School news 17th May 2013

National SQA Exams now in full swing for our S4 to S6. Pupils in S6, who will leave after their exams, held a farewell dinner in The Shieling followed by a trip to Inverness Rollerbowl on Friday 3rd May.  We have been using this successful format now for over 5 years.  This is intended to encourage all our pupils to feel they are leaving school as respected and successful young adults (rather than under a cloud created by a few immature acts quaintly referred to as ‘muck-up’ perpetrated by one or two boys in the past!)  As in society, generally young people are often damned for the actions of a few but we should all be very proud of our youngsters in Gairloch.  We wish the S6 well as they move into jobs, careers and future study.  Many are going off to colleges and universities across Scotland to study a wide range of subjects this coming year including child-care, law, neuroscience and aeronautical engineering.

S6 Rollerbowl

Click on the photo to see more images from Rollerbowl 2013

On Wednesday 8th May former pupil, Helen Munday visited to talk to pupils interested in becoming a vet.  Helen now works in Kirriemuir as part of a large practice serving the Angus Glens and surrounding farming area.  We really appreciate that she found the time to come back and help support our pupils in their ambitions.  Helen met with some interested pupils and explained what her job involved and how she achieved her current professional position.   Last month we reported on a similar visit by former pupil and now product designer, Seonaid Nimmo.

Curriculum for Excellence – Pupils involved in this new national initiative are now completing their third year.  Older pupils in S4, S5 & S6 are currently sitting Standard Grade, Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher exams.  For S3 pupils next year the exams will have different names and formats.  We are moving to National 4 and National 5 exams followed by Higher and Advanced Higher exams.  For the next couple of years these exams will have to run in tandem as the ‘old’ exams work out of the system.  Staff in school are under a lot of pressure just now to develop suitable courses prior to the new exam structure while continuing to deliver the current courses.

National 4 exams will be internally assessed and this also brings on a great deal of additional work including verification of standards. At the moment staff are currently trying to get to grips with the new assessment and examination models being introduced.

For those pupils in S1 to S3 several changes have already taken place in the curriculum to assist delivery of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).  This week S3 pupils have been taking part in a series of Masterclass events.  On Monday and Tuesday all were involved in a version of “The Apprentice”.  From Wednesday to Friday pupils took part in other whole-day events including Emergency First Aid training, Art, cookery, ICT and Technology.  These activities provided by both staff and visitors meet the expectations of CfE as part of what is now referred to as the “broad general education” of the pupils.  Although now part of CfE, pupils attending Gairloch High School have been receiving such experiences for many years.

S1 at Nethybridge – S1 pupils have been at Nethybridge this week as part of their teambuilding activity week.  We should be able to report more fully in the next issue however during the week pupils will have had the opportunity to develop skills learned in school out into the Cairngorms.  Supervised by staff pupils will take part in hillwalking, mountain biking, orienteering and rock climbing.  In the evenings they take part in games, quizzes and beach barbecues as well as spending the day at Landmark on Thursday.  Have a look at some of the photos here both past and present.

Washing Dishes is fun!

S3 Prefects – Several S3 pupils have been temporarily promoted to prefect status to shoulder the responsibilities of senior pupils while the seniors concentrate on their exams.  These pupils are expected to operate to a higher standard of maturity in this role and learn to shoulder more responsibility.

Russian Arctic Convoy Memorial Service and Arctic Medal Presentation Ceremony – Several pupils were involved as members of the ATC.  Seven of the newly appointed S3 prefects also attended representing all members of the Gairloch High School community.  Our pupils reported that they found the events interesting and moving as they witnessed the emotions of the veterans and others.  Click on the photo below to access many more photos of the day, including veterans receiving their Arctic Star medal.

S3 Prefects

Earlier in the week Mr Jak Mallmann Showell visited our S2 in History class.  S2 have just finished studying the Second World War with their teacher, Mrs Somers, and Mr Showell talked to them about German U-boats and the Battle of the Atlantic.

Duke of Edinburgh’s AwardCiaran Alexander has achieved his Bronze DofE and will be awarded at assembly after return from exam leave.  Callum Vickerstaff has completed his Gold and will be invited to Holyrood Palace to receive his award in due course.  Well done to both boys!  Their names will be added to the school notice boards.

Neil Gunn Writing Competition – Pupils were encouraged to enter this national competition by Ms Mackison as part of their study of English.  We are very pleased to be informed by the competition organisers that Alfie Gudgeon, S3, has been awarded a commendation for his entry “The Only Thing”.  The competition was open to pupils in the S3-S6 age group.  Three prizes were available and only three further commendations have been made so we are particularly pleased that Alfie has achieved this although one of the youngest entrants.  Alfie will be presented with his certificate of commendation at a ceremony in Dingwall in June.

Introduction to Futsal Course – Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced small-sided football game that is widely played across the world and is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA.  On Thursday 2nd May, Mr Gorman, Mrs Johnston, Luke, Ross B, Chris, Donnie and Kenny joined coaches from Wester Ross Youth FC and Leisure Centre staff for an introductory course on Futsal delivered by Peter Budge, SFA Development Officer. Peter showed us some drills to develop the skills needed to play the game and then the course participants tried out the game. All agreed it was more fun and more skills focussed than regular 5-a-side football and we look forward to integrating Futsal into our inter-house sports competitions next session. The boys who attended the course will lead training sessions to introduce other pupils to Futsal. Mrs Johnston will also be using Futsal in primary PE sessions to reinforce the work being done by Kenny Nelson at the Saturday morning football sessions. Thanks to Kenny for organising the course.

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