Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Glen Cunningham's opinions on what life is like for the youth of Nairn

Glen Cunningham, who many gurnites will know as a talented concert singer, is also a youth representative and full co-opted member on Nairn West Community Council. Last night in the Community and Arts centre he gave a forthright report on how it is for the youth of the town. He also talked about Nairn Academy and give frank opinions also on that institution. After being introduced by West chair Rosemary Young he began:

Since being co-opted I have been asked for the opinions of the youth of Nairn. Sadly the response wasn’t earth-shattering. I hardly had any feedback from my peers, however, I’ll share my opinions. I believe the youth of Nairn are very well catered for, there are lots of clubs that meet in Nairn such as the swimming club, scouts, cubs, beavers, guides, rainbows, brownies, boys brigade, sailing, athletics, synchro and many more.

We’ve got the two championship Scottish golf courses, the tennis and sports club, the swimming pool and the Little Theatre, the Community and Arts centre and they all offer lots of opportunities for youths to get involved. There are also youth football teams, many places where youths can get active – not to forget the beach. There’s lots of facilities for the youths in Nairn, so the only problem I can see is that they are not being utilised to their full potential.

You always hear negative comments about the youth of Nairn. For example, one of the questions at the hustings asked how to deal with the feral kids. I think that it is the people that feel this way about young people that are part of the problems. Most young people in Nairn are not threatening. It’s a stereotypical image. I think we should all focus on the success of the youth of Nairn instead of the bad reports. If we keep on complaining about the tiny minority of the youths dropping litter or having fights etc it won’t do anything to improve the situation. These issues should be dealt with in a more discreet way. Praise is more transformational than criticism without purpose. Praise young people for their positive attitude and contribution to society and you create positive roll models. Sadly some young people will not be positive citizens but perhaps adults in their lives do not have a positive influence.

When doing research one thing that did come back was negative about Nairn Academy. I can’t comment very much on this because I left Nairn Academy after my first year so I was only in Nairn Academy for one year then I moved to Culloden Academy. However, I’ll tell you the reasons why I left. To put it bluntly I had awful teachers in just about every subject and there were no opportunities for me to explore my musical talent. There were no school concerts, no school choir. For the time I was at Nairn Academy I wasn’t happy and I wanted to get the best education I could get and focus on my musical skills. It was my decision to put in a placing request to Culloden Academy. Obviously it was a hard decision to leave all my school friends and start anew but still live in Nairn. However, every thing has worked out brilliantly for me. I’ve had great teachers and achieved a good set of highers and I’m aiming for a career as a professional opera singer. I don’t believe that would have happened if I hadn’t left the school.

I wouldn’t like to comment too much on the school’s position right now. I’ve heard disappointing exam results from friends. Whereas Nairn is a great area and the kids should be receiving really good results but a lot of kids in Nairn have tutors outwith. This is something that is not evident in my school, Culloden Academy, but appears to be normal in Nairn Academy. This means the less well off people can’t the tutors and they’re at a disadvantage. The school is seen by young people I know to be improving slowly but with a long way still to go, I’m glad I left four years ago.”


Anonymous said...

While I'm glad to hear that there are plenty of options available to young people in the town I am of the opinion that you can take a horse to water, etc. In that, we are no different from any small town, it has always been the case that some people will take part in things and others won't.

To satisfy my own curiosity I went back to the Hustings video on the Gurn to refresh my memory regarding the feral kids comment and the video, see the Gurn 27/4/12, shows that the question posed was in regards to "...manage the "feral kids" in the High Street who are so intimidating at night". This question was specific to a certain group and I feel it is misleading for Glen to say that “I think that it is the people that feel this way about young people that are part of the problems” as these “people” may have had real and genuine problems regarding this particular group. Interestingly, the replies to this question were very broad. However, I do agree with Glen that there should be more said about the positives rather than only the negatives and we should highlight and encourage the majority of kids who do make an impact.

Glen says himself that he had little feedback from his peers and his report seems to be based on his opinions rather than facts so, in order to have a more balanced and less one-sided view on the issues he touches on, it would be interesting to hear the opinions of other young people, in particular from pupils from different backgrounds who have spent more than one year at the school.

Will the West Community Council follow this up?

Anonymous said...

While I think that its good that Glen has had the opportunity to share his opinions on Nairn youth and Nairn Academy. As a parent of a sixth year pupil at Nairn Academy I would like to share just how proud I am of my sons achievements.
He and his friends worked very hard for recent exams and continue to do so with the support from teachers. With University planned for next year I'm sure that whatever path he takes, he will continue to make me proud!

Anonymous said...

Glen is very biased in his opinion. I think he comes across too one sided. Fair enough you felt moving to another school would suit you but to label your teachers as "awful" doesn't sit well with me. How does a 1st year know or appreciate what makes a teacher good? Kids will always take a dislike to their teachers but believe me you don't realise until years later that the teachers you said were "awful" were actually not as bad as you thought.

The successful people that graduate from Nairn Academy outweigh the ones that aren't. I agree that more should be done to promote the good things that the students are doing. I'm proud of what the young people in Nairn do and have done.

I get the feeling that this is what GLEN thinks. He should have left his opinion at home. He is a Nairn West Community Council member and should have voiced the feelings of the community, not his own biased feeling.

@anon from Gurnmeister: re your final paragraph. I would be willing to publish that information as a comemnt provided you could give me sources to back it up.

Anonymous said...

I agree with literally nothing you are talking about. How can you make a judgement on a school after only one year.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Glen has spent five years at culloden academy compared to the one (first year) at nairn completely invalidates his opinion in my eyes. How can a first year possibly tell that his teachers are "awful"? There are many people who have come out of Nairn Academy with very succesful grades. Shame you thought you wouldn't do the same. Maybe that's a bad reflection on you, Glen?

Graisg said...

Please keep all comments within the bounds of reasonable debate or comments will have to be switched off on this topic.

University Student that went to Nairn Academy said...

I would just like to comment on many of the points that Glen raised or talked about as written in this article.

I have just finished my education at Nairn Academy (I am now a university student) and although not without any faults, I believe that some of what Glen has said is very unfair and untrue. I myself felt that the majority of teachers at the Academy were very supportive throughout my six years of education there and extra help was offered by the teachers when needed - especially as exam time drew nearer. But I must confess that when it came to Art in 5th year I encountered some problems but with determination and a letter from my parents to the school I was able to sit my Art exam at Higher after being told I wouldn't be able to pass. I passed my Higher Art exam: so in some cases school is what you make of it.

There were also opportunities for young singers in Nairn Academy: there was a choir at Nairn Academy (they were often seen at events such as the Christmas lights turn on and the Northern Constabulary youth concert "Choices for Life" which the Nairn Academy choir was the opening act for) and the choir was active during the year that Glen was at Nairn Academy, I know this because I was in the choir and sang at many of the events that the choir was invited to attend.

Glen talks of his struggle to get any feedback from his peers about their thoughts on Nairn. If Glen had asked for help from the Nairn Youth Forum on this matter they would have been more than happy to have helped him. The Youth Forum works within and out-with the school and they have experience of consulting with large numbers of Academy students. Members of the Youth Forum also sit as youth representatives on the Community Councils and when Ward Forums were active - members of the Youth Forum were present at those meetings.

Glen states that he received a good set of highers at Culloden and he doesn't "believe that would have happened if I hadn't left the school". I find this comment the most unfair of all the comments Glen has made. This past exam season saw six students sit their Advanced Higher English exam: five of those students got an A in the exam and one student got a B. Is that not something to be incredibly proud of? Not a single student that sat the Advanced Higher English exam failed. The lowest grade was a B. Considering that a D is not considered a fail, I find the exam results of that class incredible. It also proves the point that not all the teachers are "awful" at Nairn Academy.

Yes, every year some students are disappointed by their grades - but that is inevitable. From my friends at school that have just left: all of them are currently at university; have a deferred place for university or they are studying at college. They are all doing what they had wanted to do when they left school: be that going to university or to college.

One pupil that has just left Nairn Academy is now studying a degree in medicine. Further evidence that being a pupil of Nairn Academy does not have a negative impact on your grades or your opportunities in life.

Anonymous said...

For the record Nairn Academy has excellent teachers, sure some are better than others but it not for you, only a pupil there for one year, to say they are 'awful' and how can you possibly say you wouldn't have achieved the grades you did if you were at Nairn Academy.

If you had actually come to the school, or Nairn Youth Forum, you might have had a little more response to your thoughts.

To round up, these comments are biased, narrow minded and the opinion of an individual, an individual who can't possible comment on a town that he spends most of his time away from studying at his obviously 'superior' school. All the positive things said in the beginning of the speech are completely undermined by the rude, hurtful comments made about Nairn Academy.

@ anon 1450 from Gurnmeister Ritchie Cunningham is/was the rector of Inverness High I believe The word obscene also isn't relevant to this observer's mind thus you will find two wee edits to your comment.

Anonymous said...

How sad that Glen has felt the need to belittle the acheivements, dedication and hard work of many of his peers and their teachers who attend Nairn Academy when he has very little factual evidence of the current position at the school.

I recently attended the Award Ceremony at the Academy and was amazed at the talent and acheivements which were on display.

May I point out to Glen that Nairn Academy along with the support of organisations within our local community have fostered the talents of both international and national sportsmen and women, has nurted the talents of wonderful musicians and artisits and have produced confident children who can hold their own in debates of the highest quality.

I am also very proud of the younsters of Nairn Academy who are going out into the world in order to make a difference in a positive manner. Those children who devote their time volunteering with other youngsters throughout Nairn and in charity work both here and abroad for example in Malawi. Let us not forget how proud our town was not that long ago of Nairn Academy's contribution to the Olympics in the shape of their head boy and former pupils.

Well Done Nairn Academy i say!!!!

A group of current sixth year students at Nairn Academy said...

This comment is coming form a group for students at Nairn Academy who have been present for all six years.

We would like to express our anger and disappointment for the comments made about Nairn and us as a school. We do not think of ourselves as "feral kids" and find the use of this word highly offensive.

If you wanted a true representation of Nairn Academy you should ask someone who has all six years of experience at the school.

Since our time at school we have gone through two different head teachers who have brought many new improvements. Every school has their fair share of good and bad teachers but we feel at Nairn Academy the teachers have improved over the years and put a lot of effort into what they do.

Just because you brandish your "musical talent" all over this town doesn't mean there is not a number of talented people in the school.

There is now many opportunities for people to express their talents in the school as the choir has been running for many years and frequent talent shows which have taken place. Please support us and buy a ticket to witness for yourself the talent which the school possesses!

Tutors are a factor which comes into context outside of school hours. This is an option which pupils and parents make for themselves. We don't feel it is your right to judge grades on income which is what you are implying.

Due to your judgement of friends and pupils at Nairn Academy we think you should review your comments and make a more fair and unbiased report on the school as it is now six years on.

Grace Chisholm said...

As a former pupil of Nairn Academy and now a parent who lives in the vicinity of the school I feel that that I am justified to comment that this "dissing" of the school is unnecessary. I have to question why Glen felt it necessary to use his position to voice his personal feelings 6 years down the line and also why none of his peers either didn't or wouldn't come back to him to share their opinions. You only have to open the local press on a weekly basis to see how well Nairn Academy pupils are doing. Of 80 Coca-Cola ambassadors at London 2012, 3 were former pupils, who had to go through rigorous interviews/tests to get the positions. No mean feat! Nairn Academy pupils are always very visible when it comes to getting involved in, and supporting community activities and charitable events; putting much more back into their community than Glen seems to have done. The Archie Foundation of Raigmore Hospital I'm sure would support this view as Nairn Academy Dreams and Teams regularly volunteer and support their fundraising events. There are lots of individuals and organisations out there who could give glowing testimonials regarding the attitude, behaviour and responsibility of the Academy pupils that they have encountered. Finally I would like to add that whilst my own children have not yet reached the academy, I have 6 family members who have all gone on to graduate from institutes of higher education, 3 of whom are dyslexic and were only able to achieve what they did through the support they received from Nairn Academy.

Glen has done himself absolutely no favours with these comments and if he felt that his peers weren't engaging with him now they are less likely to do so in the future. To echo an earlier comment "well done Nairn Academy!"

Anonymous said...

Both my children attended Nairn Academy and both went on to University. They both now have very successful careers.... this coming from being educated by the teachers at Nairn Academy.

Well done to all the staff at Nairn Academy

Nairn Acadmey S6 Pupil said...

I agree with the almost ALL comments made above.

There has been many diffrent opportunities for the talented pupils in Nairn Acamdey to show off there talents. The diffrent talents are shown throught out the year both in and outside of school. One of the meaning of talent "is a capacity for achievement or success" The school is full of talented people and I am proud to say that I know who they are and are able to call some my friends.

If an opinion is to be made about the teachers in the school then the people making them should be pupils that are at the school NOW and NOT someone who was only there for one year. Glen can not blame the teachers for his decision to move schools as all the teachers in Nairn Academy are supportive of all their students and help them to gain there full potential.

I am proud to be a pupil at Nairn Academy and alway will be.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Glen Cunningham's opinion of Nairn Academy and question his motives in denigrating a school of which he clearly has little knowledge.
As the mother of a former pupil who got good higher results and went on to get a degree, without the aid of private tutors,I feel qualified to say Nairn Academy has excellent teachers. I also have several nephews and a niece who all attended Nairn Academy and all have degrees and good Jobs. My youngest nephew has only recently left and is studying for a Maths degree at Aberdeen University. Nairn Academy can also be rightly proud of their Dreams and Teams their sports coaches and most recently Jamie McDonald ,last years head boy who ran with the Olympic Torch and was a volunteer at the Olympics. (yes I am one of his proud aunties). Glen's comments seem petulant and I must ask if he sees his comments as some sort of payback for the bad experience, I assume he had, in the short time he attended the Academy.

Anonymous said...

As a current 6th year I feel that it should be us telling the community about how good our school is and it should not be coming from an ex-pupil who only spent his first year in Nairn Academy. The school offered a wide variety of extra curriculum activities when I first started from Music to Sports and Chess to Eco-schools. Today Nairn academy's extra activities are hugely important to the school and are widely taken up by all "feral" pupils, the school offers a very wide range of extra things....and if its something that one of us pupils have an intrest in the school will provide what we need wether it's an opportunity to gain work experiance or sports clubs or even just to help younger pupils. I will proudly say that Nairn academy has provide for me and the school is a great environment to be taught in....

Anonymous said...

Why call us "feral", I prefer to be called savage.

Anonymous said...

Glen's "COMMENT" or should I say "OPINION" is just "SO WRONG"

I agree with the post I have read so far and I am sure more will follow.

I would like to know what "RESEARCH" Glen has done on this before he gave his "OPINION", as a parent of present and former pupils of Nairn Academy I would have guess a Questionairre would have been useful!

Nairn Academy and Parents are not just proud of Academic Success but as an earlier comment pointed out

Anonymous said...

Glen has obviously created a great deal of debate and I can only but agree with the majority view. It would be interesting to hear from the other members of the community council to find out if they support his views or support and value the efforts of our proud school

Anonymous said...

When you represent a community you should voice the opinions of the COMMUNITY. Certainly not your own. Very disappointed by your comments!

Graisg said...

There are obviously many people that do not share some of Glen's views although no one, for example, has contradicted his assertion that the youth of Nairn are well catered for. It seems to be his comments on the school that have caused a stir.

Whether you agree with Glen or not, he had the courage to speak out in a public forum and it is wise to respect that and temper any response with moderate articulate language, and I'm glad that most commentators on this article have done that.

It is a mark of civilisation and a tolerant society that we respect the right of those that might not carry the majority view to state their case. We are all entitled to our opinion and long may that be the case, the only other option to that is darkness.

Thank you Glen for speaking your mind and thank you too, those other young Nairn people that have responded with rational, although sometimes angry remarks. It is good to see that such a level of debate and interest is being shown by yourselves.

Anonymous said...

No one would disagree that Nairn youth have a lot available to them but Nairn is no diferent to anyother town/city, haveing issues that need to be addressed. But this is a very small number off our youth.
I would agree with the comments that have been left Nairn Academy Staff are doing a great job. This can be seen by the number of Pupils that have left a comment.
Every child that starts ANY of the schools in Nairn(not just the Academy) are given the chance to do the best they can.
What the CC should maybe ask them self's "WHAT CAN WE DO FOR THE YOUTH OF NAIRN"
A good number of our youth IF ASKED would have been happy to speak in public Nairn Academy have a number of youth that are INVOLVED in the community.
It is the fact that Glen has from what has been said given his opinion with out fact.

Graisg said...

Having observed Nairn's community council's for almost 20 years I would suggest that if Glen focused on opinion rather than fact then he would only be following a tradition that many older Community Councillors have established over the years.
Politicians at all levels are meant to represent their constituents, don't get me wrong there are some good performers at the CCs but often you will hear personal opinions expressed.
As always the answer is to get invovled yourself if not happy with the authorities, even those at the level of the almost powerless tier that is a Community Council.

Anonymous said...

Glen has clearly stated that this is his opinion and he has every right to do so. However, I think he has shown poor judgement in basing his comments on Nairn Academy on what he has heard from people who were disappointed in their exam results. As for the use of tutors, which is now common place, I would be amazed if Glen's claim that it doesn't happen at Culliden Academy is true.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so you edit people's comments when they ask a valid question? So much for free speech!!! Poor show Gurn.

Anonymous said...

Not a very thorough insight into the lives of the Youths of Nairn. Especially from someone with such a stellar education and "talent" as yourself.

Perhaps you've shot yourself in the foot here by inadvertantly advertising the inability of Culloden Academy teachers to teach their students how to construct and present a detailed report?
Just saying.......

Anonymous said...

Glens introduction into this subject was presented very well.
It was unfortunate however that he did not get a bigger response to the question at hand. “What life is like for the youth of Nairn”.

Now I would imagine that it is a very good life for the Youth of Nairn, with great schools and lots of activities and clubs which Glen has stated.

However the so called “feral” youths (I think this is a ridiculous way to speak about our fellow community peoples).
These young people are trapped in an age that is very difficult. They are too old for structured clubs such as BBs and scouts etc. and still want to socialise with friends. The youth café that is run from the community centre is on twice a week I think. So for the other 5 nights of the week these youths have nowhere else to go apart from the streets. So we as a community should be asking these youths what they would like to see brought to Nairn to give them a place to go or give them valuable life skills.

Glen also writes that during his research that the topic of Nairn Academy came up however he was not willing to comment on it. Was that not the point of this report to find out what the youth think of things?

As for the slate on Nairn Academy, I believe that this topic should not have been in this report as it is a personal feeling towards said institution and in my honest opinion nothing to do with the subject at hand. Glen states “there were no opportunities for me to explore my musical talent”, However this would only be the case if he had already chosen a musical path in which to follow so of course there would be no room to explore. The school offers a comprehensive music department and teaches a wide variety of instruments (at a basic level) from singing to drums.

If the intent of this report was to upset and annoy local citizens and youths alike, then he has ticked all the boxes. However as for the main point of this report I would give it a low score as has been stated in previous comments that the Nairn Youth forum would have been happy to help with this report.

Anonymous said...

'Glen Cunningham's opinions on what life is like for the youth of Nairn'

What the hell has this to do with nairn academy? you went completley off subject, but since you are on this subject ..... how dare you slate nairn academy! I left nairn academy 10 years ago and there was plenty of oppertunity for me there. I made something of myself, it has nothing to do with the school or the teachers but to do with what an individual wants and if they have the drive to achieve their goals. you only went there for one year, what do you know? did you even talk to the youth of nairn? i mean actually talk to them not get them to do some stupid questionare? 'cause if you talk to them you will find that most of them are bored with what nairn has to offer. Especially the young teens, but they do a great job of entertaining themselfs, adults may not like it much, but remember we were all kids at one point getting ourselfs into all sorts of mischief, your only a kid once.

Graisg said...

@ anon 10.22 you said "Okay, so you edit people's comments when they ask a valid question? So much for free speech!!! Poor show Gurn."

"Free Speech" is a fluid concept in our society anon. McNae's essential Law for Journalists will tell you: "
Although the United Kingdom has a free 'free press' in comparison to the authoritarian censorship which stifles liberty in some other nations, the description must be qualified because of the growing restrictions on what can be published."

The law, of course, impacts on the digital world too. There are literally hundreds of comments that have not been published on the Gurn and over the years many that have been edited. Sometimes the Gurn will enter into a conversation with a commentator before publishing or partial publication.
We are of course only citizen journalist hobbyists but you will find that newspapers too will edit letters to the editor, sometimes almost beyond recognition.

Comments are also sometimes not published for a variety of reasons including the personal sensibilites of the editor.

Please remember that "we are the media now" and if not happy with the content of virtually any platform of news distribution (including the Gurn) the opportunities offered by the world wide web allow us to state our own point of view if we feel it is not being correctly aired in the debate.

This observer recently saw someone post pictures of ongoing issues in the interior of their local authority house on Cllr Liz MacDonald's facebook page. The images and the accompanying text and debate would have been visible to over a 1,000 people. That method would have been as good as purchasing an advert in a paper.

You too could be blogging about your views, tweeting, create a facebook campaign page, upload a video stating your case onto youtube and if people found it interesting your point of view would gain momentum.

It is excellent to see so much articulate comment from the young on this article. Please remember this town is yours too, if you think anything isn't right speak out and let us older generations know the score. I see the Nairn Youth Forum has a blog but there hasn't been much posted recently - maybe it is time for a few updates on there?

Anonymous said...

I wasn't really into playing musical instruments at school, but as I've just left, I know for a fact that the music department at Nairn academy has a more than ample opportunities for the musically talented. For instance their is the choir, steel band, wind band, special tutors for those wanting to play pipes- and that's just a few examples.

I myself only attended one high school but I find it hard to see any other school offering a dedicated operatic singing coach needed to pursue that particular profession.It seems likes the type of thing you need outside tutoring for.

I think I'm still classed as a fairly young adult but I never saw the opportunity to answer this questionnaire at all, so no wonder the results weren't "earth shattering". And anyway, reports are meant to be formal- the use of cliches... hmmm.. good job Culloden English department.

Anonymous said...

I would have to echo the comments of most of the above posters. I left Nairn Academy in 2006 and thought many of the teachers were terrific. Admittedly there were a few that were less than impressive or had altogether lost their enthusiasm. But the efforts of the majority helped my year (me included) to achieve our potential. I'm proud to say that Nairn Academy provided a great starting foundation that has led to a promising career.

Totally understand where Glen is coming from re: music, but that is one department of many. I've been away from Nairn for a while, but it seems a rather poor decision to have a Culloden Academy pupil acting as the voice of the Nairn 'youth' (this is such a cringeworthy word, full of negative connotations - cannot we use young men and women, or teenagers?) I also take his point about private tutoring. I was fortunate that my parents were willing to pay for a tutor to help out at exam time- I acknowledge this is not the same for everyone, and the school would do well to offer additional sessions for those who are struggling in the run-up to exams.

It's great to see the community getting on board to discuss these sorts of issues.

Happy Parent said...

The observation that voice training for opera at a secondary school is not available is well made. I have a youngster at uni now thanks to the education at Nairn Academy – not to forget Millbank Primary before that. The Academy has had difficulties but don’t knock it. I know that many teachers went out of their way at lunch-time to provide extra tuition for youngsters needing that bit of extra help before exams. And I will be eternally grateful to them for that.

Mistah Kurtz said...

Well said 'youth' of Nairn!

As a willing servant of Nairn Academy I was fairly irked when I read Glen’s ill-informed and naïve comments last week. Following the solid advice of not e-mailing whilst enraged (advice I hardly ever follow) I decided to wait until the weekend before further reflection… and I’m glad I did – suffice to say the responses from pupils and parents have refuted Greg’s ramblings comprehensively.

It has been my absolute pleasure over the past years to work with and for the pupils of Nairn Academy. Having taught in several other schools I can confidently state that the students of Nairn Academy are among the friendliest and most talented I have met: they are excellent ambassadors of the community they represent.

Fair play to Glen for having the courage to say his piece – however self-serving and unenlightened it is. I’m certain that Culloden has its own share of talent which Glen is a part of… well done to them, but in acknowledging them let’s not overlook the local excellence that Nairn Academy has helped shape – selecting extra-curricular examples only in the past year alone: Jamie Macdonald and the Olympic torch honour, Stuart Davidson’s session as Highland Council’s Youth Convenor (there’s a local source of information for you Glen); numerous plaudits for the school’s steel band; prize winning digital animation; some of the best schools’ debaters in Scotland (starring at the national final in the parliament chamber); Amy McCann being selected to support the Dalai Lama on his Highland visit… I could, and should, go on and my apologies to the significant number of achievements that I’ve not mentioned from last session.

I’ve not even touched on the academic success that pupils at Nairn enjoy. Obviously Glen’s impossible to substantiate observation that more pupils seek private tuition in Nairn than in Culloden I will treat with the contempt it deserves. If you are going to ‘report’ on the youth of Nairn, Glen, then some facts and figures on this would be helpful… unless you plan a future in politics, where the making of sweeping and unsupported sound-bites is a pre-requisite!

Good luck with the opera thing… I hope you’re better at it than your initial foray into local community affairs.

Anonymous said...

can you explain why all appropriate comments that are being posted are not been shared on this blog. Editing comments is exceptable but choosing favourite comments surely makes a mockery of the debate

Graisg said...

We have already detailed why some comments are not posted, there will be no further discussion on the matter. Please accept a full refund if not satisfied.

Jamie McDonald said...

A very recent past Head Boy of Nairn Academy I would be failing the Rector, pupils, staff & community by not responding to the comments on this blog. Six years ago – a year before Glens short stay - I entered Nairn Academy an average ability S1 pupil intending to pursue a career in Sport. Never considered an academic high flyer it became evident I was Dyslexic & very quickly Nairn Academy staff put the appropriate support in place allowing me to achieve academically way beyond expectations. This week I started a Maths Degree at Aberdeen University. Thank you Nairn Academy Maths Department. Educational success is not all down to the teaching staff, at secondary school young people take responsibility for their own learning, for those who do at Nairn Academy there is exceptional support in place. Parental support must also be considered. I agree in Nairn there does seem to be a culture of parents searching for additional tutorial support for their children however this is a personal choice not one that is endorsed by the school in anyway. Lunchtime & after school tuition are always available for those who wished to one other blogger stated... “you can lead a horse to water”

Being a pupil at Nairn Academy without doubt opened doors for me and many of my peers .Whilst the main focus was of course on the academic side I was also given opportunities to represent the school at Football, Rugby, Swimming, Badminton, Sports leader, Young Ambassador, Prefect, Head Boy & latterly carrying the Olympic Torch & working at Olympic 2012. I am not musical but I know there are many established musical groups for those who are. My experiences would have been impossible without the unconditional support of Nairn Academy Staff. Running with the Torch in Stirling, representing Nairn Academy is without doubt a life time memory& the manner in which I was received when I returned to Nairn & Nairn Academy will live with me forever. Leading the Summer Award Ceremony with the Torch followed by a list of very worthy Award winners was a privilege & honour I will never forget. I entered Nairn Academy an S1 pupil who lacked confidence in reading aloud in class, I left having been given experiences in & beyond the classroom that gave me confidence to speak at Scottish Parliament & lead conferences for young people throughout the region , thanks to the support & confidence I gained as a valued Nairn Academy Pupil. Those pupils who were involved in the other extra-curricular groups eg:Debating, Sport & Youth Forums also enjoyed immense success.

I witnessed many changes in Leadership & teaching staff however this only widened my understanding & prepared me for my future career in this ever changing world. Of course the school is not perfect, no school is but the Nairn Community needs to stop looking back. Six years ago Nairn Academy was a very different educational establishment than it is today. However my brothers & cousins attended during this time & they have all gone on to successful careers, non of us from privileged backgrounds. I have great respect for Glen & his singing ability, I wish him all the best but I am puzzled why someone spending a limited time in the school feels qualified to comment so harshly on Nairn Academy whilst at the same time admitting “I had hardly any feedback from my peers”. Glen is correct in saying that the young people of Nairn are well catered for whether it is to be active in the many sports on offer, youth groups or time to chill in the Youth Cafe but again it comes down to choice, many young people simply choose not to take part in organised activity & many are in part-time employment.. I agree Glen is entitled to his opinion I am slightly concerned that the adults supporting Glen in his new post did not take time to advise him as a representative of the young people of Nairn it is not really his own opinion that counts. I will always be proud to have been a Nairn Academy Pupil.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

i can to nairn acadamy in first year, i was a very abrupt child. i behaved horribly. with plenty love and attention the school changed me and made me a better person. i have been giving great opportunities in work experience and the youth forum.the school gave me a second chance and showed me how to let people in. i believe that the teachers in nairn are excellent and always help me 100%. im proud to say im from nairn academy

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Current S6 pupil..
definition of "feral kids" - A child who is raised without human contact, often raised by wild animals as a result of being abandoned......
I do not think my parents would agree with that.

Anonymous said...

Just to highlight his point of there being no choir when he was in school; I was in the year above Glen and I had the opportunity to join a choir and a various amount of clubs. Seen as he only spent a year in Nairn Academy his comments on the school are rather one-sided.

Having been there through 3 changes in head teachers the school has had many different views on how to improve the school... each head teacher taking there own twists into the running of the school life. Yet one thing the Heads have always offered is new extra curricular activities and clubs such as the unicycling club. It is not the schools fault if pupils do not want to participate in them.

I went through all of primary school struggeling and if it wasn't for the teachers and the support of the base staff at Nairn Academy I wouldn't have been diagnosed with dyslexia. If it wasn't for the support I recieved I wouldn't have pushed myself to achieve better grades than I aimed for. That doesn't sound as if the teachers are "awful".

Regarding your statement about exam results being "disappointing"; you are making the minority of pupils who didn't do as well as they could have sound like the majority - which is not the case. As you can see by the many comments lots of my year have gone of to university or other places for further education which in this day and age is not particularly easy when entry requirements are getting tougher.

Just because you are a member of "this and that" part of the council and enjoy broadcasting your opinions, next time it would be more appropriate if you gained the correct facts instead of bad mouthing a school that you obviously never participated properly in and found the full extent of what Nairn Academy has to offer before judging it and moving.

Anonymous said...

Glen you need to wind your neck in a bit. Some of your comments may be true but you do not have the right to speak badly about Nairn Academy as you only spent 1 year there. Also how do we know you weren't just a roudy first year who had "awful" teachers because you acted out in class and they punsihed you for it. Your comments are invalid and quite frankly ignorant and repugnant due to the fact you are comparing 1 year to 5 years at Culloden. If Culloden was such a " talented" school then you would know not to make such an ignonart and biased comment on the teaching staff of Nairn Academy.The teachers at Nairn are in fact excellent motivaters, supports and intellectuals. Like in all schools there are obviously some teachers better than others and I agree that a very small minority are not as good as the rest but on a large scale the majority of teachers at Nairn Academy are fanstatic. As an ex pupil who is now at University with a lot of ex pupils from my year I can say without hesitation that if it had not been for my teachers and the lovely support base I would definietly not have made it into Unvieristy. I would also like to comment that Nairn Academy has one of the best special needs bases in the Highlands and that Culloden's is no where near as good.

Anonymous said...

Nairn Academy is the best school....................................................In the world!!!!!

Anonymous said...

In Glen’s defence he did not initiate discussion on “feral youths” but he was referring to a question raised during the election Hustings earlier this year; check out the video on the Gurn on 27th April 2012. He was not the one to introduce this phrase so adverse comments should not be aimed towards him regarding that particular subject.

Graisg said...

Absolutely correct anon, here's the video you refer too.

Hustings question 1

Musician and proud said...

I heartily support all the comments above, and disagree with Glen in his misjudged and misguided thoughts completely.

I am a product of the music department at Nairn academy (from 2001 to 2006). Without them, I would not be pursuing my dream to become a professional classical musician. My good fortune so far is thanks to the tireless support from the current head of the department and other staff across the school (including support staff, and my guidance teacher). Whatever I needed, the music teacher bent over backwards for me! From extra practice time in lessons, sitting my advanced higher a year early, accompanying me after school, to after school recording sessions for auditions. It is thanks to their support and dedication to the students that this is possible.

As to the accusation that there was no choir and no support, I was a member of the school choir for 3 years. It ran on a Thursday lunchtime if I remember rightly. If Glen had ever bothered to walk into the music department during lunchtime, he would have known that there is a wealth of musical activity and talent at the school. From string orchestra, wind band, samba band, choir and pipe band. There were many concerts and opportunities to perform, and there have even been several tours in Europe. In recent years, as I left in 2006, there has also been a steel band and other pursuits I believe.

Thanks to the work of these wonderful teachers, I won a place at one of the top schools in Scotland for music. The ambition and confidence in my skill and talent was given to me by the music teacher I had at Nairn academy. Thank to the good higher grades I got from the school, was able to attend one of the top universities in the world for music. I am now living abroad, studying and working in order to fulfil my dream.

Yes Nairn academy has its flaws. But the music department is not one of them. It is a shining beacon of talent, thanks to the many many hours of work that the staff put into it. I spent 5 years at Nairn academy, 2 years at a school that regularly tops the Scottish league tables and 3 years at a top university. I recieved good grades at all, and recieved as much support, musically and academically in Nairn as I did anywhere else. The support is just have to ask for it!

Music is a tough career path, you need support and good advice from good, hard working people. I got this in abundance form the academy. And still if i need good sound advive, or some encoragement...I know who I can call for it! It is no suprise that one of the first people i want to share good news with is my former teacher! Even if I am half the teacher, musician and person, that the head of string is at the academy, I will be very proud!

I wish Glen, every bit of luck in his career. It is a long tortuous road. However the attitude that I read in this article, is not one that will get you very far in the business!

Anonymous said...

Mike and his twin sister Ali Vass were students at Nairn Academy. Mike seems to be doing no bad as a musician Glen

But I wish you well in your musical career and hope the year at our Academy doesn't hold you back too much