Balwearie High School

Fife Free Press Article - May

HGIOS?4 Launch – Kirkcaldy West Primary School

Pupils from Balwearie High were involved in working with Education Scotland in the National Launch of "How Good is Our School? Resource” and the “Learner Participation Guidance” at Kirkcaldy West Primary School. This important development aims to actively engage pupils to empower them in learner participation. In total 17 pupils from S1-S6 were involved over a two week period. They were a credit to the school and were able to give valuable input into these key resources will be used to improve schools.

Mr McNeil represented Balwearie on the day of the launch which also included Education Scotland Chief Executive Gayle Gorman, Executive Director of Education and Children's Services, Fife Council and Mr Trousdale, the Headteacher Kirkcaldy West Primary.

Murray Oliver S1, Dylan Venters S2 and Findlay Bryden S3 gave excellent presentations about how they had been involved with Pupil Voice at Balwearie.   Patrick Ausel welcomed guests as they arrived, with an outstanding performance on the piano. 



Career Ready Graduation

We were proud to see six S6 pupils from Balwearie, Gus Davidson, Patrik James, Lauren Kilpatrick, Dominica Korejwo, Harriet Lamden and Shannon White, graduate from the Career Ready programme this year.  For the last two years the pupils have been working closely with local industries, gaining valuable skills and insights into the world of work from their business mentors and getting direct experience via a summer internship with the supporting employer.  Four of our pupils were able to attend the graduation ceremony on 18th April at Perth’s Concert Hall, an occasion which celebrated their ambition and hard work and where they received a certificate marking their achievement.  As they come to the end of their six years at school, we are confident the programme has helped them prepare for the future and given them a richer understanding of the workplace and the skills and qualities needed to thrive.


Spotlight on Staff – our new Pupil Council link teachers

We are delighted to announce our new feature – Spotlight on Staff where we will introduce members of our school team to the wider community.  This new feature will provide details around school contributions, journeys into teaching and some interesting snippets of information from the quick-fire quiz.  We hope you enjoy finding out a little more about our inspiring staff here at Balwearie!

This issue, we would like to introduce two of our Newly Qualified Teachers which have been contributing to the wider school in capturing the pupil voice through their Pupil Council work.



Miss McAllister – History Teacher

I first decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was about 16.  I travelled to India to take part in night schools and teach English to children who did not have access to the same educational facilities and opportunities as I did.  It was a life changing experience and my journey as a teacher has been equally as satisfying.  My experience as an NQT at Balwearie has been more than I could ever have hoped for.  All members of staff have been extremely welcoming and the opportunities for professional development have been excellent.  The pupil council has gone from strength to strength since it began earlier this session.  We recently started a drop-in session one lunchtime a week where non-council members can pass on any ideas or suggestions they may have on how we can continue to improve our school.  This works on a rota basis and we are so lucky to have a team of dedicated young learners so passionate about their school.  I would have to say my favourite thing about teaching is the opportunity to build positive relationships with young people and make a difference to their day to day lives.


Miss McAllister’s quick-fire questions:

What is your favourite film? The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Florida

What is your favourite music genre? Pop

What is your favourite sport? Dancing

Are you a morning or a night person? I am definitely more of a night person

What is your best childhood memory? The first time I ever visited Disney world with my family

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? To fly so I never had to wait in traffic again!

If you weren’t a teacher…you would be a…. social worker

Best piece of advice you've ever been given... to treat others the way you would like to be treated.


Mr Cybulski – Physics Teacher

I got into teaching originally because I was at a loss for what to do as I approached the end of my Engineering Undergrad. I had not enjoyed the course and the prospect of embarking on a career in it was not one that I was looking forward to. After speaking to family and friends, I decided that teaching was probably the correct choice for me and I’m so lucky that I did.

Being at Balwearie has been a fantastic experience so far. As a Probationer, the support from the staff has been second to none and the pupils here have a real respect for teachers and seem keen to help create a positive environment within the school.  As far as the pupil council goes, I have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic pupils in an effort to improve the school experience for our young people. Our successes so far have included the creation of gender neutral toilet/changing facilities to improve the inclusion in the school and we have also had several useful discussions around topics such as uniform, bullying and smoking on the premises. I am very proud of the pupils in the council for their contributions and their ambition to take control of their own experiences.  I like that I am able to help teach people about subjects that I knew were complex and hard to understand. I love it when you see the 'light bulb' go on above someone's head as they suddenly understand something that they have misunderstood. 


Mr Cybulski’s quick-fire questions:

What is your favourite film? The Greatest Showman       

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Marseille

What is your favourite music genre? Metal or Hip-Hop

What is your favourite sport? Hockey

Are you a morning or a night person? Night

What is your best childhood memory?  Singing for Scotland as part of the National Youth Choir

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Super Intelligence-but I clearly already have that!

If you weren’t a teacher…you would be a…. Ed Sheeran Tribute

Best piece of advice you've ever been given... to grab hold of any happiness in your life with both hands.


Global Citizenship Group

The S6 Global Citizenship Team have been very busy this term organising a Pupil and Staff Quiz Night in order to raise money for our international charity, WWF. The Quiz Night took place on Wednesday 28th March and proved to be very successful with an impressive turnout of teams allowing us to raise a fantastic total of £72. This money has allowed us to adopt two animals through the charity- a turtle and an elephant. We would like to thank everyone who attended the Quiz Night, it was a fantastic night for everyone and, most importantly, raised money and awareness for the World Wildlife Fund.


Ski Trip - Andorra 2018

We have recently returned from another fantastic ski trip to Vallnord in Andorra!  A group of 20 pupils (5 from Auchmuty High School) and 3 teachers, Mrs McLean and Mrs Slade from Balwearie High and Mr Deaves from Auchmuty High travelled to Andorra on the 30th March for a week of sensational skiing. This year, we stayed in the four star Hotel Panorama in the centre of Andorra la Vella where we literally had everything on our doorstep. We enjoyed shopping trips every afternoon, swimming in the hotel pool on occassion, dinner one night in an italian pizzeria which was delicious and on the last night we had a bit of fun and team competition with a scavenger hunt in the town. With regards to the skiing, which was the main purpose of our trip, we all enjoyed 4 hours of skiing tuition a day with qualified instructors and received award certificates on the last day. The trip was, on the whole injury free, only a few bumps and bruises, and the progress made by all who took part was amazing.  All in all, every single one of us had an unforgettable time in Andorra and we can’t wait to organise another trip for next year.


Modern Foreign Languages – Twitter Feed

The Modern Foreign Languages Department is pleased to announce the launch of our Twitter account. Following us will give you the opportunity to be up-to-date with our latest news such as trips or supported study dates but more importantly, you will be able to see some work made by our students. Twitter will also be a platform to share learning strategies and provide revision tips to enhance study skills. Follow us: ModLangs@balwearie (@BalwearieML)


ESOL Twilight session

An Information advice session was held on Tuesday 24th April for our Romanian / Roma parents & carers.  Partners joined to support this event from NHS and Community Learning alongside an ESOL teacher from Balwearie and Pupil Support staff.  Information and advice on various subjects including:

  • applying online for free meals and school uniforms
  • how to translate our school website into different languages
  • support available from other partner agencies for the ESOL community.

The parents and carers also received information on the support offered to their young people in school through Pupil Support and an update on the development of ESOL support through the PEF initiative throughout 18/19.


Rural Skills at Elmwood

The Rural Skills Group enjoyed an action packed day at SRUC Elmwood and are now very excited about the new 24ft Poly tunnel and a new shed arriving next week so the planting of fruit and veg can get into full swing!  In the meantime the group have been researching wildlife friendly plants for the school grounds to encourage biodiversity.


Mindfulness for staff

A Staff mindfulness group have finished the first ever course at Balwearie, it was facilitated by Kelly Laing, a Mindfulness trainer and lasted for 10 weeks one evening per week, Kelly will also be offering Mindfulness courses for parents in May .


Breakfast club

Numbers continue to grow and pupils are not just enjoying the healthy breakfast every morning but also the friendship groups they have formed over the last few months.  A new initiative of take away breakfasts will be on offer starting from Monday the 30th April 2018 for pupils who come to school by bus and are limited by time.


Greener Kirkcaldy

A group of S3 pupils is working in collaboration with Greener Kirkcaldy – they planted some Snowdrops in the school grounds as part of their personal development qualification.  They are also working with Abbotsford care home, making Birdfeeders to take along as gifts and are hoping to help with Royal Wedding celebrations!


Balwearie Parent Group – come along!

The Parent Group are looking for parent(s) (could be one person, a pair or team) to take over the running of the school lottery.  It's already all set up and runs very smoothly.  It has earned significant extra funds for the school.  Any notes of interest would be most welcome!





InterAct/Active Enquiry: towards transition

Parents and carers of our senior pupils were treated to a presentation of the drama work created with the help of InterAct/Active Enquiry theatre group. The group have been working with a group of pupils as they prepare to transition into adult life beyond school.  The pupils had explored person centred planning which was reflected in the presentation. Very much enjoyed by all who were able to attend.


Wemyss Firs

Thanks to funding from West Fife Trust to support outdoor learning, several classes have enjoyed learning outside the classroom at Wemyss Firs.  Activities have included den building/team tasks/resilience training and many more.  Fortunately the groups were blessed with good weather which made the sessions even more memorable.


Residential trip 2018

Nine pupils and three staff had a ball on the recent Residential Experience trip to Calvert Trust Kielder Outdoor Activity Centre.  The group were away from home for three days and made the most of every minute.  Days were spent out and about on challenging activities led by instructors whilst evenings were the time for relaxing in the hydrotherapy pool or simply enjoying spending time together outside the school setting.  Once again the centre did not disappoint and we are very grateful to Children in Need for supporting the cost of the trip.  Many of our younger pupils are already looking ahead to their turn to enjoy such an experience!


Bee Buddies funding bid

A wee group of DAS pupils helped to support local charity Bee Buddies by appearing…for a Nano second…on the STV2 Project Lottery in their bid to secure funds for a mobile education unit.   Bee Buddies were a great support to the Dept. and helped to establish our beehive.  Pupils benefitted a great deal from this experience and we continue to look forward to many more learning opportunities with our bees.


National Museum Trip

S1 pupils travelled to Edinburgh recently to support their Social Studies project on the Romans.  For some of them it was the first experience of visiting the Museum which did not disappoint.  Such a lot to see and do – all were inspired to revisit and look forward to doing so.



Balwearie DAS are delighted to be able to share news of our amazing pupils via Twitter – please follow us and keep up to date with all events and achievements!


World Book Day

Balwearie DAS will not be beaten by snow days and school closures! We had an amazing day planned to celebrate World Book Day and rescheduled the fun for the last week of term.  Learning was focused on four book choices:  Journey to the Centre of the Earth/How to Train Your Dragon/Paddington and The Water Horse.  Pupils had chosen one of the books to study and spent the day in a variety of co-operative and active learning tasks.  Rooms were transformed to capture the mood of the books which added to the sense of fun learning.


Easter Service

Many thanks to Rev Jim Reid, school chaplain who joined us for our Easter Service on the last day of term.  Pupils and staff decorated our hall with a variety of spring/Easter artwork to set the scene for celebrating New Life, Hope and spring. Class groups performed short presentations and several pupils read excerpts from the Easter Story.  What a perfect end to a very busy term! 


Falkland Palace

S3/4 travelled to Falkland Palace to supplement their Social Studies learning on Mary Queen of Scots.  They had the opportunity to try Real tennis and were surprised to meet the Queen and Lord Rizzio in the grounds of the Palace!

A day to remember and many learning opportunities enjoyed by all!


Tug o’ War

Balwearie DAS entered two strong teams for the recent Disability Sport Fife Tug o’ War event as part of the DSF Sports Festival.  One team was the victorious team and the other was runner up in their event.  Great team work was the secret!


Pillars of Hercules

S5/6 pupils visited the Pillars of Hercules to find out more about Organic farming methods.  They enjoyed the produce too in the café where they were able to taste the difference re freshness and flavour.  A visit to the hen run followed by an egg roll was the order of the day! Fresh salad leaves picked as they grew illustrated the benefits of this method of farming.  The visit left the pupils with lots to think about (food for thought!!)


SFA Football Academy

Balwearie DAS are delighted to welcome SFA coaches supported by Disability Sport Fife to the dept. to offer super tailor made weekly coaching sessions for our football teams.  Pupils always have a warm welcome for David Costello and his colleagues and we look forward to sweeping the awards in session 2018-19 thanks to the expert tips and training!


Fife College partnership working

We had fingers and toes crossed for our senior pupils this week as they travelled to Fife College Stenton Campus for their interviews for the school/college link transition programmes starting in August.  Pupils were well prepared and confident and we wish them well in their quest for a place on the New Directions Future Pathways programme.




Tennis Achievement – Sam Whitton S2

Sam has been asked to represent East of Scotland at the 14u County Cup tennis tournament in Wrexham in May.  The team will be travelling down on Friday 4th May and returning late on Monday 7th May.  This is the first time that Sam has been asked to represent the County and it is a fantastic opportunity for him.  Also, in June he has the chance to travel to Spain to attend Sotogrande Tennis Academy for a week as an “Access Player”.  He will be training for 5-6 hours a day and boarding at the Academy, sampling what it would be like to live the life of a tennis professional.  Good luck Sam!



Balwearie vs St Andrews HS (under 18s)

With several players involved in their first competitive basketball match both squads demonstrated a range of skills and some excellent teamwork.  Balwearie’s experienced club players managed to dominate parts of the match resulting in a narrow win.  Credit must be given to both squads for their positive attitude and fair play.




Balwearie S1/2 vs Levenmouth

On a very cold and windy day, the Balwearie S1/2 rugby team travelled to Levenmouth Academy for what would turn out to be a physically demanding game of rugby. Both teams played at a high intensity, with the Balwearie players showing a lot of skilful rugby and knowledge of the game.  There were plenty of team scores, which were well worked and well deserved.  Levenmouth had some very quick and powerful runners who were able to make use of any space given to them, and run in for some long distance scores. 


Balwearie S1/2 and S4/5 vs Lochgelly HS

On a very wet day at Kirkcaldy Rugby Club, two Balwearie squads came up against well drilled Lochgelly sides.  The younger team struggled to get into their game to begin with, but once they remembered the last 5 months’ worth of training, they started to play some very interesting and fast paced rugby.

The game was very closely contested and was played in a Fife rugby style manner, with a display of fast and wide rugby.  The older group was based around National 5 students, were being assessed for their Performance grades.  Some other pupils from both schools came along to make up numbers for the game.  After the initial game, the boys mixed the teams up and played some fun 7 a side games to finish off the day.



Congratulations to Second Year pupil, Sam Whitton who has been selected to represent East of Scotland at the 14u County Cup tennis tournament in Wrexham in May on Friday 4th May.  This is the first time that Sam has been asked to represent the County and this is a fantastic opportunity for him! 

In addition, Sam has the chance to travel to Spain in June to attend Sotogrande Tennis Academy for a week as an “Access Player”.  He will be training for 5-6 hours a day and boarding at the Academy, sampling what it would be like to live the life of a tennis professional.  Chance of a lifetime, we wish him well!  



Our under 15s boys team stepped in at the last minute to play in the Fife Cup final after one of the schools had to withdraw. Our boys performed admirably at The New Bayview stadium but unfortunately lost the game 5-1 to Woodmill High School. All 13 boys that attended enjoyed a positive experience of playing in a cup final.



S3 Gold Scottish Cup Quarter Final – Thursday 8th March 2018

The S3 team played Craigmount High School on Thursday 8th March in the Quarter Final of the Gold Section of the Scottish Cup.  The game pitted last year’s Gold winners Craigmount against Balwearie winners of the Silver section.  After a tight first quarter with one goal in it, and a close second with just four goals, Craigmount’s experience told as they started to pull away playing some very good netball.  In the end Balwearie kept fighting but eventual lost 52-28 to a very strong Craigmount squad.   Craigmount now move on to play Peebles in the semi-final looking to retain their title from last year.  Balwearie now look forward to a semi-final in the Fife Schools’ League against Kirkcaldy High School, playing for a place in the final to be held on Thursday 21st April against Woodmill High School.


Senior Fife Schools’ League Quarter Final – Tuesday 13th March 2018

Balwearie A’s senior team faced Levenmouth Academy at home in the Quarter Final of the 2017-18 senior league.  Balwearie A progressed into the Quarter as Pool D winners to face Pool B runners-up Levenmouth Academy.  A close game ended with Balwearie eventually winning 31-22 and progressing to the semi-final to face St Andrews High School.


S1 Friendly vs Beath High School – Wednesday 14th March

The S1 netball team played a friendly game against Beath High School on Wednesday 14th March, giving both teams practice before the S1 Tournament at the end of April.  Balwearie played well defensively limiting Beath to few shots throughout the game.  It was great game experience for both teams with Balwearie coming out eventual winners 13-2.


S3 Fife Schools’ League Semi-Final – Thursday 22nd March 2018

The S3 Balwearie A squad faced Kirkcaldy High School in the semi-final of the S3 League on Thursday 22nd March.  Balwearie qualified unbeaten from the pool stages top of Pool A, with Kirkcaldy qualifying as runners-up in Pool B.


Senior Fife Schools’ League Semi-Final – Tuesday 27th March 2018

The Balwearie Senior A team faced St Andrews High School in the semi-final of the Fife Schools’ League on Tuesday 27th March.  After a very even first half the Balwearie team started to pull away, eventually winning 31-23, qualifying them for the final to be held on Thursday 19th April against Woodmill C.


Fife Schools’ Netball Association League Finals Night 2018

On Thursday 19th April the FSNA League Finals took place at St Columbas High School.  After a long season playing teams from across Fife Balwearie’s S3 and Senior teams qualified to face Woodmill A and C in their respective finals.  The S3 team took to court on the night confidently, building an early lead which they managed to sustain throughout.  Excellent team work in the defensive third, partnered with good feeding into the shooting circle led to Balwearie running out eventual winners 33-15.  This is the second year in a row the team have secured the League title, showing great consistency and team work, the girls have worked incredibly hard over the season and that dedication payed off!


The Senior netball team approached the final after losing to Woodmill in the Cup Final earlier in the season, they really wanted to overturn the result.  Extra training and practice showed in the early stages with the Balwearie Senior making a strong start, high pressing and forcing errors from a strong Woodmill team.  At the end of the first quarter Balwearie led 7-1.  A good second quarter cemented the lead, however Woodmill made changes at half time putting in a good performance in the third quarter to close the deficit to just 4 goals at one stage.  Balwearie rallied in the last and final quarter showing great team spirit and desire, securing the title with a 29-16 victory.  After a season of near misses the team were overjoyed at the win, this was clear to see on the final whistle.  A well-deserved victory showing what determination and resilience across a long season can achieve. Well-done!



Diary Dates

16th April 2018 – New term starts

7th May 2018 - Holiday

30th April to 1st June – SQA examinations and study leave

4th June 2018 – Holiday

5th June 2018 – In-service Day 5

6th June 2018 – New timetable commences

7th June 2018 - Awards Evening

13/14th June 2018 – P7 two day visit

19th June 2018 – Sports Day

29th June 2018 – End of Term