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Prize-winning painting

The Tesco Bank Art Competition for Schools is run by National Galleries of Scotland, and this year there were over 7,400 entries from all over Scotland. FHS pupil Lucas was awarded a Special Merit Prize in the category ‘Trees’ and was invited to attend a prize-giving ceremony in Edinburgh’s National Gallery on June 14th, when he saw his artwork go on display to the public for the very first time. All prize-winning entries will be on show at the Gallery until 27 October 2016, before being displayed at Borders General Hospital, Melrose (1 November 2016–26 February 2017) and Eden Court Theatre, Inverness (3 March–27 April 2017).

FHS Art Teacher, Mrs. Davie, accompanied Lucas to the Awards Ceremony, which she described as a “very special afternoon”. The director of Tesco Bank Competitions commented that the Art Competition for Schools is an excellent event for nurturing talent and bridging gaps of class, wealth and status, bringing people together in the name of Art.

One of the five judges was Nick Sharrat, the prolific children’s book illustrator, who signed books at the start of the event. Prizes were awarded by competition organizer, Linda McLellan, who made personal observations about each piece that was projected on a huge screen. When Lucas went up to receive his award, she commented on his bold and colourful ‘less is more’ image that persuaded the judges to choose him for a Special Merit in his category this year. Well done, Lucas!



Our boys join the Tayside Mountain Rescue Team for the day

This term the boys have been learning a variety of life skills, which were put to the test on December 2nd when they temporarily joined the Tayside Mountain Rescue Team.

Falkland H Boys

Helping on a search and rescue exercise, the boys put to use their knowledge of emergency first aid, navigation and technical rope work, demonstrating terrific teamwork and perseverance. The project has contributed to the delivery of a number of literacy and numeracy experiences and outcomes for the younger pupils, and has allowed the senior pupils to develop team and group working skills in a challenging and unfamiliar context.

The Medical Officer for Tayside Mountain Rescue said: “The day was a brilliant success and it was great to see the boys put to use the skills they had learned throughout the term. They were all up for the challenge and provided a useful addition to the Tayside Mountain Rescue Team”.

A roller coaster day at M&D’s

Written by Joe H

Our day at M & Ds was fantastic.

We left at 10am with Miss Langland’s and Miss Langridge and we drove to Glasgow. Aaron, Ryan, Andrew and Lewis came to M & Ds with us.


When we got there, it looked enormous. There were lots of rides and other things. The first thing I went on was the cannonball this is a big rollercoaster. Me and Ryan was first on. When I climbed into the car I felt a bit nervous. It started really slowly and that was ok but then the car started to climb and I really felt a bit scared. When we got to the top, the car tipped and flew right down into a massive dip. It felt amazing and I could not believe the speed of it. It was a brilliant ride and I loved it.

There were so many other things at M & Ds it was the best day I can remember.

Pupils help brighten up homes with colourful palace flowers

Pupils from Falkland House School joined volunteers at Falkland Palace garden to create a stunning floral display.

Boys from the school helped nurture a 40-metre-long border which has provided a colourful range of cut flowers.

Falkland House School and the National Trust for Scotland worked with Angela Smith from the Royal Horticultural Society, who gave advice on what makes a beautiful bouquet.

Sonia Ferras-Mana, who is the heard gardener at Falkland Palace said : ” I’m delighted to see our old and unused kitchen garden getting back into its former production.”

” Cut flowers have been very important for the palace through its history.”

“Our visitors are enjoying the colour brought into this border and the local community are pleased to take as part of our garden to their home as the cut flowers are on sale to support our gardens.”

” This initiative would not have been possible without the support from our volunteers and Falkland House School.”


Falkland House School good practice recognised in joint inspection

Falkland House School has been recognised by inspectors for its continuing good practice in the first of a new joint Education Scotland and Care Inspectorate inspection report published Tuesday 8th September.

The report, produced by both the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland is in the new ‘increased expectations’ format, designed to identify the particular strengths of the school and assess their performance against a national standard. It lists the key strengths of Falkland House as:
• Warm, nurturing relationships across care and education
• Children’s and young people’s attainment and achievement
• Support for children and young people to re engage successfully with their learning
• Opportunities for children and young people to develop skills for life, learning and work

The report states ‘Falkland House has an impressive record of assisting children and young people to improve their wellbeing. As a result, almost all pupils are making very good progress with their social and emotional development. In many cases, their conduct and wellbeing has been transformed. Children, young people, parents and partner agencies report outstanding progress in this area. Children and young people are achieving very well through a significant number of practical, vocational and sporting opportunities which build confidence and develop skills in communication, team work and social engagement.’
It also praises the school for introducing initiatives aimed at building skills in employability, leadership and enterprise such as their ongoing cabin project and Falkland Contract Services company.

Falkland House School Director, Stuart Jacob said “We are obviously delighted to have done so well in our first joint inspection of this kind and welcome the feedback we’ve received from Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate. It’s great to see the hard work and dedication of all the staff recognised and know that we’re performing well against national standards.

“We’re continually striving to improve what we do and promote excellence in learning and attainment and this report is a good indication that we are meeting our targets. “

The school was one of the first independent schools in Scotland to receive accreditation by the Autism Society, and it prides itself on the standard of care it provides for pupils and their families.

Additional inspection evidence, including details of the quality indicator evaluations, can be found on the Education Scotland website at: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/inspectionandreview/reports/school/primsec/FalklandHouseSchoolFife.asp.

Letter from the Scottish Childrens Service Coalition : Additional funding for mental health

This letter appeared in The Scotsman on 26th May co-signed by Stuart Jacob and Falkland House School

As a coalition whose members deliver specialist care and education services for children and young people with complex needs, we were delighted to see our campaign for increased investment in child and adolescent mental health services has delivered a successful outcome, with the recent announcement of £85 million in additional funding the Scottish Government.

This additional funding, to be spent on mental health services over the next five years, will go some way to address services which are proving to be incredibly stretched.

This is against the background of a signifcant increase in demand, with the number of referrals for specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) increasing by 60 per cent over the past two years.

 We do not dispute that our health professionals do fantastic work to help people suffering from mental ill health, but a lack of resources in the face of a dramatically increased demand means that we are often asking medical staff to work with one hand tied behind their back.
With half of Scotland’s health boards failing to meet waiting time targets to access CAMHS that came into force at the end of last year, we are clearly pleased to see that part of this funding will be used to bring down these waiting times.

We would like to thank those many people who signed our petition for taking the time to do this and hope to continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that the mental health services many young people in Scotland so desperately need are being provided.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, 

Sophie Pilgrim

Kindred Scotland

Tom McGhee

Spark of Genius

Duncan Dunlop

Who Cares? Scotland

Stuart Jacob

Falkland House School

Niall Kelly

Young Foundations


Comment: Apprenticeships must include the vulnerable – The Scotsman

INCLUSIVE approach is vital to early training, writes Stuart Jacob

This week presents an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of a Modern Apprenticeship for both employers and young people, as well as highlighting the merit in considering those with additional support needs (ASN) as candidates for such positions.
In February the Scottish Government announced it was on course to exceed its target of 25,000 new modern apprenticeships (MAs) this year and the number of those in MAs had increased by 2 per cent from the same time last year. This is absolutely to be commended as it has helped the Scottish Government bring youth unemployment figures to their lowest since 2009.

However, figures from Skills Development Scotland show less than 0.4 per cent of those in a Modern Apprenticeship have a declared disability, yet approximately 8 per cent of the 16-24-year-old target population is disabled. This is based upon self-declaration by the individual and there will be instances where people choose not to disclose their status, but this figure is still woefully low. In comparison, figures from the Skills Funding Agency in England indicate a figure of 8.7 per cent.

As a society, we have a collective responsibility to give the most vulnerable the opportunity to realise their full potential. The rewards of getting these young people, many of whom boast excellent skills, include higher loyalty and retention rates. Apprenticeship programmes provide the opportunity to do just this and at the same time help businesses thrive, especially in the sectors where we face skills shortages.

At Falkland House School we are doing all that we can to ensure that our pupils are work ready and work experienced when job and apprenticeship opportunities arise.

Pupils have recently established a contract services company that provides quotes and works for a variety of maintenance jobs in and around the school. The process is informed by real-life experiences and pupils are interviewed for positions within the company, going through the normal application and interview procedures that you would expect in the job market. For certain jobs (such as strimming around the grounds) industry standard courses (City & Guilds or Lantra awards) need to be passed for pupils to be allowed to participate (our current insurers are fully informed for risk assessment purposes).

The range of skills needed for the company matches all abilities and aspirations. Although still in its early stages, we have high hopes for the success of the project. Eventually, pupils will be paid salaries and through this be charged a form of income tax paid back to the company so that it has its own funds to either buy equipment or lease it from the school. If the team elects to buy their equipment they will have to decide upon quality and cost over leasing the school’s equipment. Our aim over the coming years is to develop the project so that a variety of different experiences in an ever widening job sector can be offered. For example: catering for seminar participants using the school; designing and maintaining the school website; painting and decorating rooms on a rotational basis; and creating general handyman and DIY jobs.

We have also recently started an initiative to help equip the boys with the work-ready skills necessary for sustainable employment. Under the supervision of teachers from a variety of subjects the boys have designed and are building a cabin in the school grounds. Due for completion in spring next year, the boys are using this project to work towards an SQA qualification and the cabin will be used as a community resource on the Falkland Estate grounds. Offering learning in this practical way, we have already seen a marked difference in the self-confidence of the boys involved.

In recent years the Scottish Government has taken a number of positive and significant steps for young people in these categories, through the likes of the Employer Recruitment Incentive and Make Young People Your Business campaign, but based on the figures, we need to do more. We need to buy in better from businesses and employers as it is they who can make the vital difference.

As we mark Scottish Apprenticeship Week, I would urge businesses to look beyond the label and look at the skills and talents these young people have by the bucket-load. We must do all we can to help them realise their potential.

• Stuart Jacob is director of Falkland House School and member of the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition www.thescsc.org.uk

Falkland House School hosts visit from Youth Employment Minister to showcase employability projects

Pupils from Falkland House School, one of Scotland’s top providers of education for boys with additional support needs, today (Tuesday 28th April) welcomed Scottish Government Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, Annabelle Ewing, to the school to demonstrate a new skills and employability initiative they have been working on.

The initiative aims to provide the boys with practical experience through means of a cross curricular construction project and the setting up and running of a contract services company. Both projects have been designed to give them an insight into the world of work and enhance their skills in preparation for employment.

The invitation was issued by fifth year pupil Kieran Cruden who undertook a work placement with the Scottish Government at Atlantic Quay in Glasgow last December. As a result of this he met with Ms Ewing to talk about his experiences and then contacted to invite her to the school.

Stuart Jacob, Director of Falkland House School said, “We were delighted to welcome Annabelle Ewing to the school and talk her through some of the work we are doing to boost the boy’s employability, and prepare them for the workplace.

“One of the key philosophies of the school is not to change the world to accommodate young people’s difficulties, but to offer real and full experiences which give the boys the skills and resilience needed to meet life’s challenges.

“We are proud of the innovative work we are doing on skills and employability for young people with additional support needs and pleased that they are getting the opportunity to showcase this to Ms Ewing.”

Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment Annabelle Ewing said:“I had the pleasure of meeting two of the young men from Falkland House as part of their short work experience placements with the Scottish Government last year.

“From my visit today it is clear that this was just one great example of the work that Falkland House school is doing in terms of readying boys with particular needs for the jobs market.

“I hope to see more and more pupils on the same path as Kieran and use the training and personal development courses to help them fulfil their potential.”

Falkland House School was the first independent school in Scotland to gain Autism accreditation. They now have 75% of pupils with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder diagnosis and also support Young People with SEBN, ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome.

The school has also been awarded nine Excellents and one Very Good by the Care Inspectorate. Falkland House School was the first school of its type to hold Excellent grades in every statement it had been inspected in by the Care Inspectorate. This makes it the highest educational establishment of its type in Scotland

As well as recognition from the Care Inspectorate the school was also shortlisted in the sixth annual Times Educational Supplement (TES) School Awards last year in the Special Needs school category, the only Scottish school to be shortlisted in this category.

Minister's visit 032

Letter to Editor: Cash for CAMHS

Dear Editor

As a coalition whose members deliver specialist care and education services for children and young people with complex needs, we have launched a petition calling on the Scottish Government to use the c. £25m of annual additional health spending arising from the UK Government Budget to improve mental health services for vulnerable children and young people in Scotland.

At the moment mental health services in Scotland are at breaking point, with the number of referrals for specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) increasing by 60% over the last two years. This is putting medical professionals under incredible pressure.

We do not dispute that our health professionals do fantastic work to help people suffering from mental ill health, but a lack of resources in the face of a dramatically increased demand means that we are often asking medical staff to work with one hand tied behind their back.

Due to a lack of adequate provision hundreds of vulnerable children and young people are being treated in unsuitable adult or paediatric wards, or being sent miles away from their families. And half of Scotland’s Health Boards are failing to meet waiting time targets to access CAMHS that came into force at the end of last year.
We would urge people to get behind the campaign and sign the petition, encouraging the Scottish Government to go that extra mile and ensure the mental health services many young people in Scotland so desperately need are being provided.

The petition is available to sign on the 38 Degrees website at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/investinmentalhealthscot

Yours faithfully

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition comprising:

Sophie Pilgrim, Director, Kindred Scotland
Tom McGhee, Managing Director, Spark of Genius
Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? Scotland
Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School
Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations

Consultation response to the Scottish Government’s Education and Culture Committee: Educational Attainment

Education and Culture Committee

Educational attainment gap inquiry

Role of the third and private sectors


Falkland House School is an independent school located in the village of Falkland in Fife and specialises in the education and care of boys who require additional support for learning.

It provides special integrated education to boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tourette’s syndrome (TS), as well as a number of other conditions which makes it difficult for them to cope in a mainstream educational environment.

The school was established over 30 years ago and has a reputation for excellence, quality and achieving positive results. Indeed, it was one of the first independent schools in Scotland to be awarded Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society.

Falkland House School provides residential and day places to boys from early primary age through to 18 years old, taking referrals from all regions in Scotland and the rest of the UK. The school offers day, 39 week and 52 week placements to cater for as many different circumstances as possible.

Falkland House School is the highest rated educational establishment of its type in Scotland, having achieved excellent grades in every standard it was inspected in by the Care Inspectorate.

Falkland House School was shortlisted in the Times Educational Supplement School Awards 2014 Special Needs School of the Year category, the only Scottish school shortlisted.

Consultation response

  • the scale of the third and private sectors’ involvement in schools, in terms of improving attainment and achievement, and the appropriate dividing line between their role and the role of education authorities;

Since working on improving attainment and achievement should be holistic and have the child at the centre, there should be no dividing line between the third and private sectors’ involvement and the role of education authorities.

If, as was clearly defined in the very first draft of the National Framework for Residential Care and Education services, the local authority clearly defined who was responsible for each short and long term outcome, as happens in good quality Coordinated Support Plans, the roles of both education authorities and third and private sector schools would be seen as a partnership (this was unfortunately deleted as the draft progressed). It does not seem cost or resource effective to replicate quality provision that is already accessible.

  • whether their approaches have been particularly successful in improving achievement and attainment for school pupils. If so, whether their methods could be more embedded in the curriculum;


Our success comes not from the approach but the structure. As well as having a social environment which ensures a 24 hour curriculum, the staff to pupil ratio and management of resources results in these methods being embedded in the curriculum. The Curriculum for Excellence was a major advancement in examining the totality of experiences, ensuring all the skills for living a fulfilled life are recognised and developed.

To be able to know if approaches are successful in any provision, we need to have an assessment process which indicates where young people are at the start and the end of any process, thus ensuring that the individual curriculum closely matches identified needs. There are huge discrepancies in the statistics collated by the Scottish Government at the moment which would make this process both transparent and worthwhile. How as partnership can we know where we want to be if we don’t know where we are?

  • whether the full potential of the third and private sectors in helping to improve children’s attainment and achievement is being realised;


The full potential of the third and private sectors in helping to improve children’s attainment and achievement is not being realised for a number of basic reasons.

Firstly, as discussed in the first paragraph, there are very little or no stated expectations from placing local authorities on a short or long term basis for each individual placement. If no short or long term outcomes are stated, recorded and measured then it is difficult to realise the provision’s full potential. These short and long term outcomes must include the full range of experiences from the Curriculum Areas of the Curriculum for Excellence to ensure each learner is developing knowledge, skills and attributes for learning, life and work (the four capacities – successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors).

Secondly, the third and private sectors, as well as mainstream provision and education authorities, work in competition to each other rather than collaboratively. This is in direct contradiction to the working in partnership mentioned before, but given budget cuts and the number of third and private sector spaces available in comparison to the decreasing number of referrals, competition is inevitable. Most Local Authorities will only use the third and private sector as a last resort and that is usually irreconcilable to early intervention. Excellent quality practice is not shared with others in the sector (we currently have 9 ‘Excellent’ grades and 1 ‘Very Good’ grade, as well as having achieved Autism Accreditation but would not consider visits from other establishments to improve their quality of service).

  • how successful schools have been in reporting on pupils’ wider achievements (i.e. not just examination results) such as those the third sector helps to deliver. Whether such achievements are valued by parents, employers and learning providers as much as formal qualifications;


As stated before, the Curriculum for Excellence has given us all a much better overview of the variety of experiences and outcomes needed to help learners develop the skills they need for learning, life and work but most, including the Scottish Government when asking for statistics, still see achievements as certifiable awards of some description. Employers are much more interested in a level gained than an experience met and this is also true for parents.