Academy9 Core Activities

Academy9 Gateway Event

What is the Gateway?

The Gateway offers a positive opportunity for the primary and the secondary schools to link together. This is an annual event hosted at the local secondary schools on the A9 corridor between Perth and Inverness; Breadalbane Academy, Pitlochry High School, Kingussie High School and Grantown Grammar School.  Primary 5 pupils from the associated primary schools are invited to attend and experience Academy9 for the first time.  This is the start of progressive and coherent educational experiences on offer for school-aged young people from the Academy9 Team.

“All of you did a great job it could not be better”

Prior to the Gateway, a ‘Mentor Training’ session is held for volunteer S3 pupils from the secondary schools who wish to support the event.  They are encouraged and trained to be event coordinators, choosing to take on roles such as; team leaders, activity mentors, scorers, photographers etc. They are given the opportunity to represent their school and be good role models for the younger pupils, whilst assisting the Academy9 Team to provide a fun and safe event.  The S3 pupils are key to the success of the Gateway and this event could not run without their time, effort and enthusiasm.  The S3 pupils enjoy the experience so much there are always far more volunteers than jobs!

“There were lots of activities to try.  It kept us busy the whole time”

During the Gateway Event the participating primary pupils are divided into 6 teams of mixed ability, gender and schools.  Pupils undertake new challenges, in a new situation with new friends. Each team must gain as many points as possible whilst taking part in 6 practical, challenge activities based upon the A9 Dualling project that also promote and encourage work place skills. 

“I learned to work with other people and build up my friendships too!”

Some example challenges:

  • ‘Load the Lorry’ requires pupils to work together, listen to each other and cooperate to problem solve a puzzle using 3D foam shapes that fit into a box in a certain order, ready to be transported up the A9. 
  • ‘Team Challenge’ requires all pupils to actively transport themselves and their team to a designated spot using only 2 mats which they cannot come off. This only works if all team members are team players working together and all focused on the same goal. 
  • ‘Traffic Senses’ requires partners to actively use their communication skills.  One person is blindfolded and listening whilst the other has to verbally guide their partner around an obstacle course.  Clear, precise communication and trust are key to the success of this challenge.

“Thank you so much for organising the best day ever!!”

“Playing activities with other children is fun”

Academy9 Roadshow Event

What is the Roadshow?

The Roadshow event is a practical and innovative experience aimed at Primary 6 pupils.  The activities which have been developed are placed at the centre of ‘A Curriculum for Excellence’ and ‘Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce’ initiatives.  Pupils are provided with an insight into the A9 Dualling in the current design phase and experience scenarios that reflect the real life work of professionals on the project. 

There are 3 parts to the Roadshow that encourage both breadth and depth of learning:

  1. Introductory Lessons (Teacher Led)

Comprising two lessons, this section gives pupils the opportunity to learn new information about the A9 Dualling project in order to raise awareness of its size and scale. They are also taken on a journey of exploration and discovery while they research the wide variety of animals that have to be considered when designing and developing a large scale infrastructure project.

“Can you come back next week and tell us about more jobs on the A9?”

Alvie Primary School pupil

  1. Meeting the Professionals (Professional Led)

As part of a ‘real life’ learning opportunity pupils work with professionals from three diverse disciplines currently working on the A9 Dualling project.  Through a series of practical tasks pupils will develop an understanding of the purpose and role that Ecologists, Geologists and Engineers play on a project of this magnitude.  Pupils will gain an insight into the inter-disciplinary approach of the project, where professionals from different backgrounds work collaboratively to make decisions.

“Wow I am impressed with the organisation of the event!  Thank you again for yesterday the children had a great day.”

Emma MacCallum Depute Head at Aviemore Primary

  1. Post – Visit Lesson Plans (Teacher Led)

In this series of 8 lessons pupils build upon their newly acquired information about the A9 Dualling project, looking in more depth at the three disciplines and how their work contributes to the project. While each lesson is developed to follow an interdisciplinary approach the many interactive team activities have been designed to enhance pupil engagement throughout. Furthermore, to fully support teaching and learning, each lesson has been carefully planned to support delivery by the non-specialist. As such, a wide array of resources have been listed, as well as step-by-step instructions for successful delivery of the component parts of each lesson.

“Thank you for a super afternoon, it is so good to have visitors come into the school and talk to the children.”

Jane Manson Strathdearn Primary.

N.B. The above description reflects the engagement for primary schools on the A9 corridor between Perth and Inverness.  For primary schools outside the corridor Part 1 will be replaced with a short video providing an overall insight into the project and Part 2 will be delivered by STEM Ambassadors.

Apprenticeship Academy

The Apprentice Academy is a fantastic opportunity for small groups of S2 pupils to undertake challenges, activities and mentoring from specific STEM industry professionals working on the A9 project. The event is held annually as a collaborative venture between Pitlochry High school and Bredalbane Academy and also Grantown Grammar and Kingussie High School, with the venue alternating between the two each year. S2 pupils are divided into groups of 8-10 in which they then complete challenges, and are assigned two industry professionals to act as ‘Senior Mentors’ during the event; providing excellent professional insight and valuable networking opportunities. Two S6 pupils also act as ‘Junior Mentors’ at the event; offering both support to the Senior Mentors, and a chance to enhance their own CV and experience prior to leaving school.

A thread of mindfulness and resilience runs through the event, and young people experience presentations and activities designed to enhance their awareness of their own mental attitudes and how these can affect their careers and wider lives. They are provided with resources and strategies to help make them aware of situations that cause them stress and help develop their ability to cope. Throughout the event the young people are encouraged to reflect on their learning and experiences and take full advantage of the opportunities provided.

Activities begin with a quiz and before the young people take part in initial, short challenges which are primarily active; for example working as a team to travel on a mat from one side of the hall to the other without touching the floor. Over the next couple of days this is followed by an initial carousel of hour-long challenges led by senior mentors about various aspects involved in a large-scale infrastructure project including risk mitigation and environmental planning; before culminating in a ‘Mega Challenge’ where pupils are asked to design a bridge to cross a specified landscape, reflecting upon and building on their prior learning.

‘Building a road isn’t just about a road it’s about everything!’ S2 Pupil

The teams are mixed ability, gender and school so that the young people have the opportunity to work with a varied team. Similarly a ‘Speed Networking’ session allows the young people to mix with all the professionals from the event, hear their career journey so far, gain insight into how they overcame adversity and create professional connections to help progress their own career. Speakers from local colleges add to the resources on offer by directing the young people towards a multitude of potential pathways into the industry.

The knowledge exchange between young people, education professional and industry professionals is what makes this event a fantastic showcase for the opportunities Academy9 creates; to the benefit of everyone involved!

Next Steps Workshop

Academy9 Next Steps Workshop was piloted at Breadalbane Academy in November 2017 at the request of the school, to help them meet Education Scotland’s Career Education Standard, in relation to preparing Senior 5 pupils for the workplace.

The workshop focuses on the job application process, preparation leading up to an interview, interview techniques and developing employability skills.  The event is facilitated by industry professionals who represented a variety of disciplines currently working on the A9 Dualling Programme.

The event includes activities such as:

  • Interview skills (including mock interviews)
  • Speed Networking with young industry professionals and local businesses
  • A case study and activity identifying key skills in a project team
  • Pathways presentation from local universities

Pupils are provided with Delegate Packs that included tips for CV writing, email etiquette, interview questions and techniques and social media advice.

Select the links below to get the delegate pack documents: