100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge

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Well, it’s taken a while but we are finally able to announce the results of the 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge, which our S1 – S3 pupils took part in from 1st to 29th March this year.

679 schools and educational establishments from across the UK entered and Bearsden Academy came a very creditable 192nd out of these 679. If we also consider that a large number of Home Schools were entered for the competition and seemed to figure quite prominently on the leaderboard, then this performance looks even better. All of this contributed to the organisers reaching a final figure of 100, 019, 560 minutes of reading during the challenge.

Most pleasing of all for us at Bearsden, though, was the fact that our pupils read loads during March and we wanted to acknowledge our own stars. Mrs Thomson, Principal Teacher of English, awarded (or will do soon to those we have not yet seen) book tokens for:

– in third place, Thomas Morgan (S2) who read 5,220 minutes;

– in second place, Helen Loud (S2) who read 8,583 minutes;

– and in first place, Madeleine Bell (S3) who read an astonishing 13,140 minutes.

Congratulations to all our participants, especially our winners.


‘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!

school of rock

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!