29 June 2023

Pupils 'go wild' ahead of transition to big school

Pupils have been experiencing outdoor learning to help with the transition to big school.

Thousands of pupils will be making the big move this August and to support the switch, Aberdeenshire Council’s Youth and Communities Team have been delivering sessions to P7 pupils in partnership with Peterhead Academy and local primary schools.

From putting up tents, to building dens, outdoor cooking, fire building, flints and steel and awareness of leave no trace, primary school pupils in Peterhead have been learning new skills, working together, problem solving, and improving communication.

Michelle Shields from the Youth and Communities team said: “Following the sessions, pupils were invited to the academy to experience taster sessions of classes, a school tour, and the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with school staff whilst enjoying some campfire food.

“The children worked together to create fire posters as a way of expressing their strengths and support, their feelings and what they felt was still needed for moving up confidently.

“This allowed them to have group discussions and although some young people are still nervous about the move, the majority have shared positive feedback and are looking forward to it.”

Pupils have come from Boddam, Buchanhaven, Burnhaven, Clerkhill, Dales Park, Meethill, Peterhead Central, Port Erroll and St Fergus primary schools.

The project has been supported by supermarket giant Asda through its Community Champions scheme.

Headteacher at Peterhead Academy Gerry McCluskey said youngsters in the Peterhead schools have benefited immensely from the project.

He said: "We’ve watched the young people grow in confidence throughout this programme and develop genuine excitement around their big transition to secondary school.

"Massive thanks to the hard working Aberdeenshire staff who dedicated their time and effort in support our P7 - soon to be new S1 - pupils, and to Asda Peterhead for their generous donations to make it all possible.”

Community Learning and Development Worker Brenda Thorley added: "This is a major transition for young people as they move to the next stage of their education.  

"This programme helps alleviate worries and concerns they may have as it allows them time to talk about how they feel, meet with staff, and get familiar with the new school environment.  

"Being able to have their questions answered reassures them and helps build their confidence in managing the change."