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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

 

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

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.

Celebrating Success 2018

June 28th was a day for recognizing and celebrating our pupils’ many achievements over the past year.

Before the awards ceremony, staff, pupils and their families enjoyed an abundant buffet in the foyer where they could browse displays featuring photographs of some of the activities the boys have participated in over the last year.

We were then treated to some fantastic musical performances before moving through to the assembly hall for the awards’ ceremony.

And what a catalogue of achievements there were to celebrate!  Not only were the boys’ academic, sporting and extra-curricular successes acknowledged, but a wealth of special awards were given out for active and community involvement, peer support, independence skills, self-regulation and sustained effort, to name just a few. Staff also paid tribute to qualities such as intrepidness, determination, stoicism, enthusiasm, kindness and willingness to help others, as each pupil received his personalized list of accomplishments.

Finally, Mr Morrison bid a fond farewell to this year’s school leavers –  Alfie, Dylan and Lucas – entertaining the audience with some warm and humorous stories about their time at Falkland House School. In his speech, he also thanked the boys, saying:

Education is definitely a two-way relationship where the teacher can and must learn from the student. I personally have learnt a great deal from the boys at the school and in particular these three young men. They have challenged me to think in different ways about teaching, learning and myself. They have taught me humour and humility, to give credit and praise where it is deserved, how to have stamina in order to cajole and encourage someone to see and reach their potential. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I am genuinely grateful for this and feel that I am a better person for having been involved in their education and latterly in their transition.

Well done to all the boys for everything they have accomplished this year.

Click below to see the photos.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Falkland-House-School-278758555572183/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1685192118262146

 

FHS Ski Trip 2018

FHS Independence Workers, Ms. Johnston and Mr. Gannon, give us this report:

Following the success of our four previous ski trips to Glenshee and to Pila in Italy, this year the school organised two separate trips to Glenshee, one for beginners and the other for more advanced skiers.

As part of the school’s Independence Programme, the pupils were closely involved in the preparation and delivery of the trips. This provided them with the opportunity to practice a range of skills that promote independence and resilience. The boys had the task of sourcing, pricing and organising accommodation, transport, appropriate clothing, ski equipment hire, lift passes, evening activities, and meals and the budget for groceries, before calculating the overall cost.

The first group left on Monday 26th February and included Bradley, Hugo, Robbie, Ryan and Lewis. We arrived at the Compass Centre, situated not far from the Spittal of Glenshee in the Cairngorms National Park, where we were warmly greeted by Annie who gave us a tour before the boys got settled into their bedrooms prior to dinner.

Before heading to the slopes on the Tuesday morning, we collected our ski equipment. The pupils were responsible for ensuring they looked after their equipment for the duration of the trip. Mr Graham provided ski lessons and by lunchtime all of the boys had made excellent progress. They continued to practice their skills in the afternoon and by the end of the day were all skiing competently. This created good morale within the group, with the boys feeling a very positive sense of achievement and looking forward to getting further up the mountain and progressing.  At the end of the day, we returned to the Compass Centre where we were well fed and went on to have a relaxing evening playing various games, including the infamous ski trip card game “Loot”.

Unfortunately on the Wednesday due to “The Beast from the East”,  the ski centre was stormbound. Unable to go skiing. the pupils spent time outside enjoying playing in the snow instead. Later, it was agreed that due to the worsening weather conditions, we would return to the school for the safety of pupils and staff. Although all of the boys were extremely disappointed, they handled the decision maturely and packed up and got ready to leave quickly and without any fuss.

The pupils were commended for their behaviour and maturity throughout. To make up for their disappointment at the trip being cut short, they will be going back to the Compass Centre for a residential experience with some of the other pupils at the end of this month.

The second trip left on Monday 5th March and included Aaron, Ben, Dylan, Hugh, Luca, Lucas, Lewis and Kieran. We returned to the Compass Centre where once again we were well looked after. We had an early start on the Tuesday morning and thanks to the weather the week before, the skiing conditions were absolutely perfect. We skied together as a group with some coaching from Mr Graham before the boys were given the freedom and responsibility to explore more of the resort.

By the end of the week they were able to tackle the entire range of slopes and runs, with three of the more advanced skiers taking on the terrifying “Tiger” run. Unfortunately this didn’t quite go to plan, and the three adrenaline seekers, who wish to remain anonymous (Aaron, Hugh and Kieran) ended up sprawled across the hill with their equipment scattered halfway up the slope. Fortunately, Ben (who was on his very first ski trip with the school) saved the day and majestically slalomed his way down the “Tiger”, collecting the boys’ skis and poles on the way… not all heroes wear capes!

In the evenings we enjoyed making use of the games room and gym hall at the Compass Centre. During one extremely competitive football match, the staff proved to be more competitive than the boys at times! The boys also spent time playing card and board games as well as relaxing within the communal lounge.

In line with ski trip tradition, each evening before dinner nominations took place as to who deserved to wear the infamous Unicorn headband for the remainder of the evening. Funny/ silly stories from the day were shared before a vote took place. It soon became clear that the boys had grown attached to the Unicorn horn, with some choosing to carry their embarrassment onto the slopes!

On our way home after a fantastic week, we stopped off for dinner in Perth and reflected on the trip. We enjoyed an excellent meal, and the boys represented themselves and the school exceptionally well, as they had done during the whole trip.

As well as being a fun and enjoyable holiday, the overall experience provides the pupils with an opportunity to develop their confidence and resilience by being away from their usual surroundings and by trying new experiences. It also brings the boys together to work as a team, and is an excellent context for them to build relationships with their peers and staff.

A very agreeable and memorable time was had by all. We can’t wait for our next adventure!

Click here to see the photos

Good Citizen Award

Every year, a Good Citizenship Award is presented to one of the pupils. A selected panel from the school considers a number of guidelines before choosing the best candidate for the award.

Before presenting the award at this year’s ceremony, PC Whittaker explained to the audience the reasons behind the panel’s choice:

“Looking back at this school year we have seen this pupil grow and make some extraordinary changes. His aim was, like most young people, to try and do well at the school and make some friendships along the way. He has achieved all of this and much more. Along with his educational, sports and community attainments which have been mentioned earlier, there have been notable acts of kindness and empathy. For example, we observed him helping new pupils settle in when they arrived at the school, noticed him being polite and friendly when meeting people and giving up his own time to feed and take care of the school’s chickens even during the cold winter days.

He is a highly respected member of our school community because he thinks and puts others before himself. The effort and attitude that he has shown throughout the year and his enthusiasm to learning is remarkable.

Community Police, along with the school, would like to present the Good Citizenship Award to Bradley.”

Very well done, Bradley!

Wishing Ruairidh and Marcus all the best

With staff, pupils and their families gathered at FHS for Celebrating Success Day, this was the perfect occasion to salute two of our pupils – Ruairidh and Marcus – who are leaving the school at the end of this academic year.

Mr. Storrie looked back at their time at Falkland House School:

“There can be no doubt that Ruairidh’s time at Falkland House School has been a resounding success. Over a period of five years we have witnessed Ruairidh grow into a confident young man who has worked hard to earn his place at college and to live independently when he leaves the school.

Ruairidh did particularly well when he gained entry to the Computer Games course at Fife College two years ago. It is a particularly difficult course to get in to and requires a set of well-developed mathematical skills. Although a challenge, Ruairidh’s application and hard work ensured that he would be successful.

Ruairidh made the switch from school pupil to college student well, largely because he was settled and secure within his Falkland surroundings and had the support of a dedicated team of care workers to help keep him on track. A highly popular pupil, his infectious enthusiasm is apparent to everyone he meets.

We, at Falkland, wish him every success as he commences NC Level 6 in Interactive Design and Digital Technologies at Edinburgh College. An integral member of the Falkland Family, we will, of course, miss him though we fully expect to hear from Ruairidh frequently when he comes back to visit us and to anticipate further success when he eventually throws the books away and enters the world of work in the not-so-distant future.”

 

“Marcus is another of our long-standing students who, this year, makes the critical transition from school to college. Ever since Marcus took up a post on the school’s Grounds Maintenance Programme, he was set for a career in Horticulture. A successful in-fill at Perth College quickly led to the offer of an unconditional place on the Access to Horticulture Course and this year will see Marcus commence his journey towards a career in local authority environmental services, or with a private landscaping company.

Renowned at Falkland House for his fierce competitive spirit in sport, Marcus is a bit of an all-rounder and it will be no surprise if he distinguishes himself as a rugby player, runner, boxer or footballer in the years to come. We wish him every success and trust that he too will come back to visit us and help to inspire those younger pupils at the school he knows well to go on and achieve similar success.”