BBC School Report


Excitement spreads around Orkney as the 17th Island Games edge closer.

Orkney at the Jersey 2015 opening ceremony

With 24 islands and over 2,500 competitors, it is set to be a great competition hosted by Gotland, Sweden and lasting for 6 days, from 24th – 30th of June.

Swimmer Mia McAllister, who is going to her first games, explained what she was expecting from the competition. She said “Well, there are obviously lots of teams so it will be quite a hard, intense competition and since only five people get into the finals, I think that will make it a lot harder as well”.

When asked about what inspires her to train and compete she said that wanting to achieve goals and by training she is able to get one step closer.

Mia then told us about when she was first asked to compete. “YES, that was my first reaction, just a lot of excitement really.”
She explained what her hope for the competition are: “I am wanting to see how I can perform, especially since it will be right after exams, and just to see how well training is going really. I just want some Personal Bests, really.”

Mia also said that she never expected to be in the Island Games and that it is a big achievement for her.

Mia also spoke about why she was looking forward to the games. “It’s quite cool how it’s abroad and just the atmosphere of having so many different teams and different folk that I’ve never met before.”

When asked about other competitions she said that the Island Games are level with Scottish national competitions.

The Island Games have been a big part of Orkney sport since they started on the Isle of Man in 1985. Two years ago, at the Island Games in Jersey, Orkney came away with two silver and bronze medals and are hoping for more this year. Orkney are also in the bid for hosting the 2023 Island Games.

Island participants for this year’s games are: Alderney, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Frøya, Gibraltar, Gotland, Guernsey, Greenland, Hitra, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Menorca, Orkney, Rhodes, Saaremaa, St. Helena, Sark, Shetland, Western Isle, Ynys Mon (Anglesey) and Åland.

By Jamie and Hamish

Will Atkinson - from Small Island to DJ Success

Will Atkinson, the DJ, has been making tracks for CD compilations since 2008 and is now almost at the top of the charts.
This year he had 2 tracks confirmed for inclusion a CD compilation, along with the coming release of his album, Good friend.
Will is currently in Glasgow however he grew up in a small group of islands on the north coast of Scotland called Orkney.
He became famous when he started making tracks on his DJ table.
Atkinson started practicing on his DJ set when he was at the young age of 8. Of course this gave him a head start in the DJ life so now that he is 21 he has become a DJ with extraordinary talent.
The breath-taking sights of Orkney are the inspiration for his music. His DJ sets are fuelled through a mix of trance and funky techno. His music shows a true diverse twisted funky vibe.
This Orkney DJ has a legendary future for himself and will become a great DJ.

By George


Cursiter Quarry in Firth is in the process of installing a new tar plant, because the old tar plant has come to the end of its 26 year life. The old plant was becoming too costly to run and was unreliable. The new plant is costing approx. £2.9 million, and will be up and running in May 2017. The plant when it is finished will stand at around 28 metres tall. The plant will be the 2nd tallest structure in Orkney apart from windmills. The plant was made in Germany and is being shipped to the U.K and driven the length of Britain to Orkney using 32 artic Lorries. The plant has to travel 2,057.5 km from Germany to get to Orkney. The new plant should hopefully last till 2047.

Tar is used for fixing roads. Tar is also used for fixing pot holes and bumps in the roads. There is a lot of demand for tar in Orkney because there aren’t a lot of places you can buy tar from. But with the new tar plant they’ll be able to produce 400 tonnes of tar a day, enough to cover a whole football pitch and more.

The manufacturers in Germany will be monitoring the plant operations via the internet, so they can tweak and fix any problems that the plant has. The construction started in October 2016 with a local contractor doing all the foundation work. Then in January the engineers arrived from down south to start the installation. Last week it was coming along well, with most of the main structure complete.
Steve Killeen, Quarry manager, said he was very pleased with the way the operations were progressing, and he was very much looking forward to getting the first batch made after a long time in the planning.
The new plant will be able to process 80-90 tonnes of tar an hour. Once the hoppers are all filled up with stones the plant is all computer operated.

By Andrew, Dylan, Jake, Ryan, Connor

Cash redundant at Stromness Academy

Stromness Academy is a school in Orkney that uses cashless catering machines. The cashless catering machines let you put money into them so you can buy school dinners.
We talked to some of the staff and some senior pupils. Their opinions are quite positive, but a few were negative. They said that it is quicker to use the cashless catering system than using money. They also said that you can easily forget how much money that you are spending. One of the seniors also mentioned that when charity events are on you don’t have any change because you can’t get change at the school.
We then did an interview with Ingrid Hutchison, Ingrid said that the cashless catering system is very good and makes everything a bit easier. She said that it was definitely better than just using cash.
We also talked to Mr Crawford and he said that the line dies down a lot quicker with the new system.
Overall, the new catering system is a huge success.

by Ian, Kalvin and Joshua.

My friend Amy, the secret world champion

The secret world champion that roams Stromness Academy. Amy, 15 who attends Stromness Academy has an amazing 19 world titles still acts so casually around her peers.

Described as diligent, conscientious and hardworking by teachers and her peers, Amy is a determined and greatly respected pupil of Stromness Academy and an asset to her school. One teacher in particular expressed her feelings about Amy saying she was “A joy to have in her class, always keeps her head down, focused on the work. I also believe that the determination she shows in classes simultaneously helps in her success in Kickboxing.”
Amy started kickboxing when she was six years old, unlike her coach who started when he was 10 and a half. Amy says she was inspired to start kickboxing when her coach, Ryan came to her school “I just loved it!” mentioned Amy. Ryan said that he had always wanted to start a kickboxing club since he could remember and when he realised that in Orkney no such thing existed, he jumped at the chance to start what is now Nemesis Kickboxing Club.

Her trainer, Ryan Reffell is full of praise towards Amy with him describing her as “Underrated and very likeable and she has unshakeable focus”. Amy dedicates the majority of her time training for her kickboxing competitions. Amy said she trains 4 times a week and enjoys every moment of it. On Tuesday Amy helps out with the beginner class.
Her coach Ryan says “Amy has a very good understanding with the younger students but is still able to discipline the older students saying that she has a “good balance”. She proceeded to say that later on she has a continuous class which is a type of fighting Amy participates in. Then on the Thursday there is an advanced class then later on she attends point fighting class. Fridays Amy attend fitness class which she described as “a great help to her fitness levels” then on Saturday she has a one-to-one with her coach Ryan.
Amy said her worst injury was when she had a bad knee injury in June last year. Amy also included that she is still recovering from it now.
We also asked Amy does being a world champion come with a lot of pressure and she just simply replied “When I go to competitions people do recognise me now and know who I am but others who don’t know who I am ask me if I have any titles and I just simply reply with I’m a 19 times world champion”
The last thing we asked Amy was what would you say to anyone who wants to start kickboxing and Amy replied “Well as my coach always says if you believe you can do it you will but if you do not believe you can do it, you won’t.”

By Hope and Heidi

Build up to the football match between Strom-west girls FC and Kirk-east girls FC

End of April is the time period that has been set for the upcoming football match between Stromness and Kirkwall. This match has been anticipated since the club first started.
Graeme Lavery a PE teacher and one of the coaches said “The girls are feeling excited about the match, they’re looking forward to a bit more of a challenge and having a chance to show the skills they have developed over the last few weeks.”
Heather, who is a player in the team, stated “We will have no problem beating Kirkwall in the match.” All the girls seem confident about the match against Kirkwall.
Strom-west was founded by Liz Coward who is the manager of the team and the coaches are Dave Macpherson, Amanda Wilson and Graeme Lavery. The team isn’t very old as it was only founded last year in 2016. Every night that the team trains there is always a good turn out of the girls; this will help benefit any future matches.
Hollie said: “I’m pretty excited about the upcoming match, I hope that the girls have a great match and that they all enjoy themselves. I would like to thank Miss Coward and Mr. Lavery for helping train every Wednesday and for teaching us the skills that we have now learned.”

By Skye


On Saturday the 11th of March the Orkney Women’s team achieved their first win with a score of 17-12 against the undefeated leaders in the Women’s BT North League, Inverness Craig Dunain. Orkney is now in 3rd; Shetland sits in 2nd and Banff 4th. There are four teams in the league.
The match was refereed by Mr Iain Rushbrook. Orkney received the kick off and went into the Inverness half. Both teams had a few breakaways.
Mid way through the first half Orkney winger, Paige Archibald, scored a try in the corner of the pitch. Amy Walker took the conversation itch seemed on target but was just too short.
Inverness quickly got their own try and the conversion was successful and it brought the scores to 5-7 to Inverness Craig Dunain at half time.
At the start of the first half Inverness got through the Orkney defence scoring another try. Soon after Amy Walker scored a try with neither being converted the score was 12-10 to Inverness.
Orkney put pressure on inverness. The Orkney forwards stormed up the pitch. Inverness did well stopping many attempts at tries by the Orkney team. The pressure proved too much for the Inverness side and they received a yellow card because of indiscipline in the rucks.
Then, a minute from the final whistle, Inverness had a scrum on their 5 meter line awarded but indiscipline in the ruck resulted in the put in being given to Orkney.
Orkney’s No.8 Stacey Tualasea scored the try after picking the ball from the back of the scrum and running through the Inverness defence.
The game did get restarted but Orkney kicked the ball out of play and the final whistle blew.
It was the first game the team had won since they began as a social tem in September of 2015.
When asked about how the team felt winning the game, Jo Inkster, the team captain said “Personally I was ecstatic! So emotional I didn’t know whether to cry or cheer! I also felt a great sense of relief to finally have won a game. I really had a strong feeling beforehand that we could pull it off this time.”
She said that the win meant a lot to the team: “It’s our first win so it has had a huge impact on the team. Inverness was undefeated until now so it’s really shown us how much the hard work at training has paid off. I think it has given everyone a real boost in confidence as well as bringing us even closer together. I think perhaps we have also proved ourselves as serious rugby players.”
Jo thinks the key to their success in this game was experience: “All the hand work we put in at training. We have got a better grasp of the rules thanks to the coaches. We have also had some competitive games, Inverness once before and Shetland twice. Games are the best way to learn. We’ve made improvements at every game we’ve played.”
When asked if they were looking forward to their next game, an away game against Banff, Jo said “Yes I think so. It won’t be an easy match but we will be feeling confident after our success again Inverness. I’m sure there will still be the usual pre match nerves but we’ve really come together as a team and I know when I walk out on the pitch each one of those girls has my back and I have theirs. We are hungry for victory again.”
Queen of the team: Stacey Tualasea
Orkney squad: Yvonne Barnett, Sandra Davey, Laura Baillie, Jo Inkster (c), Naomi Bremner, Jess Johanson, Jennifer Peace, Stacey Tualasea (vc), Beth Thompson, Hannah Cursiter, Steph Lawson, Dawn Simison, Amy Walker, Paige Archibald, Sara Duffy. Reserves: Nikita Scollie, Natasha Cooper, Tracey Mathieson, Jess Spence, Lorraine Davidson.

By Rebecca and Jessica

The thirteen year old who travels eight hours to play Football

Not many young teenagers have already begun to achieve their dream career. However, Owen from the Orkney Islands is different. The thirteen year old travels for eight hours every week just to play football.
But does living in a remote Scottish island and travelling down to Dingwall to play for Ross County affect his performance? Is that the only thing standing in his way to becoming a professional footballer? We asked Owen some questions about life at Ross County.
“I think the travelling definitely has an affect on my performance. It is very tiring but it’s a really good experience playing for a premiership club at youth level. I do get travel sick as well as feeling stiff after games. I am also missing out on the training programme unlike my teammates.”
But Owen is not discouraged. He says “I think there is a chance of me achieving my dreams if I work hard. I know I will have to make tough decisions in the future but that is something I’m prepared to do. I am grateful to my family for supporting me and also to Northlink and my sponsors for giving me discount.”
We also spoke to Steven Ferguson, who is a Ross County legend and now Head of Youth development at the premiership club. When asked if there’s more pressure on players who have to travel long distances he replied “There is definitely an added pressure on players who travel long distances for games because you are unable to mirror the training programme of RCFC local players receive three times a week, the limited time you spend with RCFC coaches and team mates and the demands of getting up to the level of performance required in the short period of time you have with the squad.”
Steven wants to find the best young talent around the north of Scotland and therefore will handpick players even if they live far away.
“As the most northerly professional Scottish Club we have a duty of care to all talented young footballers across the Highlands and Islands to offer the opportunity to play and compete at the highest national level they can. We have a substantial community holiday programme and good contacts over in Orkney which enables us to have a good idea of young players who are ready for the next stage in their footballing development.”
Owen is hopeful he can become professional and Steven thinks there is a possibility someone from places like Orkney can reach the first team.
“I don’t see any reason why a young player from Orkney cannot make his way into Ross County’s first team in the future but having listed some of the hurdles these players and their families will face throughout their youth development career it is definitely not an easy journey and one that will take an extra special effort and lots of sacrifice to complete.”

By Magnus, Robert and Dara

Young Orkney Footballer gets into Caley Thistle

Archie, age 13, from Orkney got into the prestigious Caley Thistle U13 football club. We managed to interview him about his experiences in the club.
In August 2016, Archie was invited by Orkney coaches to attend the trials for the Caley Thistle U13 football team, which he managed to get into.
We interviewed Archie about his experience of being at Inverness Caley Thistle.
He told us that he started playing football at the stage of primary three (which is a very young age to start playing at). He got into Caley Thistle by going to Inverness to do three trials. He doesn’t train with them, but he still goes to play a lot of games with the team. He said that he really enjoys the games. When he got signed for the team he said he was really happy and excited for the journey with the team!
He doesn’t have anyone else with him from Orkney in his age group. He also added that he is sometimes a bit nervous before games. His most successful game was against Stirling Albion and the score was 7-1 to ICT. He finds the travelling very boring but he said that getting better at football will make up it in the future as he hopes to become a professional football.

By Cody, Aileen and Martha


Scotland has fought for their freedom since the 13th and 14th centuries in the time when William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Andrew de Moray were living. In 2014 UK held an Independence referendum for Scotland. The results ended up with Scotland staying in the UK as 1,617,989 (44.70%) voted yes and 2,001,926 (55.30%) voted to stay with the UK.
Now in 2017 the UK is debating whether they should hold another referendum. This affects Orcadians as much as Scottish citizens. The Orcadian newspaper set up a poll online to get the opinion from Orkney locals if they were in favour of a second Scottish independence. If they were ‘not’ or if ‘not so soon’. 24 hours later the poll was closed and they got the results showing that 5,993 people said Yes. 2,712 said No and 220 said it is too soon.
The participants of the MSYP (Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament) have expressed their own opinions of Scottish Independence. Experienced representative Jack believes that Scotland is stronger with the UK economically. He explained: “They should respect the promise of the last referendum, as Scotland would be financially better, working together in uncertain times, especially in the relationship with Europe.”
Calum also agrees that Scotland shouldn’t become independent, he said: “Independence is too uncertain as is too many potential pitfalls for the benefit to be worth the risk.”
However Isla thinks it would be a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to make its own decisions, she also said: “I think with Brexit terms so unclear independence is our safest option to maintain EU membership.”
An interview with Fiona, chair of Yes Orkney explained that: “Orkney would be affected very much as we have huge industries, such as farming, fishing and renewables all of which greatly benefit from EU membership.”
She added “there should be a second referendum. I accepted the 2014 result; I also accept the EU result (I ‘lost’ that one, too!) But in a democracy the conversation keeps going. The Suffragettes ‘lost’ initially, but they kept going, and eventually won women the right to vote.”

By Katie and Erin

Island Girl gets to Live the Dream of becoming a Queen for a week

Stromness Shopping Week is a week-long festival that takes place in a small town, on a small island in the north of Scotland called Orkney. This is the longest running festival in Orkney and it started in 1949. This festival includes one teenage girl from Stromness Academy being chosen to act as a Queen for the week. All higher pupils in the school vote for who they would like to represent Stromness by being the Shopping Week Queen. The Queen has various duties including opening the Week on the third Sunday of July and attending all the different events held during the week. Two attendants from Stromness Academy plus one flower girl and two page boys from Stromness Primary are also picked to accompany the queen.
The Queen that has been chosen this year is Megan, a pupil currently in her last year at Stromness Academy. Megan is known for being very nice and approachable, she lives and grew up in Stromness so has always attended Shopping Week as a little girl but she says that she never imagined that she would once attend as Queen. ‘I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it and I still don’t! I was really honoured, I thought it was touching. When I was little and I watched Shopping Week I never once thought that one day I would become Queen. I always thought it looked really cool.’ says Megan.
Being the Queen involves lots of hard work and commitment, she has to make a speech to open Shopping Week. Megan says ‘I am quite nervous about the speech, a good nervous though, I’m really excited! I have spoken to some of the previous queens to get some advice, I think that has really helped me. I’m not one hundred percent sure what all of my duties are yet but I basically just have to represent Stromness and attend all of the different events including the sports and visiting the old folks home.’
Lots of different events are held over the course of the week, the award winning Stromness Royal British Legion Pipe Band plays selections of music in various locations. The popular Shopping Week Hack takes place usually on the opening Sunday of Shopping Week, where lots of riders and horses turn out to take a steady hack around the streets and back roads of Stromness. Other events include: Yard of Ale, the Beer Race, Holms Swim, and the Shopping Week 10k Race.
When Megan was asked how she feels about going to be treated like royalty for a week she replied ‘It’s going to be really strange! I’m sure it will take a lot of getting used to, I also feel really privileged to get the opportunity. Around Stromness Shopping Week the whole town has an amazing buzz, I feel like it doesn’t just bring Stromness together, it brings the whole of Orkney together, like a big community! It’s always better when it nice weather as well!’ Orcadians know that that doesn’t happen very often!
On the last night of Shopping Week a parade is held. This is one of the most popular events of the week, it really rounds everything off! On the first ever Shopping Week in 1949 over 4000 people turned up to watch the parade and the crowds have only gotten bigger since. ‘My favourite part of the week has to be the parade, I love seeing what everyone has come up with and I love seeing old folk and young folk together.’ says Megan.

Overall, Stromness Shopping Week is an amazing event that brings a whole island together and will definitely make one girls year that she will never forget. Let’s hope this event continues to get better and better every year!

By Amy and Lauren

Swimmers Make Orkney Proud!

Bringing Home the Silverware as Orkney take on North District Swimming Competition.

In early March five Orkney swimmers and their coach travelled down to Aberdeen to compete against people from the northern part of the Scottish mainland and the western isles.
Molly Blance, Kerris Sinclair, Mia McAllister, Angus Blance and Jean Blance got selected for the competition as their times qualified for the meet times.
Neil Balnce, Kerris and Mia’s coach, said “I think it was a very good experience; they were competing at a national level and racing nation and international swimmers. I think they represented Orkney very well.”
Neil explained that good swimmers are not necessarily born that way. “Some people are definitely born better at sport than others but swimming is 90% hard work and determination. The whole package needs hundreds of hours in the pool and thousands of kilometres in training swam.”
Kerris enjoyed the North district swimming for the social side. “I got to see all my friends from down south” she explained. She got a personal best in the 200 Individual Medley and a Bronze in the 200 Individual Medley.

Mia also enjoyed the competition, saying “It’s a good experience, you get together with the northern clubs and you make lots of friends, you see them every time as well.” She got a PB in two fifty’s, fifty breaststroke and fifty fly, and a gold in fifty fly and silver in fifty breaststroke.

By Nicola and Christian

Tegan Cuts her own Furrow

Tegan [14] had great success at the Sandwick ploughing match on the 16th of January. It was her first time ploughing in a competitive match and she did an excellent job: winning Best Ploughed Rig in the field as well as many others.
Her first time ploughing at home was when she was eight, with her grandad. It was her grandad who taught her how to plough. She always went out ploughing with her Grandad, Dad and Brother whenever she could.
Tegan joined the Sandwick young farmers when she was 14 as well as many other young people in Orkney. She thinks that “more young lasses should get into ploughing because there is no reason for them not to”. Tegan would like to keep ploughing in years to come.

Tegan thinks that she might “have a shot” of doing some reversible ploughing instead of conventional ploughing at matches for a change as well as it being more of a challenge. There are normally more people competing in the reversible section at matches.
It actually came to somewhat of a surprise to Tegan, ploughing at the Sandwick match, because she was planning to plough at the West Mainland match but it turned out that she wouldn’t have been able to have made it.
Then, on the Tuesday night of the week before the ploughing match Tegan asked if she was ploughing this year or not. It turned out that her brother Sam wasn’t going to be able to plough at the Sandwick match. So the opportunity opened up for Tegan to plough instead but due to other work on the farm she didn’t get the chance to practice ploughing until the Friday before the match.
She hadn’t ploughed for a few years before then.
As Tegan said “ I really enjoyed doing it and I will definitely be trying again in years to come” I don’t think this will be the last we will here from Tegan’s ploughing match success.

By Campbell and Owen

Steven Sandison’s Nuffield Scholarship Success!

Two years of travelling leads to success in Nuffield presentation

Steven Sandison, a farmer from Orkney, has just finished doing a Nuffield scholarship. He started his scholarship in 2015. He explained that he “wanted this scholarship to go traveling, study a subject of interest and to get off the farm and learn.”
His Scholarship explored industrial bodies benchmarking targets, management practices, and what we can learn from farmers in other countries.

The main thing that Steven really wanted to focus on was the weaning percentages and the length of the calving spread, which is the length of time the cows are calving for. This plays a big part in the weaning. Farmers are told by experts that they need to be producing 92 calves from every 100 cows. He wanted to find out if this was possible and find out if the best farmers were achieving this.
We interviewed Steven and asked him various questions about his scholarship and his past.
When we asked Steven what he wanted to be when he was younger, he responded, “I grew up on a farm and just knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Before the scholarship Steven ran the first monitor farm in Orkney. He had heard about the scholarship through the monitor farm.
During his time with the scholarship Steven has travelled to Canada, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, France and Belgium.
When we asked Steven if it’s hard living in Orkney, he said “yes it is a lot more expensive and there is also the time issue.”

The last question we asked was do you think this was worthwhile, is response was “ most certainly, I met a lot of new people, made new friends, learnt so much about this subject and other people’s subjects, seen great ideas and I have been pushed out my comfort zone”.

By Carmen and Ellys
All photos taken by Ken Amer

Future Lies in the Fiddles?

Traditional tune writing competition

Get your note pads and fiddles out, because the deadline for this year’s Ronnie Aim Memorial competition is the 30th of April.
The Ronnie Aim memorial competition is a competition for people to write traditional tunes. Len Wilson, member of the Strathspey and Reel society, explained that the competition was created to encourage young folk to play and produce one or two tunes.
The presentation will, as normal, take place at the Thursday night practice at The Reel. The practice is run by the Strathspey and Reel Society.
When the competition was first launched the first winner was Gordon Harvey in 1984. He won with the tune “Trip to the Isles” followed by Irene Flett in 1985 with “Irene’s Reel”.
Louise Bichan won the competition in 2005. Louise was encouraged to write music at an early age. She was encouraged to enter the Ronnie Aim Memorial Competition when she was younger. Later on she became a very successful fiddle player. She has appeared at the BBC’s Hogmanay live show in 2012, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Lorient Interceltique Festival in France.
In 2013 Laura Eunson, our music teacher, won the senior section of the competition. It was her first shot at the competition and she wrote 2 tunes: the Collach Wedding and Keith and Erin’s wedding. Laura explained that she had been playing the fiddle since she was peedie and had been playing Ronnie Aim tunes as well so she decided to enter and write like Ronnie Aim. She hadn’t expected to win at all so she was very pleased. She got to play in front of the Strathspey and Reel lot too. She would encourage all folk to enter the competition as it is a totally positive experience.
The competition runs every 2 years and in 2015 Gemma Linklater won it.
Ronnie Aim was from Holm and worked in a bank in Kirkwall. Later on he took over his family’s shop when his parents became unable to work. He was the founder of the Orkney Strathspey and Reel society in 1948. He is famously known for writing many traditional Orcadian tunes like “Heroes of Longhope”, “The Trip to Orkney”, “Gairsay” and many others. Ronnie Aim was killed in a tragic road accident in 1982. After Ronnie died Len Wilson was appointed as the leader
The competition was founded in 1982/1983 by the Orkney Strathspey and Reel Society. It was founded because the Scottish Postal Board in Edinburgh contacted the society to see about founding something to do with remembering Ronnie and what he did. After much deliberation they came up with the idea of a memorial competition. When it was first launched there were 30 entries. Back then you could have more than 1 entry per person but now you can only have 2 entries per person.

By Lianne & Heather

“More professional than real politicians”

Voting ends tonight at midnight for Orkney’s MSYP election. This is the last chance for the candidates to win some votes.
This year’s Orkney MSYP candidates are Jack Norquoy, Brooke Mitchell, Isla Leslie and Calum McArthur. Jack Norquoy was one of the candidates from last year who is again running for election and says that although he feels that he possibly should have gave someone else the opportunity, hopes he is still in with a chance of winning the election. Brooke Mitchell, as first a first time candidate, thought at first that Jack was going to win but says that now once they have all gone through the process the chances have evened out.
Ernie Skea as the election co-ordinator says “The group of candidates is probably the best we’ve seen for a while, possibly ever.” Being MSYP involves many opportunities such as speaking in parliament and working with Orkney’s young people to give them a voice. Jack and Brooke both have mental health as one of their main priorities if they were elected; Jack thinks that building a mental health strategy would be the next step. Brooke also thinks that it is especially important that young people learn how to manage finances in PSE rather than spending long periods of time on things that most people already know.
The process of the election starts in October when the pupils put their names forward and show their interest in the election. The pupils that put their names forward for the election begin to write their profile which tells a bit about them. Ernie Skea then checks over them and makes sure they are correct. They are then asked if they are fully committed to running for MSYP and then the candidates start their election campaigns.
Ernie Skea also said “The candidates are acting more professionally than real politicians.”
The group of candidates get on very well and have been very nice to each other considering they are each other’s competition. Ernie tells us that they are good at supporting each other and are polite towards each other. They have all performed well against each other at various hustings and other events.
Brooke’s main focuses are financial education, transportation, human rights in Orkney and mental health; she says that her aims are more focused on Orkney rather than the other candidates more general focuses. Jack’s main focuses are mental health, getting young people on the council’s education committee and to give the young people of Orkney a voice in parliament, especially in the big national issues.
The election will close at midnight today, at around 10:00am the number of votes stood at 570, Ernie hopes for 600 votes before closing because that will be around 200 more votes than last year. Brooke said that there has been a lot more engagement in the election than there was two years ago. Make sure to cast a vote!

By Erin

BBC School Report from 2016