School news 27th May 2016

Cairngorm Week – While S1 was away and exams are taking place we have extended the activities provided, in previous years to S3, to S2. This year S3 activities included development of the Youth Partnership Initiative where the pupils continue working on the dissemination of £3000 to a successful local charity. The pupils in S3 also took part in Emergency First Aid Training and a Business Enterprise event called The Apprentice.  You can read more about some of these activities below.

The S1 have written a compilation of views about their trip for readers of the Gairloch Times and this is available on the website by clicking here.

‘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 indoor sporting game. Their ideas were then presented to their classmates and a panel of judges. The activities were judged on their originality and how likely they would be adopted by the school or a leisure centre. In addition, the teams’ presentations, including how well they explained and promoted their activity, were taken into account. The winning team devised a simple game called Football Knockout that impressed the judges because of how easy it would be to organise. The team was led by Amber Drummond with her supportive team-mates being Matthew Mackenzie and Hannah Warren. The activity was also used to appraise pupils’ employability skills. The best overall performer was Scarlet Pickering. We’ll not reveal the one who was fired!

Apprentice Teams

See photos of the other teams by clicking on the image above

First Aid Training – Once again at this time of year, pupils in S3 undertook a one-day First Aid course. This year the instructor was Mr Ali Cameron 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 Cameron for running this course for us.

S2 Activity Week – S2 pupils were involved in a number of events including Music, PE, Hospitality and Drama. In Science the pupils developed some of the Rolls-Royce themes in Forensic Science and investigated fingerprint and footprint analysis along with some chromatography experiments that appeared to implicate Mr Port in a serious crime!

S2 @ Aigas

On Tuesday 10th May the group visited the Aigas Field Centre near Beauly and took part in a number of enjoyable outdoor activities. You can see lots of photos on the website.

Click on the image above to see other photos taken at Aigas

S2 Pupil Success in National Art Competition – Nadia Fenton has won 1st prize in the Scottish Government’s Art competition for schools – ‘Your Vision of Farming’.  Nadia’s poster was selected as the winning entry in the S1-3 category from an initial 996 entries and 65 schools.  So fierce competition and quite an achievement!

The Art and Geography departments worked together on this Cross-curricular project with the S2 year group.

Nadia has won a framed print of her winning entry and a £30 gift voucher, along with an invitation to attend the Royal Highland Show in June where Nadia will be presented with her prize by one of the Scottish Government Ministers.  Well-done Nadia!

Movers & Shakers Leadership Project – S2 & S3 pupils Arlene Morrison, Hannah Warren, Isabella Wiseman, Erin Thomson, Catherine MacRae, Emily Morrison, Isabelle Gallacher & Melissa Clayton have recently gained Level 1 in Dance Leadership after attending training delivered by the High Life Highland Movers & Shakers Project over several evenings & 4 days in the Easter holidays. Enrolled in the High Life Highland leadership programme, the girls are mentored by Active Schools Coordinator Fiona Downie, who supports them to deliver sessions to others. The girls are currently delivering a free block of 6 classes on Friday evenings at Gairloch Leisure Centre to P4-S2 pupils. The girls have been meeting during lunchtimes to choreograph and plan sessions. All this hard work has paid off with Isabelle & Melissa delivering their first session on Friday evening. The delivery was flawless and this is due to all the hard work the girls put into their planning. Thank you to the girls for giving up their time & keep up the good work!


Important DatesCheck out the website or phone the school if you require information about events.

  • 2nd& 3rdJune – P7 Induction continues
  • 6th June – In Service training – Staff only.
  • 7th June – S4/5 pupils return from exam leave
  • 9th June – S1 Parent Evening
  • 16th June – Sports’ Day
  • 18th & 19th June – Gairloch Climbing Weekend
  • 29th June – Prizegiving 1.30pm in the school

Gairloch Poster

School news 13th May 2016

DofE Bronze Expedition Training – On 27th of April twelve S3 pupils along with Dr Close (Biology) and Mr Sutherland (Computing & Outdoor Education) went out on a somewhat wintery Bronze DofE day of campcraft training at Flowerdale.  Miss MacAllister, (Modern Languages) introduced this great use of our local outdoor learning environment when she was the DofE co-ordinator for the school.

Despite the squally and sometimes heavy snow showers our pupils walked from The Old Inn car park to the beautiful glen between Sidean Mor and An Groban to practice setting up camp, preparing food and breaking camp under Dr Close’s careful eye.  Then the two groups headed back down by separate routes, practising their emergency procedures, navigation and consideration of the Scottish Access Code.  Gairloch High School is once again grateful to the Mackenzie Clan at Flowerdale for their hospitality.

S3 DofE Bronze Training

Click on the photo to see more images from the day out in the snow

The Bronze DofE practice expedition in May 23rd and 24th and we have plans developing for Silver and Gold Expeditions.

S1 at Loch Maree – The day with Aigas was planned as a culmination of the S1 SMART course and involved pupils using their outdoor skills for a whole host of activities. Favourites were using flint and steel to make their own fires, roasting homemade bread on sticks, playing the stealth game “Camouflage” in the woods and creating some beach art on the shores of Loch Maree. Thanks to the Aigas Field Centre staff from Beauly for running these activities and Miss Smith for co-ordinating the visit.

S1 Aigas activities SlattadaleClick on the photo to see more images from the day

Portrait Exhibition – There will be an exhibition of S2 self-portraits in Gairloch Library between Monday 9th May and Friday 20th May.

Come along and see if you can recognise the pupils – Mrs Browne is not going to put names on the pictures so you will have the fun of trying to identify the pupils from their own work.IMG_1084

Cairngorm Week – By the time you read this S1 should have safely and successfully completed their S1 Residential at Kincraig Christian Centre. More news about that next issue.

While S1 are away and exams are taking place we have extended the activities provided to S3 in previous years and that has included Emergency First Aid Training and a Business Enterprise event. This year we have included the S2 as well and they will be involved in PE, Drama events and other active learning activities. Report next issue on that.

Important DatesCheck out the website or phone the school if you require information about events.

  • 16th May – Timetable changes for S1, S2 and S3
  • 26th May – P7 Icebreaker Day & P7 Parent Evening
  • 27thMay – P7 Expressive Art Day
  • 27thMay – S1 reports issued
  • 2nd& 3rd Jun – P7 Induction
  • 6th Jun – In Service training – Staff only.




School news 29th April 2016

SQA exams – All S4, S5 and S6 pupils are now following an exam timetable for their SQA national exams. We wish all our hard working pupils well in the exams and hope they gain the success they require to continue in school or beyond as best suits their abilities.

Drama donation to Brake Charity – Last month you may have read about the Drama classes in the school putting on an evening set of performances for the community. The pupils excelled in their drama but also raised £266, which has been donated to the charity Brake. Brake is a road safety charity that campaigns for safer roads and supports crash victims resulting from traffic accidents.  You can read more here by visiting their website.

S2 options for S3 – S2 have had a talk on their options for courses starting in May and will have begun to hear about courses offered in S3 from subject teachers. Pupils will have a copy of the option form and have been briefed on how to complete this though final decisions should not be made until after the Parents’ Evening in May. If any parent has any query regarding this, please contact the school and ask to speak to Mr Hulme.

Byelaws on the Employment of Children – The Highland Council has recently updated its Byelaws on the Employment of Children.  The new Byelaws can be found on the Highland Council website together with Guidance Notes and the relevant Application Form. A link is available on the school website.

The Byelaws relate to the employment of all children who are under school leaving age. They provide details of the hours children are permitted to work and the types of employment allowed.  An application form should be completed if a pupil is working out of school hours. The maximum number of hours worked by children is stated in the byelaws.

S2B Girls Coffee Morning – Thanks to everyone who came along and supported our S2 girls on Saturday 16th April at the coffee morning. Cakes, tea and coffee, a quiz and face painting were available and parents helped too. The girls raised £238.26 for their Kiva project to support small businesses in developing countries.  Read more here on the Kiva website.

2B Coffee Morning

Staff Training – Highland Council Walking and Camping Accreditation – Two members of staff were involved in a weekend training session recently organised by Highland Council under the instruction of Mr Sutherland. Mrs Flora MacKenzie and Mr Cumming joined staff from other schools. Success in this course allows staff to help supervise pupils on hillwalking expeditions.

Mrs MacKenzie had the following to say in her debrief: Great course, great instructors.  I was a bit apprehensive as I’m not an experienced hillwalker and didn’t have all the gear but needn’t have worried. The instructors made you feel relaxed and it was so easy to ask questions without feeling stupid.  Lots of really useful information about everything outdoors and now I know what equipment I really need. So glad I didn’t rush out buying things… Saved me from some expensive mistakes. Oh and did I mention some great walking as well!

Hillwalking Assessment for pupils – Several senior pupils are following an Outdoor Education course and have previously received certificates for indoor climbing. Now they are being assessed in hillwalking skills.

Mrs Bulmer has already taken them on some local low level walks to work on route finding and map work.

SQA Hillwalking assessment 2016Click on the image above to see some more photos

Last week the pupils planned for themselves the route that they were going to take their assessor, Mr Sutherland, on with one of them each leading a leg at a time.

On the day they were lucky enough to have fair weather, which made navigation straightforward but they still passed through some interesting and challenging terrain.  The pupils were also asked by Mr Sutherland to solve simple problems such as how to deal with a nervous walker in the group whilst on a short rocky section.

Pupils should receive their SQA Hill Walking Level 4 unit assessment as a result.

Velotech and Cycling – Following on from our success with GO Mountain Bike and the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme, Gairloch High School is one of the first Highland schools to be providing the opportunity for our pupils to participate in the Velotech cycle-industry recognised training and assessment qualification.

Previously we have run bike maintenance course for pupils with the help of Mr Johnston, Mr Gorman and Mr Bowker. This has supported DofE expeditions and encouraged cycling as part of various activities and courses from S1 upwards. Mr Johnston and Mr Bowker also gained Silver Velotech certificates that formalised their role of inspecting and maintaining our fleet of aging mountain bikes.

Mr Sutherland has now gained his Gold Velotech and with support from Highland Council Skills for Work funding we purchased four workstations and tools for the outdoor education class. Mr Sutherland, with the help of Ian Sikora, Outfit Moray and Al Gilmour, Glenmore Lodge, has gained certification for the school to deliver and assess the industry standard Red, White & Blue Velotech syllabus.

Now our outdoor education pupils can start the scheme in school before perhaps choosing this as a vocational career, or a college course in outdoor education.  Cycling in all its’ forms has never had a higher profile in the UK.  Eleanor Richardson, one of our former pupils now races for her country.  Who knows perhaps we’ll have a bike mechanic supporting athletes such as her in the future!

Martial Art success – Congratulations to Evan McPhail, Hector MacLennan and Roddie Wyatt for gaining 1st Dan black belts in Kempo Ju Jitsu recently after a challenging assessment lasting four hours.

Important DatesCheck out the website or phone the school if you require information about events.

  • 29thApril – last day of classes for S4,5,6
  • 2ndMay – May Day Holiday
  • 4thMay – SQA exams begin