School news 23rd February 2007

ALL PARENTS were given information about this website recently and I am glad to say that several have been in touch to give suggestions about other types of information we can add. If you haven’t responded yet we look forward to hearing from you and keep your eyes on the site for additions to come. Headteacher

Thanks to all the members of the community who handed in Tesco Sports Vouchers. We received over 4,000 and have ordered equipment, which should be with us shortly. The PE department is very grateful to the community for their support.

The Ecoschool group would like to thank the 566 local residents who signed the petition for plastics recycling facilities in the area. We were very pleased to get such a strong response, and would also like to thank the various businesses that displayed the petition for signing. Copies have now been sent to Neil Gillies at Highland Council and Ross Finnie, Minister for Environment and Rural Affairs at the Scottish Parliament. We hope for a speedy response.

The High School Book Group is getting stuck into books lent via the Library Service for the Highland Book Award. This is an annual scheme, which allows school groups to read and review some of the best recent fiction. Mr Port took a group of S1-S4 pupils to Strathpeffer for the opening ceremony, and since then there has been some keen page-turning! Look for our reviews online by clicking above.

The total amount raised for UNICEF from our non-uniform day was £248.22.

Northern Lights This is just a reminder that the High school, as well as our associated primaries, gets money for being members of Northern Lights. When buying products on-line you simply go to You can buy things as normal from sites such as Amazon, Marks and Spencer etc. A percentage of what you spend goes into the kitty for Northern Lights. IT DOES NOT COST YOU A PENNY. The High school and primaries will be receiving over £80 each for doing nothing. Can’t be bad!

Are you a Maths graduate- interested in teaching? The Open University in Scotland is extending the programme for eligible graduates to train in their home area without attending campus-based lectures. If this applies to you, and you are interested, please contact the headteacher Mr Port.

The U15 girls hockey travelled to Dingwall on Wednesday 14th February to the Highland Hockey Tournament. All games were hard but our team played some very skilful hockey and scored some brilliant goals. They finished 3rd in their section, winning two out of four games. The teams that didn’t make the finals played extra games, our team played two and won two. Special mention must be made of our goalie, Rhoda Tippett, who was brought in from 2nd year for the tournament against mostly 3rd and 4th years. Well-done girls!

MOD Presentation Team Visit S5 and S6 pupils were given a chance to take part in a role play exercise on 14th Feb. This required them to develop some skills useful for the world of work. Click here for more details.


Saturday 24th March in the Gairloch Community Hall

  • UPDATE S1 Pupils have decided that 50% of the money made at this sale will go to Comic Relief.

Gairloch High School first year pupils present:

  • Stalls and competitions
  • Guess the weight of the Cloutie Dumpling
  • Face Painting
  • Pancakes

As usual our parents and supporters have been incredibly generous and we have wonderful Raffle Prizes including:

  • Gordon Harrison photograph-framed
  • Complimentary Ticket to Landmark for 2 adults and 2 children
  • Dinner and drinks up to the value of £100 at the Steading Restaurant
  • Free days guiding or introductory rock climbing for two with Jim Sutherland
  • Driving Lesson Voucher-courtesy of K.Tallach
  • Rangers souvenir pack
  • Belgian Chocolates/Easter egg-courtesy of Strath Stores
  • Punnet of squat lobsters-courtesy of Ian McWhinney
  • Dinner for 2 at Poolewe Hotel
  • Dinner for 2 at Aultbea Hotel
  • Dinner for 2 at Kinlochewe Hotel
  • Peat- courtesy of Allan Kirk
  • Myrtle Bank-£25 voucher + bottle of wine
  • Steve Carter-Landscape photograph.
  • Family Wildlife Cruise courtesy of Sam & Ian French.
  • 2 complimentary tickets for the Screen Machine Take 2-courtesy of Highland & Islands Arts
  • Meal for 2- courtesy of the Drumchork Lodge Hotel.
  • Dinner for 2 at the Claymore restaurant, Dundonnel Hotel
  • Meal for 2 at the Broomberg Bar, Dundonnel Hotel
  • 2 complimentary tickets for the Screen Machine
  • Pony Trekking voucher, courtesy of Danielle
  • Bottle of House of Commons Whisky- Charles Kennedy
  • Two Course meal at the Millcroft Hotel
  • Gift box from Aromasciences
  • Landscape photo by Steve Carter
  • Family wildlife cruise courtesy of Gairloch Marine Life Centre
  • Voucher for 2 adults and 2 children for Landmark
  • Lunch for 4 at Gairloch Golf Club
  • Dinner for 2 at Kinlochewe Hotel
  • D.V.D. player from Chemistore
  • Dinner for 2 + wine at the Melvaig Inn

And MORE on the day!

Doors open 10 am sharp so no need for overnight queuing!

We would welcome any or all of the following donations: baking, books, CDs etc, bric-a-brac, plants, electrical items in good working order, toys, clothes in good condition, jewellery, bottles and raffle prizes. We can auction anything within reason (antiques a speciality!)

Items for the sale can be:

  • handed to any member of the school
  • delivered direct to the community hall on Friday 23rd, March between 3.30 and 6pm
  • collected – call the office on 712275 and leave your details

Profits from the sale will be split, half towards the S1 residential week at Nethybridge in May and half to a charity chosen by S1 – this year Comic Relief.

MOD Presentation Team – 14th February 2007

‘Unlike previous enterprise days this visit from the MOD only lasted a few hours. It was different from the usual business and banking topics and was carried out in a professional way. Even though it was short we learnt more than we do from the usual enterprise days. We learnt how to use limited resources to maximum effect, we learnt what the MOD do and who they employ. Even given less time we had improved our problem solving and debating skills. All in all it was a very informative and enjoyable day.’

Sam and Jenny, S5


INFO below quoted from the MOD Presentation Team website. Our thanks to the Team who visited Gairloch High on 14th February 2007.

The Defence Schools Presentation Team programme is produced by the MOD Schools Adviser Team based in London and delivered to schools in visits by its 5 regional teams which cover England, Scotland and Wales.

The programme consists of a half-day visit and combines an audio-visual presentation, workshops and an international crisis role play exercise plus press conference.

International Role Play Crisis Scenario

Based on a fictional country called Dacan and set in South-East Asia. The background to the crisis is a civil war between two ethnic communities and an impending humanitarian disaster. British civilians are trapped by the conflict.

Pupils are tasked with producing an action plan that represents Britain’s response to the crisis and in doing so take on the roles of Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Secretary of State for Defence, Secretary of State for International Development, Chief of Defence Staff and Communications Manager for the Prime Minister’s Office.

When considering their action plans pupils are encouraged to take into account international organisations such as the United Nations, ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations), the International Red Cross as well as UK military assets in the area.

The next stage involves pupils participating in a Press Conference either as politicians delivering their action plan to the media or as representatives from the media questioning the politicians.

School news 9th February 2007

S5/6 Prelims finished earlier this week. Staff and pupils would like to thank Janet Macrae and Mary Carson for their invigilation and efficient handling of the pupils and papers, and to Allan the Janny, for setting up the Community Centre. Once again, thank you to all clubs and societies for their co-operation and to the Hall Committee for allowing us to use these facilities. Staff are now busy marking the papers and will then begin to engage each pupil in discussions as to how to improve their performance in the finals in May and June. Reports for seniors will be issued on Friday 2nd of March. The S5/6 Parent Evening will take place on Thursday 8th of March.

Day For Change-Change the Lives of Children Although Kenyan children face daily challenges to go to school, the message is hugely optimistic: children have dreams and are eager to learn and progress. Wednesday 7th February was our designated non-school uniform day for UNICEF. All staff and pupils were asked to pay £1.50 for the privilege to help. At the time of going to press, we do not have a final total of the sum raised.

Careers Scotland Gillian Unger, Senior Careers Scotland Adviser is certainly making a mark in school. She is keen to have a larger input with pupils lower down the school. After discussions with Mr. Richardson, she will be meeting all S2 pupils individually on March the 8th just to check over their Option choices and to see if they have a career pathway planned. Gillian is also encouraging parents and carers of S4, S5 and S6 pupils to attend interviews with their son or daughter, if desired.

S2 Course Choice All parents should have received a letter from the Headteacher listing upcoming dates in March regarding very important decisions that need to be taken as S2 pupils move into S3 and choose Standard Grade and National Qualifications. Please mark these dates in your diary!

  • S2 assessment week for pupils 19th February
  • Careers talk for pupils 8th March
  • S2 reports and options issued via pupils 12th March
  • S2 Parents’ meet with SMT & Guidance staff 13th March
  • S2 Parents’ evening with class teachers – 22nd March
  • Option forms returned complete – 23rd March

If you are an S2 parent and didn’t receive a copy of this important letter from your child you should contact the school.

The 60 Minute Parent There is a showing of a film at 7.30pm on the 20th February in the Community Centre Annexe in Gairloch. It is ‘an entertaining and informal presentation covering topics such as relationships, boundaries and the power of praise’. NHS Family Learning welcomes all parents to this evening. Pupils have also been given a leaflet to bring home.

The Unlikely Eco-hero It’s been mentioned already but we now have official notification from Friends of the Earth (FoE) that our S1/2 pupils have won a 1Kw domestic wind turbine for use by the school. The engineer visited the school and has confirmed that it can be fitted. We now need to apply for planning permission to take this forward.

Pupils involved were Leah Kenny and Emma Potter of S2, and from S1, Kirsty Alexander, Anna Hulme, Alex Warren, Lauren MacRae, Carianne Johnston, Theo Threadgould, Ruairdhri Wright, Alexander McFedries, James Potter and Jacob Naylor. FoE reported that ‘with excellent editing, carefully overlaid music and good narrative, the film shows Allan’ demonstrating to ‘eco-wardens how to monitor and save energy.’ Well done to the pupils and Mrs Orr for coordinating their efforts.

Oliver Excitement is in the air and pupils have been learning their lines for the auditions for parts in the upcoming school musical Oliver. Final dates to follow but June is the planned month for 3 performances. So don’t be surprised if your son or daughter starts speaking in a cockney accent and singing ‘Consider yourself”.

Climbing Wall initiative Over the last few months a group of local folk representing climbers, school board, pupils and staff from the school and leisure centre have been putting together an idea to replace and improve the climbing wall. Ideally this would provide an exciting opportunity to members of the community and provide another feature of interest locally for visitors. The group has identified possible funding sources and will provide an opportunity in the near future for all interested members of the community to see the plans.

ROSE Survey of Science Gairloch High School got an unexpected mention in a recently published international report into the relevance of science education. S3 took part in a survey last August and apparently they like science! Measured against 2700 other Scottish school pupils in the survey our pupils inadvertently rated themselves as the most interested group in the survey. Good for them and well done to the science staff, Mrs Macrae, Dr Caley and Mr Johnston, who each add much to the education of the pupils at all levels. Interestingly the report indicated that pupils did better if they had access to books in the home. Big surprise there then!

School website Our outdated website is slowly changing and hopefully for the better. In phase one of the upgrade old material has been removed. Lots of people are following the link to our new online news section with photos, news, information and interesting links. – and if you are reading this online you may have done just that!

Indoor Rowing: A Gateway to Activity

The introduction of indoor rowing at Gairloch High School has been dramatically successful, engaging many who have avoided physical activity in the past. It meshes well with a Curriculum for Excellence. What has been achieved so far has been with a single ageing machine in the fitness room and three rowers borrowed from members of staff.


Indoor rowing machines provide a combined cardiovascular and muscular endurance workout. They are used in many Olympic sports during athlete selection. As well as the elite, this low impact activity is a favourite for people developing their personal fitness, those recovering from injury, and people on a weight loss programme.

It is possible to:

  • Race wirelessly against competitors on other machines in the same room.
  • Connect machines together and hold a virtual regatta, with the progress of the race displayed in real time via a laptop to a data projector.
  • Race over a broadband connection with anyone, anywhere in the world.

Indoor Rowing at Gairloch High School

Gairloch High School has access to a single, old model Concept 2 rower in the fitness room. Since August, this has been the focus of a web-based competition against other schools countrywide, whereby teams row set distances each month and post their times on line. We have four teams of eight entered – two girls’ teams from S4 and S6, a senior boys’ team and a very dedicated team of female staff. Checking our results on the Concept 2 website shows we are holding up very well, and in some cases are leading the field.

As part of Healthy Highland 2007 Week, 15th – 19th January 2007, we wanted to build on the popularity of the schools’ league and organised an inter-house virtual regatta. Two rowers were borrowed from members of staff and a third from the Highland Institute of Sport. Pupils were trained on the rowers in PE lessons during the week and the event was held on the Friday. As well as the inter-house team competition, many took a personal challenge, to see how fast they could row 500m. From 9am until 3pm house teams organised by the pupils took part in events while the rest of the school cheered them on loudly. Teams were grouped into S1/2, S3/4 and S5/6 and some of the staff had a go as well. In terms of spirit, levels of participation and effort, the regatta was incredible!

We have found that indoor rowing:

  • Is an excellent gateway to regular and varied physical activity.
  • Has increased use of the fitness room by pupils since we started rowing.
  • Includes and engages many who usually avoid physical activity, especially girls.
  • Is an adjunct to academic subjects, such as Biology and Physics.
  • Has the potential to develop a broad spectrum of ICT skills.
  • Fits well with a Curriculum for Excellence.

Indoor Rowing and a Curriculum for Excellence

Our experience was that the indoor rowing and the inter house competition contributed to the capacities identified in the Curriculum for Excellence.

In relation to “Developing Confident Individuals” pupils:

  • were proud of themselves
  • felt physically, mentally and emotionally good about themselves
  • showed ambition

and were given the opportunity to:

  • relate to others and manage themselves
  • pursue a healthy and active lifestyle
  • achieve success in a different area of activity.

In relation to “Being Effective Contributors” pupils

  • were resilient
  • were self-reliant

and were given opportunities to:

  • work in partnership and in teams
  • take the initiative and lead
  • solve problems.


We hope in the near future to:

  • Expand participation in Concept 2 schools league and set up regular training slots across year groups.
  • Develop internet based racing against other schools (using rowpro software ) (Indoor rowing could be an excellent way for remote Highland schools to compete against each other– without having to make lengthy journeys).
  • Train and send a squad to the Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships, February 2008.
  • As rowers are portable, the primary Active Schools Coordinator can extend the activity to associated primary schools. (Children as young as six can safely use the machines).
  • Develop links with Inverness Rowing Club, to give pupils a taste of the activity on the water.