School news 30th April 2010

Staffing – Mrs Whall returns to teaching Mathematics on Tuesday 4th May after being on maternity leave since last summer. In that time we have been very lucky to have the services and talents of Mr James Brough. Staff and pupils alike have benefited from his presence in the school this session. He will be missed but all staff and pupils will gather in a special assembly to wish him a fond farewell.

Pupil Success – Congratulations to Roxanne Ramsay for having raised the necessary funds for her Project Trust trip. You may have read Calum Milner’s article in the last issue.   The report is also available on the school website along with some photos. The project Trust Gap year is certainly a worthwhile venture for any youngster!

Kim Watson and Alasdair MacLennan were both interviewed by the Dingwall Rotary Club for possible selection on a Youth Leadership Award scheme. Kim was successful and has been invited to a weeklong training camp in July. Alasdair was a runner up and has been offered first reserve. Well done to both of them!

Leah Kenny S5, & Adam Gunn S6, attended Operation Youth Advantage based at Cameron barracks for a week. Working with Army and Police combined a group of around 40 young people were tested for leadership and other skills required by these organisations. Leah was awarded a trophy at the end of her stay as Most Improved Candidate 2010. Well done to both pupils. Previously Adam spent a very productive and successful week on Skye taking part in Columba 1400 Leadership training. Both these events were supported by our Careers initiative to support positive destinations for all of our pupils. Read about Leah’s experience here…

Swimming Gala – 70 Pupils took part in the annual Swimming Gala at Poolewe on Thursday 25th March. It was an exciting morning with Maree House winning overall, helped significantly by the senior girls – well done Amy, Judith and Briony! There were lots of brilliant performances and individual achievements throughout the morning but credit must go to Peter Banks, Conal MacDonagh and Isla Mackenzie who swam very well and were a pleasure to watch. Thanks to the staff from school and at the pool who helped. You can view some photos on the school website.

Comic Life – On the very last day of the Spring Term, the whole of S2 had a great treat in the shape of a ‘Comic Art Masterclass’ by Kev F. Sutherland. Kev is a comedian, artist, writer and producer. For The Beano he writes and draws Bash St. Kids, and has also worked for Marvel Comics, Viz, 2000 AD and Dr Who. He worked all day with the S2 pupils, not only impressing them with his amazing skills, but also encouraging them to make up and illustrate their own stories. Kev was in the north as part of the third ‘Highlands International Comic Expo!’ held annually in Inverness. We will definitely be watching out for this event next year to see if we can benefit again from his presence. See some of Kev’s comic characters by clicking here…

Golspie Mountain Bike RaceSamuel Parsons S1, Ryan MacLean S2, Luke Gorman S2 and Alasdair MacLennan S4, represented the school at the second of the Highland Schools Mountain Bike Race series, held at Golspie. The Scottish X- country junior race squad had chosen Golspie as the venue for their training session that day and their coach had decided that they should take part in the race as well. Our results weren’t quite as impressive as they were at the first race at Learnie, although Sara Johnston from Gairloch Primary School won her race in the Under Tens girls category. All had a good day out and it was great to see first class competitors, male and female, in action. Click here for some photos of our participants. Full results are available at the Scottish Cycling website.

Paper Tweets in Library – As part of the recent World Book Day celebrations all Gairloch High School pupils and staff were asked to report on what they were reading at the moment. Library staff put together a massive display with many of the pupils’ recommendations. Pupils and the public could vote on their favourite review from the short-listed best.

  • Rhys Leonard for Loathsome London by Terry Deary
  • Paige Fox for Ghost Girl by Torey Hayden
  • Neil Mackenzie for Sleeping Sword by Michael Morpurgo
  • Kenneth Mackenzie for The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
  • Cameron Moys for The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
  • Justin Claydon for The Knife of Never Letting go by Patrick Ness
  • Leanne Mackay for Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • Katrina Port for The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The winner for best review was Leanne Mackay for her piece on Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Out of 46 votes cast Leanne’s review received almost 50% of votes. Second place goes to Paige Fox for Ghost Girl by Torey Hayden. Well done to both girls who received prizes of book tokens at assembly.

Gaelic Writing Workshop – The fluent Gaelic speakers in the school recently had another wonderful opportunity to learn from a famous Gaelic and English writer.

Air Dihaoine an 16mh den Ghiblean, thill Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul dhan sgoil airson bùth-obrach sgrìobhaidh eile a dhèanamh. Bha e air na sgeulachdan a thòisich sinn an turas mu dheireadh a bha e an seo a leughadh, is thug e comhairle dhuinn. An dèidh seo, thòisich sinn air dàin a sgrìobhadh air a’ chuspair “Briosgaid Teoclaid”! Chòrd an latha ris a h-uile duine. Anna Hulme, 4B

“On Friday the 16th of April, Angus Peter Campbell returned to do another writing workshop with us. He had read the short stories we had started on his last visit, and gave us advice on how they could be improved. After this we wrote poems on the subject of “Chocolate Biscuits”! We all enjoyed the workshop.” Anna Hulme, 4B

Gaelic Careers Visit – We had another visitor recently who spent time with fluent and learners’ classes.

“Diluain, an naoidheamh latha deug den Ghiblean, thàinig Morna NicLeòid, bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig, a bhruidhinn ri sgoilearan Gàidhlig mu dheidhinn obraichean ‘s cursaichean ann an Gàidhlig agus dh’inns i dhuinn mu dheidhinn a h-obair ‘s na tha i a’deanamh. Fhreagair i ceistean a chuir sinn oirre mu dheidhinn suidheachadh na Gàidhlig ann an sgoiltean air feadh Alba agus, cuideachd, dh’inns i dhuinn mu dheidhinn Gàidhlig air an eadar-lion, mar eisimpleir, BBC Alba, ‘s àitean Gàidhlig air Facebook. Bha an taisbeanadh glè inntineach ‘s feumail agus dh’ionnsaich sinn gum faodadh sinn tòrr rudan a dhèanamh le ar beatha ma tha sinn ag ionnsachadh Gàidhlig.” Seumas Staddon, 5B

“On Monday, the 19th of April, Morna MacLeod from Bòrd na Gàidhlig came to talk to Gaelic pupils about careers and courses in Gaelic and she told us about her job and what she does. She answered questions we asked about the situation of Gaelic in schools across Scotland and she also told us about Gaelic on the Internet, for example, BBC Alba, and Gaelic pages on Facebook. The presentation was very interesting and worthwhile and we learned that we could do a lot with our life if we learned Gaelic.” James Staddon, 5B

Cookery – The cookery club has been meeting during the winter under the direction of Mrs Yvonne Spence. They have prepared a wide range of dishes and a number of pupils have taken the opportunity to attend the club to complete the skills section of their DofE awards. At the last session on 22nd April, a small presentation was made to Mrs Spence to thank her for running this club for us again. Click here to see some photos.

Malawi Link – In the first week of term, we received replies to the letters we sent to our Link School in Malawi last term. These were about daily routines on a typical school day and the replies showed some interesting differences between the lives of young people here and in Malawi. We have just completed writing new letters to send out to Malawi – this time the topic is “my favourite school subject”.

Following our receipt of a Global Schools Partnership grant through the British Council to allow teachers to visit between the Link Schools, plans for two Malawian teachers to visit us here in Gairloch are making progress, albeit slowly. We plan that the Malawian teachers will be coming here towards the end of August, although this is obviously dependent on them obtaining passports and visas – a rather drawn out process in Malawi. There will then be a return visit by two teachers from Gairloch to Malawi in October. The purpose of these visits is to allow teachers to learn more about their partner school and to develop collaborative projects for pupils in both schools to work on to increase their understanding of the world. It is hoped that they will pave the way for further joint projects and visits between the schools in the future.

Although the Global Schools Partnership grant and other funds will cover the majority of the costs associated with these visits, it is still necessary for us to raise about £800 to fully cover the costs of our Malawian visitors. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and one of the conditions of the grant received is that the UK partner school covers the additional costs of the visit. The Parent Council are organising a Soup Lunch in Gairloch Community Hall on Saturday 22nd May to raise money for this (see separate advertisement) and we hope that many of you will support this.

Please support the Soup Lunch for our Malawi Link – Gairloch Community Hall Saturday 22nd May 12 -2pm.

SQA national exams – Good luck to all our pupils S4 to S6!

School news 16th April 2010

DofE Silver Expedition Assessment – Five pupils set out in rather dubious weather conditions on Friday 26th March to spend 3 days on assessment in Wester Ross.  Click here to read about their successful expedition and here to look at some photos.

Pupil Success – Kirsty Alexander was the beneficiary of £20 in shopping vouchers as a result of entering a prize draw recently.  The pupils were invited to complete a survey for the Catering Services in school and everyone who filled in the form was entered for the draw.

A final word from Rosie Smith about her Futurechef experience: This experience has been unforgettable.  My practice sessions with Ross Fraser at Loch Ness Lodge were great fun and set me up well for the main event in London. So thanks to Ross and all at the Loch Ness Lodge.  I would like to thank the school for their support.  Thanks also to Williamson’s for providing all the ingredients and special thanks to my mum and dad for taking me to all the events.

I really enjoyed taking part in Futurechef and was delighted to get 4th place. I am hoping to continue to work with Ross and may even enter the competition again next year!

S1 Bring and Buy UPDATE – The sale held in the Community Hall on Saturday 13th March raised £2586, which is slightly more than originally thought!  Well done all!

Race for Life – Good luck to Morven, Mags, Charmayne, Natalie and Leanne who are currently seeking sponsors to support them in the Race for Life.  This is a 5km race taking place on Sunday 9th May.  The money raised will go to Cancer Research.

Study Club for S4-S6 Pupils – Between 50 and 60 senior pupils took part in study club along with teachers on the first three days of the holiday.  This annual event allows pupils to concentrate in a focused, relaxed environment.  Feedback is always positive and indicates that it helps prepare pupils for the final exams beginning in May.  Thanks to Ms Gulliver who organised the three days and Strath Stores for supplying soup and sandwiches to order.

Exams and Results – Pupils in S4, S5 and S6 are currently preparing for exams. Staff are constantly looking at ways of improving the delivery of courses to assist pupils learn and help them achieve the qualifications they require to move beyond school.  Many of our pupils receive unconditional offers for University at the beginning of S6 on the basis of their awards in S5.  This can often leave pupils feeling that they do not need to work in S6.  However self-motivation and pride generally leads to pupils leaving with an exceptional number of awards.  Last year 9 S6 left with 12 Advanced Higher passes between them.  These courses are equivalent to first year University courses and are encouraged if pupils are considering that route.  Although 5 Highers are deemed more than sufficient for most pupils going to University or College several of our pupils left last year having gained 7 awards.  These hard working pupils are in a strong position by the end of S6 to move on to Further or Higher Education – something that is vital in the current economy.

Active Lifestyles – School is not just about study and exams though.  Physical wellbeing and sense of community is also an important part of the ethos of a school.  There is a varied programme of lunchtime and after-school activities on offer to our pupils. With a small school roll and the difficulties of after-school transport it is often difficult to obtain the critical mass required to sustain these extra-curricular activities, but many members of staff give of their own free time to provide a range of opportunities. The activities on offer vary from time to time and from season to season.

In the first term last year we held training prior to the main event – an inter-house indoors rowing competition.  Currently on offer we have Dr Caley and Miss Dean running a very popular after-school badminton session and Mr Gorman’s lunchtime multi-sport sessions have been very well attended.  Mr Conway runs football sessions on two afternoons a week: one session for senior boys and another for the juniors.  Mr Milner is currently supporting an after-school girl’s football session.  In the autumn term we ran a very successful inter-house basketball competition with competitions for junior boys and girls and senior boys and girls.

Last term we ran an indoor shinty competition.  Instead of the traditional wooden camans, the indoor version uses ‘sticks’ of plastic and rubber. While this helps avoid many of the injuries usually associated with the game, it is still not a good idea to get in the way of a swinging ‘stick’ and the games have certainly been fast and furious in the true shinty tradition. Once a week some of the more energetic male staff take on a team of senior boys at indoor football.

Hockey, rugby, dodgeball and basketball have all been on offer in the recent past, sometimes with the help of external volunteers, but numbers attending have been insufficient to sustain regular sessions. However with a crop of talented and enthusiastic young basketball players coming up from the Primaries in August we hope to see High School junior basketball teams competing in the national league.

We believe all pupils gain considerable benefits from the efforts of all the staff involved in promoting active lifestyles including our Active School Coordinator, Dr Shearer.

Our main additional activity for pupils when they enter third year is Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  Dr Caley supervises this with the help of many staff and local volunteers.  Most of the staff have gained or are working towards suitable qualifications to make sure they are experienced enough to satisfy the requirements of Highland Council’s regulations.  Most pupils attempt Bronze but it is a mark of distinction for those who achieve it.  Pupils who go on to succeed at Silver and Gold show a particular determination and strength of character that we believe prepares them well for the outside world.

We encourage all pupils to take full advantage of the range of opportunities available at the school, academic or otherwise.  Often it is easy to take things for granted!

School news 2nd April 2010

Futurechef 2010 – The National Final, held on 22nd March at Westminster Kingsway College, London, saw the culmination of a 12-month programme involving 8,000 12–16 year olds.  12 National Finalists from across the UK were challenged to produce a two-course meal for four people within two hours.

Rosie Smith, S4, won fourth prize and will enjoy a top quality day of work experience with renowned chef Anton Edelmann, plus a stay with dinner at the fabulous Great Hallingbury Manor Hotel, in Hertfordshire.  Well-done Rosie!

Each of the 12 finalists received a collection of prizes for reaching the final including £100, a day of work experience in the kitchen with the Head Chef of a Malmaison or Hotel du Vin and a Kenwood Triblade Hand Blender along with a personally embroidered chefs jacket and some cookbooks.  Click here for photos and here for a full report of the event.  Rosie was interviewed by several newspapers after her success and spoke of her experiences on our own local Two Lochs Radio.

Young Quality Scot – From the 11th to 13th of March Roxanne Ramsay attended a three-day workshop in Irvine where she received her Young Quality Scot Award.  Over a hundred young people from all over Scotland received the award, which is given to acknowledge the work of young people benefiting their community.  Before going to Irvine the winners prepare a group presentation about what it’s like being a teenager in their region.  Roxanne reported, “All the presentations were really enjoyable and funny, but covered a wide range of serious topics from, knife crime in Glasgow, to why we’re sad to leave the Highlands for jobs and further education.”  Well-done Roxanne!  See the Highland Council Press Release here… along with a photo!

Mountain Bike Race – Alasdair MacLennan, David and Luke Gorman, Jake Macdonald, Samuel Parsons, Ryan MacLean and Nick Stein all took part in the first of the Highland Schools’ Mountain Bike Race Series, at Learnie Red Rocks on Saturday 20th March.  Alasdair, David and Luke came first, second and third respectively in the U16’s category.  As a result of this, Alasdair automatically qualifies for a place in the Youth Cross Country sprint championships at the Mountain Biking World Cup at Fort William in June.  The next race in the series is at Golspie on Saturday 17th April.  Well-done boys!

More Pupil SuccessConal McDonagh & Ross MacDonald have both been offered places at the Plockton Music Academy next session as a result of their piping skills.  This is a great credit to both boys but a terrific loss to the school.  Well-done boys!

On Saturday 20th March Sophie Donald took part in the final concert this year of the Highland Youth Orchestra.  On the night the orchestra played pieces by Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi and Shostakovitch amongst others.

At the recent Inverness Music Festival Ainslie Mackenzie came 1st in Gaelic singing.  Well-done Ainslie!

Football success in Macpherson Cup – Following a visit by pupils to witness Ross County’s sensational Scottish Cup victory against Hibernian, Gairloch High Schools senior football squad won a cup-tie of their own.  On Wednesday 24th March the team won 4-0 against Plockton High School in their home leg of the Macpherson Cup.  This trophy was traditionally contested between the two teams, although there have been no matches in recent years.  Gairloch High School teacher and coach, Mr. Hugh Conway, has resurrected the competition.  Gairloch’s goals were provided by Joseph Powell, Andrew Ross and Nick Stein.  Following an impressive sequence of neat passing play Dale Cunningham hammered home the fourth.  Well-done boys and thanks to Mr. Conway for organizing the game.

Bike Repair & Cycle Club – After application, the school received a grant from Sustrans to help us run after-school cycle repair workshops.  David Gorman, Luigi Bernardi, Connor Easby, Alexander McFedries, Lewis Martin, Alasdair Maclennan, Charlie Stevens, Mr. Gorman and Mr. Johnston have been working on school, staff and pupil bikes.  Our janitor, Andy Bowker is now a qualified cycle mechanic and has been overseeing their work.

The group have now been joined by the Silver Duke of Edinburgh cycling expedition members and we are using the opportunity to practise mountain biking in the run up to expedition and racing season; On the 14th March Alasdair and David were joined by Ryan Maclean, Luke Gorman and Samuel Parsons at the first of the Highland Schools’ Mountain Bike Race series at Learnie on the Black Isle.  Several primary school pupils also came along.

Challenger 3 Bus – In support of the Religious and Moral Education programme in school we had a visit from People with a Mission.  Pupils got a chance to hear a presentation from the Perth based Christian Group.  It is fair to say that the visit generated much discussion amongst staff, pupils and parents.

Science events – We have been delighted to welcome both the SCI-FUN workshop and the Lab in a Lorry recently. SCI-FUN set up in the hall and all of S1 and S2 spent the morning watching the presentations and going round the exhibits with senior pupils who were acting as demonstrators.  The staff who came with the roadshow commented on the positive attitude and approach of all pupils and were particularly impressed with the effective cooperation between junior and senior pupils.  S2 and S3 Physics and Technology pupils visited the Lab in a Lorry where they had the chance to work on experiments with experienced scientists who had volunteered to come on the tour with the lorry.  They experimented with using renewable energy sources to produce the power for a house, watched sound waves making a glass vibrate and investigated cameras.  The pupils all enjoyed and benefited from these experiences.  You can view some photos by clicking here.

Swimming Gala – Pupils took part in the annual Swimming Gala at Poolewe on Thursday 25th March.  It was an exciting morning with Maree House winning overall.  We will provide a fuller report at a later date.  Thanks to the staff in school and at the pool who helped but particularly Mrs. Hildrey. You can view some photos by clicking here.

Hedley & Margaret Calvert – For the past 5 years or so, Hedley Calvert has assisted the school in providing expedition training and supervision for Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions.  Without such help, it is difficult for the school to provide these opportunities for the pupils and his input has been invaluable.  Margaret has helped as part of the exam invigilation team, also essential to the smooth running of the school’s provision.  On Tuesday 23rd April, they were invited into the school for a small presentation to thank them for their help and wish them well as they move to Yorkshire.

Important DatesClick here for information.

Gifts to School –We received 4 chanters from the new shop in Pier Road, Aultbea, Jenuine.  We have also received an organ from Mrs. Hammond in Aultbea in response to our request for donations of musical instruments.  Many thanks to both for their generous gifts to the school.