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.

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:


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’.