School news 2nd November 2012

S4 Prelims 2012 – S4 pupils have already received a copy of their exam timetables.  Due to closure of the Community Hall these exams will take place in the school although strict exam conditions will still apply.  These exams are extremely important in preparing pupils for the exams in May and June next year.  Study Club is available to provide support beyond that given in class already.  Exams begin on Monday 21st November and end on the 3rd December.

Young Ambassador Programme – Two pupils in S5 – Chris Young and Isla Mackenzie – were chosen to attend the Young Ambassadors conference in September, which was run by the Youth Sport Trust in partnership with sportscotland.  This training qualified them as Young Sports Ambassadors for Gairloch High School, working with the PE department and Active Schools, when possible.  They take on responsibility as role models to young people, leading and supporting them while promoting Olympic and Paralympic values.

Isla wrote a bit about the day.  On the 25th Sept Chris & I travelled to Nairn for the Young Ambassadors conference.  Whilst there, we met Gold Paralympian David Smith, three times world Curling champion Ewan MacDonald and Gold medal Gymnast Steve Frew.  The day helped us make lots of new and exciting plans.  We shall be hopefully doing lots of new activities during the next year.  As Young Ambassadors we shall be doing the best we can to promote sports and awareness of Olympics, Paralympics, Commonwealth games and other important sporting events.

Religious & Moral Education event – Just before the holidays, the ‘Big Questions’ event was held.  All of S5 and S6 took part in this whole day event that started off with pupils being asked to consider what influences the choices they make on moral issues.  The rest of the day was spent in lively discussion on these issues, with pupils encouraged to think about and express their views, as well as listen to the views of others.  Thanks go to Mrs MacRae and Susan Maclean who organised the event, and to Jeremy Ross, Alastair Macleod and Donnie MacRae for helping to facilitate the discussions.  Feedback from the pupils was very positive and we hope to repeat this event next year.

Electrolabs at Gairloch High School – S2 pupils at Gairloch High School were treated, during the last week of term, to a wonderful musical experience.  Dave Martin and Steve Gasgarth of Electrolabs brought up to date electronic music into the classroom.  Pupils in Gairloch are already used to exploring the magical world of Apple Mac music making, using software packages such as Garageband and Logic.  Dave and Steve provided the opportunity for pupils to work with the latest, industry-standard software and Mac Pro laptops.

During Monday to Thursday, pupils created, from scratch, 13 brand new pieces of music.  These can be heard on and include the use of live instruments and synthesized keyboard sounds.  On National Poetry Day (Thursday), pupils used an original poem by local poet Dr. Ian Blake of Aultgrishan called “Sitting In” as the basis of one piece.  Dr. Blake wrote the poem whilst “sitting in” Miss Hunter’s music class one day, listening to a clarsach player practising.

In addition, on the final day, electronic music was combined with the school’s traditional players from the band C for Craic to produce an innovative sound, which the band really enjoyed.


With the new Music Courses including Music Technology as a separate exam, such experiences as this one provide pupils with the possibility of studying Sound Technology in more depth.  Miss Hunter, said, “What an amazing week we have had; it would be fantastic to have the Electrolabs crew back here again.”  Click on the photo above to see more images.

Comments from pupils: “It was a great insight into sound engineering and the music industry”, “Great fun!”, “The music we created was amazing!”, “I really enjoyed the experience of it all”, “Can we do it again?”, “Making our own music…….  It is so cool!”

Many thanks must go to Norman Bolton and the Highland Council for giving our pupils this unique opportunity.

Basketball results – The S1 basketball players had their first competitive outing, playing Alness Academy yesterday. While losing 60-30, they worked hard and have a good idea of what they need to concentrate on.  The senior boys’ team played a very good Alness team in the first game of the National Schools’ Cup. (Alness were finalists last year). The boys lost 48-34 but everyone there felt that they played one of their best games ever.

Congratulations to Sara Johnston and Gregor Vickerstaff, who have been selected for the national basketball “Future Starz” development programme. They will get regular coaching from national coaches and have the opportunity to attend trials for the Scotland U13 teams in March.

Archaeolgical Dig – On Thursday 25th October Mr Port and five pupils (Annie Maclennan, Maia MacKenzie, Lewis Brady, Roddy MacRae and Donald Mackenzie) helped at the roundhouse dig above Achtercairn.  Although wet and windy for part of the morning the pupils assisted with excavation and mapping.  During the short time we were there the pupils were involved in uncovering two potentially important finds!  Thanks to Mrs MacRae for her help in organising this, Anna Welti, Jim Buchanan, Jeremy Fenton and others present for making us feel so welcome.  We look forward to reading any conclusions from the excavation.  Click on the photo below to see more images.

Archaeolgical Excavation

Boys’ football  – On Wednesday 3rd October a group of S2/S3 boys made up an A and B team from Gairloch High School. They travelled to Ullapool for the annual Small Schools football competition. The previous fortnight they had played in the first leg in Dornoch and confirmed their place in either the top or bottom 4.

In Ullapool, Gairloch B team played in the top 4. They did exceedingly well winning all but one of their matches. This won them a well-deserved place at the semi finals.

The A team also did well but played in the bottom 4. They won two games and drew one making them overall winners of their group as well.  Sadly they did not qualify for the semi-finals because they were in the bottom 4.

We’d all like to give a huge thank you to Mr Gorman, Mr Cumming and Mr Bowker – Louie O’Brien

Interview Skills – S5 and S6 pupils have been given the information they need to submit an application for a mock interview.  Deadline for application is 5th November.   Thereafter applicants will be given a time for interview.  We invite members of the community with suitable experience and members of Dingwall Rotary to interview the pupils and provide personal feedback on the same day.  The interviewees receive the pupil applications prior to visiting the school in preparation for the interview.  This opportunity has previously only been for S6, however we now wish to make this valuable experience available to S5 pupils as well.

Staff success – Before the October holiday Mrs Carol Bulmer successfully achieved the Summer Mountain Leader qualification.   This adds to the number of staff that can support pupils in outdoor activities.

Pupil SuccessSofie Banister won the Show Pony class in her last show of the season and went on to take the Show Pony Champion title.  She also won the BSPS Scotland Summer Points Challenge in the 148cm Open Show Pony Section and was also Reserve Champion.  In addition she also won the Highland Trophy for the highest number of points.  Well-done Sofie!

Former Pupil SuccessEllie Richardson has given us an update on her progress to represent Scotland as a track cyclist at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

I have just completed three days of racing in the British National Track Championships with the aim of finishing in the top 10 in the UK and ideally the fastest Scottish rider.  I surpassed my expectations, finishing 6th in the sprint and 7th in the 500m time trial beating professional full time athletes in the process and proving myself to be the fastest amateur.  Last night was the highlight of the championships when I took silver in the Team Sprint. I was the fastest Scot of the championships in all my races and my opening lap time in the team sprint was the fastest in the finals.  Well-done Ellie.  We have high hopes for success in 2014 if all goes to plan.  Ellie will be riding next in the newly opened Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome!

Malawi Trip – During the holidays Dr Caley made a personal trip to our partner school in Malawi.  She carried letters from pupils and staff and began arrangements for our planned visit with pupils next October.

Last week we received very positive feedback from the Global Schools Partnership:  This is clearly an enthusiastic partnership, which has helped to develop a global dimension within both schools and their communities. The projects and visits appear to have gone well with students and staff richly benefiting from their exchanges. It is pleasing to read that the coordinators intend to further drive the partnership forward and that the benefits of teaching global education has been realised within many subject areas. 

Art Exhibition in the GALE Centre – From Saturday 10th November till Tuesday 20th November 2012 there will be an exhibition of Advanced Higher and Higher Art work on display at the GALE Centre.  This provides an excellent opportunity for pupils, parents and the local community to enjoy the artwork of our senior pupils.

R Wright 3

Standard & Quality report – This annual report has been published and distributed to parents. The full report was presented to the Parent Council last Monday evening and is available on the website here.  Paper copies are available for the school office on request.

Important Dates – The website is updated regularly.  Click here for more dates.

30th October – S4 Study Club began, 3 nights a week for 3 weeks (Tue, Wed, Thur).
5th November – S2 monitoring reports issued.
21st November – S4 prelim exams begin.

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