School news 25th January 2008

S5/6 Prelims – These exams start on Monday 28th January and last until Wednesday 6th February. Good luck to all S5 and S6!  S4 prelim reports have gone home and the parents met with teachers on Thursday 24th January to discuss progress.

S4 options for next year – Mr Hulme introduced S4 pupils to the courses available for next year and issued the pupils with a sheet on which they are to indicate their initial choices for S5. Pupils were asked to discuss this information with their parents and have the sheet signed before having it returned.  This is the first step in discussion over selection of courses for next session.

Pupil Success

S6 pupil, Jake Threadgould has had one of his photographs  selected as the winner of a Highland 2007 competition. Read more and see the photos here.

This Christmas the school was again decorated through the efforts of many of our pupils.  From the October holiday through to the last week of term, a trusty group of artists regularly stayed after school to work on their huge posters to decorate the walls of the multi-purpose hall.  This year the theme of the posters was ‘angels’ and there were some lovely examples in a variety of colours and styles.  In addition to this, there was a great response to the Christmas Wreath competition and this brightened the foyer at the entrance to the school.  (Photos) The winner of the competition was Sophie Donald, whose imaginative ‘reindeer wreath’ (with lighting-up nose!) stole the show.

Two of our sixth year pupils, Jenny Martin and Spencer Hill, are travelling to Ullapool every Monday, over a period of twelve weeks, to take part in a Portfolio Preparation Course run by Eleanor White at Bridge House Art.   They join with other full-time students there to expand and develop the work they are doing in school.  Jenny  is keen to apply to the Art School in Glasgow while Spencer favours Dundee.  We wish them the best of luck with their applications in this highly competative field.

S6 pupil Becky Massey,  one of our Deputy Head Pupils and House Captain for Maree, has been recognised  for her  special contribution to supporting younger pupils in the school. Becky was successful in competition against others across Highland and will now, along with around twenty others, receive further training during a weekend at Badaguish Outdoor Centre near Aviemore in February. At  a national event, in Bathgate in March, Becky will be presented with her Young Quality Scot Award. Becky has really gone out of her way and, in her own special style, made a tremendous difference by  making sure  pupils with additional needs  are included in  class and social activities.  Well done Becky!

The School Dance – Once again, this very successful and well established event took place just before Christmas.  It was attended by many staff and nearly every one of the pupils. All present had a great time and the standard of Scottish Country dancing on display was very high.  Events like this take a great deal of planning and support.  Thanks are due to many people across the community – the dance is a wonderful example of the on going support we get from the community. A major contribution comes from MacKenzie & MacLennan at Gairloch Garage who provide all transport  and drivers for the night. We are extremely grateful for this commitment as it allows many of our pupils who would otherwise have great difficulty, to get to and from the dance. We are also grateful to Gairloch Estates for providing the Christmas trees and to the Community Hall Committee for making the Hall available. Thanks also to all the members of the band who kept the dancing going. Click here for PHOTOS.

Many others contribute including all the staff and family who assist in providing food at interval.  Pupils are involved in creating decorations and the production and sale of tickets. A large number of pupils piped us off to a rousing start, others provided interval musical entertainment. It was a grand night out!

Whole School Quiz – The last day of term saw the whole school taking part in an inter house quiz under the stewardship of Mr.Hulme and Dr.Caley. This was a very closely fought competition with Maree house teams winning the event overall. This is the second year Mr.Hulme has organised this large scale event which once again proved to be a success with staff and pupils alike.

Inter-House Rowing Competition – This annual event took place for the second time on the afternoon of Friday 18th January.   A big turn up for the books was the overall victory by Tollaidh.  Read more and see the photos here.

Bulbs – All pupils have received a copy of the brochure to pass on to parents and friends. Anyone who would like a copy may pick one up from the school office or ask a pupil to deliver one.  We are hoping to raise money to boost our school funds.  The deadline for orders is Tuesday, 29th January.

Uniform and kilts – Over the last three years several of the boys have worn their kilts on the day or two after the dance as part of their school uniform.  This has been extended to pupils at other times of the year.  You may have noticed some of the pupils wearing the kilt now as part of their everyday uniform and this is acceptable as long as school shirt and tie are in place along with proper black footwear.

S1 Bring and Buy Sale for Nethybridge – It is that time of year again – Saturday 8th March 2008 in the Community Hall.  Start looking out all that unwanted clutter.  More details soon.

Inter-House Indoor Rowing

On Friday 18th January the school held it’s second major rowing event. Since we started this new activity last year it has really caught everyone’s interest. With the help of funds from the Great Wilderness challenge many pupils and staff train weekly on the three machines in school.

This year Tollaidh won the event after boys and girls raced in three categories – Junior school S1/2, middle school S3/4 and Senior S5/6. There are photos of the event here.

PRESS RELEASE – HMIe report published 15th January 2008

HMIe publishes positive report on Gairloch High School

Gairloch High School has received a very positive report from HMIe Inspectors after a recent visit. The 194-pupil school was commended for:

High overall performance in national qualifications for many pupils.

The very good relationships and positive ethos across the school.

The strong commitment of pupils, parents and staff to the school.

The high quality of support for pupils with a range of specific needs.

Effective and innovative use of information communications technology (ICT) to promote achievement.

In this report, the Inspectors judged that the school successfully raised achievement for all pupils. Staff ensured that pupils could gain the qualifications they needed to progress beyond school. Increasingly, the school was providing stimulating opportunities for pupils to develop personal skills and attributes, such as confidence and enterprise. The school was considered to be well placed to develop a robust Curriculum for Excellence.

Particular features of the school’s provision included:

  • A residential week at Nethy Bridge for pupils in S1 which provided an important opportunity to promote a range of important skills, such as personal confidence and working in teams.
  • A curriculum in S3/S4 that was sufficiently flexible in a small school to enable pupils to study more than one modern language, and up to three sciences.
  • Effective timetabling that had enabled a very successful programme of outdoor education and fitness to be provided for senior pupils.
  • Curricular and vocational guidance that was very effective. Staff provided knowledgeable advice to assist pupils with applications for work and further education.
  • A well-developed work experience programme that effectively developed pupils’ skills for work by giving them opportunities to apply for and record their work experience.

The Inspectors also strongly endorsed the very good partnerships with parents and the community. Particular features included a welcoming and responsive climate in the school and the quality of information available to parents about aspects of school life, pupils’ achievements and reports on their progress.

Action points include improving school security and reviewing the integrated use of the Community Library. The school has also been asked to improve the timetable of S1/S2 pupils and ensure that more rigorous procedures are in place to measure the impact on outcomes for learners. These points are already being addressed by school staff with the support of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Service.

Mr John Port, Head Teacher, said: “It is very encouraging that the HMIe appreciated the benefits to learning and teaching provided by the positive relationships across the school community. I am pleased that the report also reflects the very strong professional commitment of all staff and the high levels of academic success achieved by many pupils. At a time when the fundamental design and approach of schools to education and training are being examined, it is reassuring to see that HMIe appreciated the steps that we have taken to introduce increased opportunities for all of our pupils. Most importantly, the recognition that we have maintained, and in several areas, improved pupil attainment throughout ongoing changes.

“I am also heartened that the HMIe recognised the very good teaching in the school and the quality, maturity and enthusiasm of the pupils. I would also like to state my appreciation of the support of parents and other members of the local community. This is a crucial factor contributing to the overall success of the school.”

Susan MacLean, secretary of the Pupil Council said: “It is encouraging that the ECS Service has pledged its support to the school and its staff. Inspections are important in helping us to assess ourselves and when you look at what each pupil has achieved by the time they leave Gairloch High School, everyone has plenty to put on a CV whether it be academic achievements, Duke of Edinburgh’s award, sports leaders’ awards, football, hockey or rugby teams. Every person has the opportunity to achieve their own personal potential. Well done to the school.”

– ends-

The full report is available here.



365 Days photography success

S6 pupil, Jake Threadgould has had one of his photographs selected as the winner of a Highland 2007 competition. We featured Jake’s work previously on the website. Jake has won some very impressive photography equipment and will be awarded his prize this Friday at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness by First Minister, Alex Salmond.
See some of Jake’s photos here on the school website and read about the idea behind the concept here.
Well done Jake!