School news 30th October 2009

Aspire Leadership Training Course – Two of our S5 pupils, Reece Linley and Ryan Moir attended a leadership activity course at Badaguish (near Aviemore) recently for a week long set of activities aimed at developing leadership skills.  Reece and Ryan were the youngest in the group who were made up of young adults from all over Scotland.  They returned full of confidence and very pleased with the busy and tiring schedule they endured.  As is the norm when our pupils go out into the world, Reece and Ryan impressed the organizers and we quote from the feedback received:  We worked them all really hard and both boys were enthusiastic and took part in everything, … they were definitely great Ambassadors for Gairloch High School and it was a pleasure to have them along with us – Liz Simpson, Careers Scotland.. Well done boys!

Proiseact an Darna Cogaidh / “Their Past … Your Future” Project Bha sianar sgoilearan (Ceithidh Hulme, Yarima Conway, Ciaran MacAlasdair, Anna Nic Ghill’-Leathain, Calum Street agus Ainslie NicCoinnich) an sàs ann am pròiseact eachdraidh Dihaoine, an dàrna latha den Dàmhair. Tha am pròiseact “Their Past … Your Future” a’ gabhail àite ann an sgoiltean air feadh na h-Alba an-dràsta ‘s sgoilearan a’ bruidhinn ri ginealach nas sine aig a bheil cuimhne air àm an Dàrna Cogaidh. Bha sinn fhèin air leth toilichte ùine a chur seachad ann an cuideachd Iseabail NicCoinnich agus Ceitidh NicCoinnich ‘s iad a’ toirt dhuinn sealladh air mar a bha beatha aig an àm sin. Chaidh an còmhradh a chlàradh agus bidh DVD air a dhèanamh dheth.

“Bha e uabhasach inntinneach ‘s chòrd e rium gu mòr. Fhuair mi a-mach mòran mun sgìre aig àm a’ chogaidh ‘s mar a bha e a bhith a’ fàs suas aig an àm.” (Ainslie)

“Bha Ceitidh ‘s Iseabail uabhasach còir ‘s fhuair sinn a-mach tòrr mun àite.” (Yarima)

We reported previously that six pupils (Ceitidh Hulme, Yarima Conway, Ciaran Alexander, Ann MacLean, Callum Street and Ainslie Mackenzie) were involved in a history project on Friday the second of October.  The project “Their Past … Your Future” is taking place in schools throughout Scotland just now and involves pupils speaking to older generations who remember the Second World War. We were very happy to spend time in the company of Isabel MacKenzie and Ceitidh Mackenzie who gave us a great insight into life at the time. The conversation was recorded and a DVD will be made from it.

Earthquake recordingFollowing a recent training course attended by Mrs Macrae and Mr Hulme, the school has been given a seismometer from the British Geological Survey under its School Seismology Project.  The model is an MUTR horizontal seismometer that uses electromagnetic induction to detect ground motion. It is hoped to have it set up in the coming weeks so that seismic activity around the world can be monitored and recorded. The scope for projects involving Geography and Science, in particular, is great and it is hoped that pupils will benefit from an increased understanding of earthquakes with this new piece of equipment. For anyone interested in finding out more go to the following websites: and

Inter-house rowing competition – On Monday 5th October the annual indoor rowing competition took place.  After a range of competition races and a large number of personal challenges Maree came first, closely followed by Tollaidh with Kerry in third place.  Congratulations to the S4 Skills for Work pupils who organised and ran the event as part of their course. Click here for some photos of the event.

Am Mod Ionadail / The Local ModSome additional music results from the event in Poolewe last month. Click here for the full set.

U14 March Strathspey and Reel – 3rd Jamie MacLean
Gaelic Air – 3rd Jamie MacLean
14-18 Puiobaireachd – 3rd Conal McDonagh
14-18  March, Strathspey and Reel – 2nd Conal McDonagh

Well done to all the pupils who represented Wester Ross in the recent Poolewe MOD.  The judges commented on the calibre of piping remaining strong in the area and were pleased to see so many taking their music seriously. Perhaps the closest competition was the 14-18 March, Strathspey and Reel with only 3 points difference in the top 3. –  Grant Milne

Debating – On Wednesday 7th October Miss Mackison took Storm Lawson, S6 and Lyle Walker, S2 through to Inverness to take part in The North of Scotland Schools Debating Competition.  The motion was “this house would ban cosmetic surgery”.  Miss Mackison reported that the pupils performed admirably.  The 3rd round is on 5th November at Inverness Royal Academy – our team will sum up for the proposition that: This House believes in compulsory retirement at 60.

Jeans for Genes Day – On Friday 9th October, the school raised over £200 for the Jeans for Genes charity.  Pupils donated £1 to wear their jeans.  For an extra 50p they could wear trainers.

Highland Homecoming A’Chraobh Project – “Gothic Gairloch” First year English classes are embarking on an investigation of strange and supernatural tales that originate within the parish.  They will be interviewing family, friends and neighbours about local legends and researching them in the library and online.  Pupils will then record some interviews and present podcasts of some of the stories for the school and A’Chraobh websites.  Former pupil and Head Girl, Eilidh Smith (formerly Lawrie) is supporting the English Department in this project.  If you have any stories to contribute, please contact the school and we will try to arrange an interview.

Scottish Opera – P7 and S1 will be working with professional singers, production and technical staff from Scottish Opera next week, culminating in a public performance at 7pm on Friday 6th November.  The opera is a specially commissioned work for the Scottish Homecoming Year called “The Tale o’ Tam”, based on Burns’ famous epic poem “Tam o’ Shanter”. Tickets for the show are free, but voluntary donations will be accepted.  Tickets are available from the High School Office and available to the public as well as parents.

Important Dates
After school study clubs will commence Tuesday 3rd November.  In the first instance this will be aimed at S4 who begin their prelim exams on November 25th 2009.

School news 16th October 2009

Anniversary of the ‘new building’ – A special assembly marked the 30th September 2009 for pupils and staff in the school.  We came together to celebrate the efforts put in by many to bring about the building of the new school.  Mr Hulme showed old film of mud and mouldy walls and generally highlighted the things that we now take for granted.  Click here to view the film. Pupils seemed genuinely surprised by the conditions experienced by their predecessors.  Those born around the time of the opening are now in S4.

Staffing – Congratulations to Mr and Mrs B Whall on the birth of their daughter, Sofia, on Tuesday 6th October!  Meanwhile we are grateful to Mr L. Phin for coming through from Inverness to take Maths classes for two weeks in the absence of Mrs Whall.  Mr J. Brough has now taken up post to cover the absence for the foreseeable future.

Parent Council AGM – This was held in the school on the evening of Monday 5th October.  Dr Caley presented an update on the Malawi project and Mr McSwan showed some films made by pupils.  Mr Port gave an update on the school generally, thanking everyone again for the sterling support given during this time of increasing financial crisis.  He also reminded everyone that we have a very good school with dedicated teachers who will continue to work for the benefit of the children throughout any difficulties that arise.  Click here for the minutes on the Parent Council part of the website.

Fèis Rois – A number of pupils in the school have recently been left feeling let down regarding classes and instrument hire.  Clarsachs hired by pupils have been recalled and accordion classes in Poolewe relocated to Ullapool.  A Fèis Rois spokesperson indicated that classes in Poolewe were financially unviable because of small numbers.  The clarsachs were needed for children working with Fèis Rois tutors.  As none of their tutors are currently available in the Gairloch area the harps were withdrawn at short notice.  Pupils taking accordion classes are now expected to attend Ullapool if they wish to continue.  It is sad to see the Fèis withdraw support from Wester Ross given their presence in Gairloch in the past.

Am Mod Ionadail / The Local Mod – Ghabh am Mod Ionadail àite ann am Poll Iù air an 25mh den t-Sultain. Bha latha math aig a h-uile duine a ghabh pàirt. Seo mar a fhuair sgoilearan Ardsgoil Gheàrrloch air adhart:

The Local Mod took place in Poolewe on the 25th September. Everybody who took part had an enjoyable day.  The following are the results of Gairloch High School pupils who finished in the top three places in their competitions.  (We will print further music results in the next edition):

Bible Reading Secondary
1. Ceitidh Hulme (trophy for highest Bible reading marks)
2. Anna Hulme
3. Yarima Conway

Conversation 11/12 age group
1. Ceitidh Hulme
2. Yarima Conway
3. Ciaran Alexander

Conversation 13-15
1. Anna Hulme
2. Kirsty Alexander

Poetry (Fluent) 11/12
1. Ceitidh Hulme
2. Yarima Conway / Kenneth Mackenzie

Poetry (Fluent) 13-15
1. Anna Hulme
2. Kirsty Alexander

Solo (Fluent) 11/12
2. Kenneth Mackenzie
3. Ceitidh Hulme / Ann MacLean

Poetry (Learners) 13-15
1. Morven MacRae (trophy for highest Gaelic learner marks)
2. Ryan MacLean
3. Charmayne Fraser / Donnie MacLennan

Tin Whistle (Secondary)
2. Jamie MacLean

Accordion (Secondary Intermediate)
2. Jamie MacLean

Clàrsach (Secondary)
1. Sofie Banister (and trophy)

Fiddle (Secondary)
1. Oscar Howard (and trophy)
3.  Margaret Matheson

The Iain Dall Festival – Conal McDonagh received a third prize in the Under 15 Own Choice 4 Part Reel.  Well done Conal! The competitions took place in the school on Saturday 26th September.

Inter-House Golf – Congratulations to Conal McDonagh again.  He won this competition with his best ever round. Well done to everyone who took part.  The school hopes to make this a regular event with the support of the Golf Club. Amy French, S6, did a fine job organizing the competition. The Golf Club is now running monthly competitions for juniors and we hope to record further success for those taking part.

Blythswood Shoebox Appeal – Pupils, parents and friends collected over 30 shoeboxes for the Blythswood Appeal this year.  Thanks to everyone involved particularly Dr Caley and the S6 pupils who advertised the event at Assembly.

Scottish Opera – Gairloch High School & associated primaries have been given the unique opportunity of collaborating with Scottish Opera during the week beginning the 2nd November.  During that week, the children of P7 and S1 will work with professional singers, production and technical staff from Scottish Opera, culminating in a public performance at 7pm on Friday 6th November.  The opera is a specially commissioned work for the Scottish Homecoming Year called “The Tale o’ Tam”, based on Burns’ famous epic poem “Tam o’ Shanter”.  The children have already been busy learning their songs, and all of them have to learn the songs off by heart during the holidays – a perfect “rainy day” activity!  Tickets for the show are free, but voluntary donations will be accepted.  Tickets will be available from the High School Office after the October break.

Work Experience for S4 – Good luck to our S4 pupils as they spread out across the UK for their week of work experience beginning Monday 26th October.

Important Dates
29th October – S1,2,3,5,6 pupils return to school.
2nd November – S4 return from work experience.
6th November – S1/P7 Opera in the evening!

After the holidays after-school study clubs will commence.  In the first instance this will be aimed at S4 who begin their prelim exams on November 25th 2009

New menus have been issued for the canteenClick here to see the menus.

School news 2nd October

Re-dedication of the War Memorial – Head Girl, Amy French and Head Boy, Derek Martin, represented the school at the re-dedication of the Gairloch War Memorial on Saturday 19th September.  This short but moving ceremony took place in windy, dry conditions.  Several other pupils were present as members of the ATC.  They did a grand job as a parade of honour.  See photographs by clicking here.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – Every year, we are grateful to many community organisations and individual members of the community who act as volunteer supervisors to help our young people complete the various sections of their award.  In the past year, there have been some changes to the requirements of the award, particularly in the Volunteering section, formerly called the Service section.  The most significant of these is that young people can no longer complete a training course to fulfill this section; now, training can be a maximum of a quarter of the time completed and the other three-quarters must be practical service to others (e.g. individuals in need, a charity, or a voluntary community organisation). Should anyone require further information about being a supervisor for a DofE award, whether experienced or new to it, please contact Dr Caley at the school.

Gaelic singing workshops – Gairloch High School pupils studying Gaelic or Music had the privilege of attending singing workshops led by the renowned Iseabail MacAskill.  With her good humour and wonderful talent, she made all pupils – fluent or learners – feel that they could make a good sound, especially when singing favourites such as “Brochan Lom” or “Far am bi mi fhìn”  Iseabail also stressed how important it was to know the story behind the songs, and also that not all Gaelic songs are about “death, drowning or getting dumped” !

We thank the Iain Dall Piping Festival for making these workshops possible.

Poolewe Provincial Mod – This event seems to be gaining in popularity and prominence given its proximity on the calendar to the National Mod in October.  With more and more visitors coming from further afield to participate, the competition maintains the previous high standards and is judged at national standards.  Gairloch High pupils take part annually in a range of competitions such as clarsach, bible reading and speaking.  We expect that several of our pupils will achieve success in the competition and the details will be reported in the next edition.

Their Past… Your Future Project – S1 and S2 pupils will be taking part in a Gàidhlig speaking project at the beginning of October.  Katey and Isobel Mackenzie will talk with the pupils about their experiences during the Second World War.  We are grateful to both ladies for working with the children in this way and to Bob Pegg who will be recording the conversations that take place.

S4 Prelims – Pupils in S4 have been working with their teachers preparing and planning for their exams, which start at the end of November. Parents should be aware that these pupils should now be focused on these exams. They have been given appropriate materials for their subjects and advised about the steps they need to take to achieve their best grades. We would ask that parents support pupils in preparation for these important exams.

Blythswood Shoebox Appeal – A reminder that next week is the last week for bringing shoeboxes into school as we have been asked to have them ready before the October holiday this year.

The Iain Dall Festival – Last weekend the school hosted the Young Pipers Competition as part of the festival.  Thanks to Mr. Andrew Bowker, our janitor for his support throughout the day.

S4 Work Experience begins 26th October – Most pupils now have work placements sorted.  Mrs. Flora Mackenzie is working furiously behind the scenes to make sure all the paperwork is in place.  This year we have pupils involved in a wide range of work between London to Stornoway.  Radio and TV, music industry, fishing and estate and stable work, hospitality and retail, nursing and building as well as shadowing  MPs. For many pupils it is a key event that provides additional focus for exam preparation and direction for future ambitions.

Dates of importance click here…