School news 29th May 2015

British Geological Seismometer – Some time ago the school obtained a seismometer (used to measure movements of the earth) as part of the Schools Seismometer Project, run by the British Geological Survey.    It has proved challenging to get all the pieces in place to get this working and recording data, but when Professor Peter Maguire, who has holidayed in the area for many years, contacted us to ask if he could help, we readily accepted.  He arrived with a range of additional equipment and gave up a good deal of his time to get it working.  We are very grateful for all the help that Peter has given in setting up the seismometer, and look forward to making use of it in many ways over the coming years.  It is sensitive enough to detect both small local events and larger events worldwide.  The image shows the vibrations picked up in Gairloch as a result of the most recent earthquake in Nepal.


S1 Cairngorm Week – Our S1 pupils completed their residential week at the Cairngorm Christian Centre in Kincraig recently and enjoyed a range of activities that build on cycling, orienteering and climbing skills developed in school. Thanks must go to Dr Caley who organises the week along with the dedicated band of staff who supervise and lead each of the activities as well as cook and babysit the youngsters. Many of the photographs taken throughout the week can be seen on the school website alongside photographs from previous trips.

S1Click on the photo to see lots more images from the week

YPI – Our S3 pupils are currently working on a programme called the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative in their PSHE lessons. They have been conducting research into social issues that affect residents in the local community and the charities that work to address these. On Wednesday 13th May representatives from 10 charities visited the school to inform the S3 pupils of their work in our local area. These charities were Gairloch Community Car Scheme, Ileostomy Support Group (Highland), Befrienders Highland, Highland Hospice, Carr Gorm, Gairloch Heritage Museum, Ross-shire Women’s Aid, Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team, GALE Action Forum and CLIC Sargent. Each group of pupils now has to choose one of these charities to research further and deliver a presentation on at the end of term. The group delivering the best presentation will win £3000 to award to their chosen charity.

YPI 2015Click on the photo to see more images from the meetings

Orienteering – During their activities week, S3 pupils enjoyed a morning of orienteering at Flowerdale. Everyone competed over two very different courses. The first was easy, with controls at all path junctions. Hector completed this in the fastest time, in just less than 10 minutes. Chris, Gregor, Sara and Max were close behind. The second course was much more challenging and required stamina and good map reading skills. Thanks very much to Guy Seaman who planned the courses, placed all the controls and gave pupils some top tips on the day.

S3 Orienteering 2015Click on the photo to see more images from the event

‘The Apprentice’­ – S3 pupils, during the first two days of their Activity Week, were again this year involved in an event similar to the BBC programme ‘The Apprentice’. They spent two days working in teams to come up with an idea for a game, quiz or reality television show. Their ideas were then presented to the rest of the school. A panel of teachers and senior pupils judged the ideas based on their originality, potential entertainment value and likelihood of being commissioned. In addition, the teams’ presentations were taken into account. The year group took to this challenge well and it was great to see such a variety of ideas and high quality presentations. The winning team devised an international job swap programme. The judges were impressed by the trailer that was produced, the costings, the presentation and the concept overall. A television producer has been approached to view the presentations and give an opinion on the teams’ efforts.

Bronze DofE training – 22 of our S3 pupils are undertaking their Bronze DofE expedition this term. Training began on Wednesday 6th May at Slattadale. The first task of the day was to pitch tents and some pupils have clearly had more experience of this than others! Everyone then joined in with the ‘kit check’ game. Next came cooking and, following a short presentation on safe use of the stoves, the pupils prepared a three course lunch. The groups had planned their menus in advance. We finished the day with mini-presentations from each person to the rest of their group on emergency procedures, first aid, camp hygiene, comfort and rucksack packing.

Bronze DofE Training 2015Click on the photo to see more images from the trip

First Aid – Once again at this time of year, pupils in S3 undertook a one-day First Aid course with Mr Cory Jones of Outdoor First Aid. For those involved with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, this provided training for their forthcoming expedition. For all, it provided them with the ability to cope with emergencies, extending the work done previously with on basic life-saving first aid. We thank Mr Jones for running this course again.

Scottish Indoor Rowing League – Our S1-3 pupils have done well in the Scottish Indoor Rowing League. Our school is fourth overall in Scotland at the end of Round 1.  66 of our 70 S1-3 pupils participated each gaining 1 point. Top 5 finishers gained more points and we have a few in that category, S1 Jasmine Brown 3rd, S2 Amber Drummond 1st, Scarlet Pickering 2nd and Arlene Morrison 5th. S3 Sara Johnston 1st and Jade Moore 4th.   Iain Nelson missed out on a top 5 spot by a couple of meters. Well done to all of the pupils who took part. (Update – we did even better in Round 2!  See next issue)

Primary 7 Icebreaker and Expressive Arts Days – These took place on the 20th and 21st May. The days are designed to allow the pupils, who will become S1 after the summer, to get a taste of High School in advance of August. These exciting one day events will be followed up shortly by another two days where the pupils will sample their 2015/2016 timetables.

Important Dates – More details here on the school website.

29th May – S1 Reports issued to parents

1st June – INSET day – teachers only

2nd June – S4/5 pupils return to school after exams

School news 15th May 2015

Comenius Project 2013-15 Gairloch High School – In the week beginning 20th April, Gairloch played host to the countries participating in the High School’s Comenius project. Staff and pupils arrived from Latvia, Portugal, Poland, Greece, Turkey and Finland. Unfortunately, the 8th country involved – Spain – was unable to join us.

At the beginning of the week, the visitors made their presentations based on the Project Title –The Four Elements of Nature & Their Effect on Our Lives. In addition, activities were organised during the week, such as a beach barbeque, a traditional ceilidh, a walk up Beinn Eighe Mountain Trail, and a trip to Ullapool. Luck was on their side, as the weather was sunny and dry!

Everyone had a fantastic time, and the students from Europe were hosted by pupils in the school; friendships were made during the week which can last a lifetime. This week was the culmination of the project, which lasted for nearly 2 years. Over 20 pupils in Gairloch High School made trips to the 7 other countries involved in the project, and were also hosted by families there.

On the way from Edinburgh, there was time to make a visit to the famous Kelpies, and the first of many group photos was taken.

Comeniusphoto: courtesy of Jim Hunter

S1 Anti-Bullying Day – On Friday 1st May all of S1 took part in an anti-bullying day. The aim of the day is to remind pupils of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to working together.

Pupils spent the morning taking part in a number of activities to get them thinking about the consequences of bullying and then they watched some videos with various types of bullying, discussing different people’s responsibilities and actions in these scenarios. The afternoon was spent making anti-bullying posters and bunting.

S1 Anti-Bullying DayClick on the photo to see more from the day

S6 farewell – On their last day together at secondary school before their exams, S6 travelled to Wildwoodz with Mr Milner and Mr Bowker and enjoyed a day of paintballing. Much fun was had by all taking part in this successful trip.

Look at the Evidence evening – On Tuesday 28th April, we held another opportunity for members of the community to try out some of the activities that have been introduced due to the Rolls-Royce Science Prize invovlement. Parents and guests had the chance to carry out DNA profiling, guided by pupils. Each of the groups produced a gel sample like the one in the photo, which clearly showed banding in columns B and D. This equated to a match between DNA found at the simulated crime scene (B) with DNA taken from one of three suspects(C, D, E). There was also a chance to try out some modern microscopy techniques and hear about Advanced Higher projects carried out this year. These involved investigations into the efficacy of Munuka Honey (Siobhan Vickerstaff) and the content of owl pellets (Sofie Banister).


Outdoor Education Partnerships – On Monday the 27th April S5 pupils James Aaron & Connor Moore along with their Outdoor Education teacher Mr Sutherland joined Inverness College, UHI tutor, Nicki Diggins and her three Outdoor Pursuits students for a day’s mountain biking locally. The team showed the UHI folk some of our tracks by leading them around ‘The Old Road’ and through Flowerdale back to school.

Outdoor Education MTB 2015Click on the photo of James above to see more from the day

This was another chance for our pupils to develop their confidence and skill while working with older students from UHI.

Important Dates – More details here on the school website.

  • 21st May – P7 Icebreaker Day
  • 22nd May – P7 Expressive Arts Day
  • 29th May – S1 Reports issued to parents
  •  1st June – INSET day – teachers only
  • 2nd June – S4/5 pupils return to school after exams

Next issue we will have a report of the S1 Residential in the Cairngorm National Park that took place between 11th and 15th May.

Evening Games

School news 1st May 2015

Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – S3 pupils are taking part in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) in the hope that they will learn to understand about philanthropy and charity through an experience of giving, which will highlight the positive impact they can have on their own community.

Pupils will research local charities they believe are best placed to make a positive change. They will learn how to assess the charity’s management, strategy, staffing arrangements and services. By meeting a representative of the charities, pupils will develop a real understanding of some of the challenges facing the community and will, we hope, be inspired to work to change society for the better.

Pupils will use their research to make presentations on the reasons that their chosen charity is most deserving of support. The team judged to have made the most compelling presentation will be given a £3000 YPI Grant to award to their charity. During this process, pupils develop skills in research, analysis, presentation, and communication, which all contribute to a pupil’s growth, and confidence.

We are busy organising a Charities Fayre for Wednesday 13th May and want to invite as many charities that work in our local area as possible.  If you know of any charities (and these can be locally based, Highland wide or national charities), please can you contact the school and let us know so that we can invite them. (

S1 build bird boxes for Inverewe – As part of the John Muir Award Conservation Section all S1 pupils made bird boxes that will be sited by the NTS Ranger at Inverewe Garden.

BirdboxesS6 Rural Skills pupils Jake MacDonald and John Scott Macleod helped S1 with timber was supplied by Inverewe Garden. There are more photos on the website. Click on the photo to view them.

Easter Egg Hunt – The Gairloch Malawi Partnership fundraising team would like to say big thank you to everyone who supported and donated to the Easter Egg Hunt last term. We organised an Easter Egg Hunt for the Primary and the High School and we would like to thank the teachers, parents and pupils for their contribution. Along with other fundraising in the High School we raised nearly £300! We have now reached the £1000 mark since we started fundraising with our new team last November. All proceeds will go towards helping four pupils and two staff from Mlozi School in Malawi to come and visit us in Gairloch in the August.  See us on Facebook.

S1 Beach Clean – In spite of the poor weather S1 pupils spent a morning before the holidays cleaning up storm debris from the beach along the front. We encourage all pupils to learn about the worth of being involved in their community. We want them to learn the value of working with others to make their community better. The pupils are grateful for help from the local Council workers with equipment and uplift. It’s a pity that on this occasion, in spite of invitations from the pupils, no one was able to help the youngsters. Please consider showing support in future – an effect of an hour helping our pupils may influence them in a positive manner for rest of their lives.

Swimming Gala – Held at the end of last term the results are as follows: 1st – Tollaidh, 2nd – Maree and 3rd – Kerry.

Well done to Iain Nelson and Alasdair MacDonald who both won all three of their finals. Thanks to all the staff who helped Mrs Johnston manage the event at Poolewe – it was a very exciting gala for those involved.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – Innis Taylor and Siobhan Vickerstaff (both S6) and former pupil Róisín Somers have each completed their Gold Award. Well done them!

MSYP – Congratulations to Jamie MacLean (S6) who has been elected as the Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross. With the first meeting in June, MYSPs aim to make sure Councillors, MSPs, MPs and MEPs take account of the views of young people. Prominent campaigns currently include Votes at 16 and Poverty: See it, Change it.

Solving the Rubik Cube –Bruce Wiseman (S6) took part in an international competition in Edinburgh last month. Bruce came 28th by solving a Rubik Cube in a best time of 38.24 seconds. In the ‘2 by 2 by 2’ cube competition he finished 17th. Well-done Bruce!

Outdoor Certificates – Senior pupils Jake MacDonald, Neil McKenzie, Sydney Tippett, Connor Moore, James Aaron and Alasdair MacDonald have been awarded GO Mountain Bike Certificates as part of their Outdoor Education Course. James and Alasdair were also awarded NICAS level 2 awards for skills developed on the school climbing wall while Connor has NICAS Level 1. These two schemes allow the pupils to develop physical skills but also teach first-aid and self-reliance.

Europe came to Gairloch High School – On the 19th of April, our Comenius partners arrived in Gairloch having travelled from Latvia, Portugal, Poland, Greece, Turkey and Finland. An exciting programme of activities was held culminating in a ceilidh in the Community Hall on Wednesday 22nd April. A few tears were shed when our guests left on Thursday morning. This event brings to an end our second two-year project and we would like to thank everyone who has supported us during that time. We hope to have photographs and news available on the website soon.

Active School Coordinator Vacancy – The ASC position for Gairloch and its associated primary schools has become vacant. Please see elsewhere in the issue for the job advert. This is an important position for a graduate level applicant interested in the promotion of activity and sports participation amongst young people in the area.  Details here.  Application forms can be downloaded from or by telephoning (01463) 663800.

Important Dates – More details on the school website here.

– SQA national exam timetable began on 30th April.

– May Day Holiday – Monday 4th May.

– S2 Parents’ Evening – Thursday 7th May.

– S1 Cairngorm week begins 11th May.