School news 5th September 2014

Fundraising Appeal for Slattadale Renovation – UPDATED Mr Milner has been organising a variety of fundraising events for Slattadale and we must thank all who have contributed to this project. The school has had support from Julia at the Fundraising Shop, Poolewe Ceilidh, many former pupils and families in the community and beyond. Whether you donate electronically or personally we really do appreciate the support. The current electronic fundraising event is YIMBY on Just Giving. Thanks to your help we met our target much quicker than we expected! If you haven’t already then please help! You can find the link on the school’s Facebook page.

Staffing – We are fortunate to have two new members of staff this year. Miss Smith has replaced Miss Dean in Geography and Mr Avenel takes up Mrs Campbell’s classes in French. Both have got off to a good start and we hope that Gairloch High School pupils will benefit from their energy and skills. Mrs Campbell will retire shortly. Her last day will be Friday 19th September.

Gold DofE Expedition

Gold DofE Assessment – On June 8th a group of seven pupils (Sofie, Siobhan, Eilidh, Isla, Innis, Ciaran & Luke) set out from Gairloch accompanied by Mr Johnston and Mrs Bulmer. After a successful training expedition above Glen Affric all that remained was an independent assessment to complete the Expedition part of their Gold Award. This assessment took place in the Cairngorms during the last week of August. The pupils passed through the Lairig Ghru, swung round by Derry Lodge and then up on to the plateau in the area of Carn Etchachan. On the final day, as the weather deteriorated, they made a timely descent back down through the Northern Corries. The pupils now need to create a final presentation reporting on the bird survey they carried out as part of this expedition. Well done to all involved! Click on the image for more pictures of this expedition.

John Muir Award – S2 pupils were presented with their Discovery awards. These were actually achieved as part of their S1 SMART Course. Well-done S2!

John Muir Award

Exam Results 2014 – Gairloch High School pupils received their exam results in the post on Tuesday 5th August 2014.

In S5 and S6 the school has recorded improved grades in Maths and English attainment. The percentage of pupils in S6 achieving at least one Advanced Higher qualification has increased this year to nearly 1 in 4 pupils. In S5 nearly twice as many pupils achieved 5 Higher passes than last year.

In S4 new exams were introduced and sat for the first time this year. National 4 and 5 exams have replaced Standard Grade exams and it is difficult to make direct comparisons, as they do not align easily. However most teachers seem to have judged the new exams correctly and pupils in S4 have gained a good set of results. The statistics prepared by Highland Council indicate that the numbers of pupils achieving grades at specific levels has been maintained by Gairloch pupils. This is in spite of National 5 exams being set at a more difficult level. These results will be a relief to many!

In Assembly Mr Port congratulated all pupils and staff whose hard work has resulted in such good results. “While it is always the case that some pupils are disappointed with some of their results it seems that overall Gairloch pupils have again had a successful year. Most pupils with conditional offers have done very well attaining the qualifications required to go on to their chosen University or College.”

Over the next few weeks the school staff will be able to analyse national statistics and a much closer look at performance in each subject will take place.

Pupil Success – Sean Quinn (S3) followed up his recent theatre experience in Lord of the Flies by taking part in a workshop at Eden Court during the summer holiday. Sean spent a week working with Ballet Rambert. Eilidh Johnston (S4) has just finished some work experience at the Blair Atholl Horse Trials. It was good to read in previous issues of pupils benefiting from a wide range of experiences with the Air Scouts, ATC and other local organisations over the summer.

Rolls Royce Science Prize 2015 – Gairloch High School Science Department has reached the final of the 2014-2015 Rolls Royce Science Prize. Gairloch is the only Scottish School to progress to the final. Nine finalist schools will develop their projects and be judged in November 2015. The national winner of the £10000 prize will be announced during an event at the Science Museum in London. We have been awarded £6000 to progress our project over the next year. Mr. Andrew Johnston has developed the project proposal based on developing Broad General Education in S1 to S3 with the support of other staff and partners.

The project is a development of several strands of work at Gairloch High School. Students will work with Professor Dave Barclay, a locally based and eminent forensic scientist, to solve cases based on real events. They will work with former pupil and PhD student Jennifer Port (Beatson Institute & University of Glasgow) to improve their understanding of PCR and forensic DNA testing. Students will work with Mr Ranjan Thilagarajah, a consultant surgeon who is involved in using technology to advance medical education in the developing world. With his help, we will use information and communications technologies to stream our science sessions to other schools in real time and to archive them afterwards. We will build a bank of materials that will support the broad, general education of our S1, S2 and S3 pupils, all based around the need to properly examine evidence before drawing a conclusion.

As well as developing this work in school it is our intention to provide training for other Science teachers across Highland and make some of our new resources available for wider use in Highland Schools.

Rani Gill, Rolls-Royce, Project Manager, Science Prize, said: “Rolls-Royce has long advocated science teaching in schools. Now in its 10th year the Rolls-Royce Science Prize has encouraged teachers to improve science teaching and inspire children with exciting, intellectually stimulating and relevant science education. Gairloch High School has risen to the challenge and has put forward an excellent proposal. I wish them the very best in the competition.”

Read the official Highland Council press release here.

Biology Class

Corrections to the awards presented at prizegiving as printed in the July 11th School News within the Gairloch & District Times: Neil Wilkie Memorial Trophy – Gemma McLean & Donald MacKenzie: Junior School Trophy for Service & Achievement – Sara Johnston & Iain Nelson  Apologies for the mistake in the printed version!


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