School news 4th May 2012

Comenius Trip to Athens 23rd-29th April – At the time of writing, third year pupils Holly Morrison, Ciaran Alexander and Innis Taylor are still in Greece, touring world heritage sites such as the Acropolis and the Tomb of Agamemnon on what is the last trip in this two-year Comenius project.  They are enjoying their stay with host families and spending time with students from our partner schools in Latvia, Germany and Italy as well as Greece. Watch out for their full report in the next Gairloch and District Times and news of their Greek evening, to be held later this term.

Profesional training and development – Managing Mountain Walking Groups.  Many staff at Gairloch High School provide a wide range of outdoor activities in addition to their curricular commitments.  The training and certification of those staff generally takes place in their own time outside working hours.  Even with qualifications, training needs to be updated regularly and on Sunday 22nd April five members of staff from GHS and a former pupil attended a refresher on ‘managing mountain walking groups’.  Teacher Jim Sutherland is also a Mountaineering Instructor and led this training session.

The experience and aspirations of the six made for a varied and challenging day for all involved.  Three members of staff hope to sit their Summer Mountain Leader this year; another wanted to review navigation techniques, another member of staff wanted to learn about more formal methods of navigating on the hill.  Our former pupil was also there to revise his compass and mapwork.

In the morning the group discussed planning procedures for leading school groups.  Issues such as the Scottish Access Code were also covered before heading out to do some navigation near Shieldaig.  In particular the group looked at pacing distances, walking on a bearing and interpreting contours.

In the afternoon, after lunch at Kinloch, the group visited some crags above the village of Shieldaig to practice emergency use of the rope with mountain walking groups.  Use of the rope is something that should not be planned as part of the day so the scenarios practised were retreats, or getting a nervous group member down safely.  We finished off by looking at the pros and cons of the Classic abseil versus the South African abseil…”

This training will support Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions, Nethybridge Week and other activities that occur regularly.

Former Pupil Success – Mrs. Flora Morrison, our former PT Support for Learning, has sent us a publication available in Inverness.  The booklet is called Spotlight and seems newly published; it is dated May 2012.  We were very pleased to have highlighted that the booklet contained within an advertisement for Cantraybridge College Open Day.  Our interest lay in the fact that it showed a photograph of one of our former pupils.  Gary MacKay is seen in the photo holding a trophy.   It is great to see that Gary appears to be doing well and that he has been chosen by the college to represent the success of their courses.  Well-done Gary!

106 Stories – Last week a new book became available for sale in the shops and the Library.  Produced by Two Lochs Radio and the Gairloch Writers’ Group the book contains a selection of the stories entered for the 106 Word Story Competition.  It is an excellent collection and as well as containing a selection of stories from the adult entries and many written by the local primary children, it also contains stories written by pupils from the High School.

The following secondary pupils have had their stories chosen from entries to be published.  Well done to all of them and the others who entered the competition!

Megan Crueize (1st Prize), Sofie Banister (2nd Prize), Fraser Hinchliff (3rd Prize) in the 12-17 category.

Siobhan Vickerstaff, Charlotte Kelman, Oscar Howard, Alfie Gudgeon, Ian Paul, Holly Morrison and Kenneth MacKenzie, all of who received commendations.

Stories written by Charlie Bulmer, Charmayne Fraser, Matthew MacLean, Jerome Broome, Rosie MacKenzie, Mairi Wyatt, Rowan MacKenzie, Kiera Clark, Deborah Connop, Ciaran Alexander, Jasmine Easby, Patrick Hill, Joseph Stewart and Alexander McFeddries can also be found in new publication.

Ruairdhri Wright (S6) who is planning to go the Art School after the summer provided some of the illustrations for the book.

Errata – Mairi Wyatt was presented with her Bronze certificate and badge at the end of last year and not recently as stated in last issue.

Important Dates – Available on the website.

S3 exams finished on 27th April.  Teachers are now marking scripts and preparing reports for parents.

On Friday 4th May S6 have a final school trip to the Rollerbowl in Inverness.  S6 have also arranged a meal out with staff in the evening.  This will give us a final chance to collectively wish them well for the future.

Monday 7th May is a holiday and school is closed.  As of Tuesday 8th May all of S4, S5 and S6 will be involved in SQA national exams.

The S1 Nethybridge trip begins on the 14th May.  S2 and S3 pupils will be getting an alternative timetable for the week and we plan to give them longer periods of time tackling particular tasks.  For S3 this will include a full day of emergency first-aid training prior to taking part in Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions.

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