School news 29th June 2013

Head PrefectsIsla MacKenzie and Luke Gorman have been appointed Head Girl and Boy respectively for the coming session.  Gemma McLean and Donald MacKenzie will assist as Deputies.  We all wish them luck in these challenging roles!

Pupil Success in Highland Dance – Eilidh Owens has become a Premier Dancer.  On 1st June she passed, Highly Commended, the British Association of Teachers of Dance Blue Riband exam in Highland Dance.  She received a Highly Commended in the Sailors Hornpipe as well and is on her way to qualifying as a teacher of Highland Dance.  Well done!

Pupil Success in Gaelic Speaking Competition  – Four of our pupils have done very well in an annual Gaelic speaking competition. The competition organised by the Gaelic Society of London involves pupils from all over Scotland.  Ceitidh Alice Hulme won the Senior Fluent Speakers’ competition with Ainslie Mackenzie receiving a merit. Rachel Mackenzie was the joint winner of the Senior Learners’ competition. Margaret Matheson gained a merit.

Pupil Success in Open University CourseMairi Wyatt, S6 has passed her OU Introduction to Law in Contemporary Scotland course.  She has also completed, as part of her S6 studies, a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification.   In addition she trained as an adviser with Citizen’s Advice Bureau and has spent time with the Alness based CAB Housing Project where she has an opportunity for further work experience.  Mairi is planning to start studying Law after the summer at Edinburgh University.

Sports Day  – Inter house competition is always a good-natured affair but throughout the day many pupils were quietly counting up the points and some competitive staff not so quietly counting.  Everyone that took part showed great sportsmanship. The three houses were all well represented and we were pleased to see many pupils trying their best and enjoying themselves.  The results were counted and verified.  Final results were – Kerry 3rd place, 2nd Maree  and Tollaidh first.  The sports champions and runners up are:

Junior Champions – Iain Nelson & Hannah Wood

Junior Runners Up – Connor Forbes & Sara Johnston

Intermediate Champions – Jordan Gorman & Laura Russell

Intermediate Runners Up – Mark Warren & Andrea Wood

Senior Champions – Innis Taylor & Ceitidh Alice Hulme

Senior Runners Up – Ross Wotherspoon, Sofie Banister & Siobhan Vickerstaff.    Well done all! Click on the photo below to see more of the day.

Sports Day

Ross-Sutherland Athletics Championships  – A team of twenty pupils travelled with Mr. Bowker and Mrs. Johnston to the Ross-Sutherland Athletics Championships in Inverness on Wednesday 19th June. Our athletes faced tough opposition from the other schools, but they all tried hard. The best results of the day were 1st place for Connor Forbes in long jump with an impressive distance of 4.13m, and 2nd places for Joe Smith in hurdles and javelin, Hannah Wood in hurdles, Roddy Macrae in high jump and Lewis Campbell in discus. Connor Moore was 3rd in his shot putt competition; Iain Nelson was 3rd in the 100m.   The junior boys relay team also finished third in a very close finish. Well done to all who competed!

Staff Success – Congratulations to Andy Bowker for passing his Summer Mountain Leader Award.

Hospitality Visit – On Friday 7th June fourteen pupils from S2 and S3 Hospitality Skills for Work had a visit to the Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve and The Torridon Hotel.

The trip, organised by Douglas Gibson was a great chance for pupils to experience employment opportunities in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

The pupils got a tour of the Deer Larder and poly tunnel at the Nature Reserve and talked with both Pete Crichton and Eoighan Maclean about the type of work that is carried out on the reserve.  The boys enjoyed looking at (and sitting on) the farm machinery stored on site. Sydney Tippett (S3) said, ” It was great to see the farming machinery, it made me think more about a career in that field of work!”  We were welcomed at The Torridon by Rohaise Rose-Bristow who talked to the pupils about life running the hotel and the various positions and opportunities offered at the beautiful 4-star establishment.

The pupils enjoyed a delicious lunch and had an extensive tour of the hotel and grounds and had a fantastic experience. Ashleigh Elder of S3 said “It was amazing to see people in the Hospitality industry at their best and they all made us feel really welcome”.

Hospitality visit to The Torridon

Click on the image to see more from the trip

A big thank you goes to all of the staff at the Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve and The Torridon for being so welcoming and sharing their knowledge with us.  Thanks also to Douglas Gibson for organizing the trip and accompanying staff, Anne Leitch and Andy Bowker.  (Kirsty Thistlethwaite)

Malawi PartnershipBethan Townsend, S4, reports, “On Friday 14th June nine Gairloch High School pupils went to Kinlocheil for a team building activity. We stayed for one night before returning home late Saturday afternoon. As soon as we got to Fort William our first task was to go to Morrisons and get everything we needed for 13 people for two days. Our budget was £65 and after scaling the shop for the best offers and ‘Morrison’s Own’ products we totalled at just over £51.

We got to the bunkhouse and the first thing we did was talk about the profiles we are sending over to Malawi this summer. We hope our hosts will enjoy reading about us before we arrive in October.  After comparing and sharing ideas we went out for a walk at Glennfinnan and found a geo-cache.  We made our dinner, cooking spaghetti bolognese with quorn mince as we have a vegetarian in our group!

We were up at half seven on Saturday morning to have breakfast and talk about the projects we wanted to do while we are in Malawi.  These include music,  dance, John Muir Award, David Livingstone and craft-making.  Click on the photo of Sofie to see more of the weekend.

Arts and Crafts

We still have a lot of work to do but this weekend away helped greatly in starting the projects, arranging kit lists, and learning about the cultural differences we will experience. We also learned some Chichewa greetings. Thank you again to all the teachers who working with us. A giant thank you again to anyone who has donated to help fund our partnership”

Visit our Facebook page here or read about us on the school website.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Expeditions  – Congratulations to S3 pupils for surviving the midges at Achneigie on Monday17th June and arriving safely at Eilean Daroch the following day.  We hope many of them will complete the rest of their Bronze award in the very near future.  Thanks to Mr. Bob Widdows for assessing the group.

S3 Bronze DofE Assessment Expedition

Click on the image to see more from the trip

Staff Changes – After the holiday Mrs. Whall will return from maternity leave.  Dr. Miller is taking up a teaching post in Lochgilphead. Dr. Miller has become much respected in the time he has been with us and will be missed by all.  We wish him all the best for the future!

School news 14th June 2013

Maths Challenge Success – A UK wide event consisting of 25 demanding non-calculator multiple-choice problem solving questions that require to be completed within an hour under test conditions.  The questions get harder as the paper progresses.  A gold certificate is only awarded to approximately the top 6% of all participators, silver to the next 13% and bronze to the next 21%.  The following pupils received their certificates at Assembly.  Well done to all!

S1 Eilidh MacDonald – Best Junior in year, Bronze.  Also Hannah Wood & Ian Nelson Bronze.  In S2 Mark McLean – Best Junior in School, best in year and Silver.

S3 Alfie Gudgeon – Best Intermediate in School, best in year and Silver (Alfie received a Gold at Junior Level in S1).  Also Rosie MacKenzie & Joseph Smith Bronze.

In S4 Justin Claydon – Best Intermediate in year, Silver.  Also Siobhan Vickerstaff Silver, Catherine Wyatt & Sofie Bannister Bronze.

S5 Luke Gorman – Best Senior in year, Bronze.  Also Eilidh MacLennan Bronze.

In S6 Ian Paul – Best Senior in School, best in year, Silver  Also Fraser Hinchliff  Silver.

John Muir Award certificates – There are four sections to the Award: Discover a wild place; Explore it; do something to Conserve it; and Share what you have done. All of S1 has followed a programme of activities to fulfil these objectives including forest school at Inverewe Estate, a beach clean, designing and making bird boxes and activities during the Nethybridge week. They have also carried out research into John Muir, illustrated some of his famous quotes and completed individual record books. To finish the Award, groups gave presentations to the P7 pupils on Friday 7th June.  Pupils successfully achieving the Award will receive their certificates at Prizegiving on Wednesday 26th June.

First Aid Certificates – S3 pupils were awarded Emergency First Aid Certificates at assembly after completing a one-day course in school at the end of last month.  Last week all the other pupils in the school were also involved in a half day refresh of first-aid procedures.

DofE news ­ – Two Silver training expeditions are taking place before the end of term.  One will be in the Loch Mullardoch area and the other will cross Fisherfield and Letterewe.  We also have three Bronze groups taking part in Assessment Expeditions setting out on Monday 17th June.

Freya Baptist, Deborah Connop & Charlie Bulmer in S3 have provided two short reports for readers on their Bronze Practice Expedition which followed an initial overnight camp at Slattadale last month:  Poca Buidhe was a lot better than our Slattadale Expedition. We had a sunny start but there was plenty of rain so we couldn’t even cross the river to get to Poca Buidhe.  We ended up camping a few kilometres before the end. Unlike last time, we were more prepared to keep warm but a lot less prepared with food, the matches got wet and we ran out of fuel and had nearly no food for the second day. Despite our awful cooking and having to walk a lot further than expected we enjoyed ourselves and have learnt a lot for the qualifier on the 17th June!

On the 27th and 28th of May another group of S3s took part in their Bronze Practice Expedition to Loch a’ Bhealaich. Our group walked 11km to Loch a’Bhealaich and camped near the edge of it…on heather. The walk was quite good if you were looking for a good view, but we didn’t take notice, as we were tired and hungry. We fed ourselves a wide selection: sausages.  The walk back was nice and on the whole it was fun but very tiring. Our qualifying expedition is also on the 17th and 18th of June.

DofE Bronze Training 1 2013

Click on the photo to see more.

Providing this number of pupils the opportunity to achieve Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions involves a great of commitment from staff as well as pupils.  The majority of this work is done on a voluntary basis by staff and could not take place without much goodwill.  As always we have several photographs taken on expeditions available on the school website.

Malawi Partnership – We were very grateful to receive a donation of £750 from Julia Alexander and the Fundraising shop. This is an extraordinary gift based on the generous and unstinting work that Julie puts into keeping the charity shop open.  We have also received a very generous donation from members of Mrs. Johnston’s family. We extend our warmest thanks to them all and to everyone who supports the shop. Such support is a great encouragement in our own efforts and makes our vision of a return visit by pupils and teachers from Malawi that little bit more realistic.

Whilst pupils have been concentrating on their exams, staff have been continuing with preparations for our visit to Malawi in October. With exams now over, training for the visit will commence with 2 days of activities and planning at Kinlocheil on 14th and 15th June. We will also be continuing with fund-raising activities over the summer.  Read more about the partnership here.

Basketball successJordan Gorman (S3) recently got the award for most improved player for the Highland Bears this year. He is part of the U15 Scotland team. He has already taken part in a tournament in Spain this year and will be playing in an international fixture against Luxembourg in June. Gregor Vickerstaff and Sara Johnston  (both S1) represented their club (Highland Bears) at the U14 National Championships in Dundee last weekend. The girls played six games and did especially well, beating or coming ahead of long established teams such as Glasgow Rocks, Edinburgh Polonia Phoenix and Stirling Knights to finish third out of ten.

Further pupil successSofie Banister has qualified for the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead this year with her Show Pony. 

Results from Ayr Show – 1st and Show Pony Champion (Qual RIHS),
Reserve Supreme Champion  Riding Ponies
an 1st, Champion and Reserve Supreme Champion Arabs and Part Bred under Saddle (Qual RIHS)

At the Area 2b Championship Show (Lancashire)
Sofie came 1st and got Show Pony Champion.

SQA National Exams – Pupils have finished their national exams again for another year.  Thanks to all our invigilators for their help supervising this year’s exams particularly Chief Invigilator Nikki Hayes.  Pupils receive their results is August.

Important Dates Prizegiving will take place on Wednesday 26th June from 1.30pm in the High School.  Parents and family are welcome to join us for this annual ceremony celebrating the success of the pupils throughout the session.  A copy of the letter sent home last week is available here.

School news 31st May 2013

Nethybridge 2013 – Breah and Eilidh wrote this report for the Gairloch Times on return from Nethy – “When we got there on Monday we started the week with orienteering. There were loads of different checkpoints around Glenmore forest. The winners were David and Gregor with 220 points. After dinner, Susan organized some games for us to play. The teachers joined in, they were very good and we found out that Dr. Caley cheated – but she wouldn’t admit it! For supper we had hot chocolate and doughnuts.

During the week we:  Mountain biked, rock climbed, walked low and high, went to Landmark, played water sports on Loch Morlich, had a BBQ, played football, took part in a quiz and a dorm inspection, went swimming and visited the park in Dingwall, played pool and basketball as well as orienteering in Glenmore Forest.

The food was all really good and thanks to Mrs Fraser and Ms Leitch.  Thank you to Dr Caley and all of the other members of staff who made this week possible.  The week was really good and we really enjoyed it [although it was really tiring] and our favourite parts were: All of it!!!!!”

Nethy - Dr Caley Selection
S1 at Nethy.  There are many more photos on the website!

The Travelling Gallery – featuring the ‘Turquoise Heid’ Exhibition, visited Gairloch High School on Monday 20th May, having previously been in Thurso.

Former pupil, Alison Chisholm, the Curator of the Travelling Gallery, presented the work to all pupils from S1-S3.  She talked them through the individual pieces, encouraging the pupils to discuss and comment on the work. Younger pupils from the Primary School also benefited from this experience, visiting the bus in the afternoon.

Travelling Gallery 2013

The Exhibition showcased the work of 9 contemporary artists and consisted of a wide range of artwork in various media from photography, animation, sculpture, drawing and film.  One of the artists whose work was on show is one of the most up-and-coming artists the Travelling Gallery has been associated with to date.  David Shrigley is one of the short listed artists nominated for this year’s Turner Prize.

All in all this was a most beneficial experience for all concerned and we hope that the Travelling Gallery will visit Gairloch again next year with their next Exhibition.  Thanks to Mrs. Browne for organizing this visit.  Click on the photo above to see more images.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – Former pupil Calum Milner has completed his Gold Award.  He has been invited along with his family to attend a presentation on July 4th 2013 at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.  Well done to Calum for achieving this top level of the Award.  His name will be added to the school list of those who gained Gold.


Calum (right in the photo above) was one of our pupils invited to meet HRH Prince Edward back in April 2008 at Tain Royal Golf Course.  This event was arranged to showcase Highland Pupils who were involved in the DofE Award.  Click on the photo to see more images from that event or here to see images from other DofE adventures at Gairloch.

Further success for former pupils – Ellie Richardson has been pursuing a career in cycling.  She recently took part in the British University Track Cycling Championships and won 3 gold medals.  Events were the Sprint, the Team Sprint and the 500m time trial.

Ellie also broke the long-standing University 500m time trial record set by Victoria Pendleton of 36.85secs.  She rode 36.17 secs – not only a new record but also a personal best.  We think this is a new Scottish National record but Ellie is waiting conformation of this further success.  Ellie has also been invited to her first international event taking place in Belgium this month.  Good luck in that Ellie!

Ellie wins 3 Gold Medals

P7 Transition – Last week Primary 7 pupils came up to secondary for the first part of their transition.  Staff have been sharing information and planning for several weeks about the upcoming move of pupils in August.  Normally at this time of the year we invite the P7’s into High School for an Icebreaker Day (Thu 24th May) where we cover some issues of emotional intelligence and spend time in Science.  On Friday 25th May) primary pupils took part in our Expressive Arts event where they work in Music, PE and Art.

On Thursday 6th June P7 pupils will return to follow a normal timetable for two days.  This will give them a taster of what life in school will be like after the summer holiday.  P7 parents were invited to school on the evening of 30th May.