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!

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