January / February 2024 Head Teacher Update 2 February 2024

Headteacher Update

It’s been a busy start to 2024 here at Balwearie High School! There is lots to share with you as usual, so have a browse through the update to find out what we’ve been up to.

Staffing Updates

We are sorry to say that Mrs Ferguson (Guidance, Piteadie) will be absent for the next few months for medical reasons and that Mrs Johnstone (Support Services Coordinator) is also currently absent but hoping to return towards the second half of February.

We have welcomed Mrs Aird (Pupil Support Teacher) to Balwearie High School this term. She will work within Mr Clunie's team to support learners across the school and Ms Gassner has joined our PE team. We also welcome Ms Olkhovska as a Pupil Support Assistant. We're delighted to have them with us.

Important Information & Updates

Pupil Leadership Title Update

You’ll recall we asked our community to share your views on whether we should change the name of the Head Boy/Girl positions in school to use more inclusive language and ensure all young people can aspire to fill these posts in the future. We had 547 responses which covered feedback from students, parents/carers and staff. There was a majority (57% of respondents) clearly in favour of changing the titles. We will be working with the current Pupil Leadership Team to decide what new title we will use, taking into account the suggestions for alternatives to ‘School Captains’. There were a few queries around whether we will continue to have one male and one female post holder. Our view is that we will appoint the best candidates for the posts who successfully come through the recruitment process. We’ll also update the board near the Main Office area with all previous post holders' names from the last few years since the posts were introduced to recognise their contribution to leading Balwearie High School during their time with us.

Addition to School Uniform Options

We're proud of all our learners here at Balwearie and especially when they demonstrate creativity and innovation in their learning. Our senior entrepreneurs have done just that by putting together a proposal to enhance the uniform options for our learners, which SLT has approved. Their market research has indicated that a half-zip top would be appealing to many of our learners as an addition to the current uniform options. We anticipate the cost will be around £20. The students feel that they will be warmer, comfortable and more practical and would be a good alternative to hooded tops, which we request are removed in classes as they're not part of our dress code. We have 3 design options (see below) and are going to allow our students and staff to decide which one we'll go for. More information on purchase options will follow in due course. These won't be compulsory but will add to the range of uniform options we currently have available to identify our learners as part of our Balwearie School community and to meet with our dress code expectations.

Fife Council ParentWise Survey 2024

Parents/carers are invited to share feedback via the link below. Your views are very important and this is an opportunity for all parents/carers from Nursery, Primary and Secondary settings to provide feedback about the educational experience of your child. The link will be live until 8th March 2024.

Proposed Changes to the school day - feedback closed

Thanks to all parents/carers who shared their feedback or popped in during the drop-in session. The feedback form is now closed and all feedback will be collated. There will be a 'FAQ' document created that will summarise the key feedback points from all Kirkcaldy Secondary School parents/carers and will be shared in due course. As soon as there is any further clarity regarding the bus contracts I will share this with you.

Communications Review

We are in the middle of reviewing our communication channels and we would like to hear your views so that any changes we make meet the needs of our school community. As part of our review we have established a team that is led by learners and has staff representation.

Please use the link below to share your views. The form should only take a couple of minutes to complete and it will really help us shape our plans.

Celebrating Success

P7 Transition Ceilidh

We had a brilliant morning welcoming many of our P7 (future S1) learners to their transition ceilidh on the 25th January. Pupils from all of our cluster primary schools were in attendance and they had a busy and energetic morning, supported by many of our senior student helpers and staff.


We were pleased to welcome colleagues from Education Scotland on the 31st January who were interested in capturing some of our ongoing work with our MVP programme (Mentors in Violence Prevention). This is a peer mentoring programme that provides opportunities for young people to explore and challenge attitudes and beliefs that can lead to gender based violence. Our MVP lead, Ms Williams, has worked with our senior mentors to deliver some of the new parts of the programme around the impact and effects of online misogyny. The MVP programme is delivered in all Fife schools and we're proud to be able to highlight the work our mentors have done so far.

Set For Success

We are piloting a programme for some of our S3 learners, 'Set for Success'. This programme is designed to engage identified learners with activities supported by a mentor which focuses on positive engagement and participation in school and learning. We'll start the programme later this month and it will run until Easter. We're looking forward to seeing how it goes with a view to developing a larger scale programme into next session for S3 and S4 learners.

S2 Fife College Hospitality Takeover Event

Fifteen of our S2 Chef Skills pupils took part in Fife College's Hospitality take over event at Brycedale Campus, Kirkcaldy on Tuesday 30th January. They joined four other Fife schools and took part in six Hospitality linked workshops. The workshops varied form; Making mocktails, watching Balgove Larder's Master Butcher portion a whole lamb, a fun lesson on how to carry a tray of drinks while dodging obstacles, made flatbreads with pastry chef Jordan from The Old Course St Andrews, experienced a virtual reality kitchen, made butter and tasted cheeses and milks with RHET.

The pupils were exemplary and asked lots of very interesting an relevant questions. Over half of them also said this event has made them consider a career in Hospitality.

Fife Festival of Music 2024

We have so many of our performers participating in this fantastic event. Follow this link to find out more about what's on between 30th Jan to 9th Feb 2024. Good luck to all our performers.

Primary Cluster HT Visits

It was really nice to visit Burntisland Primary School just after the Christmas holiday where I met many of the current P7 pupils and enjoyed seeing around their school and chatting to their HT and other staff. I'm heading out to Kinghorn Primary School next week and am looking forward to future dates with our other cluster colleagues too.

Staff Achievement

As you know, we like to celebrate pupil and staff achievements. Congratulations to Mr Wilson (maths) who, along with his team mates, took part in the Irish Curling Associations Men's Championships. The format was a best of three against our challengers. They won 8-0 and 6-5. This means their team will represent Ireland at the European Curling Championships in November.. As you can imagine, he is very excited about representing Ireland in another international championships. (Mr Wilson on the left of the picture).

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