Mr Jamie Balfour
I finally got the school I had always wanted to work at in May 2022. Whilst working at Knox Academy, I developed many digital tools such as an interactive slideshow engine, an online polling platform that can be embedded as well as an online tracking and monitoring system.
After becoming a fully qualified teacher in July 2020, I took on a role as a Computing and Digital Literacy teacher at Newbattle High School in Midlothian. This gave me the chance to work in a school which has been named Scotland's First Centre for Digital Excellence.
During my time here I have developed several digital resources including a very useful slideshow engine which provides many features to make teaching both more engaging and useful, as well as interactive worksheets for pupils. I took a leadership role in digital education within the school.
In 2019 after developing my own tutoring portal, I decided to continue tutoring again. Lessons were carried out both remotely and in person.
I officially became a newly qualified teacher in August 2019 after successfully completing my PGDE. During this time I worked at Musselburgh Grammar School in East Lothian after completing my teacher training placement here.
I also successfully completed the 'Scotland's Mental Health First Aid' course (SMHFA).
My election as class representative for the third time means that it is my job to do what I did at the previous university - act as a voice for students' in the university. As the class representative, I attended meetings and dealt with concerns raised.
Based on my knowledge of web development I was asked to do two large websites for two individuals. I realised at this point that I had a real talent that could lead to becoming freelance. I decided to start my own company, Jambour Digital and registered the company as a limited company in July 2018. Jambour Digital focuses on web development and also on graphics and consultancy.
In July 2023, I stepped down as Executive Director to hand over to Michael and focus more on the web handling part of the company.
As a second-time lab assistant I was well prepared for what I had to do here. Taking up two courses (F27PX: Praxis and F28WP: Web Programming) gave me diversity in what I was doing. One course, Praxis, a first-year course, gave me experience working with writing tips, IT help and generally helping students with professional development. The other course allowed me to exercise my knowledge of web programming since that is my forte. I spent two hours a week doing this.
In this role, I assisted students in the first year of the same Computer Science (G400) degree I was working towards in the Web Design and Databases course. I also assessed students' work to some degree and gave them feedback on their work. I believe that my contributions to this course were valuable. I helped students and the lecturers with my fresh new knowledge and helped to make things clearer for them. This job involved me using my knowledge of HTML, CSS and PHP as well as MySQL for the latter part of the course.
As part of one of my courses at Heriot-Watt University I was involved in visiting a school to work with secondary teachers in Computing. This course meant that I visit Ross High School, Tranent, every Wednesday to work in the classroom.
All of my own run classes ran within three Wednesdays back to back. The three lessons were on web development. As well as this I assisted students with programming in all year groups, helped with ICT classes (word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentation packages and graphics) and gained an excellent understanding of what it is like to work in a classroom.
In January 2011, I tutored a pupil who was studying the SQA 'Intermediate 2 Computing' course at school. I would meet him twice a week and prepared loads of materials that he could revise from. In the end, he received an A grade.
I took up the job of tutoring an individual again in September 2011, this time in SQA 'Higher Computing' which saw me meeting the pupil once a week to go through topics they were struggling with. I also prepared loads of helpful materials. In the end, the pupil passed the course with a C.
I noticed our local library was offering a Code Club for kids under the age of 16 and since I wanted to be a teacher and loved programming, I saw this as a golden opportunity. I volunteered on a Saturday morning from 10 am to about 11.30 am.
STEM Net is a system in which schools and other institutes request help from ambassadors. As a STEM Ambassador, I saw a request at Knox Academy, Haddington, (not far from where I lived, and also where I wanted to work someday) and emailed to see how I could help. As it happens, I just missed the post. However, Mr Blair asked if I would still like to help and I accepted.
My role here was as a classroom assistant in the Computing department. I assisted in all levels from S1 to S6 ranging from basic ICT to Advanced Higher Computer Science. Both teachers said that having me there was really useful and that I was incredibly helpful.
"The Watt Club Prize is awarded each year for exceptional distinction in the final honours year and as such recognises the highest achievement possible in undergraduate studies. No more than one prize can be awarded in each distinct discipline offered by a School." I won one of 8 out of all the students graduating from the university at the time.
"For the most deserving student in the fourth year of a degree course in the Department of Computer Science."
"For the most deserving student in the second year of a degree course in the Department of Computer Science."
"Issued to students who obtain more than 70% on average in the first and second years of the degree. I had an average grade of about 80%."
LEAPS or Lothian Equal Access Program for Schools is a system setup by Edinburgh universities (Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh, Napier and Queen Margaret) to help those seeking to enter a university course and/or help them to get into the swing of it all.
I and one other received a Merit Award in the Computer Science course which I received for creating the best project (along with two classmates). Just two of these awards were given away in the class of 20+. I received it for my section of the programming as well as being the team leader. You can find out more in the completed projects section of my website.
In October 2015 I began to work on my BSc Honours year project. As part of this, I developed an application to aid new web developers with web development called ClickIt. The main purpose of this was to help school children and new web developers learn HTML using a drag-and-drop system.
I was again voted as a class representative for my one year in the Professional Graduate Diploma of Education (PGDE) course. This course is also known as teacher training. The course involves 4 modules which are all assessed at the Masters level (SCQF Level 11). I passed all modules at the Masters level. I did not pursue the Master's Degree, however.
I was the class representative in the third year and fourth year of my studies for the Computer Science degree which saw me keeping the class up to date with the latest news and events related to the university, taking up issues with staff on behalf of fellow students.
I have worked on a number of projects at university, some of which I have documented on my website.
Below is a table of my results from my modules at university.
|Year||Course name||%||Grade||SCQF level|
|Year 4 Semester 2||Final Year Project & Dissertation||82%||First Class Honours Degree||10|
|Year 4 Semester 2||eCommerce Technologies||80%||A||10|
|Year 4 Semester 2||Network Applications||64%||B||10|
|Year 4 Semester 1||Computing in the Classroom||88%||A||10|
|Year 4 Semester 1||Data Visualisation and Analytics||70%||A||10|
|Year 4 Semester 1||Industrial Programming||83%||A||10|
|Year 3 Semester 2||Foundations 2||69%||B||9|
|Year 3 Semester 2||Language Processors||79%||A||9|
|Year 3 Semester 2||Operating Systems and Concurrency||72%||A||9|
|Year 3 Semester 2||Professional Development||67%||B||9|
|Year 3 Semester 2||Software Engineering||67%||B||9|
|Year 3 Semester 1||Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Agents||60%||B||9|
|Year 3 Semester 1||Computer Network Security||64%||B||9|
|Year 3 Semester 1||Foundations 1||63%||B||9|
|Year 2 Semester 2||Database Management Systems||58%||C||8|
|Year 2 Semester 2||Formal Specification||77%||A||8|
|Year 2 Semester 2||Software Design||60%||B||8|
|Year 2 Semester 2||Discrete Mathematics||37%||E||7|
|Year 2 Semester 1||Data Structures and Algorithms||69%||B||8|
|Year 2 Semester 1||Interaction Design||50%||C||8|
|Year 2 Semester 1||Programming Languages||55%||C||8|
|Year 2 Semester 1||Web Programming||81%||A||8|
|Year 1 Semester 2||Introduction to Computer Systems||66%||B||7|
|Year 1 Semester 2||Software Development 2||79%||A||7|
|Year 1 Semester 2||Software Development 3||75%||A||7|
|Year 1 Semester 2||Web Design and Databases||81%||A||7|
|Year 1 Semester 1||Interactive Systems||84%||A||7|
|Year 1 Semester 1||Logic and Proof||61%||B||7|
|Year 1 Semester 1||Praxis||80%||A||7|
|Year 1 Semester 1||Software Development 1||92%||A||7|
This was an introductory course to university. LEAPS was also aimed to assist those who felt that they might not get the school grades to get into university since it would provide evidence that they have achieved success at university level. Whilst I did not need this support, it did give me a good introduction to what university was like.
I also achieved the Merit Award (given to one other) for Computer Science.
I attended Ross High School, Tranent, for the full 6 years.
Whilst at high school, particularly in my sixth year, I was an in-class support pupil who would assist teachers with their classes. My duty was in a first-year Computing class which saw me running the class in two classes as well as generally giving help to the students around the class. This was entirely voluntary and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also was a paired-reading tutor, meaning that I was required to assist someone with lower reading capabilities than the normal levels for high school.
Below is a list of my most important school qualifications:
|Year||Course name||Grade||SCQF level|
|2009||SQA Advanced Higher Computing||C||7|
|2008||SQA Higher Business Management||B||6|
|2008||SQA Higher Computing||B||6|
|2009||SQA Higher Physics||B||6|
|2009||SQA Higher History||C||6|
|2008||SQA Intermediate 2 Mathematics||A||5|
|2008||SQA Intermediate 2 English||B||5|
|2007||SQA Standard Grade Computing||1||5|
|2007||SQA Standard Grade SVS||1||5|
|2007||SQA Standard Grade Business Management||2||5|
|2007||SQA Standard Grade Craft & Design||2||5|
|2007||SQA Standard Grade Physics||2||5|
|2008||SQA Intermediate 2 History||D||5|
|2007||SQA Intermediate 1 Mathematics||B||4|
|2007||SQA Standard Grade English||3||4|
|2007||SQA Standard Grade German||3||4|
|2007||SQA Standard Grade History||3||4|