New rector Avril McNeill, 47, will take up post in August following six years as rector of Glenrothes High School. Her appointment follows the retirement of rector David McLure.
Mrs McNeill is no stranger to Madras, having taught history and modern studies there from 1998 to 2005. Trained at Jordanhill College and originally from Renfrewshire, Mrs McNeill, is married to Alasdair and the couple have two children, Finn, 16, and Oran, 12. She was principal teacher Kirkland High School and depute rector at Perth Academy between 2010 and 2014.
On appointment she said: “This is a new challenge for me and I can’t wait to get started. I am absolutely delighted and very, very proud to be the first female rector, albeit acting rector, since the school’s inception in 1833.”
Mrs McNeill will oversee the move to the school’s new building next summer. “This will be a fantastic facility for the whole community and the young people. What I will be making sure of is that the community gets good communication about that and where we are with it.”
When she takes up her post on August 10, her first priority will be “ensuring the wellbeing of staff and the young people on their return and getting back to a new normal”. It will be about making them feel safe and happy on their return and getting them ready for potential exams in 2021 for those young people who have missed out on that.”
Coronavirus restrictions will have had an impact on pupils, she said. “For me, a big part of it will be getting them back into the routine of going to school every day and rebuilding their confidence. They will have missed the social contact with their friends. We need to make sure they have that social contact.”
Mrs McNeill highlighted the fact that pupils will have learned to varying degrees during lockdown but praised the support of Fife Council and the Scottish Government had provided to ensure access to educational material. She added: “Teachers will be absolutely delighted to see the young people back again. Once they are back we need to make sure we are supporting them in their learning and bringing them back up to speed.“