to stop being blown over!

But this wasn’t going to stop them. Working as a team and following the instructions of Mr. Graham, they reached the summit at around 12:45pm. They didn’t hang around there for long, though, given that wind speeds were 70-80mph!

On the road home, they stopped off for a well-deserved meal before heading back to school.

The boys raised a grand total of £660 for ‘Save the Children’. We’re all very proud of them for completing the challenge. Each one of them gave it their best effort and they achieved their goal. A massive well done to Jamie P, Jamie R, Luca, Oscar and Sol, and a big thank you to everyone who sponsored them on their ‘Just Giving’ page

FHS Munro Challenge

Five of our pupils and two staff members will be scaling a Munro on October 2nd to raise money for charity. The boys were asked to select a charity of their choice, and they unanimously agreed that Save the Children would be a very worthwhile cause.

They’ve been busy walking hills and forests over the past few months to prepare themselves for bagging their first Munro.

In this short video, three of the boys taking part in this challenge explain why your support is so very important.

The FHS Munro Challenge

We've had a fantastic response to the FHS Munro Challenge in aid of Save the Children! Many thanks to all those who have already so generously donated on our Just Giving page. In this short video, three of the pupils who will be tackling the climb on October 2nd explain why your support is so important.

Posted by Falkland House School on Monday, September 17, 2018

 

Wishing Alfie, Dylan & Lucas every success

During the Celebrating Success ceremony. we saluted Alfie, Dylan and Lucas, whose time at Falkland House School has come to an end.

Like all our school leavers, they were presented with a Record of Achievement, which documents all their accomplishments – academic and other – over the years they have spent at FHS and is filled with lots of school memories.

Over the last year, Alfie has attended both school and an Intro to Computers and Digital Media Course at Fife College. He has now been offered a place at Edinburgh College to move on to the next level of his studies in computing and digital media.

Dylan has also had a successful final year at FHS. He performed excellently in his Higher Music course and English National five exams while attending college to study N5 Technical Theatre and Drama. He will now move on to an HNC in Musical Theatre at Edinburgh College.

Lucas has attended a Business Tourism and Hospitality Course at college this past year while preparing for further exams in school. He has continued to work at the Favers Café in Portobello at weekends and has now chosen to undertake a modern apprenticeship with an artisan bakery in Edinburgh.

We wish all three boys every success in taking the next step.