Dr David Fowley’s Big Bang Presentation

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum


Dr Fowley returned to Charleston Academy on Friday last week with the Big Bang Strikes Back as part of the 2016 Inverness Science Festival. On Friday 6th of May, he presented an interactive and explosive display of colourful, catalytic, chemistry experiments. Beginning with the most simple of materials, ice, but not the regular kind – frozen nitrogen at approximately -90 degrees centigrade. Many members of the audience got to have hands on experience juggling small nuggets so it didn’t freeze their skin.

Moving along David showed us an oscillating reaction which was assisted by a chemical catalyst, the solution flashed between clear and brown as the chemicals and catalyst reacted. To end his Big Bang extravaganza David deconstructed a firework and so ending with his own ‘big, little bang’.

by Cameron Cochrane, 3T2. Photos by Zarah Gollan, 6S1.

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My World of Work for S1

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum, Personal

All of our S1 students took part in a workshop delivered by Skills Development Scotland today. Our SDS Careers Advisers delivered the My World of Work Live (MyWOW Live) programme in the Hall all day.

The programme is an early taste of the potential careers available for students studying STEM subjects (Science, Technologies, Engineering and Maths). The hands on activities allowed our young people to get deeply engaged in some fascinating science as well as learn about potential career opportunities. Thanks to all at SDS for supporting this programme.

Cake Decorating

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Curriculum

Well done to Home Economics pupils who have just completed their National 5 Cake Decorating course. Stephanie Alison (5K1), Ayesha Grant (5K2), Alice Lee (5S1), Morgan MacDonald (6L), David Proctor (5K1), Mairi Strong (5S1) and Nathan Ross (5K2) have all completed their course and presented their final pieces, examples of which are shown here.

Mrs Alison Fraser, Acting Principal Teacher Home Economics

Multi-Lingual Debate

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum

On Wednesday 23rd March a group of 9 pupils and 3 staff travelled to Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

When we arrived we navigated our way across the mini village to the postgraduate building where there were various Chinese workshops being displayed. There was a chance to try traditional Chinese food, see a performance of Tai Chi and also an introduction to Chinese knots artwork.

Following lunch and our little taste of China, we walked back across campus to the multilingual debate. Schools from all over Scotland were in the audience and there was even a camera broadcasting the debate online for students all around the world. The topic of discussion was: “This House believes that accessing public services in your native language should be a recognised and implemented human right”. There was a panel of six people from different nationalities who were arguing either in favour of the motion or against. They all spoke in their native tongues which were Chinese, German, French, Spanish, English and British Sign Language. In booths at the side of the stage, there were language students interpreting their arguments into English for the audience to understand. This was done by providing everybody with headphones, a radio and three channels to tune into. You could flick through the channels and hear the students translating very successfully.

Before the debate, everybody in the audience voted anonymously using an electronic device. The results came in at 68% Yes votes and 32% No votes. After the debate there was an audience vote again and the results dropped quite significantly to 56% Yes and 44% No.

At the end of the debate a representative of Heriot-Watt told us the benefits of having a language in the world of work nowadays. It offers many opportunities for young graduates in both business and international affairs.

Claire MacDonald 6S

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The BBC micro:bit has arrived

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum, Important Announcements

The BBC micro:bit is a small pocket sized computer with a built in motion sensor, compass and Bluetooth. This week all pupils in S1 received a free micro:bit funded by the BBC to encourage them to get interested in computer coding. Pupils were shown how to get started with the micro:bit during their computing lesson but the idea is that they should now take them home and get creative in what they can get the device to do.
All pupils have been warned to guard their devices carefully as many parents are keen to get their hands on them! They are for the pupils to use but parents can get involved by visiting www.microbit.co.uk to find out more about the device and helping to encourage their children to make good use of it.


The aim of this project, which has been targeted specifically at all S1 pupils, is to encourage a new generation of computer programmers in order to fill a projected skills gap in the job market in the coming years. Who knows? The next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs may a Charleston pupil.

Mr Duncan Dyker, Principal Teacher of Computing

A Trip Back in Time

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum

We left Charleston Academy at 8.06AM, as one pupil was late and we stalled on the first corner. We were headed for the World Heritage Site of New Lanark. We arrived at the village, having found that the road meant to save us 11 minutes cost us 30.

We went into the mill where we saw the machinery working. It was unimaginably noisy – even behind sound proof glass. We learned that the children would crawl under the machines to pick up the scraps at a huge risk to them. We went on a virtual tour which told us about the owner Robert Owen and the improvement he made to the mill and the people who worked there. There was also mention of their Mr Buchanan, who played the flute and taught the primary school pupils.

We then visited the school house where we watched a film about Robert Owen and his achievements. His rules on hygiene were very effective as when the cholera epidemic came only 30 people out of 2500 contracted the disease and only 10 died.

Robert Owen also created the first Co-op, as his workers got tokens to spend in the village store, the profits of which helped to pay for the school and a doctor for the village.

We spent the night in Cumbernauld, there were several highlights, one of which was the fire alarm going off in the middle of the night. This resulted in us having to leave our rooms and stand in the freezing cold. We learned to ensure that we were fully clothed before leaving our rooms.

On the second day we went to the Falkirk Wheel, it was ‘wheely good’ and links the Union Canal to the Forth and Clyde Canal. We were amazed to hear that they had 700,000 visitors last year. We then saw the Kelpies, which were huge and quite beautiful.

In the National Coal Mining museum we were given a tour by a man who had worked there. We were able to see some of the improvements made to mines and how they checked to see if there was gas in the mine. We saw the pit canaries which would have been used to test for gas as they had small lungs and would be quicker to react to gas than humans. One pupil was then able to power the engine for the mine.

We had a really good trip which made the topic easier to understand once we saw it working.

by 5E2 History Class

Blythswood Enterprise Challenge 2016

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Curriculum, Important Announcements, Wider Curriculum

S1 pupils have been working very hard over the last 5 weeks participating in the Blythswood Enterprise Challenge 2016. The school received £150 in start-up capital with the vision that they would “make it grow” over a 4 week period. Led by their Business Education teacher Mrs MacRae, and with support from both the RME and Business Studies departments, the pupils have organised and run a number of activities and events to include a Coffee Morning, Quiz Night, making and selling bird feeders, bookmarks, and bake stalls, to name but a few.

Charleston Academy is one of the first secondary schools in Highland to run this event on such a scale and is very proud of the hard work and commitment shown by all participants. All pupils are receiving recognition certificates and house points at assemblies this week to celebrate and reward their success. We are overwhelmed with the amounts raised by each group and it was an absolute pleasure to be in a position to hand over a cheque for £2,271.90 at the Shiel house assembly to Adrienne Dempster, the Blythswood Care Fundraising Manager.

The money raised will go towards the 999 Fire Engine Appeal on behalf of Blythswood Care, which provides emergency service vehicles and training to remote areas in Europe, Africa and Asia.

The overall experience for pupils and teachers alike has been very rewarding and we hope to run the indicative again next year.

Mrs Heather Macrae, Business Education Department

Real Safari at Highland Wildlife Park

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Curriculum

While everyone in school enjoyed an “On Safari” dress down day to raise funds for Botswana today, pupils based in the Arches and studying for their ASDAN qualification visited Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie today.

The pupils had to take photos of the animals and find out about their diet and habitats. They were accompanied on the trip by Jasper Hughes, Education Officer at the park.

The pupils are all studying for the ASDAN Animal Care short course.

Ms Lindsey Grey, Learning Support Department

Senior Prelims 2016

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum, Important Announcements

Prelim Exams for students in S5/6 begin on Friday 12 February with Higher and Advanced Higher English. They continue after the mid-term break, finishing on Friday 26 February. The full timetable can be downloaded HERE or below.

Find out more about SQA Qualifications HERE.

Please note that as in previous years there is no study leave for prelim exams. All students sitting prelim exams attend school as normal during the prelims. This includes attending Tutor Time for Registration at 8:50am every morning prior to any exams which are scheduled first thing. Study Leave will be provided for the May SQA exams as usual.

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Rural Skills Norbord Visit

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum

As part of their National 4 Rural Skills course, S3 pupils at Charleston Academy were given the chance to visit Norbord. Norbord, aka the Cloud Factory, is one of Europe’s main producers of OSBoard used in housing and furniture worldwide.

After a briefing in the boardroom, we were given a tour of the production line and given the chance to meet staff working throughout the plant. In addition, pupils also questioned employees in order to gain an insight into the skills and qualifications required to work there.

As expected the pupils were a credit to the school, and many have discovered an exciting new career possibility.

Mr Stuart Buchanan, Geography Department