6th Year students in IT storm

Bound for exciting careers in IT, Peebles High School students Jamie Wood and Daniel Gordon have succeeded despite having no formal IT education at Peebles High School.

How did you become involved with the student news wall?

J: Mr Wilson approached me and wanted to encourage the whole idea for the news wall. This was a good way to get students to participate in extra-curricular activities. He took the risk and if it works out it could be massive. It WILL be massive.

How did the idea of starting a lunch time club come about?

J: When I started school there was an IT department that had a lot of potential. Instead of having teaching readily available, I had to go and look for everything myself – with the internet that was possible but I had to create groups, find people who were interested, buy books, everything that should have been supplied by the school IT department. For me it’s about being independent, having to learn through doing stuff yourself.

D: The smallest amount of input by any of the teachers hugely increases the enjoyment and uptake of that sort of thing because you know you have professional support behind you.

How did you grow an interest in programming?

J: My dad’s always been supportive of that sort of thing and I’ve always loved gaming – not just playing games but creating them and giving people the experience I’ve always dreamed of, that’s been in my imagination so it’s great doing the website and stuff.

D: When my mum was younger, she did a lot of programming and that brought me into doing programming… more recently I’ve developed my interest more into computing security.

29,000 Jobs due to be created in renewable energy but 129,000 jobs forecast to be created per year in IT and coding!

(stats from the Scottish Government)


How would it have helped for you to have more IT teaching?

J: I think it would have been so much easier to do every aspect of everything.

D: It’s like being sat in a car and told to drive it the first time without any teaching.

J: I think it’s a real failing on the school’s part. Students have different strengths and areas they are good at but if the school doesn’t teach the right courses, how are you supposed to excel  and compete.

I think the majority of workplaces are going to require a much higher level of understanding than our school is offering. Let’s say that most kids these days have a good understanding of Word, PowerPoint and some Excel when they come out of primary school. We have to ask why are we taking another 6 years to teach exactly the same again?

Do you think that an IT department in PHS will appear in the near future?

J: Obviously I’d love to see an IT department but in a few years I think the internet and access side of things growing is more likely.

Daniel is hopeful that the future holds exciting challenges for PHS.

D: It’s difficult to know where technology will be then. I think I’d like to see internet access grow, there are lots of good websites – like YouTube – which you need to use for tutorials but they are banned by Scottish Borders Council. Some teachers use YouTube for their lessons, but some don’t even know about it.

The Head on Top

J: Mr Wilson approached me and wanted to encourage the whole student initiative of the newswall and student participation at this level. He took the risk and if it works out it could be massive. Student news has always been confined to a form class. He came to us and put the effort in to start a new initiative that is risky but could pay off really well for the whole school.

Daniel and Jamie have made it into top courses at university.
What does the future hold for you both?

We both want to go to Abertay which is one of the leading technology universities in its field. To study game design/forensics

D: I want to go into computer security so I guess security for the government… the NSA? GCHQ or maybe go to America to work for the NSA.

J: We both want to go to Abertay which is one of the leading technology universities in its field. To study game design/forensics

D: I don’t have a gaming passion – my passion is about fixing things that have gone wrong – that’s why I’m applying to study Ethical Hacking at university. It’s like computer security. I would try to find the vulnerability in a website and someone could go off and fix it.

Is the world of gaming ready for Jamie?
Where is the gaming future leading?

J: I just read a book called Ready Player One – its set after the American economy collapses and people start to make games that are better than real life. I don’t think it will be quite like that but games are going towards a place where you can do everything in the game – full immersion – like the real world.I’d like to make games like the ones I play but I really dream of creating a new style of game that no-one has ever heard of before. But yes creating games is definitely what I want to do. I need to work on ideas.



Sean Berthelsen & Jude Ferrier