School news 28th November 2008

Remembrance Day– Staff and pupils assembled for a two-minute silence at 11am on 11th November.  S6 pupils sold poppies in the school throughout the preceding week collecting £115.20 for the Earl Haig Fund.

Children in Need – Thank you to all parents and pupils who baked in support of this charity. £105 was collected on the day selling cakes throughout the school.  Exercise is now required by all to offset this massive consumption of cakes!

Bottle Bingo – The Parent Council held there first major fund raiser in the school hall on Saturday 15th November. The event raised £780 on the night, it was fun and some folk learned to play bingo as well!

Fashion Show – Another  great event, planned and executed by the pupils and supported by staff and parents, took place on Friday 21st  November in the school hall.  Models paraded the wares of three clothing outlets to cheers and applause.  S1 pupils, under the supervision of Mr McSwan, filmed and photographed the event.  After a very sociable break organised by parents Dr Caley gave a slide show of her summer trip to Malawi.  This was well received by all present.  Thanks also to Mr Sutherland, Ms Colquhoun and Mr Gorman for their support of the pupils during the event.  Details of monies raised by the event will follow.

Highland Futures Folk Group – Ella McDonagh took part in a concert at Eden Court recently.  Here is her report:

‘On Monday the 17th  November, Conal McDonagh, Alasdair Paul, Mags Matheson, Alex Warren, Sophie Donald and myself, went to Eden Court to perform in the Highland Futures music concert.

The band (now known as ‘C for Craic’) was formed less than a year ago when my brother Conal and I joined the after-school fiddle group, with our accordion and reel pipes. Our final member, Alasdair, joined a mere five weeks ago.

We were taken over to Inverness in parents’ cars and were soon settled into our dressing room, which actually had lights around the mirrors! Five o’clock came and still no sound check which had been scheduled for 4pm so we decided that we would go and find some dinner.  At 7pm we had our sound check and went to put on some last minute make-up (the girls that is) and generally smartened up.

We were the second performance and enjoyed it so much that I for one wanted to go back on stage and do it again! It gave us all such a thrill to be playing on a big stage and in front of so many people.

The whole band would like to thank Rhona Sutherland for giving us such a fantastic experience and all the parents who ferried us and our many instruments back and forth.’

More Pupil Success –David and Keith Robertson are members of the Dunfermline Car Club Rally Club Track Marshals junior section and this year they have won the Junior Scottish Marshal’s award.  It was reported that ‘David and Keith are not only keen on motor sport; they are probably the best known and well respected youngsters throughout asphalt rallying in Scotland. They turn out in all weather, probably travel further than most, they never complain, they always have a welcoming smile and warm words for the drivers and co-drivers and show a visible, true interest in what they do and are a real advert for the championship.’  Well done boys!  You are a credit to the school and the community.

S6 Interview Skills’ Day – Pupils submitted applications and these were forwarded to the interviewers in advance of the day.  Ten interviewers, from across the region, kindly gave up a day of their time to come into school and put S6 pupils through mock interviews, each lasting 20 minutes. Later in the day, pupils were given a de-briefing session on such things as;

•    Application Form – Presentation/Legibility & Clarity
•    Personal appearance, Confidence, Politeness & Manner
•    Interview – Eye Contact, Communication Skills & Quality of Answers.

This was an excellent experience for all our pupils to go through, even though the majority of pupils were naturally nervous beforehand.  Thanks to all involved including Mr Milner for making sure it was such a success.

Survival Cookery – A large number of S6 pupils are now turning up on a Tuesday, after school, to take part in a Survival Cookery course, kindly organised by Yvonne Spence.  The aim is to provide pupils, who will shortly be leaving school, with the skills and experience they will need to survive. It is also good fun !

Trip to Murrayfield – Mr and Mrs Johnston took a group of pupils all the way to Edinburgh and back in a day (Saturday 15th November). A long day for those involved but worth it as Scotland almost beat South Africa at rugby!

Debating Competition – Anna Hulme and Kirsty Alexander returned to Stornoway for another debating competition.  On this occasion it was a Gaelic speaking debate and they were accompanied by their Gaelic teacher, Mr Cumming.  The girls have prepared a report that will appear in the next issue.

Visiting AuthorJamie Jauncey is a journalist and writer who has written novels for teenagers, notably “The Albatross Conspiracy”, a story set in and around Laide and Mellon Udrigle about a girl and boy who discover an extreme nationalist plot to blow up the fuel dump in Aultbea.

On the 12th November he visited Gairloch High School and took part in discussions with S3 and S4 pupils. It was an interesting insight into the use of words and how the author used plot changes to widen his appeal to readers.  Conal McDonagh and Theo Threadgould recorded an interview with Mr Jauncey for broadcast on their Two Lochs Saturday show.

Study Club – Over the first 3 weeks, 9 sessions have run for S4.  There have been 76 individual attendances by a total of 24 pupils. Feedback from the pupils indicate that they find study club very useful.  We believe this work is reflected in exam success.

Important dates

S4 prelims – 26th November – 9th December
Christmas Music & Drama Evening – 15th December
Christmas Dance – 16th December
Whole School Quiz – 18th December

Bad weather details – All parents should have received details via their children of what to do when bad weather conditions arrive or school transport is disrupted.  The information is also available on the school website.

Fashion Shoot

Last year the fashion show was filmed and photographed by senior pupils. Unfortunately the lighting meant that the results were not as good as we expected.

This year Mr Ellis and Mr McSwan spent a day with the S1 pupils focussing on photographic skills. They followed this up in class and armed with cameras, mobile phones and hand-held video cameras the pupils prepared for the event.

Here are some of the results.

Selected by the pupils – the first collection of photos from last Friday.

School news 14th November 2008

Work Experience – Congratulations to S4 pupils for reported success in the world of work. Placements were widespread and varied and our gratitude goes to parents who provide the financial support during this week. On behalf of all our pupils, we are very grateful to the many local employers who continue to support the school with placements, some at the last minute. Without your support, this important experience for our young people would not take place.

Prelim Exams – S4 pupils will now be looking forward to the ‘pleasure’ of prelims. Mr Milner met with S4 pupils to go through their exam timetable and to talk through the information and study advice for parents and pupils. Ask your son or daughter to see this advice, if they have not already shown you. It is an important time for them, and with your support, we hope they will do themselves justice.

Study Club – has started for pupils from S4-S6. Parents/Carers should have received a letter from the school about this. The purpose of Study Club is to give pupils the opportunity to complete their work in a calm, supervised study environment, whilst giving them access to teachers, computers, textbooks and other school resources. The aim of Study Club is to raise the individual attainment and ambition of pupils by encouraging them to take advantage of school facilities and to develop the habit, discipline and technique of study.

Scotland v Norway – The Gairloch High School Tartan Army were on their travels again last month to see Scotland take on Norway at Hampden. 18 pupils travelled to the match accompanied by Mrs Johnston and Mrs Whall.  All had a good day out despite the disappointing 0-0 score.

More Pupil Success

Dan Fox has been awarded his Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Katrina Port, Ella McDonagh and Alasdair Paul are the first three this year to complete Bronze. Well done to all four pupils!

Kassie Forder was highlighted recently in a Highland Youth Voice publication for successfully gaining £300, through a grant application, to support the new youth club in Torridon. The money was used to purchase equipment for the club. Well done to Kassie for giving the club this great start. Kassie has agreed to deliver the school news regulalry to Torridon for the village notice board.

Project Trust, places volunteers to work overseas for a year, aimed at 17-19 year old school leavers. Types of work include social services, English teaching, outdoor activity and community development schemes. Anna McLean, S6, was motivated by Calum Milner’s recent success being selected by the Project Trust. She applied for the induction course and was duly invited to attend the selection course. This involves several days on the Isle of Coll being put through her paces. We are very pleased, but not surprised, to hear that Anna has been successful. Anna is also now committed to raising funds for her trip (hopefully to Africa) next year. Volunteers are given assistance from Project Trust to raise a proportion of their costs through fund-raising activities. Living expenses, flights, food and accommodation are provided. Well done Anna and good luck fund raising!

FutureChef 2009 – Eight pupils, from S1 to S4, took part in the school heat of this event. The judges were particularly pleased with the dishes produced and all scored highly in workmanship; creativity and presentation; composition, taste and flavour; and balance of the dish. The judges especially commended S1 participants for doing so well despite their lack of opportunity to do any cooking in school this year. The winner of the school heat this year was Rosie Smith, our runner-up last year, and she will go forward to the local heat in Inverness. The school would like to thank Wendy Bartlett for the support that she gave to pupils in the practice sessions and to thank her and Yvonne Spence for acting as judges for the event.

Blythswood Appeal – Thank you to all parents and pupils who donated towards this very worthwhile charity. A healthy bundle of beautifully wrapped Christmas boxes were collected on Monday 3rd of November.

Bottle Bingo – The Parent Council is holding a fund raiser in the school hall tomorrow at 7.30pm, Saturday 15th November, to raise funds for the school. Why not come along and join us for a bit of fun on the night!
Fashion Show – This event takes place on Friday 21st November in the School. Planned and executed by the pupils we hope that it will be even brighter and more exciting than last year. Tickets are available on the door. £5 for adults and £3 for children (pre-school free) for charity and school funds. Come and see the glamour of Gairloch – starts at 7pm!


Wind Turbine – As most people will have noticed we now have a small Windsave Wind Turbine fitted and generating a small amount of power for the school. Successful installation took place during the October Holiday. This was as a result of several of our pupils making a film and entering a national Friends of the Earth competition over a year and a half ago. The winning film was made available on the Internet and there is a link on the school website. The pupils involved were Leah Kenny, Emma Potter, Kirsty Alexander, Anna Hulme, Alex Warren, Lauren MacRae, Carianne Johnston, Theo Threadgould, Ruairdhri Wright, Alexander McFedries, James Potter and Jacob Naylor. Thanks also go to Mrs Abiy Orr, once again, for coordinating the pupil efforts at the time. The five-minute film followed ex-janitor, Allan Wade, around the school while he tried to save energy and reduce waste around the school.

Kathakali Performance – On the first day back at school after the October holiday, a group of pupils travelled with Ms. Velt and Ms. Gulliver to the Universal Hall at Findhorn to watch a performance by the Kathakali Theatre Company. Kathakali is a form of highly stylised classical Indian dance-drama that is noted for its attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed hand gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the music and complementary percussion. This group visited the school recently and several pupils were keen to see a further performance. For a western audience they had adapted a familiar fairy story, but presented it through their traditional music, costumes, gestures and expressions. We were all impressed by this spectacular performance, as can be seen from some of the pupils’ comments below:

“I thought the actors were fantastic, especially their facial expressions.” Alex Warren
“It was entertaining……….it was a new experience, and well done.” Alexander McFedries
“I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was unique and interesting.” Jacob Naylor
“The costumes were fantastic! It was a really wonderful experience. At the saddest part, near the end, the atmosphere was quite powerful; the whole audience, I think, felt sorry for the character, as the actors expressed grief so well.” Sophie Donald
“I found the performance very interesting, but also unusual because of the way they moved and dressed. It was enjoyable and interesting.” James Potter
“Kathakali literally means playing or acting a story and I think it was really nice to teach people Indian stories and how you perform them with the Indian sign language, which is called Kathakali.” Anju Sabu

Library – Miss Hollenstein and her staff would like to inform you of some new developments. A Family Shelf has been created for parents, carers and teachers. The new section of the library covers subjects such as Family Health, Teenagers, Difficult Times, Childcare and Special Needs. Titles include: 101 Things Every Child Should Know Before Leaving Home, How to Be a Good Dad, The Good Granny Guide and Eco Baby.
A knitting circle has started, meeting in the library on Friday between 1pm and 1.30pm. We are inviting pupils and members of the public who would like to learn or share their love of the craft to come along. If you are a beginner, bring relatively thick knitting needles and chunky wool. Otherwise just bring your own knitting. Books for inspiration will also be available but feel free to bring your own patterns and craft books.

Chip+ – There are free seminars on Wednesday 26th November in The Macphail Centre, Ullapool for all parents of children with Additional Support Needs. Booking is essential and we encourage parents to phone 01463 711189 for more details about these important advisory sessions.

The Travelling Scholars Highland Science Festival On Monday 3rd November 2008 Maarten de Vries and Howie Firth visited the school and gave talks throughout the afternoon to pupils from S1-S6 on astronomical subjects. P7 pupils from Gairloch Primary, along with S1 and S2 pupils considered the scale of the solar sytem while the older pupils heard about Shetland legends and the possibility of Lossiemouth becoming a space port in the near future. The school is grateful to Alastair Pearson at the Old Inn for his support in arranging these talks. We are also grateful to Miss Hollenstein, school librarian, who arranged a display of astronomy books for pupils to look as well as providing the use of a small telescope.

Mountain Bikes – The bikes that we purchased for Outdoor Education courses with the support of funds from the Great Wilderness Challenge are being put to good use. They do need maintained, however, and this is part of the training that the pupils get. Mr Johnston arranged for Neil from Square Wheels bike shop in Strathpeffer to visit the school last Friday. Outdoor Education pupils and several staff took part in the event and learned a bit about bike maintenance.  See some photos here…

Christmas Dance and other dates – The date of the dance is Tuesday 16th December. Remember that kilt and costume hire becomes very difficult if you leave it too late. Avoid the rush and plan early.

Bottle Bingo – 15th November
S3 Parent Evening – 20th November
S6 Interview Skills – 20th November
Fashion Show – 21st November
S5/6 reports issued – 24th November
S4 prelims begin – 26th November

Bad weather details – All parents should have received details via their children of what to do when bad weather conditions arrive or school transport is disrupted. The information is also available on the school website.

Staffing – This year the dance will be the last one to be led by Mr. Caddell. After 23 years teaching and working in the school, ‘Big Dave’ is retiring this Christmas. We will return to this nearer the time but as many of you know Mr Caddell will be a hard act to follow! Many former pupils will join current ones to remember the cross-country, the rugby and the heaps of good advice provided over the years by their PE teacher and Head of Kerry House.

Second Annual Fashion Show

On Friday the 21st of November we will be holding our second charity fashion show along with a presentation by Dr. Caley about her recent visit to Malawi.

Before the summer holidays pupils contacted Fair Trade fashion houses to obtain clothes for the models.  This session they have set up a catwalk and chosen music to accompany the fashion show.  S1 pupils will be photographing the evening as well as producing tickets and posters.   Our Parent Council have also kindly agreed to support the event by offering refreshments at interval.

The event will start at 7.00pm with the charity fashion show, then an interval at approximately 8.00pm followed by Dr. Caley’s presentation.

Tickets will be on sale at the start of next week and can be obtained from prefects in the multi-purpose hall at lunchtimes from 1.00pm to 1.15pm.  Tickets will cost £5 for over 16s, £3 for under 16s and free for under 5s and will be available on the door.

This year the proceeds will again be supporting CLIC Sargent and school fund.  Please do come along and support this event – it is entirely planned and executed by the pupils with support from teachers as requested.

Shoebox Appeal

44 boxes this year, wrapped by pupils and parents for the Blythswood Annual Christmas Collection on Monday 3rd November.

Grateful thanks to everyone in the community who supported the Appeal again this year.

Click here to see what happens to the boxes and the beneficial effect they have on those who receive this unique Christmas present.