Achievements

Default news category, unless another is used. Most news items will be an acknowledgement and celebration of our young peoples’ achievements.

Bushcraft – Fire Starters

The school made a successful bid for funding from Awards for All (part of the Big Lottery) over the summer holidays and is therefore again able to offer pupils a chance to experience life in the great outdoors.

Five 5th year boys who gained the NCFE Bushcraft Award before the summer will now be given the opportunity to work as Assistant Instructors, helping the charity Wild Things to deliver Bushcraft courses to pupils from Charleston Academy.

At the beginning of September, Ryan Rattray, Neil Moodie, Stuart Dingwall, Timothy Dicks and Ryan McClelland took part in a two day training camp near Findhorn and will now be employed as Assistants over the coming year. It is a great opportunity for the boys, one which will allow them to pass on the skills and knowledge they have gained over the years to younger pupils starting out on the Bushcraft path.

fire making taster day

Meanwhile, 10 second year pupils gained their first experience of Bushcraft on 10th September when they took part in a taster session in the woods at Craig Dunain. They found out about trees and plants, had a go at starting a fire without matches, and learned about conservation work. This taster morning will be followed quickly by a 2 day / one night residential camp under canvas, a 4 day winter Bushcraft course at the lodges in Badaguish, and a 4 day descent of the River Spey by canoe in the spring/early summer of 2013.

This is what some of them had to say about the taster morning:

 “I found it interesting to make a fire out of stuff found in the woods
and it was a great experience” Andrew Howieson (2S1)
 
 “The taster morning was fantastic” Caitlin Thomas (2L1)
 
 “I thought it was really interesting.
I found it amusing when I stepped in a pile of mud and lost my shoe!” Jade McCabe (2L1)
 
 “It was great fun and I really enjoyed it” Rahhan Islam (2K2)

The school is indebted to Awards for All for funding these two projects, and to Wild things for their continued involvement in delivering Bushcraft courses to the pupils.

Mr Dave Kemp, Support for Learning

Aladdin 2012

The school hall was an Aladdin’s Cave of delight and talent on 13th and 14th December 2012. A packed hall of Mums and Dads, Grandparents, Carers, teachers and guests served as an awe-inspired audience for our bi-annual pantomime production of Aladdin. The spectacular performances followed months of preparation and hard work by our talented pupils. Staff from a diverse range of departments including English, Art, Technical, Music and Science worked extremely hard to stage a production unsurpassed in its set design, sound and special effects (look out for the flying carpet), providing a suitable back-drop for the wonderful performances of our pupils. Whether working front of house, singing, dancing or acting, designing and making the sets, creating special effects, performing a musical soundtrack, designing programmes, or just being part of the prerequisite audience participation, all involved excelled in every way. Special thanks to Mrs Stuart, Mr Nairn, Mrs Storey, Mr Seymour, Mr Corrance, Ms MacLeod, Mrs Bremner, and Mr Tillman to name but a few, for their extraordinary hard-work, dedication and commitment, over quite a few months, late evenings and weekends assisting everyone in bringing the whole show together. A fantastic achievement and one everyone involved in can be immensely  proud of. Well done all.

Mr Chris O’Neill, Rector

Bridge to Employment

On August 28th, five pupils from Charleston Academy‘s Bridge to Employment group travelled down to The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) centre in Oban to get an insight as to what it is like working in an industrial research facility.

The group – Catherine Howie, James Hogan, Ryan Leslie, Blake Allan, and Steven Macleod – were taken on a tour around the facilities and were able to see many of the experiments that were being carried out by the scientists there. These included research into; ocean dynamics (monitoring ocean currents and the effect they have on climate change), deep sea discovery (one of the guest speakers had recently discovered several new species of marine life in the Indian ocean), ocean acidification (the scientists involved in this will go to California to present their results to an international audience) and a study into how man-made objects (such as the legs of an oil-rig) can affect the marine life of the oceans. Although it was a rainy day, and the bus was delayed due to a landslide, spirits were not dampened as the pupils had the opportunity to get talk to the scientists at the facility and catch up with pupils from the other schools undertaking the programme. The pupils were also able to get “hands-on” with some of the equipment used in what was an enjoyable day for all those involved.

On Tuesday 4th September the Bridge to Employment group set off at 8am for the journey to Thurso. We were split in to three groups to tour round the three different aspects of the ERI and ETECH facilities.

The three sections were: Ecology, Analytical Chemistry, and Engineering

During the analytical chemistry lab we used chromatography, a technique used to analyse environmental toxicity. We separated the dye in inks to show that chemicals move at different rates due to their solubility and then we separated the photosynthetic pigments of spinach.
During the ecology lab we learned about how new species are named and then used a complex scientific key to identify 10 species of shell.

The ETECH building is newly opened and is used to train engineers, electricians and plumbers in the skills required to build marine renewable energy. We had the chance to build solar cells to power wind turbines.

Despite the long journey and the skylight of the bus coming off in a howling gale it was an enjoyable day and we had the chance to meet up with the other people from Bridge to Employment and ―get the banter‖!

Alan, Rhune, Peter, and Gillies, Bridge to Employment Pupils

Lead Prefect Team Leadership Weekend

Our Lead Prefect Team spent the weekend at Badaguish near Aviemore, under the watchful gaze of Ms Sutherland, Miss Macpherson, and Mr Tillman. The prefects were there to build their teamwork skills and learn about the different types and applications of leadership. These will be essential skills for the Lead Prefect Team as Ambassadors for the school in their last year at Charleston Academy.

The weekend sessions were designed to offer the Lead Prefect Team a chance to explore their joint role as prefects, equip them with some skills in leading groups, and offer them the support methods and coaching techniques they might use in their important roles this session.

Mr O’Neill, Mr Stewart, and Mrs Brown spent Saturday afternoon with the group exploring values and leadership scenarios. The group catered for themselves, loved the cupcakes… A fantastic, but tiring weekend was had by all.

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Feedback and Reflection from the Lead Prefect Team

Ms Mairi Sutherland, PT Chemistry