‘Snow Days’


Ok, this ‘Red Warning’ is a little disturbing and we should all be staying in for the next two days. So…

Seniors (S4/5/6) should be thinking first about coursework submissions:

if you are a National 5 pupil and worried about the deadline for submitting your piece this week, don’t worry – as long as you submit it to us on the first day back to school it will be included in your SQA Coursework Folio. You could be spending time finessing that piece as we speak…;

if you are a Higher pupil then you have a looming Coursework Folio deadline and could be polishing up any piece(s) that you wish to submit;

if you are an Advanced Higher candidate then you have both Coursework Folio pieces and a Dissertation which you could and should be finalising.

Senior pupils could also spend time memorising key quotes for Critical Essays or having a go at some Past Papers (links to SQA Past Papers are on this site).

Junior pupils (S1/2/3) should focus on any homework they have and, crucially, should remember that tomorrow is World Book Day when we launch our contribution to the 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge which will run until 29th March; you will be issued with a bookmark in the coming week to record your minutes of reading each day (fiction, non-fiction, books, magazines, etc…) so make sure that, from tomorrow, you make a note of any reading you are doing to transfer to your official bookmark. Happy reading!


100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge


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The English Department has registered for this challenge, where schools across the country will ask pupils to read as much as they can between the 1st and 29th March and, combined, aim to achieve 100 million minutes of reading during this period.

At Bearsden Academy, we ask pupils in S1 -S3 to read for 10 minutes at the start of each English period and to try and match or exceed this at home each week as part of their homework.

If our S1 to S3 pupils can manage this (and maybe a little bit extra) in the month of March then not only will we contribute handsomely to the national target, we may also qualify for some of the prizes on offer.

All of our S1 to S3 pupils will be issued with a bookmark every week in March on which to record their minutes of reading (of any kind – fiction, non-fiction, books, magazines, etc…) and these should be submitted to their English Teacher or Mr Corbett at the end of each week.

Happy reading!

Poetry by Heart Scotland – the Final!

poetry by heart scotland - bethan (501x640) (251x320)Bethan Chalmers, our S6 contestant in the Poetry by Heart Scotland Glasgow heat, is captured here in full flow last night. Bethan so impressed the judges with her recitals of ‘A Blockhead’ by Amy Lowell and ‘The Curator’ by Norman Kreitman that she has been selected to appear in the Final of the competition!

This takes place at the Hawthornden Lecture Theatre at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh on Saturday 10th March (time to be confirmed). The event is open to the public and we would be delighted to see some support there for Bethan from Bearsden Academy.

The Poetry Games – Competition

the poetry games

Although still exploiting the perhaps outdated strapline from the Hunger Games, this poetry competition promoted by Young Writers UK is one that should interest any budding writers:

Write a poem about any subject, in any style.

Have a chance of winning an iPad.


The closing date is 16th February and further information (including help and advice) can be found at The Poetry Games

Entries should be submitted to Mr Corbett in the English Department before 16th February.

Poetry by Heart Scotland

This competition is again open to the school to participate in and we are looking for any S4 to S6 pupils who are confident performers to give it a go. You are required to learn two poems (from a suggested list of hundreds) and perform them from memory. Those interested should contact Mr Corbett in the English Department by Friday 17th November to register as there will be a competitive heat before Xmas.SPL Poster she walks in beauty (2)

School Show – School of Rawwwk!

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A musical based on the premise of a man masquerading as his substitute teacher friend, encouraging the pupils of a high-attaining independent school to forego their normal studies and, instead, aim to win a Battle of the Bands competition? Aside from the obvious child -protection issues and the lack of teacher professionalism on show, that idea is just not going to engage an audience for two hours… is it?

How wrong can you be! Bearsden Academy’s latest (almost literally) all-singing, all-dancing production is fantastic. Special mention must go to lead, Archie Morton, whose enthusiasm never flags, despite being in almost every scene. It is the music and singing that are really jaw-dropping, though: beautiful harmonies, a superb backing band and pin-sharp choreography make this a show that looks and sounds as good as any professional production I have seen in recent years.

Huge credit must go to the performers but also the army of teachers and pupils who filled all the off-stage roles and contributed to a hugely entertaining evening. It was very astute of Mr Millar and his team to choose a script which echoes the Cabinet Secretary for Education’s current message about schools looking beyond simple examination attainment and seeking to educate the whole child – quite what Mr Swinney would have thought of the broader anti-corporate ‘Stick it to the Man!’ theme, is another matter… But the 9-year old accompanying me was happy to shout that catchphrase to the rooftops – clear evidence that the show is a triumph!


Scholar Webinars


Despite the aversion of some in the English Department to the portmanteau term ‘Webinar’, the University of Heriot-Watt’s online learning portal Scholar will be running a number of these for pupils studying at all levels of English over the coming months. Each Bearsden Academy pupil has been issued with a Scholar login and should be able to access these events remotely. Details and dates are as follows:

Tuesday 10 October, 6pm: National 5 Writing Portfolio

Tuesday 7 November, 6pm: Higher Writing Portfolio

Tuesday 14 November, 6pm: National 5 RUAE

Tuesday 5 December, 6pm: Higher RUAE

 Tuesday 9 January, 6pm: Higher Critical Essay

Tuesday 16 January, 6pm: National 5 Critical Essay

Tuesday 6 February, 6pm: Higher Scottish Set Text

Tuesday 6 March, 6pm: Advanced Higher Literary Study Essay

Tuesday 27 March, 6pm: Advanced Higher Textual Analysis

Tuesday 17 April, 6pm: Higher Revision

Tuesday 1 May, 6pm: National 5 Revision

Glasgow University Visit

glasgow uni libraryAdvanced Higher English pupils paid a visit to Glasgow University Library last week and are now the proud owners of GU Library cards, allowing them to access the University’s collections for the remainder of this academic year. This will aid them in their research for Dissertations this year but also gave them a flavour of what to expect if they are heading for Higher Education next year or beyond (excellent modern facilities attended by very sleepy students, as far as I could see!).

The pupils engaged well with the resources on offer, behaved impeccably and were a credit to the school.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Excels at Emmys

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The recent television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ was hugely successful at this week’s Emmy Awards ceremony in the USA. It won a slew of awards, including Best Drama and Best Actress for its lead, Elizabeth Moss. The author joined the cast onstage at the ceremony and received a standing ovation.

The TV series is an outstanding (though disturbing) piece of work; perhaps unsurprising, since it is based on an outstanding (though disturbing) novel. We are too often disappointed, though, by inferior film or television adaptations of excellent novels (‘Northern Lights’/’The Golden Compass’ can be your starter for ten) so should revel in this one – unless, of course, you are currently studying the novel in our Advanced Higher class, in which case, you are forbidden from watching the TV series!

Creative Writing – The Young Walter Scott Prize

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This creative writing competition seeks a piece of between 800 and 2000 words, inspired by any aspect of the past – an actual historical event, place or person. The piece can be in any genre (prose, poetry or drama) – it just needs to be set in a time before you were born. There are two age categories – 11 to 15 and 16 to 19 – and the winners receive a travel and research grant to further explore historical places (with runners-up prizes of £100 book tokens). The closing date is 31st October 2017 and full details can be found on the website http://www.walterscottprize.co.uk/young-walter-scott-prize/

If you would like advice or feedback on a piece of writing for the competition then please see Mr Corbett in the English Department.