Fantastic fast fundraising for famine-struck nations


On the 29th March over 50 pupils and over 20 staff took part in a sponsored fast to raise awareness (and money) for the Disaster Emergency Committee Appeals for the food crises in East Africa and in Yemen.
The response was overwhelming with a total of £2426.50 being raised. The school has split the money down the middle with each appeal receiving £1213.25.
The experience brought the pupils closer together and gave us all a little insight into the horror that millions of people are experiencing. The numbers of pupils taking part and the money raised was heartening and humbling in equal measure. The generosity from the community has been truly astonishing! Thank you!

Maths Champs!


Congratulations to the fantastic team of Peter Bradshaw, Beth McFadzean, Sean Fulton  and  Harry McGill who won the North Ayrshire Enterprising Mathematics Competition.  They were accompanied to the competition in St Matthews Academy by Mrs Lunday.  The team are looking forward to travelling to Glasgow in the Autumn to participate in the National Competition.

Feel the Noize at our Summer Show!

Do you wanna rock? Good news ladies and gentlemen – Largs Academy is bringing you the chance! The Final Countdown is on; time is ticking away towards the coolest show to ever hit Largs: Rock of Ages: High School edition at Barrfields Theatre.

Prepare to be transported back to the 80s – you know, that decade? But don’t be looking out your neons just yet! The cast are preparing to engage you in some serious cool – leather jackets and ripped jeans are in, big hair is a must. Written by Chris D’Arienzo, the jukebox musical crosses some of the hottest rock tunes of the 80s with a story of love, dreams and – of course – the potential for it all to be shattered.

The school have focused on emotionally-charged shows recently, selling out their runs of Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and West Side Story. This year, though, it was time for a change. “We needed something a little more light-hearted this year,” explains producer Emma Newton. “Our successes have been great but we want to show the diversity that our talented pupils can achieve.”

This year’s cast are also a very different line-up, following the exodus of 20 pupils last year. The cast is headed by S6 pupil, and school show debutant Finlay Morrow, who has taken on the role of iconic narrator and Sound God Lonny Barnett. “I’ve never been in the school show before. I heard about Rock of Ages and immediately knew I wanted to be in it. The show is fun, different and – of course – rocktastic!”

Finlay is joined by show veteran Genna Allan as romantic heroine Sherrie Christian. Genna has been in every Largs Academy Barrfields show, providing a strong addition to the ensembles of Les Mis and Phantom, before taking on the role of Consuela in West Side Story. Genna has also performed at Largs Live, as part of band “Rome’s Ruins” and is no stranger to performance as she sits her Advanced Highers in Drama and Music this May. Genna feels a resonance with her character and told us “Sherrie is ambitious and willing to sacrifice a lot in order to pursue her dreams. I respect that about her.”

Fellow cast member – Ross Maiden, S5 – who is taking on his first principal role as Drew Boley, romantic hero and rock star wannabe – shared his thoughts on the show’s music. “I already enjoyed listening to 80s rock music before we started rehearsing, and it is a great opportunity to get to perform the work of Bryan Adams and Whitesnake.”

And if that doesn’t whet your appetite, maybe it’s about time you were introduced to Stacee Jaxx, rock legend. This mammoth character is taken on by S5 pupil Finlay Quinn, who had is principal debut as Snowboy in West Side Story. Bringing Stacee to life is a challenge that the young actor has risen to as he brings depth and shade to the character. “Playing Stacee has given me the opportunity to have a bit of fun, but also to learn a lot about acting as Stacee is a complex character, who is both vulnerable and a little dark.”

The show will also star some other familiar faces: S4 pupil Addison Mann, perhaps better known to you as Lt Schrank in West Side Story, takes on role of Lonny’s best friend and mentor, Bourbon Rooms owner Dennis Dupree. Aiden Phillips who played Reyer in Phantom and Baby John in West Side will portray comic character Franz. Leading ladies include Star Penders, S5 as Hilda, nemesis of the strip and S3 pupils Sophie Cotton and Rhionna Inwood as Justice and Anita respectively.

We caught up with Musical Director Craig Smith, for whom Rock of Ages will be his 19th Largs Academy show. “We’ve been lucky to be graced with some lovely rock voices in the senior school this year. Our S3-S6 pupils have really embraced the return to the 80s and – as every year – have risen to the challenge. The show always provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary work and staff from across the school have been working hard on this, along with the professionals we bring in to give pupils the professional experience to match their talents and hard work.”

It is clear that Rock of Ages is a not to be missed. We are reliably informed that tickets are now on sale, and available from

Full Marks for Harry!


Every year, the pupils of Largs Academy take part in Maths challenge. The Intermediate UKMT Mathematical Challenge is a UK wide problem solving competition, involving around 250 000 pupils in S3 and S4 from over 4000 schools across the UK. The Challenge consist of 25 progressively difficult mathematical problems which stretch the pupils beyond the demands of the normal curriculum – really making them think!

Harry achieved full marks – 135 out of 135. This is a remarkable achievement.

Harry’s maths teacher, Mr Stevenson, told us about the magnitude of the event: “To put it into context, a Gold certificate, an achievement in itself, is awarded for a score of 78 and above. This Challenge is sat by the more able pupils in each school and only 6% of these achieved a Gold certificate. Only 80 pupils out of the 250 000 pupils attempting the Challenge achieved full marks. This puts Harry in an elite group of very talented mathematicians.”

Harry has now been invited to take part in the Mathematical Olympiad Hamilton competition. Look out for news of how he gets on!

Massive well done, Harry!



It’s been a busy time at Largs Academy recently, and this week’s ClassChat really resonates the school values of Community, Ambition and Achievement. Our pupils and staff have been working hard, and this week’s edition brings news from the Science, Maths and Expressive Arts Faculties.

Firstly, an upcoming event, hosted by our Faculty of Science, that might be of interest to our readers… To celebrate British Science Week 2017, Largs Academy are hosting a café science evening on the subject ‘cancer changes everything’ when two CRUK scientists will answer science questions on the subject.

The event takes place on Thursday 16th March at 7pm in the school library and  the school’s barista group ‘The Bean Stalk’ have been engaged on their first commercial venture to provide tea and coffee and cake gratis to those attending.

Local cancer help groups will also be on hand and there will be a display on Higher science pupil research into the effectiveness of sunscreens.

If you wish to submit a science question for the CRUk scientists please e-mail

Over in Maths, the start of 2017 has been steeped in pupil achievement, as our pupils have entered – and performed commendably – in National competitions. The school entered the National Sumdog Maths competition recently and the results were as follows:

S1 finished 299th out of 865 schools and S2’s finished 258th out of 865 schools. A special mention should go to Karys Allan (S1) who managed to get into the top 50. Karys finished 36th overall (out of 20284 students who took part) with a score of 970 (out of a possible 1000). Well done Karys – what an achievement!

The achievements of our ambitious pupils have also extended to expressive arts. Over the past 6 months three S2 girls, Daisy Wilson, Fern McIntyre and Emily Bell, have given up a lot of their own spare time during lunch and after school to create a dress purely made out of recyclable materials for the competition Junk Kouture. This competition is based in Glasgow and had over 350 entries from all different students in Scotland ranging from s1-s6.

The girls worked extremely hard over the 6 months and got listed down to the final 80, where they had to perform in front of four judges at the SECC in Glasgow. The judges they had to impress were Louis Walsh, Una Healy, Rhys Ellis and Katie Brill. Students spoke about their work to the judges backstage and then Emily Bell took to the catwalk for a minute to perform. Among the finalists were amazing designs and the girls were completely overwhelmed by the whole experience.

Daisy and Fern stated: ‘It was an amazing experience and have already started thinking of our next design for next year’s competition’. Emily also enjoyed the valuable experience: ‘I had a great time and would love to do it again next year’.

Finally, it’s only a couple of weeks now until our primary transition concert, ensemble showcase and junior show – Something Nuts – which will take place in the Assembly Hall on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th March.

Rehearsals have been underway for quite some time and as the finishing touches are put to the performances, the school extends our invitation to the local community to attend.

The Thursday performance – which will take place in the afternoon – is reserved for primary 7 parents only, and will feature all primary 7 pupils from Brisbane, Cumbrae, Fairlie, Kelburn and Skelmorlie primaries. This event will be free of charge, and will be followed by a special advance performance of “Something Nuts” for the P7 pupils. Primary colleagues will notify parents of the arrangements.

The transition concert has been arranged by Miss Lawson, in the music department, who has been working with the primary sevens since the start of the year. Each primary seven class will have the opportunity to perform.

On Friday 23rd March, the show and ensemble performances will take place at 7.30pm in Largs Academy Assembly Hall. Tickets are £5 and available from any performer or by contacting Miss McCarron at Largs Academy.

The junior show is an entirely original piece, written and composed by Mr Smith in order to demonstrate the talents of our S1 and S2 pupils. It will be lots of fun and a little bit crazy – it is, after all, Something Nuts!

The night will also feature the talents of the various bands and ensembles in the school. We look forward to welcoming you along!

Whole School Careers Evening – Thursday 16th February

Last week our S3 pupils worked with a range of businesses and organisations on starting to prepare themselves for the world of work. The event ran in a speed networking format with pupils meeting briefly with a range of employers. They also took part in entrepreneurial workshops working with the Prince’s Trust and corporate volunteers from RBS.

Following this successful event, Largs Academy will be hosting a Careers Evening from 6.30pm – 8pm on Thursday 16th February. This event is open to all pupils, parents and carers who will have the opportunity to drop in and meet with employers, universities and colleges. It is hoped all our pupils will start making plans for their future and have the chance to tap the expertise of our partner organisations in order to help them make information choices about their career pathway.

We look forward to seeing the local community at this event, please contact Mr Colville if you have any questions. Up to date information will be posted on our Twitter feed, @largsacademy.

January 2017


Google Expeditions – from London to France to Rio to the Amazon Rainforest. All in a day.



French Visit to Strathclyde University

Happy (slightly belated) New Year to all our readers! It’s all very exciting over here in the classchat office right now. It’s the news you’ve been waiting for – the news of the century! Yes, Classchat can exclusively reveal the principal cast for this year’s West-End worthy production of “Rock of Ages”! The show has it all: awesome music, a girl-meet-boy love story and – of course – a down-right nasty villain who is hell-bent on destroying the rock scene on Sunset Strip.

It’s the mid-80s when Kansas actress-wanabee Sherrie (Genna Allan, S6) seeks out her fortune in LA, meeting Drew (Ross Maiden, S5) a barman looking for his lucky break as Rockstar alter-ego Wolfgang Von Colt. Sherrie is soon starstruck when hot singer Stacee Jaxx (Finlay Quinn, S5) comes to perform at the strip. The show is narrated by Lonny (Finlay Morrow, S6), who puts the flamboyant in glam-rock and is best friend to bourbon room owner Dennis Dupree (Addison Mann, S4). The strip is also inhabited by the Venus a-go-go dance club owned by motherly Justice (Sophie Cotton, S3). Add in a baddie – Hilda (Star Penders, S5) – whose evil plan is to replace the  clubs with a Footlocker, and her son Franz (Aidan Phillips, S5), whose real passion lies in German candy; layer on a passionate activist – Anita (Rhionna Inwood, S3) – and a bumbling mayor (Michael Smith,S5) and you’ve got one exciting and just slightly crazy night of entertainment!

Tickets for Rock of Ages: High School Edition will be on sale very soon. Meanwhile, please save the date – Sunday 18th June until Wednesday 21st June. Get ready to don your best 80s rock garb and come along to the hottest rock show to hit Largs this year.

I know what you’re thinking – June is so far away! Fear not! The music department have also been working hard with our junior pupils to bring you the school’s first ever junior show – Something Nuts! – on 23rd and 24th March.  More about that in next week’s classchat.

Over in the science faculty, there was recently a visit from Google, showcasing the new Expeditions technology. This new innovation allows learners to be instantly transported to field trips without leaving the class room, and during the taster day, pupils were given the opportunity to see the principal sites of scientific and historical importance. Our classchat correspondent popped in to see what the fuss was about. It was certainly a unique experience being able to walk through the amazon and visit the slums of Rio through an app which allows the teacher to guide the virtual tour. (See the pictures!)

And finally… here’s Ellyn Barclay (S4) with new of a recent modern languages trip. On Friday 13th January, some French students accompanied Faculty Leader Miss Gall to a Business Brunch at Strathclyde University.  Attending this event allowed the students to see how languages can be used throughout the workplace.  There was a huge variety of companies taking part from ‘Sheppard and Whedderburn’, a Law Firm, to Strathclyde University itself.  It gave the students a great insight into how languages can be used in life after school.

Students attended a market place to discuss opportunities for languages in the workplace and completed questionnaires.  Students got a taster session in Russian by staff at the University.  The group went to their second workshop with Mark Pentleton, Director of Radiolingua. The Radio Lingua Network is a Scottish company headquartered in South Ayrshire that provides language-learning materials through podcasts, YouTube videos, the iBookstore and other Internet-based media.  Mark spoke to students about the opportunities offered by continuing to study languages. Having spent all of his professional life working with languages, Mark shared his experiences with students and talked about the opportunities he has had through speaking various languages to a greater or less extent. A key message of the day was that “a little language goes a long way”, but the best experiences come from not worrying about making mistakes and enjoying communicating in other languages.

The day finished on a high note, with a plenary from Mark Pentleton, who got all the students speaking in Chinese.  At the end of the event, the students had to answer : “Are you intending to continue language learning after the academic year?” and a strong majority said Yes.   This was an enjoyable and highly informative opportunity to speak to successful people who can partially or entirely attribute their success to use of language. The Business Brunch certainly makes it clear to learners that languages are an essential skill and are highly regarded by employers.

Monday 19th December

Winning YPI Finalists with Mrs Burns and their cheque for Teen Challenge

It’s officially the last ClassChat of the year, but we won’t disappoint! This is a bumper edition, with news about the Largs Academy pupils who have donated thousands of pounds to a local charity, the football trip to Manchester, the fabulously festive Christmas Concert and poems by two of our young writers, Aoife Hogan and Isabelle Winnington.

First up, S6 Pupils at Largs Academy held their Youth and Philanthropy Initiative final recently where £3,000 was granted to local charity Teen Challenge.

The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) is a programme currently delivered in 143 secondary schools in Scotland by the Wood Foundation. Each school selects a year group to deliver the programme (between S2-S6) which is then split into teams. Each team then researches a local social service issue they feel passionate about and identify an appropriate local grassroots charity. They then work together to create presentations and go through stages before the finalists present in front of a panel of judges, where the group with the most discerning and impassioned argument wins £3000 for their chosen charity.

At this year’s final 3 teams battled it out representing Teen Challenge, Talk Now and Rhett Foundation. On the judging panel there was Mrs Burns (Head Teacher), Paul Aitken (Careers Adviser), Tony McCafferty (Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce) and Clare Bethell (North Ayrshire Wider Achievement Coordinator). The winning team of Sophie Belshaw, Katja Creith , Emily Eadie and George McAlpine and Heather Smith impressed the judges with their presentation for Teen Challenge and the grass roots connection the charity provides to the Largs community.

Teen Challenge’s work is undertaken through The Haven in Kilmacolm. The charity supports people struggling with addiction and gives access to a rehabilitation programme for addicts. The Teen Challenge bus has made many visits to Largs and made a positive impact in the lives of many local residents.

Andy Cameron from Teen Challenge said he was “humbled and thrilled to bits” that the pupils had won so much money for their cause. The money will “make such a difference and will allow them to reach so many more people”.

Class Chat would like to congratulate all the participants who put massive efforts into securing this! Well done!

Meanwhile, forty-five of our S1-S6 boys enjoyed a thrilling and fast paced weekend away on the annual football trip. After a training session with the Burnley coaches, the boys went to Turf Moor to watch Burnley play Bournemouth. The game was end to end, packed with goals and finished 3 – 2. Burnley gained a few fans too as our S5 boys made some noise and gave a high spirited rendition of a Burnley supporters’ song on the way home.

After a spot of ten pin bowling, a few gutter balls and a smattering of strikes, we called it a night. Well rested and fed, we toured the Etihad stadium the next day before enjoying our second football match of the trip: Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur. Ryan Scott snapped some excellent photographs and all boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Since returning home, chants of, “Burnley football club, stand aside we’ll never give up, get down the turf, support the boys, make sure that you make some noise,” can still be heard in the minds of all those involved as the makeshift choir, led by football trip loyal Alex Buchan, etched the lyrics into our memories with their relentless and enthusiastic ‘singing.’ Well done to Miss Griffiths for organising another fantastic trip and to all the boys who were a credit to their school and families.

Back home, it was the turn of the Music Department to showcase the amazing talents of pupils as they entertained a 300-strong audience at the annual Christmas Concert. The night was certainly one to raise the Christmas spirits, with delightful performances from the Concert Band, various ensembles and choirs. The night also saw the audience receive a tast of what’s to come with the school’s upcoming show Rock of Ages, as the cast performed Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”.

And finally, our clubs spotlight this week has to fall firmly on Miss Tracey’s creative writers, who meet every Thursday lunchtime. The group have focused on poetry this term – here are some of the thought-provoking and skilful pieces they’ve produced:

A Way to Kill You by Aoife Hogan S2

I’m watching you always.

My cruel beady eye

will follow you daily

on low or up high.

I sit on my perch

seeing all that you do.

Forever, I’m plotting

a way to kill you.

You think that I’m charming,

are fooled by my grin

the “elf on the shelf”

rosy cheeks, dimpled chin.

But oh, my dear children

you’re in for a shock,

just wait for the day that

all things run amok!

When vampires and devils

Crawl out of their graves

all Hell will be opened

no one will be saved!

But, here still I sit

with little to do

but quietly plot

a way to kill you.

Picture Boy by Isabelle Winnington S2

I knew a boy who loved

to draw, he drew pictures

that nobody saw.

His drawing thrived most

at night, in the bathroom,

out of sight.

He kept a secret that no

one knew, he told no soul

and his gallery grew.

His drawings were different

no paper nor pen, he

needed a bandage now and again.

We stood by the river

under the stars, he

rolled up his sleeves and

showed me his scars

Monday 5th December

This week Classchat brings you news from science , the charitable works of the maths department, our progress towards the Rights’ Respecting School Award, Supported Study, and details about next week’s Christmas concert.

First up, a group of senior pupils travelled to Crosshouse Hospital for an NHS Careers Day with Mr Usher from the Physics department. Once there, they rotated round various rooms and had some hands on demonstrations and discussions with various departments including: Dentistry, Drug and alcohol misuse, Occupational health, Accident and Emergency, Dieticians, Endoscopy, Prosthetics, Pathology and Pharmacy.

At the end of the day, some junior doctors spoke about their career paths and the qualifications required for entry. They also spoke of the rewarding nature of their chosen career and encouraged pupils to ask questions at the end.

Well done to those involved as we won the Quiz at the end of the day and added a small trophy to our cabinet. Also, thank you to Mr Colville for organising all the appropriate paperwork and transport.

Also in Science, a group of ten S3 girls attended a STEM day at the Greenwood teachers centre accompanied by Mr Usher from the Physics department. Once there, we were welcomed by Mr Butcher and then heard a talk from Sophie Gribben from Ardrossan Academy who had chosen all the STEM-type subjects at school and had been on an all-expenses paid trip to NASA with other like-minded pupils. She spoke of the challenges and enjoyment in taking part at NASA and at other events and encouraged the girls to do the same by applying to the appropriate agencies.

We then teamed up with other schools and took part in workshops with representatives from various industries who are trying to improve the gender balance of their workforce.

Thank you to Mrs Scott for booking our places and organising transport.

There was the opportunity for 24 Cumbrae pupils to be involved in the Council consultation on flood defences in Millport Library. The pupils attended a seminar, where the different options were presented to them, and then were asked to complete a questionnaire sharing their views about the proposals. In addition to learning about projected rising seas and the changing climate, the pupils involved also had the opportunity to have an input on a local project which will have an impact on their community for the coming century. Well done to the group, who raised excellent questions and well-thought-out responses.

Over in maths, your help is needed! Maths teacher Mrs Lunday is collecting used stamps for charity. But the question is… for whom! I you have a suggestion for a worthwhile cause, please get in touch. We’d love to go local!

A group of 10 pupils and five teachers have been spearheading the school’s efforts to achieve our Rights’ Respecting Schools Award. The group’s latest work has been to develop a lesson for S1 PSE classes in tandem with Human Rights Day. The pupils will be visiting all S1 classes next week to raise awareness about the universal rights of the child, and hopefully encourage young people to discuss rights.

S4 pupil Michael Donnachie – and one of our RRSA Ambassadors –  shared his thoughts about this important award:  “I think it is important for young people to learn about their rights because it highlights what we as children deserve so that we can grow up to be the people that we want to. Learning about rights also helps us identify where the rights of others  are not being respected.”

The pupils are looking forward to sharing these important issues with the S1 cohort – look out next week for pictures!

As the march towards the prelims begins, the school’s programme of supported study for National 5 and Higher pupils has started in earnest this week, with departments across the school offering sessions to support senior phase pupils prepare. All pupils should have received information about the sessions, and can get further information from their teachers.

And finally, Wednesday 14th December is Largs Academy’s Christmas concert. The music department has been working hard to put together their annual of choirs, bands and groups to entertain parents and friends of the school. The audience will enjoy sets from Junior and Senior choirs, Acoustics, Samba, Windband, Swing Band and our brand new Acapella group who will be delighting the crowds.  Come along and support us at 7.30pm. Tickets available from the school or on the door. Looking forward to seeing you all there! Look out next week for out post-concert feature.

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