Mar 192019

For the past three weeks S2 pupils at Auchinleck Academy have been participating in the ‘World’s Largest Lesson’ Interdisciplinary project. This has involved learning about the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which have been set by world leaders to tackle climate change, end extreme poverty and promote equality and justice in the world. Pupils took part in lessons in all of their subjects to find out more about these Goals and how they support children’s rights.  At the end of the project they were set the challenge of coming up with  an ‘Idea for Change’ project which they could lead within the school or local community, and which would contribute to the achievement of some of the Global Goals.

 Pupils worked in groups to come up with  their ‘Idea for Change’ projects. They then took part in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style activity which involved presenting their ideas to the Senior Leadership Team and trying to convince them to provide funding and support to make their project happen. The following winning projects were chosen by the Head Teacher and Deputes, who will now support the pupils involved to start up their projects:

 1.       Food Packaging ( Goal 1- No Poverty, Goal 2- No Hunger)- leftover food from the canteen which would normally be thrown out will be packaged up at the end of each day and left in the dining hall for pupils to collect and take home if they wish.

2.       Reusable Water Bottles (Goal 13- Climate Action)- funding will be provided to purchase a stock of reusable water bottles which will be sold to pupils and staff for a small price. Funding for another water dispenser in the canteen will also be provided. Pupils and staff will be encouraged to use the reusable water bottles and fill these up from the dispensers rather than buying plastic bottles from the canteen or using plastic cups from the dispensers.

3.       Fair Trade stall ( Goal 1- No Poverty) – funding will be provided to purchase a stock of Fair Trade products to sell to pupils and staff. Pupils will run the stalls which will be held at interval in the Barista cafe and other venues.

4.       Litter Pick ( Goal 13- Climate Action) – pupils will organise and participate in regular litter picks in the local community. Local residents and primary school pupils will be encouraged to get involved. Any litter which can be recycled will be taken to the recycling bins at Tesco.

 This is another excellent example of pupils in Auchinleck Academy working together and taking action to lead change within the school and local community in order to tackle important issues which affect their rights and their future.  Well done to all of the S2 pupils who were involved!


Feb 282019

The senior boys at Auchinleck Academy have been working alongside the school Mental Health Nurse, Angie McDonald, to take action to prevent suicide.

Taking action on the frightening statistics around suicide and in particular the increased risk of suicide in males, Angie has introduced training on suicide alertness initially offering this to S5 and S6 boys. The uptake has been successful with fifteen of the senior boys having voluntarily completed the training and also having made a commitment to regular meetings to focus on their mental well-being.

We recognise that talking and listening can save lives. Talking openly about suicide is a way to reduce the stigma which prevents many people from seeking help or talking about how they are feeling. As a school we recognise that anyone can play a role in suicide prevention and therefore we have made a pledge to take action – to save lives.

So how exactly do we plan to take action?

Our aims:
– Reducing the stigma around Mental Health & Suicide
– People at risk of suicide feel able to ask for help
– Increasing pupils understanding of suicide prevention

How we pledge to take action:
– By offering suicide alertness training with aim of increasing the opportunity for pupils to talk openly about their feelings in school.

This week the boys have presented our pledge during school assemblies with the hope of recruiting more volunteers for training in Suicide Alertness, this has been offered to all pupils in S3 to S6. Having the senior boys present has been a powerful message to other pupils, the boys were able to share some of their personal reasons for signing up and their commitment has shown that they recognise the risks of bottling things up and that they are prepared to make a change to improve their mental well-being. Following raising awareness during assemblies we hope to recruit more volunteers to receive training in suicide alertness.

We have defined the role of those trained in school as follows; Being approachable, having an alertness to signs that someone may be struggling, having confidence to ask the suicide question, offering a listening ear, supporting other pupils to get more help by alerting school Mental Health nurse if pupils have expressed suicidal thoughts, plans or intent. The boys have designed a badge to help pupils to recognise those trained within school – we are hopeful that this will break down some of the barriers and stigma around mental health and talking about our feelings.

Feb 272019

Auchinleck Academy’s Right of the Month for February has been Article 29 (Goals of Education) – Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.

Rights Fact of the Month: Rights are INALIENABLE. This means that you cannot give them away or sell them, and no one can take them away from you.

In order to ensure that all pupils in our school enjoy this right and can reach their full potential, members of our Inclusion Group have planned a series of assemblies to raise awareness of the various different learning, health, social, emotional and behavioural needs that many of our young people have, and the support that they are entitled to. Last term we celebrated ‘Dyslexia Awareness Week’, and so far this term the focus has been on understanding Autism. Senior pupils have delivered presentations to pupils and staff in order to raise awareness of what Autism is and how we can all support Autistic pupils in our school to achieve their best, and to feel safe, happy, included and respected at Auchinleck Academy. Further work to raise awareness of Young Carers, Mental health, and Hearing Impairments is planned for the coming months.

In addition to this, Auchinleck Academy is continuing to support the children of Jebbeh Kiazolu school in Liberia to access their right to education, through our ongoing sponsorship. We recently received photographs and an update on their progress, and were pleased to learn that even more pupils there are now benefitting from a daily meal provided by Mary’s Meals. Being fed at school allows these young people to attend their classes on a full stomach and properly engage in their learning.

We have also recently launched the start of a new ‘Backpack Challenge’, an initiative to provide some of the poorest children with backpacks and other basic items for school, which will help them to access their right to education . Over the last three sessions Auchinleck Academy has sent 73 completed backpacks to children in Malawi and Liberia, thanks to the support of our pupils, parents, staff and members of the community. If you can help out with this again all donations would be much appreciated and can be handed in to the school office, or to Mr Deeney in the Technical department. It is not necessary to give a full backpack – even just giving a single item from the following list will help:

Backpack/school bag, exercise book/notepad, pencils, pens, crayons, eraser, ruler, sharpener, pencil case, towel, shorts/skirt & t-shirt, or dress, flip flops/sandals, small ball eg tennis ball, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, spoon.


Feb 202019

Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock Campus on Thursday 7 March from 3.30pm to 6pm

Creating Connections is a free event to provide parents, carers and teachers with information on helping disabled young people and young people with additional support needs into work after they leave school.

Speak to employers and training providers, and get advice on support available to help learners with additional support needs to enter the world of work, including information sessions on funding, options after 16, career management skills and supporting disabled people in the workplace.

For more information visit



Feb 072019

All S3 girls will be involved in the #Womeninwellies event at Dumfries house on Tuesday 19th February. The girls will be transported to and from Dumfries House by bus. Pupils are required to wear school uniform. Food and drink will be provided throughout the day. All girls were issued with a letter containing the details of the event. Please contact Mrs McPheator if you have any questions.


Feb 052019

We are hoping to run a study residential at Dumfries House on the 23rd and 24th March. This will cost no more than £60 per pupil and will include a number of outdoor and team activities run by Dumfries House staff, an overnight stay at the outdoor centre, all of your food for the weekend and brain gym, study skills and subject master classes run by your teachers. If anyone would like more information or to book a slot please come and see Mrs Cook in the music department before the end of the day on Friday 8th February.


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