1. Is it hard to find your way around?
The Academy is a bit bigger than the primary schools you will have come from, but you’ll be shown to all your classes by a sixth year buddy (see “What’s a buddy ?”) in you first week. You’ll be surprised how quickly you learn your way around – after a few weeks it’ll be second nature to you. During the day you will be moving around as a class, so just stick together if you’re unsure of where to go. If the worst happens and you do get lost, don’t panic! Just ask any member of staff to direct you.
There is also the “one way” system which was introduced in 2006 to ease movement around the school. Don’t worry, it is very clearly signposted. The bottom corridor is one way, from the back concourse to the front, whilst the middle corridor is one way from the Geography department to the library. The top corridor remains two way, as does the Home Economics corridor.
The front stairwell is up only, the back stairwell is down only, but the middle stairwell is two way, but students are reminded to keep to the left.
The general policy of the school is to encourage you to take a pride in your appearance, and to look smart when coming to school. A working group involving staff and pupils was set up in session 2002/03 to review the dress code. Pupils and parents were surveyed and as a result a change in uniform was introduced at the start of session 2003 / 04. This allows pupils a wider range of items to choose from in terms of style and colour. It is expected that you will be happy to wear the uniform that pupils have been involved in designing.
The basic school uniform is:
- White, grey or blue shirt / blouse with Inverness Royal Academy tie.
- Sweatshirt in navy with the school crest on the sleeve.
- Hooded top with school crest in navy.
- Zip top in navy.
- T shirt (girls’ fitted) with school crest in navy / white.
- T shirt (loose fitting) with school crest in navy / white.
- Black or grey trousers or skirt.
- Blazers for S5 and S6.
- Kit for P.E.
- Indoor Kit
- A change of trainers (clean, non marking soles)
- T-shirt (not the one you are wearing for the rest of the school day)
- Change of socks
- Outdoor Kit
- A change of trainers or football boots
- Tracksuit bottoms
- T-shirt (not the one you are wearing for the rest of the school day)
- Change of socks
If you are representing the school in any inter-school events or public occasions you should dress appropriately, as advised by staff.
There are five basic classroom rules:
- Arrive on time with your books, pen or pencil and other equipment.
- When the teacher gives instructions stop, listen, then follow the instructions. Do not argue.
- Do the work set by the teacher to the best of your ability.
- Treat staff, other pupils and their property with respect – don’t distract of annoy others. If you want to speak, put your hand up.
- Do nothing that could endanger the health and safety of yourself or others.
Some classrooms (eg. science rooms) have additional rules for reasons of safety.
Outwith the classroom you are expected to behave in a responsible and considerate manner. This includes being polite in the corridors, staying out of areas marked out of bounds and adhering to the one way system. You must not damage any school property in any way.
If you break a rule in the classroom (see “What are the rules?”), your name will be put on the board. A second incident will result in your name being ticked. A third offence will mean that you are sent to another classroom to work. Very few people are sent out in this way. We expect you to behave responsibly and maturely, so that everyone in the class can learn to the best of their ability.
If you fail to complete homework without a valid reason a letter can be sent to your parents and you can be given a punishment exercise.
For more serious or persistent breaches of discipline, a pupil can be put on detention. Repeated bad behaviour could result in a pupil being given a behaviour timetable. This has to be signed by all the pupil’s teachers every day, to allow the parents of the child and the school to keep a close watch on him/her.
Finally, for very serious offences a pupil may be suspended or excluded.
During detention you will be given extra schoolwork or a task which involves service to the school. Lunchtime detention is from 1:00 – 1:25pm and afternoon detention is from 3:30 – 4:10pm. You will be given 24 hours written notice of a detention. This will be in the form of a slip that your parents must sign. If you travel on a “country” bus you will be given lunchtime detentions only.
Inverness Royal Academy takes a very strong line on bullying. We see it as totally unacceptable, and have a strict policy to deal with it. As a result, the Academy has a very good anti-bullying record.
In the unlikely event that you do get bullied, you should tell someone immediately. All the staff know what to do; they will treat your claims in confidence and notify your Guidance Teacher and the Senior Management team. It is very important to tell someone straight away to prevent the problem from getting worse.
The Academy has about 900 pupils. There will be about 180 in S1, making up six classes.
The work in first year carries on fairly naturally from what you’ve been doing in P7. There is no big jump in difficulty and the courses gradually become more advanced, building on what you have already learned. Many subjects allow you to find a pace you are happy with. If you’re having difficulties you should talk to your teacher.
Homework in the Academy is quite different from primary school. All of your subjects will give you separate homework, and it won’t always be for the next day. To help you remember everything and organise your work you will be given a homework diary to make notes of the work you have to do. Make sure you use it. You should get about half an hour’s work on average each night.
Some subjects, like French, expect you to learn vocabulary very regularly. Other subjects will set bigger tasks to do maybe once or twice a term.
If you fail to complete homework you could get a letter sent home and be given a punishment exercise to do. If you try to do homework but find that you unable to do the task, ask your parent to sign the work. Your teacher will explain it to you the next day.
The Library is open for you to use every day at 3:30pm.
Here is the daily timetable.
Registration 8:40 – 8:55 15 minutes
Period One 8:55 – 9:50 55 minutes
Period Two 9:50 – 10:45 55 minutes
Interval 10:45 – 11:00 15 minutes
Period Three 11:00 – 11:55 55 minutes
Period Four 11:55 – 12:45 50 minutes
Lunch 12:45 – 13:45 One hour
Period Five 13:45 – 14:40 55 minutes
Period Six 14:40 – 15:30 50 minutes
You will be in three different classes in S1 and S2: your house group (or registration class), your teaching group and your practical group. After second year your classes will depend on the subjects you choose.
There are ten house groups: G1, G2, L1, L2, N1, N2, S1, S2, W1 and W2, which you will stay in the whole time you are in school. This is the class you go to registration in, and there is one guidance teacher for each house group (see “What do guidance teachers do?”). A number before the house group shows the year you are in, eg. 1G1, 2G1, 3G1 and so on.
Your teaching group is the class you attend subjects like English and History in. It will have around 30 pupils. Teaching groups are called 1M1, 1M3, 1M3, 1R1, 1R2 and 1R3, the 1 at the start showing that you are in first year.
Practical groups are classes for subjects like Art and Science. These have around 20 pupils. Many of the people in your practical group will also be in your teaching group. Practical groups are called 1A, 1B, and so on.
Therefore, if you are in teaching group 1M1, you will have about 30 people in your class. 20 of them will be in practical group 1A, and 10 will be in practical group 1AB along with 10 pupils from teaching group 1M2.
Don’t worry, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.
The school canteen is open before school, at break and at lunchtime. You can choose from a good variety of cheap hot meals at lunchtime, and there is also a snack bar and a health bar.
You will be given a “Smart Card” which you can pay money into and then use to buy food. This makes service quicker and means you don’t have to carry cash around. You can also collect points for buying healthy food, which can be exchanged for discounts for leisure facilities.
You can, of course bring a packed lunch or go home for lunch.
You will be allocated a guidance teacher according to your house group who will stay with you as long as you are at the school. Your guidance teacher will watch your progress, give advice about schoolwork, subject choices and future careers and can help you with personal difficulties or problems. Your parents can also contact your guidance teacher if they have any questions about your progress or the school. You can talk to your guidance teacher at any time.
If you cycle to school, there is a cycle compound for you to leave your bike in. This is locked during the school day (except at lunchtime), but you should still lock your bike inside the compound.
If you arrive after 8:45am but before 8:55am (ie. during registration) you will be marked down late. If you arrive later than this you must go to reception and sign in. If you arrive later than 9:35am (the end of period 1) you will be asked for a note to explain. If you are late back to your period 5 class after lunch you will be recorded as late for the afrenoon.
If you have a valid reason for being late (eg. a dentist’s appointment) it will not be counted as a “late”. If you get four lates in one term you will automatically be given a detention. For each time you are late again that term you will get another detention.
In line with the rest of Scotland, in first year you get a MMR (Measles, Mumps and Ruebella) injection and you are given a heef test. This is a test where you get six small needles put into your arm to test for immunity to tuberculosis. This in itself isn’t too bad. After a week they take a look at it and decide if you need a BCG injection (most people do). It’s quite painful, but it can’t be avoided. Sorry, but you’ll just have to put up with it.
If you feel ill during the school day you should ask to be excused from your class, then go to see the admin assistant (first floor, beside the guidance offices). She will take you to the rest room and contact your parents to arrange for you to be taken home.
When you come to the Academy, you will be assigned two or three “buddies”. Buddies are Sixth Year pupils who support you in your first year. Buddies have various tasks. In the first week they will show you around the school and take you to your classes, so you don’t get lost! They will also sit in with you at registration where you can talk to them, and you may see them around the school.
If you have any questions or problems about school you can ask your one of your buddies. They are there to help you; to make your joining the Academy easy and less stressful.
At the start of your first day you should report to the Theatre. This will be clearly signposted from Reception. There you will be put into your house groups and taken by your house group teacher to your registration room. Here you will be given out your timetable. Sixth year students will then guide you to your first class.
If you don’t attend school for any reason you must give a note of explanation from your parents to your house group teacher as soon as possible. If you know you will be absent you should try to hand in a note in advance. If you are to be absent for a long time your parents should telephone for work to be sent to your home. If you need to leave school for part of the day (eg. for a medical appointment) you should notify your house group teacher in advance, who will clear it for you to leave.