Lots of positive things have been happening in school this week. The first in this year’s series of ‘Science in the Atrium’ took place last night and many thanks go to Scott Henderson, other colleagues and parents for organising this. BBC news this week featured a small number of schools that have been selected as ‘Shinty Ambassadors’ and Inverness Royal Academy is one of them. This morning OI saw a number of S1s arriving at school with shinty sticks in their rucksacks so it’s good to see the sport going from strength to strength.

MasterChef was also a significant event this week so many thanks to the Home Economics department and other commercial partners for organising this.

Finally, it’s always good to receive feedback, particularly when it’s positive:

‘Dear Mr Engstrand I pass from Lochardil through Hilton most days as your pupils are going back and fore to school. I am very pleased to see nearly if not all are wearing school uniform. The white or black shirt with a tie is very impressive. I do hope this will be the uniform to stay! We are very proud of their turnout.’

This is just the most recent e-mail I have received about our school uniform and much of the credit for the high standard of school dress goes to you as a parent and the house group teachers for the time you invest in maintaining high expectations. I would also like to thank those of you who are assiduous in reporting to year heads those pupils who are not in school uniform.

It’s been particularly good this week seeing the School and House Captains running year group assemblies. As you know, developing the house system is one of our school priorities and the school improvement group looking at this have already done some really good work to develop house identity

One of the reasons this issue is so important is that in a school of our ever increasing size it’s too easy for pupils to get ‘lost’. Developing a house community is a way to make pupils feel they are part of the school and they are ‘known’; that they can call on the support of the whole house community, can have their achievements shared and, though they are already part of the wider school, feel a deeper attachment through their house.

We are now aiming to hold house assemblies once a month and I met with the Student Leadership Team, along with Gordon Piper this morning to discuss what these will look like: we know that we want to see House Captains and other young people leading these and we will support them to stage the first ones at the end of this month.

Nigel Engstrand

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