Calum Murray and Jordan Scott (both S5) have won through to the regional finals of the English Speaking Union (ESU) senior Mace debating competition. The team defeated Nairn Academy, Robert Gordon’s College and Banchory Academy to secure a place in the finals, held at Fettes College in Edinburgh on Saturday March 23rd. The boys argued brilliantly on the motion, “This House would introduce a salary cap in the UK.” They will now compete against St Margaret’s School for Girls, Dollar Academy and Glenalmond College, when they oppose the motion that “This House would abolish jury trials.” If they are successful, they will proceed on the same day to the national final. Congratulations to both of them and we wish them the very best of luck in the finals.
A group of 23 French pupils from the Collège Éric Tabarly in our twin town of La Baule are preparing to travel to the Highland Capital in May when they will stay with our S2 pupils and experience family life as we know it here. We hope to give them a really good experience of Highland hospitality as well as a taste of our landscape and heritage. The pupils have been exchanging letters and e-mails and getting to know each other a little in advance, and plans are advancing to deliver a full week’s activities and hopefully lots of interaction and enjoyment for all.
We are hoping for good weather for a barbecue at Dores beach, and will also be holding a ceilidh on Thursday 29th May to which pupils and parents are warmly invited. The school are also bringing their own music, in the form of a folk group, War Roak, who will perform some traditional Breton music. It promises to be very lively.
In turn, we will travel to France in September to visit the school and the region. La Baule is a lovely mid-sized town with a beautiful sandy beach which stretches out for ever. We aim to provide a memorable experience and forge some friendships along the way.
It is hoped that a successful visit this year will lay the foundations for a repeat next year and beyond. There may be scope to take more S2 pupils to France in September and any parents or pupils requiring further information should contact the school.
By the middle of 2016 Inverness Royal Academy will be housed in a modern, well appointed four storey building on the current blaes sports area with all weatherpitches and upgraded sports facilities also in the offing.
Provisional details of our new 1420 pupil school were unveiled by the project team to meetings of staff and of stakeholders, including Parent Council representatives and Councillors, last Tuesday (19th March).
The total cost of the contract is £34 million, of which around £31.5 million will be allocated to the building itself, with the cash provided in roughly equal measure by Highland Council and the Scottish Government.
But although there is a firm commitment to have the new building operational in just over three years’ time, its planners are emphasising that there can still be a lot of flexibility in terms of what it contains and how that is arranged.
One early strategic decision was the choice of the blaes area between the current building and Culduthel Woods as the focus of the new campus which will have the key internal feature of twin atrium spaces as the centrepiece of vastly improved social areas.
“One advantage of a build on this side is to open up a southern aspect,” explained Brian Thomson, Managing Director of jmarchitects who are designing the building in collaboration with Highland Council. “This also means that playground space will all be on the south side
of the building. We are considering separate entrances on the south side for pupils, visitors and for the sports area. Social space is a critical one and this will include two atrium spaces lit from above.”
These naturally lit spaces will also offer access to much of the building but care has been taken to have outward facing windows for classrooms, many of which will be built around these areas. The top floor which, as at present, will include Science and Art accommodation, has been planned to include a spacious external terrace while a 300 seater performance venue is included in the plan as well.