Banchory Academy Parent Council

Representing parents and carers

Our School

You are on the Parent Council website. Please note that any views expressed on this site are those of the Parent Council as distinct from Banchory Academy or Aberdeenshire Council.

Click here for the main school site.


We continue to press our case for a locally-devolved senior phase implementation to meet the specific individual needs of Banchory’s young people so that they can maximise their opportunities whatever direction they intend to take in life.

How can parents help?
While the Parent Council continues to lobby Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government on behalf of all concerned parents, it is very helpful if individual parents also raise their concerns direct.
See How can I help? for useful contact details. 

Check this site's CfE latest link to keep up with subsequent developments.

While the Parent Council continues to lobby Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government on behalf of all concerned parents, it is very helpful if individual parents also raise their concerns direct. Scroll down for useful contact details.

For the campaign to have most impact, it needs critical mass. If you are concerned, NOW is the time to send those emails, write those letters, lobby your representatives. Time is of the essence. 

Please harness your social networks to spread the word and raise awareness. For example, the Facebook page Curriculum for Excellence - Parents' Voice provides a platform for sharing information and views, bringing together parents from all over Scotland.

A parent from Aberdeen City has set up an Online Petition to ask Michael Russell at the Scottish Government to Direct LAs to allow schools to decide number of examinable subjects at S4. If this is a position that you share, please sign the petition. You can add optional comments. 

Please copy any useful correspondence or links to your year representative so that the PC can keep up to date with parents’ views and suggestions. The more backing we can demonstrate, the less chance of the PC’s representations being dismissed as merely those of a vocal minority clinging to outdated ideas.  

 Useful contact details:

Dennis Robertson MSP
Units 10-11 Craigearn Business Park
Morrison Way
AB51 0TH 


Michael Russell MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Ian Stirling
Curriculum for Excellence Officer
Aberdeenshire Council
Woodhill House
Westburn Road
AB16 5GB

Dr Alasdair Allan MSP
Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages
The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

Maria Walker
Director of Education, Learning and Leisure
Aberdeenshire Council
Woodhill House
Westburn Road
AB16 5GB

Cllr Isobel Davidson
Chair, Education, Learning and Leisure Committee,
Aberdeenshire Council
Chapel Howe
AB41 8PF 

Andrew Griffiths
Head of Service, Education and Staff Development

Aberdeenshire Council
Woodhill House
Westburn Road
AB16 5GB 

Ron McKail
Vice Chair, Education, Learning and Leisure Committee
Aberdeenshire Council
17 Brimmond Drive

AB32 6SZ 

The Editor
The Press and Journal
Lang Stracht
AB15 6DF 


BAPC requested a follow-up meeting with EL&L representatives on October 4th, 2012 which failed to allay our concerns (see notes from meeting). 
We then pursued a high-profile awareness campaign during November 2012 involving the local press (P&J articles 5th, 13th & 23rd November) and launched an online parental survey (results included at the end of this paper) which received approximately 400 responses.
A letter from Education Secretary Mike Russell on November 28th 2012 to one of our parents confirmed that national policy should not constrain the number of subjects that can be taught in S4 and reiterated the high level of flexibility that national guidelines allow schools and local education authorities.
The answer to a Question in the Scottish Parliament from Alex Johnstone MSP on November 28th 2012 likewise stressed that the Scottish Government expects flexibility and that the number of subjects offered in S4 ‘should be tailored not only to the needs of individual schools and communities, but to the needs of individual young people’.

Members of BAPC and Aboyne Academy PC spoke at the next EL&L committee meeting on December 6th 2012. The papers submitted to that committee by Aberdeenshire’s Director of EL&L demonstrated that EL&L’s position had not changed. We collaborated with a number of Aberdeenshire Parent Councils to submit a paper and covering email contesting many assertions in the EL&L documents and presenting alternative proposals aligned with parents’ wishes.

Two main outcomes of that meeting were
- a requirement for the Director of EL&L to provide a CfE progress report on Senior Phase implementation to each EL&L Committee meeting
- the setting-up of an Aberdeenshire Council working group "consisting of teachers, head teachers, parents, Heads of Service and Education Scotland, with input from pupils and councillors as necessary, to review what was happening in each school and to support the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence". BAPC is represented in this group.

Where do we go from here?

Banchory Academy Parent Council supports the overall aims of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), but is concerned about its implementation in practice, specifically around the number of subjects a pupil can study in S4, the start of the Senior Phase.

BAPC has raised these concerns over a number of years, latterly amid conflicting guidelines from Education Scotland and our local authority, Aberdeenshire Council. On the one hand, the national guidelines suggest that, as long as they comply with the CfE framework, individual schools can decide upon an appropriate number of subjects, to best fit the needs of their local communities; on the other hand, the Aberdeenshire guidelines imply that there should be consistency across its schools. BAPC continues to press for an implementation that will best suit students at Banchory Academy, which has long been one of the most academically successful state schools in the country.

Our concerns were first raised in 2010. An article (Parents revolt over CfE) was published in the Times Educational Supplement (Scotland) in October 2010 but in March 2011 Mike Russell (Education Secretary) was quoted as saying that our concerns were the result of communication problems and had now been ‘put to bed’(Russell: ‘No limitation’ on subjects pupils take). 

Fast forward to June 2012 when, in response to a central audit encouraging local authorities to accelerate their CfE implementations, Aberdeenshire Council Education, Learning and Leisure (EL&L) updated its Senior Phase recommendations (see also the associated appendix), which appeared to restrict local flexibility in subject numbers. We felt that the implications of this Senior Phase plan on S4 subject choice were not fully discussed or understood by the EL&L Committee when the plan was presented for approval at the 7th June meeting. 

So what happened next?





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