Harris Academy Newsletter Summer 2019

Dear Parent / Carer

A message from Mr Millar, Head Teacher

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all staff, pupils and parents for their support over the past session and to wish you all a thoroughly enjoyable summer break.

Earlier this week, we had a very enjoyable Prizegiving afternoon, watching over 300 young people receive prizes from academic achievement, citizenship, sporting accomplishments and from the wider community.

As a planned follow up to our positive Extended Review of the school, our Education Manager and Education Officer, along with other Council officers visited in both November and more recently, at the end of May.

The purpose of these visits was to check on progress in relation to our School Improvement Plan. The review team again commented on the warm welcome and positive feel of the school.

Key strengths noted included:

Clear progress in relation to our approaches to Learning and Teaching and Raising Attainment

Our school’s newly launched Aims and Values

Strong leadership within the SLT, staff body and young people

And that…

Support for all learners had improved significantly

Importantly, the staff and young people of the school were noticeably a key strength and I wish to thank everyone who was involved, either directly or indirectly during our reviews.

Our Aims and Values, - Respect, Equality and Enjoyment, have now been introduced. There are examples of our Values in action every day in our school and community.

This coming session, we will expand our Values to include a fourth one. After consultation with pupils, staff and Parent Council, Achievement will be added to our core values. This value strengthens the message we give through our Aims of Hope and Hard Work and ensure our whole school community knows that we are serious about positive outcomes for all our young people.

Secondly, we will continue to ensure our Values are ‘lived’ not ‘laminated’ in our daily practices and by highlighting and sharing examples of our Values in action.

There have been many successes that our young people have been involved in over the last session. If you have not had the opportunity to do so yet, please watch our Prizegiving video, which you can view below

Finally, I would like to wish every member of our school community a fantastic summer break and look forward to seeing you in the new session



There will be a course choice drop in following the SQA examination results.

Good, bad or indifferent we are very proud of all your hard work and effort.

If you have exceeded your expectations or underperformed you may wish to make changes to your course choice.

Drop in will run on Wednesday the 7th of August from 9am until 12pm

Guidance teachers and the Senior Leadership Team will be there to support you.

Thanks, Mrs MacDonald


The morning of Saturday 2nd February saw 24 pupils and 3 staff setting off, on a rather long journey, by coach and ferry, to the Italian Alps. By the Sunday morning, we had finally reached the Mont Blanc tunnel, crossed the border into Italy, and reached our destination of Pila, in the beautiful Aosta valley.

However, before we could unpack and rest at our hotel, we were whisked off to ski hire to be fitted with our equipment for the week ahead. This involved a rather complicated routine of boot fittings, locker assignments, skis, poles and helmets, which had to be carried out with military precision! Once everyone had been processed through ski hire, we were finally ready to be taken to a local restaurant for some lunch, and then to our hotel where we had the chance to unpack, unwind and take a shower before our evening meal and a much needed early night.

Our first day on the slopes involved a very early start, and again a very precise routine of checking everyone had what they needed for the day. A daily chant of “gloves, goggles, helmet, lunch token” became our anthem before leaving the hotel, and then “boots, skis, poles” when we got to ski hire. A 16 minute ride on the gondola followed, and then we were on the mountain and ready to meet our instructors. This was the routine that followed for the next 5 days, with 4 hours of instruction and a break for lunch in one of the lovely mountain restaurants every day. A number of our pupils had never skied before or had very limited experience, and it was fantastic to see the progress they all made throughout the week. From the first day of simply getting to grips with putting skis on and standing up, to the last day of perfect turns down the piste, everyone had achieved their goals of learning to ski or improving their existing skills. The snow conditions were fantastic, and we were lucky enough to enjoy some sunshine too, even if the temperatures were as low as -4 degrees some days!

We also enjoyed a whole range of après ski activities throughout the week, including a pizza night, disco, bowling, and shopping in Aosta. We had awards every evening for the star of the day, as well as “splat of the day” and a special award for anything funny that had happened too. Certificates were also given out to the pupils from their ski instructors at the end of the week to recognise their achievements on the slopes.

The Norden Palace Hotel provided wonderful accommodation for our group, and delicious food in a great location near the centre of Aosta. Our pupils had a fantastic week away, returning home tired but happy. Thanks for being such a great group, and thanks also to Mr Walker, Miss Gibson and Mrs Leppard for organising and running this trip. It has proven to be very popular again, so look out for news of the next trip which is planned to run in February 2021.


FP Burns Supper

The Harris Ceilidh Group and Arran Laing on pipes and whistle entertained at the FP Burns Supper in January.

Rotary Young Musician of the Year Regional Finalist

Ciar Milne performing on his Border Pipes was successful is getting through to the Regional Final of the Rotary Young Musician of the Year awards in Glasgow in March.

Dundee Schools Arts Festival

Over 100 young musician from Harris Academy took part in various workshops during the Dundee Schools Arts Festival in March. Our String group and folk group also performed in the Dundee west Showcase concert in the Caird Hall along with primary and secondary schools from the west of the city.

Be Charlotte Visit

We were lucky to have a visit from Dundee Musician Be Charlotte in March performing an acoustic set to all our S1 pupils.

Gold Leng Medal participants:

Sarah Mathieson and Taylor Smith who took part in the competition in April.

Spring Showcase 2019

Our spring showcase “A Celebration of Performing Arts” took place in the school Atrium on Wednesday 24th April featuring a wide array of music, dance and drama talent.

RCS Workshop

Pupils from Harris Academy were involved in a workshop with students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). This workshop took place in Blairgowrie High School and culminated in a performance with the RCS students and pupils from Harris, Baldragon and Blairgowrie. The morning featured sectional rehearsals followed by a Q&A session organised by Skills Development Scotland and students/tutors from the RCS.

The students from the RCS performed some of their ensemble pieces. The highlight of this section was a performance by Lawrence Gill, one of the tutors at the RCS, who played “The incredible disappearing clarinet”, where he took pieces off his clarinet and ended up with only the mouthpiece. Very entertaining!

Huge thanks to Blairgowrie HS for hosting us and Bev for driving us through in the minibus.

Instrumentalist & Vocalist of the year!

Arran Laing was awarded instrumentalist of the Year 2019. Well done to Ciar Milne, Cameron Clark and Rael Watt who took part along with 7 other musicians across the city.

Well done to Rosie Dignan who took part in the vocalist of the year competition. Lara from St John’s was awarded this year’s winner, but Rosie sang incredibly well.

Remembering Srebrenica Conference
The lesson from Srebrenica is that no society is invulnerable to prejudice and intolerance. We must all remain vigilant against these forces, and take positive action to build stronger, more resilient communities. Our vision is a society free from hatred.

On Tuesday the 18th of June, Advanced Higher RMPS, Modern Studies and History pupils from Harris Academy welcomed a small group of pupils from across Scotland to take part in the Remembering Srebenica pupil conference. In the 1990s a savage war tore apart the Former Yugoslavia. Europe's most recent act of genocide was a focal point of this tragic conflict, yet today relatively little is known about it. This conference was to raise an awareness of that genocide and the lessons that we can learn from it.

Guests included John Clark a forensic pathologist based in Glasgow. John was talking to our pupils with regards to how has used his expertise to assist various international organisations and individuals around the world, including an appointment as Chief Pathologist for the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Marsaili Fraser who was head of the political department in the office of the EU Special Representative in Bosnia, seconded by the UK government, and was a political advisor to Lord Paddy Ashdown when he was High Representative in Sarajevo. Marsaili talked to the pupils about why we need to understand genocides such as Srebrenica

Robin Macpherson, assistant Rector, History teacher and board member of RSS who has taken pupil trips to Sarajevo and Srebrenica spent some time with the pupils developing an understanding of propaganda in small groups.

Our pupils also heard from Robert McNeil MBE a forensic technician who has helped gather evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide on behalf of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. He was deployed to Bosnia and Kosovo numerous times between 1996 and 2002, working mainly with victims found in mass graves.


This remarkable competition can actually trace its origins to the Tayside Region. Heats are held throughout the country and the winning teams are invited to take part in the National Final. Each entered team should consist of four pupils, at least two from S3 and at most two from S4.

Harris Academy secured 1st and 2nd place in the regional competition in Dundee. A very proud Mrs Christie and a fantastic poster as well.


This year the Anne Frank Trust trained a whopping 18 Anne Frank Guides to take S1’s and 2’s on a journey through Anne’s life. From this, Mrs Lee and Miss Irvine had the crazy task of trying to choose only 6 to be Ambassadors and receive further training. Somehow, we managed! Anne, Ruby, Caitlin, Innes, David and Joshua were chosen and trained with the Ambassadors from other schools at the Central Library.

From there, they developed their very own lesson on the life of Anne Frank, focusing on prejudice, stereotypes and the dangers of modern media. They delivered their lesson to Camperdown Primary School’s Primary 6 and 7 classes, as well as Invergowrie Primary School’s primary 7’s, and it was AMAZING! There are definitely some natural teachers amongst our Ambassador’s and they did a fantastic job of guiding the pupils through the activities and kept them engaged and entertained. It’s been a pleasure working with them, and hopefully their journey with the Anne Frank Trust isn’t over.

The Anne Frank Trust work concluded this year with our very own Mrs Lee being asked to address the Scottish Parliament regarding her journey with the charity over the last 10 years. From her own experience as an Anne Frank Ambassador to someone who now works with and encourages our young people to make a difference in the world in which they live.

S1/S2 Modern Studies Quiz

The annual S1/S2 Modern Studies quiz allowed two teams from Harris to compete against other schools from across Dundee. One of our teams finished a very respectable 3rd in the quiz, in what was a closely fought competition.


Over the last year we have had some very enthusiastic pupils attending chefs club. These pupils had a great learning opportunity when a chef from the local Hilton hotel came in and gave them a demonstration of how to make Stir fry. They have shown a great level of commitment and skills and it showed in the dishes they made.

A selection of our final cakes from Practical Cake craft.


The ‘Berry Nabbler’ A huge Congratulations to Mrs. McCormack! One of the chosen artists for the 2019 National ‘Oor Wullie’ bucket trail. Barra Berries in Aberdeen are the proud sponsors and you can find this amazing Wullie at Barra Castle Farm shop, Oldmeldrum, Inverurie AB51 0BB.

Concept -The design was inspired by a childhood memory, which people of a certain age will remember! I wanted the public to see my design and reminisce; think about the experience of going to the berries and enlighten the younger generation to what we got up to! Hopefully my Oor Wullie evokes some fun childhood memories in you!!


Well Done S1 class 1E. Class group competition entry to the National Galleries of Scotland Art competition. Mixed media piece – Mono print and paper collage inspired in their natural environment.


Pupils enjoying their rewards during lunchtime ‘Art Club’. Louise and Kayla S2 enjoying hot chocolate after collecting 10 positive reward stickers on their Art & Design loyalty card. Pupils are offered a safe and nurturing environment to work on Broad General Education unit work and/or to enhance their artistic skills and abilities.


YPI or Youth Philanthropy Initiative is the flagship initiative of The Wood Foundation in Scotland. Since 2008 young people participating in YPI have directed nearly 4 million pounds to local charities. This year the RME and History department at Harris Academy worked together on a citizenship course for second year pupils to have the opportunity to take part in YPI. Six groups of pupils took part in the school finals in front of a panel of Judges who decided that first place and £3000 should go to The Stuart Gordon Fund (Niamh Brown, Ruby MacDougall, Anna Fettes).

Our first place team attended The National event at Perth Concert Hall where 1200 pupils and teachers from all over Scotland gathered. Callum Beattie performed for us on what was an unforgettable day. We were inspired by Sir Ian Wood who spoke movingly about unacceptable levels of poverty in Scotland. Alan Mahon then spoke, who passionately believes in altruistic consumerism, Amal Azzudin who while at school was one of the now famous Glasgow Girls and who is now well known as a human rights and social justice activist. We then heard from our own former School Captain Abby Lang who spoke eloquently about CRY and #4Pete.


On Wednesday 26th June, a group of S3 Geography pupils along with Mrs Leppard and Miss Quirk carried out a beach clean-up on Broughty Ferry beach. Our current S3 classes have been learning about Environmental Issues and one of the areas we will be concentrating on in the new term is the huge problem of plastic. According to Greenpeace an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic – everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads – end up in our oceans each year. That’s a truck load of rubbish a minute. We wanted to do our bit for the planet.

It was a fantastic afternoon and the weather was great! Dundee City Council supplied us with equipment and Clean Up Scotland gave us the rather fetching yellow tabards. It was amazing the amount of rubbish that was collected in just a short space of time and we found some rather odd items including part of a hoover! Our pupils did an amazing job and were a credit to the school! The Geography department would like to carry out more beach clean ups in the future so keep your eyes peeled for further events to get involved in.


Josh McConville U18, Scottish Schools Football

Iona McLeod, Scottish Swimming

Alex Stanciu, European Champion and British Champion

Josh Hamilton, Scottish Ice Hockey

Liam Griffin, Scottish Ice Hockey

Jamie Edwards, Scottish Ice Hockey

Jake Muir, Scottish Water Polo

Nik Parsons, Scottish Water Polo

Hannah Muir, Scottish Water Polo

Marlana Storrier, British Ice Skating

Catlin Wright, Scottish Netball

Fraser Allan, Scottish Hockey

Leonard Holm-Huxley, British trampolining Champion

Rosa Holm-Huxley, British Gymnastics

Hayley Bell, British Gymnastics

Congratulations to all of our atheletes


School opens for Autumn Term - Tuesday 13th August 2019

Parent Council AGM - Thursday 5th September 2019

Senior Phase Information Evening - Wednesday 11th September

A full list of key dates will be available in our school calendar and year group calendars on the school website. This will be available in August.




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