Academy was founded in 1911, and is a non-denominational,
six-year comprehensive school situated in the Glasgow
suburb of Bearsden. Its location gives it a central
focus in the local community, and it has four associated
primaries: Baljaffray, Bearsden, Castlehill and Mosshead.
In addition, a significant number of pupils transfer
from a local Catholic primary, while placing requests
from Glasgow, Clydebank and beyond now account for some
20% of the roll of 1375.
Academy has a long and proud academic tradition, and
is among the top performing state schools in Scotland
in terms of academic attainment. Added to this is a
record of achievements in other spheres of school life,
thanks particularly to the provision of an extensive
range of extra-curricular activities organised by teachers
main building dates from 1958, and the teaching accommodation
has been extended over the years through the addition
of various annexes. Nevertheless, there are severe pressures
on our accommodation, to the extent that the roll has
for several years been capped at an 8-class intake of
240. A new two-storey Library was recently constructed,
along with an ICT suite, and we also have a modern multi-purpose
Games Hall with excellent facilities. The staffing complement
is currently 93.4 f.t.e, and includes a Senior Management
Team of 7, with 18 PTs (Curriculum) and a Guidance Team
of 8 PTs (Pastoral). The school is fortunate in its
extensive and hard working support team comprising;
a Support Services Manager, 10 clerical and administrative
staff, 3 school assistants, 3 SEN auxiliaries, 7 technicians,
and the facilities management team. Both the School
Board and the PTA are active and very supportive of
the school, and parents in general are very well represented
at consultation and information evenings, as well as
at extra-curricular school events. The motto of Bearsden
Academy is committed to excellence, and feedback from
the Student Council, parental questionnaires and interviews
indicates that the majority of pupils, parents and staff
consider that the school has a positive ethos. This
was also the view of HMI the last time the school was
inspected, just under five years ago.
to the Programme
to stereotypical expectations of a school like Bearsden
Academy, our need to address the issue of social inclusion
is actually a significant one, not only because of the
wide range of backgrounds from which we draw our pupils,
but also because we now try to highlight the importance
of achievement on a broad front, as well as of academic
attainment. The school has been very successful in the
latter, but has been less obviously engaged in the past
in enabling every pupil to achieve to the best of their
ability, and celebrating these more varied individual
are a large number of well established peer support
initiatives in the school, most of which are well tested
schemes such as Study Buddy, Read On (paired reading)
and Friends Against Bullying. All of these involve senior
pupils working with younger children on a voluntary
basis during the school day and at lunchtime, and are
consistently successful year on year thanks to the commitment
of the senior pupils and the readiness of the younger
ones to accept the support of fellow pupils. These activities
are organised by the Depute Head responsible for the
160 pupils or so in the Sixth Year, all of whom are
expected to be involved in at least one of the schemes
of responsibility that run every year in the school.
with an ageing profession and with the introduction
of new contractual limits on teachers time, we
were finding it difficult to offer new experiences for
pupils outwith school hours to enlarge the extensive
programme already available. In particular, there was
a demand from younger pupils for sporting activities
that we could not match with the necessary expertise
of staff, either because the relevant teachers were
already optimally involved, or because no member of
staff had the relevant interest or experience in that
field. This was particularly disappointing since we
were promoting a healthier lifestyle through exercise
and sensible eating while also encouraging every pupil
to become involved in at least one out-of-hours school
the summer of 2001, we were aware that the incoming
S1 contained many youngsters who were already keen football
players (see Picture A), and at the same time we were
about to bid farewell to a particularly impressive S6
group of footballers. One of our Depute Heads, C, head
of S6 and coach of the Under-18 football team, came
up with a possible solution to the lack of teaching
staff to meet the demand. With little persuasion, the
then Boys Captain, Neil, and two of his friends,
Fraser and Jamie, volunteered to coach the new S1 boys.
The response from pupils was enthusiastic and the offer
was readily accepted, subject to our identifying a member
of staff who would act in a supervisory capacity. In
the event another Depute Head, A, took on the responsibility
- she set up the coaching sessions and made the arrangements
for competitive matches for the team.
years later the same young men are still with us, and
apart from occasional unavoidable absences through university
exams or classes, they have never missed a week. After
two successful years, they reckoned that a third year
would be impossible owing to their university and work
commitments. We still could not find a teacher coach,
but to the delight of all, when our volunteer coaches
got their university timetables in October they discovered
that they could manage to fit in some coaching after
was asked why he did it:
got a lot out of my years at Bearsden Academy, particularly
my final year. This is a way of giving something back.
I really look forward to the coaching sessions with
the boys. Tuesdays are one of the highlights of my
appreciate that its really good of Neil and
the others to go out of their way for us. Tuesdays
were no fun when there was no football after school".
found a model that worked, Depute Head C then approached
some of the following years Under-18 team when
they were due to leave school. This time a trio of young
men - who had not always taken school life very seriously!
- volunteered to coach another new S1 intake of footballers,
and again, their commitment has been faultless.
boys are all good individual players, but they need
to learn to work as a team. Thats what we can
have a good mix of boys, from some who dont
do particularly well in class and who are often in
trouble for things like not paying attention, to others
who are quite intellectual. Being part of the squad
brings together boys who would not otherwise speak
much to each other".
always enjoyed our football but we dont take
it too seriously. This is a chance for us to make
football fun for some of the younger boys".
up the family tradition, Adam, Captain of the Under-18s
last year, is now coaching the current S1 squad along
with his friend Scott, as they go through their first
year of university courses, thus following the pattern
established by Adams older brother, Neil, almost
three years ago.
boys in all year groups are very impressed with the
dedication of their coaches:
turn up every week in their own time so that we can
have our football".
gives you something to look forward to and enjoy".
Head C, the man with the initial idea, is enthusiastic
about the success of the scheme.
gives the older boys a chance to remain involved in
football when they finish school. They learn how to
pass on their skills to others. They enjoy it and
it keeps the younger boys involved in schools
football, which is great".
three ventures (see Picture B) are under the watchful
eye of Depute Head A, who enjoys seeing the young ones
develop footballing skills and teamwork, and welcomes
the on-going contact with former pupils.
great to have groups of pleasant young men appearing
at my office at the end of the day - a welcome change
from the groups of small boys that are sent to my
office during the school day".
A: Enthusiasm and collaboration: S1
girl and boy would-be footballers with
former School Captain, Neil, and two
of the supportive Depute Head Teachers.
B (Parts 1, 2 and 3): Our S1, S2 and
S3 boys' teams with senior former pupils
Adam, Scott, Ross, Martin, Michael,
Fraser and Neil, their highly-valued