School news 3rd September 2010

Visitors from Malawi – By the time this is published Mr. Chimtali and Ms. Ajawa will be on their way home to Malawi.  Our guests assure us that they had a wonderful and productive time in Gairloch learning about our teaching methods as well as our culture.  We have certainly enjoyed developing our friendship with Winnex and Sarah.

They were apparently warned before they left Africa that Westerners are not generally a friendly people.  That has certainly not been their experience and they have been touched by the friendship they have encountered in Gairloch from all members of the community.  While entertained royally on each day of their visit, special mention must be made of the Community Ceilidh last Saturday in the Community Hall.  Both primary and secondary pupils provided a very high standard of music and song throughout the evening.  This was complimented by dance with music provided by the Gairloch Ceilidh Band. Mr Chimtali and Ms Ajawa (along with a couple of conscripts) demonstrated a dance from their homeland.

This event was a great opportunity for parents and staff to come together and celebrate our growing link with Mlozi School but also demonstrated the strength of our own community.  Mr. Port would like to thank everyone who was involved in making the evening such a success including members of the Parent Council for organising the refreshments.

Around 150 people attended and the raffle provided a donation of £300.40 for Highland Hospice.  In October Dr. Caley and Mr. Hulme will visit Malawi.

NESTA Project with S2 – Monday 23rd August saw the launch of iDiscover for S2 and S1B in Gairloch High School.  iDiscover is an exciting project that the school is involved with along with the high schools in Portree, Plockton and Ullapool. Pupils have selected the experiences that they will be working on in five days spread over the weeks to Christmas.  After Christmas, S2 and S1A will choose their experiences for the remaining days. It should be stressed that S1 are only involved because of the smaller numbers in Gairloch compared with the other schools; it is a bonus and we are glad that they are able to be part of this event.

The experiences are to be run by providers from outside the area and are very varied. One allows pupils to turn objects into robots, another gives pupils the opportunity to produce an internet based game. Microbes, radio broadcasting, rockets and puzzles are the basis of the other experiences.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning officially launched the one-year programme, being operated with support from Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Highland Council, Learning Teaching Scotland and Scottish Government, at Portree High School on 1st September.  See P&J report here… and read the official press release here.

Comenius Partnership School Project – The school has been awarded a grant of 22,000 Euros from the British Council to fund cultural links with schools in different European countries.  Comenius has two main objectives: to develop understanding among young people and education staff of the diversity of European cultures and to help young people acquire basic life skills and competences for their personal development.

Mrs. Campbell submitted the successful bid and the school will work with four other European schools: Instituto Istruzione Superiore C. Golgi in Italy, the 7th General Lyceum of Illion in Greece, HS/RS Lehre in Germany and Preili State Gymnasium in Latvia.  Our project will run over two years, during which pupils and staff will visit each school in turn to plan, discuss and evaluate our input into the project.  Each school will study the cultural and political heritage of their area and consider how this has shaped their environment.  In planning and working together, pupils and staff will have the opportunity to increase their awareness and appreciation of their own and other cultures within the European Community.

In Gairloch we will concentrate on our historical, linguistic, artistic and musical culture and how it has made our country what it is today.

Our first visit is to Preili State Gymnasium in Latvia.  This visit will be in November.  Four pupils from S5 and S6, Kirsty Alexander, Ella McDonagh, Alasdair Paul and Sophie Donald along with Ms Campbell and Ms Hunter, will set off for Riga, followed by working meetings with our partner schools in Preili, where pupils will stay with host families.

I am delighted to have such a wonderful opportunity to visit Latvia.  It is a unique opportunity that I doubt I will ever get again.  I am really excited about staying with host families and learning about how they live, although I’ll have to learn some Latvian first – Ella McDonagh.  Read Ella’s full article here…

Pupil Success – Several pupils in the S3 Gaelic Learner’s class received certificates for work that they had submitted in June to a national Gaelic writing competition.  Pupils who received certificates were Adam Blyth, Rebecca Griggs, Caitlin Johnston, Donald Mackenzie, Malachi Robertson, Lyle Walker, Danielle Bulmer, James Conniff and Donnie MacLennan.  Luke Gorman wrote an outstanding piece and won the competition.  He received the first place prize of £50.  This success follows on from last year when Mairi Wyatt, another Gairloch High pupil, won the competition.

In the fluent competition, both Ceitidh Hulme and Ainslie Mackenzie received certificates for their short stories.

Kim Watson attended a Leadership Training course over the summer break as a guest of the Dingwall Rotary Club.  Kim reported that the week of activities and training was a great opportunity.  Last week Kim and her mum were invited to a Rotary dinner so that Kim could make a presentation to the Rotarians about her experiences.

Last weekend some of our pupils got prizes at the Gairloch Show.  Well done to Luke Gorman for his photography and his brother Jordan for artwork, along with Catherine Wyatt who baked an amazing gingerbread house!  It is hoped that next year the pupils will enter some of our own vegetable produce!

C for Craic in Edinburgh – Ella McDonagh, Margaret Matheson, Alasdair Paul, Conal McDonagh and Ross MacDonald, along with Rhona Sutherland performed their music to great acclaim in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh on the 9th August.  Click here to see some photographs of the event.

Parent Council Report – Prior to the summer break the Parent Council asked parents about their opinions regarding their experiences of working with the school to combat issues.  The completed report is now available on the school website.

Parents should have received a letter recently from the Parent Council inviting participation and alerting everyone to the upcoming AGM in October.  Details on the website.  The school greatly appreciates the support of our parents.

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