The Things I learned from The Boy Who Lived.

When the first Harry Potter novel was published in 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, I wonder if anyone recognised its potential to develop into a $25 billion franchise. However perhaps the biggest impact it has made is the way it has influenced the lives and minds of millions of children and adults across the globe. In celebration of Harry Potter day we asked some of our resident Potterheads what they learned from growing up in the magical world of Harry Potter.


For me, one of the most important messages that Rowling conveys through her books is that of strong female role models. Professor McGonagall, the Head of Gryffindor House, exemplified strong females in a  leadership position. McGonagall forced us to admit a grudging respect for our teachers: we didn’t always lack her, but her decisions were consistently backed with firm reasoning.  Molly Weasley was everything a stereotypical mother could be. She was strong, caring, considerate. Molly took in her children’s friends as if they were her own ad was never afraid to speak her mind.  Ginny Weasley taught us that girls can be warriors too. She made us want to be sporty, adventurous and outgoing. Luna Lovegood taught us that it’s okay to be different, better in fact, and as long as you believe in yourself it does matter if few else do. This brings us to one of the most well-known female role model the Harry Potter series has to offer. Hermione Granger was the character most young girls, myself included, grew up idolising. She was fearless, feisty, passionate and intelligent beyond belief. Above all, she was human, a character young girls could relate to, she was imperfect she was flawed, but that made her even better. Hermione stood up for what she believed in, even going so far as to start a House Elf Protection movement in her 4th Year.

I think that the number of strong female characters throughout this book series is reflective of the way Rowling wishes young girls (and anyone, really) to perceive themselves. Rowling wanted us to grow up to be a leader like Professor McGonagall, to be caring like Molly, to be outgoing like Ginny, to believe in themselves like Luna, to stand up for what is right like Hermione.

Lauryn Reid, S6


JK Rowling’s use of characterisation meant that we could each find someone we found relatable – whether it be a member of the famous golden trio, or a character with less focus such as Luna or Ginny. Harry’s 3rd year Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher, Remus Lupin, is a perfect example of this. Lupin struggled in silence as a werewolf, which in the wizarding community was surrounded by a strong stigma. The perception that it was an issue he struggled with primarily alone can be related to those suffering with “invisible illnesses”, which despite being profoundly disabling, is often trivialised to seem less intense or painful because there are no obvious physical signs of illness. These invisible illnesses often include mental illnesses (e.g. depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, personality disorders) or chronic illnesses (e.g. diabetes, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis). In such a subtly way where it

was barely noticeable, JK Rowling taught me to be patient and understanding – everyone has things in life that they find difficult to deal with, by being patient and giving them the space or support they need you could potentially make a huge difference and take a small portion of the weight from their shoulders.

Erin Henry, S6
The introduction of the prophecy in the Harry Potter novels sets up the idea of fate within the series.

The prophecy set up in the novel was that a boy “… with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies….”  to “…those who have thrice defied him… and that “…and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal..”

The criteria reveals that the boy who could defeat He-who-must-not-be-named would be born in July and the son of those who had fought against Voldemort. Obviously this criteria fits Harry exactly, his birthday is in July and his parents fought in the Order of the Phoenix and with his scar marking him as Voldemort’s. So, it seems pretty clear cut. Harry is the chosen one. Prophecy is done and dusted.

However, there is another character in the book who fits this prophecy and that is Neville Longbottom. He too was born in July and had parents who fought in the order, who were notoriously tortured to insanity by Bellatrix Lestrange, but he obviously doesn’t have a scar like Harry.

Now this is when the prophecy gets real interesting, Dumbledore reveals to Harry that Neville could have been the chosen one, that he, like Harry, had fit the criteria of the Great Prophecy. This scatters the premonitions of fate set up earlier in the series. It suggests that you choose your own future, that your fate is not set in stone but moulded by your actions.

This aspect of Harry Potter novels teaches the reader that your future is yours to decide and shape. That your life is not set in stone. That you can control your own destiny.

Niamh McLaughlin, S5 
Whether you are a fan of Harry Potter or not J.K Rowling must be commended for her world building abilities, creating an authentic and intriguing world with an inbuilt sense of culture. When I look at Harry Potter now I see how issues effecting our world today were exemplified in her work. One example of this is her treatment of the media, particularly in The Goblet of Fire and The Deathly Hallows. Through the characterisation of Reeta Skeeter, a scheming and vindictive journalist, Rowling conveys how individuals and stories can be manipulated to create the kind of scandal which equates to a rise in newspaper sales. Later in the series she explores the interaction between government and the media, demonstrating how the two are closely interlinked. The Daily Prophet, a popular newspaper, essentially becomes a source of government propaganda while the alternative and much less popular publication, The Quibbler, manages to remain apart from media influence. Although initially dismissed for its irregular conspiracy theories and odd content this newspaper becomes the only reliable source of information in a time of crisis.  Overall her portrayal of the media is extremely negative and represents many criticisms of the press today. By immersing myself in Harry Potter only to be brought sharply back to reality it is clear that mistrust of the media is not simply an issue for the muggle world.

Kate Ross, S6


J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series is one of the most critically acclaimed book series of all time. After receiving 12 rejections in a row from different publishers, Harry Potter  and the Philosopher’s Stone went on to become a seven book series, and then an eight movie franchise with a theme park and studio tour, amongst other things. Both JK Rowling’s novel and her own personal story have provided inspiration to million of people across the globe.

Books come to life with Enterprise sculptures.

In 2011 ten beautiful sculptures made from books mysteriously appeared at libraries and cultural institutions across Edinburgh. The sculptures came with a simple message: ‘a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words… in support of books, libraries, words, ideas’. To this day, no one knows how they arrived and the identity of the sculptor remains a secret.the-tiger-who-came-to-tea

The book sculptures traveled around the country in the Gifted exhibition. This was designed as a tribute to the presence and vitality of libraries and arts institutions in Edinburgh and across Scotland, and to the generosity of the anonymous artist’s gesture. The sculptures were also intended as a gift to the communities which supported such places.the-hobbit

In response to this 1st year Enterprise pupils created their own book sculptures based on a favourite childhood, or current book. Work began by deciding on key characters and events within their book and through initial research and creative thinking pupils began to create paper sculptures suing paper mache. They created a scene or character from the book and used text from their chosen book as the final layer. The book sculptures were displayed in the Enterprise exhibition and Tidelines book exhibition at the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine.



Thank you to Mrs Bell and her enterprise pupils.

The Book sculptures are currently on display in the library for everyone to see.


What Volunteering Taught Me: Alaska Scott

Being part of the Buddying programme was something that I had wanted to do so I could help and assist younger students so when the opportunity arose for me to sign up for the programme, I did.

Alaska Scott and her S1 Buddy, Lucie Napier

I have since been assigned an S1 buddy who I do paired reading with twice a week or any homework or work that she needs help with. Buddying has been an invaluable experience for me as it has given me the rare opportunity to work with a younger student and help her deal with adjusting to secondary school. It has helped me be a good listener and to be increasingly attentive when not only speaking to my buddy, but to my peers. It’s especially important to me as I think back to when I was I first year and really wished that I had someone who I could always talk to and give me advice and help with any of my problems; big or small. It has also assisted me in being more comfortable with reading aloud, which I think makes people nervous in general; it makes me really conscious of what I’m saying and has helped me become more comfortable with the reading in public. It’s an unforgettable experience to have in my last year of school to know that I am there for someone socially and emotionally through their transition into a completely knew and daunting environment – it is  great comfort.

Meet the Groups: Chess Club

Since beginning the Leadership course at the start of the year Megan Copeland has shared her enthusiasm for Chess by running a Chess club every Monday Lunchtime. Recently she has started a mini-tournament within the club to encourage the members to meet new people and improve their skills. Although she has not competed recently, Megan has been crowned U18 champion at both the girls and overall section of the Ayrshire wide competition. Her love of Chess began as she was taught to play chess by her dad when she was aged 7. When discussing the chess club she was shocked to realise that this means she has been playing chess for 10 years!While many people play chess to relax Megan enjoys the tactical side of the game as well as the competitive element and wishes to pass this down to other members of the club. From beginners just learning the rules of the game to the more experienced players the chess club provides a place to have fun and meet new people while developing your skills.

The chess club runs every Monday in the Library. All pupils aged 1st to 3rd year are welcome no matter their ability.

London Calling


This summer a group of pupils ventured off to London, for Rebecca McNicoll and Chloe Anderson the trip filled with sightseeing, music and magic was one to remember…


After a bright and early start at 6am we set off on a 5 hour train journey.Once at Euston we got a bus to our hotel then dumped our stuff before heading off, excitedly, to the magical world of Harry Potter. cxh


No one could have predicted the magic that was hidden inside the large and yellow building. As soon as we opened the doors we were immediately amazed; Ron’s classic blue car hung proudly in the air, pictures of all the cast were fixed on the walls and at the entrance was the well-known, “cupboard under the stairs”. This was just the beginning. Since it was Niamh’s birthday she got to open the magnificent doors to the Great Hall. It looked the exact same as in the movies; the two long tables were both laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. Behind each table stood the house uniforms; Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. Outside the great hall were all the main sets of the movies. The main ones included; the Wizard’s common room, Hagrid’s house and The Grand Staircase. After many group selfies we went outside the main building to Privet Drive where we got to enter the Dudley household! Inside we saw the living room where there was many letters around the room suspended by strings. It looked the exact same as it did in the movies when Harry’s letters to Hogwarts were flying around the room. Next we actually go to go inside Ron’s car and ride Hagrid’s motorbike. The tour had made Harry Potter come alive! The most amazing part for me personally, was getting to go on Hogwarts express and see inside the carriages. I felt like I was reliving the first time Ron and Harry met Hermione!

After the weird and wonderful tour of Harry Potter World we got on the London Eye. Luckily, the rain and cloud had cleared so we got an astonishing view of the city. We could see Buckingham palace from the top, and got amazing photos of Parliament, which we got to visit the next day!jfdj
The following day we visited Madame Tussauds, the worldwide famous wax museum. We got to meet the great Leonardo DiCaprio, who looked even better in person may I add, and other stars including Emma Watson, Usain Bolt, Beyoncé, Posh and Becks, the legend Muhammad Ali and so many more! All the wax figures were very realistic. Sometimes I even felt I was being watched! For lunch we had a delicious meal at The Hard Rock Café. Then next on our list was The Original Bus Tour which took us from Big Ben to the beautiful St. James’s Cathedral! The architecture of the cathedral was breath-taking! We also got to see the dragons that mark the boundaries of the city of London. Their backs face the city because they are guarding it. Personally, my favourite part of the tour was getting to see The Shard. It amazed me how tall it was, 310 metres!

Last stop, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory! The show was very similar to the classic tale of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but it had some very interesting twists and original songs. The actors and actress’ played their parts excellently. Young Charlie was especially great!  I wasn’t sure that they would be able to pull off some scenes, due to the futuristic style in which Roald Dahl originally portrayed Wonka’s world, however the cast and crew definitely delivered. London was undoubtly a brilliant experience with the most amazing people!



Why Anti-Bullying matters.

What does the word bullying mean to you?

To some people it is their life. That is not even remotely acceptable in this day and age. People of all ages suffer from different types of bullying. For example there is cyber bullying which is on computers and social media. Social media is great for keeping in contact with people but when it is used wrongly it can damage people’s lives creating lasting mental trauma. Another type of bullying is physical bullying which can mean that a victim could be punched, kicked, slapped or even worse leave the victim with physical and emotional scars. In the future bullying victims can find it hard to trust people, especially in the unfortunate cases where a person has been bullied by one member of their friend group who has then convinced others to do the same. There are only a few main types of bullying but in this school we want to ensure that none of these actions are taking place to any pupil. That’s the what we want to achieve as Anti-Bullying ambassadors in this school. Our aim is to become a role model for other schools to follow.

Alfie Anderson S5, Anti-Bullying Ambassador 

Our Senior Anti-Bullying Ambassadors

After selecting our Anti-bullying ambassadors last year we embarked on expanding the programme by providing training to the volunteers. This included team building exercises and problem solving workshops as well as discussions about different types of bullying and its effects. One of the most hard hitting exercises required pupils to write a list of all that a child needed to grow up healthy, a list which normally included practical elements like clothing or eduction and then more subjective terms such as love, confidence and friendship, and then were prompted to acknowledge how bullying could damage, or in some cases completely remove these from a child’s life. The workshop concluded by watching a video presentation about what advice the Anti-Bullying ambassadors should give to those who approach them. After which the volunteers were ready to go out into the school and local community and spread the message about bullying!

This week at year group assemblies the work of the anti-bullying ambassadors was shared with the rest of the school community. In a short presentation from various teachers who make up the anti- bullying committee the effects of bullying and what you can do to counter-act this was explained. A video by Marcus Butler, a popular Youtuber, was used to highlight how bullying can effect everyone. Following this the Anti-Bullying ambassadors were presented with wristbands and badges so that they can be identified within the school as someone who can be approached should someone be struggling with bullying or wish to report an incident of bullying.


Some sites to visit for more information on Bullying:


Marcus Butler’s Experience with Bullying:


Bullet Journals – How to get started

 While progressing through my senior phase of secondary school, I became increasingly aware of the importance of having a good organisational system in my life. Inspired by the mention of how bullet journaling helped the very busy YouTuber Dodie Clark – doddleoddle – and after further research, I came to the conclusion that it was a useful tool that would prove beneficial to me. Since this decision, I have not turned a homework exercise in late, remembered the (mountain) of upcoming tests I have and have not slept in before work because I forgot my start time. Now that’s a miracle!

Three top tips to create the illusion that your life is under control

  1. The Notebook

When choosing the type of notebook you plan to use for your bullet journal, you have 4 main options:

  • Blank pages
  • Lined pages
  • Squared pages
  • Dotted pages

Each type of notebook comes with their own perks and flaws but when deciding which to pick, practicality is essential – you don’t want to spend unnecessary time on something which could easily be solved with a different type of paper.


  1. Organising your journal
  • Index – numbering your pages and keeping track of where everything is located is a great way to keep you organised.
  • Collections – these are things like future goals, monthly logs, daily logs, sketches, lists, and mind maps. They can even include useful tips such as sleep trackers, which are helpful for people like me who are lucky to get 5 hours sleep per night.
  • Rapid Logging – this is where the term bullet journaling stems from. Using different symbols, you can jot down anything you need to remember, like homework, and upcoming exams. This is where a key would come in useful to differentiate between tasks, events, and appointments.
  • Migration – if you don’t complete a task, you can migrate it to a new list or day.


  1. Personalisation
  • Bullet journals can be as generic or personal as you like; it’s supposed to appeal to YOU.
  • Adding quotes, drawings, pictures, and colour can make the idea of using a bullet journal more appealing.


For more information on bullet journals, go to

By Erin Henry

Échange Scolaire à Paris

A School Exchange in Paris


Unlike the majority of my peers, I was fortunate enough to have been blessed with early exams this year; thus resulting in 2 weeks of freedom whilst everyone else studied hard. A similar situation occurred last year (I just seem to have all the luck) where I had one week of exam free bliss, which I soon discovered was not in fact bliss but extremely boring since all my friends were too busy studying to do anything fun. For this reason, I decided to make the most of this year’s study leave and improve my French by visiting my friends in Paris; whom I hadn’t seen since last summer. My luck continued as I soon discovered while planning my trip that my friends’ exams weren’t until June so I would be able to attend school with them. Finally, I would be able to make a true account of an ‘échange scolaire’ that I had been writing in my French exam for 2 years. As I entered Lycée Blomet, my first impression was one of shock, as all I witnessed was chaos everywhere as groups of pupils ran up and down the corridors, shouting and throwing stink bombs and confetti. Fortunately, I was quickly informed that it just so happened that the week I was there was the last week of school for the Terminale (6th year) and it was tradition to cause as much havoc as possible to try to get expelled before the week was up! For me this was just more entertainment, however the teachers had me assured that this was indeed a very good school and the pupils did not normally behave like this.

Other than the distinct difference in end of year tradition, I found – to my surprise – few other contrasts from our school. There was, of course, the case of the toilets being communal and in addition to that the size of the classrooms were smaller and more cramped with only one computer in the whole class, solely for the teacher’s use. The only other major difference that was most definitely unexpected was that the teachers were the ones to move classes instead of the pupils so I ended up spending the majority of the week in the one class, only moving for the chosen subjects.

In France, you don’t choose subjects but rather which type of bac (their equivalent of Highers) you want to achieve: Literature, Science or Economics. Since my friend, Cécile, was in the Literature section, I was in History, French and English Literature all in the same classroom with all the same people. However, there is room for selection, which for Cécile was Italian and German, as well as basic Maths and Science that is compulsory for the Literature pupils. The specific Literature classes, I found, were less based on pupil interaction and more centred around the teacher talking and the pupils taking notes. However, I found the language classes to be very interactive and it came as a shock for me to see that they actually spoke English in English class, studying texts with words even I didn’t know!

All in all, this was an extremely enjoyable and educational experience for me that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in languages and I must say, although the French reputation for food is simply exquisite, I’d still take our canteen any day!

By Brittany Flood





Taiji: Small town, Big secret

Along the idyllic coastline of Taiji, Japan, there is a cove which hosts one of the most unknown, inhumane animal slaughters. Every year, from September to April, dolphins are found, manipulated, and either taken for a torturous life of captivity, or butchered for their Mercury poisoned meat.
Every morning, at sunrise, a dozen fishermen set out in their ‘banger’ boats, in the hope of finding a pod of dolphins – ranging from the traditional Bottlenose Dolphins to the less common Striped Dolphins. Once a pod is located, the fishermen exploit the dolphin’s primary sense – sound. They build a “wall” of sound, which directs them to where they are netted into the holocaust venue – the cove.
 the blood of the affectionate, magnificent mammals, turns the ocean red – indicating a “red cove” day.
Stressed, starved, and scared, the dolphins huddle together in attempt to protect their family, while trainers from marine parks around the world examine them by measuring and comparing, in attempt to find the dolphin which will generate the most money. Those who don’t live up to the standards of the animal abusing organisations are butchered and the blood of the affectionate, magnificent mammals, turns the ocean red – indicating a “red cove” day. This ends the horrendous ordeal the dolphins have suffered, and their meat is then taken to the butcher house to be prepared for selling in Japan.
The dolphin drive hunts are considered to be a part of the Japanese culture, however, the documentary “The Cove”, proves that a lot of the Japanese population are unaware of the hunts. Half of the time, they are not aware that they are even purchasing dolphin meat, as it is often put on the market as expensive whale meat, when in actual fact it is dolphin meat which contains dangerously high levels of Mercury. This results in a lot of mercury poisoning within the population, which can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system. The exposure of the high levels of mercury from the dolphin meat is a reason in itself why the dolphin hunts should cease.
Although the awareness of the slaughter is increasing across the globe, there was still 631 of the innocent, intellectual mammals slaughtered and 118 taken for captivity in 2015. By buying a ticket to a dolphin show, you are giving the fishermen fuel to continue this massacre, as they can secure up to £150,000 for a dolphin. Be a voice for the voiceless and say no to captivity. End this holocaust. Let the dolphins live in liberty, after all, “All good things are wild and free.”
“All good things are wild and free.”
By Bethany Alexander

5 Tips You Need Before You Submit Your Personal Statement

Plan ahead.

At times it can appear as though your school life revolves around deadlines and your UCAS application is certainly not something you want to do in a hurry. So to avoid a last minute panic start early. On the UCAS website you can find a sample structure for your personal statement which is a good place to start your planning. Allow yourself plenty of time so that you can re-draft the statement a few times before submitting.


UCAS Resources

Know what is expected.

When you begin to write your personal statement it is important that you understand exactly what is expected. In your statement you should address 2 points: motivation; why you want to study the course, and suitability; why you will be successful at College or University while studying the course. While tackling the motivation section try to avoid using general phrases such as ‘I have a passion for’ and instead focus on the specific areas of the course which interest you or what career you wish to enter into by studying this course as this displays and greater knowledge of the subject and the course. Another point to consider is the character limit. For a UCAS personal statement the word limit is 4000 characters, including spaces, which initially can seem like a lot but disappears quickly once you start writing.

Do your research.

Make sure that you display an understanding of what skills are needed or helpful for the course you wish to study. Some skills such as communication skills and time management span almost courses however it is important that you prioritise the key qualities when writing your application. For help selecting the relevant qualities for your course look at the overview and structure of your course on the University or College website.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Allowing others to read your personal statement, from a parent or guardian to a supportive friend, means that they may notice sections which could be explained better, flow nicer or points that you have missed. Sometimes you will find that it is easier for a friend to recognise your best qualities than it is to find them within yourself.

Give Evidence.

When you state that you have a particular quality that needs to be backed up with evidence. At first it can seem difficult to write about yourself without coming across as arrogant or over-confident however by showing where you have displayed a skill it suggests that this is not just your own opinion of yourself but something you have developed over time.

For example instead of saying ‘I have excellent communications skills’ expand on this by saying ‘I have developed my communication skills through my role as House Captain which required me to express my ideas about how the House system could progress at weekly meetings’.