HEAD teacher Ronnie Ross described Kirkland as being in “good shape, good heart, fine fettle” in his end-of-year speech at the high school and community college’s annual prizegiving ceremony.
In a sometimes humorous speech, the rector described schools as being like ‘Only Fools And Horses’ character Trigger’s famous sweeping brush, and then managed to split his staff into the two categories – those who are like eggs and those who are like chips.
But stripping all the analogies and metaphors back, Mr Ross cleverly stressed his theme for the evening – change.
“We are living in both interesting and challenging times,” he said.
“Next year, the school will have completely different groups of pupils from when I joined in January 2005. Much of the staffing is different, the context we are all working in is different. Kirkland will continue to move forward in an innovative way to meet the needs and aspirations of the current and future generations. To serve its pupils, Kirkland will adapt.
“There are clearly challenges ahead. Challenges which are all too familiar to us all, striving for continuous improvement, managing finance and resources, implementing curriculum development and, most importantly, raising aspirations.
“Our new curriculum – the Curriculum for Excellence – is the most extensive change in Scottish education for a generation. Early evidence clearly demonstrates that our S1 pupils are enjoying the new curriculum; they are being appropriately supported and challenged and are actively engaged in the learning experience.”
Despite referring to change, Mr Ross stressed some things will always remain the same – most importantly that the job of learning and teaching will go on at Kirkland, despite pupils, staff and curriculums constantly moving on.
Paying tribute to this year’s crop of pupils, he described the prizewinners as role models.
The rector continued: “At Kirkland, we are trying to enable our young people and students to determine what they are going to do with their lives and to be ambitious for themselves. Education is a priceless gift. At Kirkland, we believe passionately that every young person has the right to a sound education which meets their needs and aspirations. We want pupils and students to be ambitious with their lives. We want young people to keep going and never give up. The pupils and students here in the hall have exhibited these behaviours and values. They have engaged with their teachers and tutors and pushed themselves.”
Nearing the end of his speech and sticking to theme of change, Mr Ross thanked some of the staff at Kirkland who are moving on to something new themselves. These included Brian McGill and Alexander Rowe who both retire after 18 and 23 years respectively, along with Neil Fleming, who has been promoted to principal teacher curriculum after nine years, and Shane Hart, who will move to another post after two years.