Comenius Project

Since the summer of 2010, staff and pupils have been working closely with four other schools in Italy, Greece, Germany and Latvia on the project, “Our forefathers’ regional, historical and cultural heritage”. From 3rd – 7th October, it was our turn to act as host to staff and students from the partner schools.

Spirits among the young people, hosts and teachers were never dampened by what turned out to be a week of memorably awful weather! After formal introductions and tours of the school on Tuesday, our visitors enjoyed demonstrations of traditional skills given by volunteers at the Gairloch Heritage Museum. At the Culloden Centre on Wednesday, the group experienced an informative tour of the atmospheric battlefield, followed, in stark contrast, by a visit to Loch Ness.

On Thursday, half the day was spent on an archaeological trip to Port Henderson, where the visitors were also welcomed into the crofthouse home of Roddy and Alice MacKenzie, and the other half on a wildlife treasure hunt at Inverewe Garden.

On Friday, each group gave a presentation about their heritage projects to the school: the Greeks’ project is on the history of the Parthenon in Athens, the Italians’ the story of Charlemagne, and the Germans’ the history of the divisions in their country post World War Two. The Gairloch group gave their presentation on how the Gaelic language describes the landscape, then showed a series of photographs of Laide Wood, along with the recital of a poem about it by Miles Campbell, recorded in Gaelic by pupils Anna Hulme, Kenneth MacKenzie and Kirsty and Ciaran Alexander. The Latvians’ presentation was about their traditional musical instruments, and finally, in traditional costume, they demonstrated a lively folk dance to the accompaniment of accordion music.

In the evening the young people, parents, staff, members of the community and guests, including Acting Director of Education Mr Calum McSween, came to our community ceilidh, the highlight of the visit. Entertainment was provided by our folk band, C for Craic, pipers, combined junior and community adult choirs, harpists and the local ceilidh band, sadly its final appearance with Don Mackenzie. There were performances by all the partner school groups: memorable singing and dancing by the Latvians, Italian folk dancing, Greek bazouki playing and dancing, and a play by the Germans featuring a live performance by Beth Hunter’s dog Dimàirt!. S2 pupils Matthew MacLean and Jordan Gorman gave a rousing “Address to the Haggis” before the traditional fare served at the interval.

The evening, and the whole visit, ended with presentations to the partner schools by Mr Port, and a multi-lingual vote of thanks by Alison Campbell. Souvenir booklets made by pupils in S1 and S2 were presented to all guest students.

Alison Campbell and Beth Hunter thank everyone who made this visit such a success:

In the school – Mr Port, the senior management team, and the many teachers involved with the project; Andy Bowker , particularly for his invaluable help in driving the minibus; Rhona and Lorna in the office for helping with the admin for the project; Libby and her staff in the kitchen for catering for the extra numbers and their special ceilidh meal; Yasmeen in the library for creating displays for the public about the countries involved in our project.

In the community – the staff and volunteers at the Gairloch Heritage Museum, Paul Bolton, Forest Ranger, and staff at Inverewe Garden, Roddy and Alice MacKenzie, Anne MacInnes, of the Scottish Local Archaeology project, the band and all performers at the ceilidh, Colin Roy, and those of you in the community who supported us in many ways, whether by providing musical instruments, or coming along to the ceilidh..

Finally, and most importantly – all the families who generously opened their doors and their hearts to host visiting students. Without their kindness and hospitality, this venture would have been impossible.

Preparations will be underway shortly for the next part of the project in the high school and our visit to Breno in Italy with another group of pupils in February 2012.

To see photographs and click on the link.  More about the project can be found here at ourComenius link.

School news 7th October 2011

Malawi Visit – Head Girl Anna Hulme has set of with her father to Malawi.  They plan to visit our link school in Dedza District.  We hope to provide a full report on their safe return.  Read more about our Malawi link here.

Former Pupil Success – We have been notified that the following graduations have taken place at the University of Aberdeen.  Eilidh Beaton, Degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Flora Donald, BSc Hons (First Class) in Plant Biology and Charmaine McGlennon, BSc Hons Marine Biology.  Well done to each of our former pupils!  Read more about our former pupils here.

Pupil Success outside School – Oscar Howard (S3) has been selected to play in the Scottish Junior Masters Golf Tournament finals at Gleneagles on October.  We wish Oscar well and hope to report his progress soon.

Focus on Cooking Bus Visit – On Monday 26th September an articulated pantechnicon parked at the school and provided the support allowing pupils and staff to improve their cooking skills.  A big ‘thank you to members of the community who gave up their time to assist on the Cooking Bus.  We have more photographs here.

Cooking Bus

Visiting Author – On Friday 30th September we had a visit from Lari Don.  She talked to S1-3 pupils about her writing.  Librarian Ms Hollenstein and Headteacher Mr. Port both wish to publicly thank the Parent Council for funding this successful event.

Art Course – S5 and S6 Art pupils had a treat recently.  John McNaught of the Highland Print Studio, Inverness visited for two days to teach them the art and science of Polymer Photogravure.  The pupils learned to make photographic images, moving from a digital source to a hand printed artwork by exposing images onto light sensitive plates using the power of sunlight.  The plates were then developed in water, inked up and printed using traditional etching techniques.

Mod Ionadail Rois an IarIs math a rinn gach sgoilear a ghabh pàirt sa Mhod Ionadail Dihaoine 23mh den t-Sultuain. Ghabh feadhainn pàirt ann an co-fharpaisean cànain – seinn, bàrdachd, còmhradh agus leughadh às a’ Bhìoball. Ghabh cuid eile pàirt anns na co-fharpaisean ciùil – a’ phìob, am bocsa-ciùil agus an fhidheall.

Wester Ross Provincial Mod – Well done to all those in the school who took part in the Local Mod on Friday the 23rd of September. Some took part in the language competitions – singing, poetry, conversation and Bible reading. Others took part in the music competitions – pipes, accordion and fiddle.

Culture Club – There was an outing to Ullapool recently to see a performance called Last Orders by David Hughes Dance Productions.  It was an unusual mix of dance and physical theatre, with wide ranging subject matter presented as a collage of diverse situations, sometimes alarming and sometimes really funny.  The soundtrack and costumes were both bizarre and surprising.  Our reactions were varied – amazed, confused and bewildered, but we were certainly entertained!

Aquathon – Chris Young and Peter Banks went to Alness to take part in an Aquathon competition – a combination of swimming and running. Peter swam 400m then ran 3km while Chris swan 200m and ran 1.5km.  The boys enjoyed the experience overall although it was tough.  Thanks to Jonathan Young for taking them and supporting throughout the day.

Hockey Leaders Award – 9 pupils joined a group learning and qualifying to assist a coach in Hockey. Scottish Hockey Union Coaches came to Gairloch to show the group ways to help people improve skills.  This award will allow the young people to pursue further coaching awards in Hockey and some have already been assisting junior Hockey in the school.  Well done to everyone who took part: David Gorman, Anna Hulme, Kirsty Alexander, Kerry Smith, Carianne Johnston, Mags Matheson, Isla Mackenzie, Ryan Maclean and Gemma Mclean.

S3 History – Pupils have been making a film “Murder at Sarajevo” as part of their Standard Grade studying the causes of World War One.

Mountain Bike trip – Two weekends ago Kieran, Charmayne, Keith, Mags, Mr.Gorman, Mr.Johnston and Mr.Bowker went to Learnie Red Rocks forest trails near Fortrose for a day of Mountain Biking.   ‘This was training for our Silver DofE Bike expedition. We did several runs of varying difficulty throughout the day. It was enjoyable and entertaining but not so much the uphill bits though!’ Mags Matheson.  Click here for photos.

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre – CEOP is a UK department of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which is tasked to work bringing online child sex offenders, including those involved in the production, distribution and viewing of child abuse material, to the UK courts. CEOP is committed to training teaching staff to provide internet safety training for pupils.  Several of our staff have this training.

S2 pupils have now learned about all aspects of internet safety in their PSHE lessons. This included issues such as personal safety when using smartphones, while gaming and using social network sites. Pupils also learned about the effects of cyberbullying and how various laws have been implemented to prevent the use of the internet and mobile technology for criminal activities.

Pupils also learned how to report online offences to CEOP. All pupils received an information leaflet with tips on how to stay safe online and a list of useful websites.  If you would like to find out more about CEOP go to  This website has a dedicated section for parents.

Comenius Visitors – Starting the 2nd October groups of staff and pupils from four partner schools arrived in Gairloch.  Our guests stayed with local families and throughout the week have been involved in visits including Inverewe Gardens, the Heritage Museum and an archaeological walk around Port Henderson.  Culloden also features on the itinerary.

On Friday 7th October, we say farewell to our European colleagues.  We end the successful week with a Ceilidh at the Community Centre, starting at 7pm.  This will feature dancing and musical items from out pupils and from our friends from Latvia, Greece, Germany and Italy.  We will also be serving a mini Burns Supper – Tickets at the door.  All welcome!  Click here for photos