School news 24th August 2012

Welcome back for session 2012 – 2013 – It was a pleasure to welcome all the pupils back at Assembly on Wednesday 15th August.  Staff returned officially on Monday 13th August although many spent time working in the school over the ‘holidays’.

Staffing – We also welcomed our new Art teacher, Mrs. Caroline Browne at assembly.   Mrs. Trish MacDonald is also helping out in the Music Department one day a week.

SQA Results – At this time we look carefully at the progress of the pupils.  Public attention is on the senior school pupils who have received SQA national certificates however we are also paying close attention to the information passed to us from the Primaries in order that the new secondary pupils move smoothly from P7 into S1 subjects and courses.  We also focus attention on the new S3 pupils as they embark on new courses.

In the National SQA exams many pupils did particularly well this year.  66% of awards achieved by our S4 pupils (now entering S5 and preparing for Higher and Intermediate Exams) were at Credit Level 1 or 2 equivalent.  This includes Intermediate exams Grades A, B and C in English and French which are equivalent to Credit.  No pupil in S4 sitting an exam failed the level sat.  98% of the exams were achieved at Credit and General Level. Seven pupils (20%) achieved the equivalent of Credit level in all their exams.  60% of S4 achieved at least 5 Credit awards.  Credit and INT2 are necessary for progress to Higher so they are clear indicators of progress.

In S5 six pupils achieved 5 Highers with Mairi Wyatt gaining 5 A passes.  Many other pupils achieved success at Higher and 70% of the presentations were successful.  This is on a par with previous years and we continue to work hard to improve this figure.  In English, for example, 14 out of 19 pupils passed with 3 receiving an A Grade.  In S4, 20 of the 21 pupils sitting Intermediate 2 English passed so we expect results to build on this and improve again next year.

It is easy to pull out and use examples of pupils who have done very well overall but it is important to remember that the pupils develop at different rates and academic success is measured in different ways for each individual.  Many have achieved personal success and all staff are encouraging each pupil to extend their success into the next round of exams.

Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail – This took place for 4 weeks from 9th July to 4th August 2012– We reported before the holiday that S5 pupil Becky Griggs auditioned and was offered a job on the Trail as a musician this summer.  Here is her report:

I spent my summer holidays on the Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail touring around Ross-Shire and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We spent a week in Plockton at the Music School learning our listening, ceilidh sets and Gaelic. My group had people from Tain, Dingwall, Plockton and there was two others from Uist and Newtonmore. We started the tour on Friday 13th July playing in Dingwall.  This was one our smallest gigs but from them on the crowds got bigger and bigger. The day after that we all got picked up in our Tour Van, which started off lovely and clean.  By the end of the 3 weeks you could tell 7 teenagers had lived it in.

My first local gig was in Kinlochewe Hotel on my birthday and that was nice as I had my family down with some friends to watch. We also played for a couple of local ceilidhs and that was fun.  Poolewe had to be the best for having over 150 people there! We opened a new festival in Portmahomack called The Folk Fest. We started things off with a ceilidh and as it was quiet obvious that the people weren’t up for dancing we each took it in turn to do a dance. Our last main gig of the Ceilidh Trail was at Belladrum’s Tartan Heart Festival, which had to be the highlight of the whole of the tour for me! We started off with around 20 people in the tent but that turned into 600+ by the end! It was good to see some school friends cheering us/me on with homemade t-shirts saying “I know Becky…The Ginger Fiddler”.  That put a huge smile on my face. We also played at the Edinburgh Fringe in the St Bride’s Centre with Cèol Mòr. They were good fun gigs! We still have a couple of concerts that I can’t wait for! The Ceilidh Trail has given me so much more confidence in talking to a big group and playing in front of people, things I use to hate doing. So the Ceilidh Trail was a great experience! Becky Griggs

Scottish Ballet – Ceitidh Alice Hulme (S4) has been selected to train with Scottish Ballet over the next year.  Ceitidh was asked to provide a report for the school news.  The report follows although she forgot to mention that in the lead up to this successful selection she achieved Grade 8 with distinction!

On the 26th of May 2012, I travelled to Glasgow to audition for Scottish Ballet Senior Associates. The programme runs for a year, and involves weekly lessons in Glasgow.  I was in an audition with about 30 other girls, and knew that there were other groups of auditions, all with girls who were just as keen as me to get into the programme. The audition was straightforward and structured like a normal class.  A few weeks later a letter arrived in the post saying that I had been accepted into the programme!  My first lesson takes place on the 1st of September, and so I will travel by train to Glasgow on Friday evening.  I am very excited about it all, but nervous at the same time. Ceitidh Alice Hulme

Equestrian Success – Sofie Banister (S4) has been working hard over the summer at her riding.  Sofie did herself proud at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.  She would have been placed in each of her three classes had her pony’s legs been injury free – however, she surpassed herself with her riding and was in the top 5 with her ride marks for the Show Pony Class (9th overall just outside the placings).    She was in the top 6 in both the Part Bred Arab and Intermediate Classes (12th overall).  The latter is predominantly an adult class.  There were approximately 25 riders in each class.

Other results include a string of successes at various shows across Scotland including the Turrif Show, the Alyth Show, Strathallan Show, Dumfries Show and Ponies UK.

Malawi Visit – Mrs. Johnston and Mr. Hulme returned from Malawi just after the beginning of the school holiday in July.  We hope to provide a report of the visit in a future edition.

Website – Please remember that we regularly update the school website throughout the session with photographs and news of school activities.  Here are a few examples of content.

This School News as published in the Gairloch and District Times is added fortnightly with additional links to relevant photos and often provides enhanced details of news items.