Universal Children’s Day

Today, 20th November, is Universal Children’s Day established in 1954 and celebrated on this day each year. It is also the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and in 1989 the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

To mark this day on which children’s rights are advocated and promoted, we share a part of a wonderful poem written by George The Poet, aka George Mpanga.

A child is not a portion of an adult.
It’s not a partial being.
A child is an absolute person,
An entire life.

The fact that the child is developing,
Doesn’t mean it’s incomplete.
This just makes it especially important for the Child to drink and eat,
and get a decent wink of sleep.

Lest we forget

The Third Battle of Ypres (31 July – 10 November 1917) concluded 100 years ago today and has come to symbolise the horrors associated with the war on the Western Front. It is frequently known by the name of the village where it culminated – Passchendaele.

Chateau Wood, near Hooge in the Ypres salient, 29 October 1917

Outside the school’s main hall is a memorial to the pupils and staff of Trinity Academy who lost their lives while engaged on active service during the First World War. After we’ve been around the school a while it’s easy to walk past without even noticing it.

Among the names listed from Trinity Academy is Sergeant George Eckford, aged 26, who died at Ypres on the 4th October 1917.

Trinity Academy WW1 Roll of Honour

Philip K Lawrence wrote about the horrors of the First World War in the book Modernity and War: The Creed of Absolute Violence:

“I go forward with them … up and down across ground like a huge ruined honeycomb, and my wave melts away, and the second wave comes up, and also melts away, and then the third wave merges into the ruins of the first and second, and after a while the fourth blunders into the remnants of the others.

We come to wire that is uncut, and beyond we see the grey coalscuttle helmets bobbing about … and the loud cracking of machine gun fire changes to screeching as of steam being blown off by a hundred engines, and soon no one is left standing.”

Twelve Days of Prelims

Good luck to all those who finished prelims last week. As we move towards the Christmas holidays, let’s enjoy the Twelve Days of Prelims written by some talented S4 students. All together now…. ♫ ♪ ♫

On the first day of prelims
a tear dropped out of my eye
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the second day of prelims
Two tears dropped out of my eye:
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the third day of prelims
Three tears dropped out of my eye
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the fourth day of prelims
Four tears dropped out of my eye:
I am exhausted
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the fifth day of prelims
Five tears dropped out of my eye
I want to die
I am exhausted
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the sixth day of prelims
Six tears dropped out of my eye
Stop cracking knuckles
I want to die
I am exhausted
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the seventh day of prelims
Seven tears dropped out of my eye
Give me more paper
Stop cracking knuckles
I want to die
I am exhausted
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the eighth day of prelims
Eight tears dropped out of my eye
Twenty minutes left
Give me more paper
Stop cracking knuckles
I want to die
I am exhausted
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the ninth day of prelims
Nine tears dropped out of my eye
My vision’s fading
Twenty minutes left
Give me more paper
Stop cracking knuckles
I want to die
I am exhausted
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the tenth day of prelims
Ten tears dropped out of my eye
Stop with the rustling!
My vision’s fading
Twenty minutes left
Give me more paper
Stop cracking knuckles
I want to die
I am exhausted
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

On the eleventh day of prelims
Eleven tears dropped out of my eye
Calculator’s broken
Stop with the rustling!
My vision’s fading
Twenty minutes left
Give me more paper
Stop cracking knuckles
I want to die
I am exhausted
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh


On the twelfth day of prelims
12 tears dropped out of my eye
Can I hear a rustle?
Calculator’s broken
Stop with the rustling!
My vision’s fading
Twenty minutes left
Give me more paper
Stop cracking knuckles
I want to die
I am exhausted
What is that rustling?
My pen has run out
and I lay down and gave a great sigh

The Poet of Halloween

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, best known for his gothic poetry and tales of mystery and the macabre. He is often credited as being an originator in the genre of detective fiction with his three stories about Auguste Dupin, the most famous of which is The Murders in the Rue Morgue. He lived a bizarre life, died a bizarre death and his most famous Poem is The Raven, recited below by The Simpsons.

For over seven decades, every 19 January, a bottle of cognac and three roses were left at Poe’s original grave marker by an unknown shadowy visitor dressed in black with a wide-brimmed hat and white scarf. He would pour himself a glass of cognac and raise a toast to Poe’s memory then vanish into the night, leaving three roses in a distinctive arrangement plus the unfinished bottle of cognac.

‘The Simpsons’ has referred to classic literature many times during its 28 seasons and more than 600 episodes. These include Hamlet and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

Crazy though he may have appeared; in his Poem Eureka Poe appears to have predicted the big bang theory, modern electromagnetism, black holes, and quantum physics generations before anyone else.

The spread of cities over 6000 years

Using the results of a recent report by a team of Yale researchers, this visualization shows the growth of cities across the globe from 3700 BCE to the present day.

By 2030, 75 percent of the world’s population is expected to be living in cities. Today, about 54 percent of us do. In 1960, only 34 percent of the world lived in cities.

Anvients cities were far smaller than now and the researchers used the following sizes to define cities.

  1. Ancient (3500 BCE to 1000 BCE) ≥ 10,000 inhabitants
  2. Classical (1000 BCE to 1000 CE) ≥ 100,000 inhabitants
  3. Modern (1000 CE onward) ≥ 1,000,000 inhabitants

Edinburgh University Opportunity

word cloudScience Insights is an exciting work experience programme designed to give 5th year high school pupils a real insight into the work and life of research scientists. 40 high school pupils will spend a week of their summer holidays following a varied programme of activities on four different University of Edinburgh campuses, gaining a real insight into research and work in biological sciences.

Kids in Science class

To learn more about how to apply to take part in the programme read the article on their website. Applications must be in by the 27th April.

Oovoo video chat and privacy

The following email was sent out to all City of Edinburgh Head Teachers on Wednesday 20th May 2015 by Heather Smith Principal Officer: Child Care and Protection Training and Development.

It has been raised with me that there has been a number of referrals to social care direct involving children’s innocent use of the face time app Oovoo being exploited by predatory adults.

I would therefore ask you if you could put up on your websites, out in newsletters or discuss in assemblies the following review of this communication app, to bring it to the attention of parents and children:

OoVoo is a high quality video chat application similar to Facetime or Skype. It allows people to connect with up to 12 friends at one time and video chat or have a voice call. You can download it on an iPad, iTouch, iPhone, Android phone, etc. And you must be 13 years old to set up an account, which doesn’t slow anyone down who can subtract 13 years from 2015.

What are the concerns for your child using ooVoo? As with all social media, the main concern is who can search out your child easily. The easier it is to find the child, the faster a predator will find them, start talking to them and find a way to connect with them without the child realizing what is happening. The second concern is the way in which ooVoo is being used.  Young children (pre-teen) find this app through their peers or older siblings.  It’s Internet-based and often used at home in the YP or child’s bedroom. It has been the case that whilst talking with friends an adult has entered the group chat.

How do you manage your child’s ooVoo account?

  1. Always know your child’s password. This will allow you to ensure that they are using ooVoo safely.
  2. Make sure that the privacy settings are properly set up. Without using the privacy settings, your child can be contacted by anyone at anytime and anyone can see the profile of your child. (I have my daughter’s set to ‘Nobody’ so that only people who know her ooVoo ID can contact her).
  3. You can review the history of your child’s account. You will be able to see who they are chatting and messaging with. Ensure that you know all of these people and are comfortable with it. Note that your child can erase the history.
  4. If your child receives an unwanted friend request, ignore it AND check the box to Also block this person from contacting me again.
  5. If your child experiences a more serious encounter with an adult contact CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) Command  https://www.ceop.police.uk/
  6. With young children (pre-teen) You can frequently review your child’s friends to ensure that you know them all.
  7. Remind your child to always log out when they are finished using ooVoo, especially if another person’s device is being used.
  8. Learn how to use the product! If your child knows that you are involved and understand the technology they are using, they will not feel free to do whatever they please because “Mum doesn’t have a clue how this works!”

ooVoo is not necessarily bad. Like most social media apps, there are some great uses for teens. For example, working on a group project would be a great use of ooVoo, given the ability to have multiple users on the same video chat session. However, the dangers come when children and young people use them in unproductive ways and when the privacy settings are not set tightly. This is where our job as parents is so critical. This is where if you drop the ball you could end up dealing with a lot more than an unwanted friend request.