Keeping young people safe & happy online

We play a part in teaching our young people to stay safe and enjoy the time they spend online – especially when they’re gaming or using social media. We know that parents and carers feel strongly about this too – but it’s difficult to keep up when you use the internet differently to most 14 year olds!

Here are a couple of really useful websites which will help you approach discussing online safety with your child, learn about the sites, games & technology they’re using and teach them how to report abuse and ensure they’re safe and happy.

Net Aware – by the NSPCC has reviews, written by parents, about the major social media platforms including Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and some online games. Some of the best advice surrounds helping you and your child understand the privacy settings on these platforms.

The UK Safer Internet Centre has some great tips on having a conversation with your child about Internet Safety.…/parents-and-carers

With a page dedicated specifically to online gaming (amongst others!) the Internet Matters site gives clear messages and points to other useful resources.

Highland Small Schools’ Football

Our S4-6 Boys’ and our S2/3 Boys’ teams travelled to Drumnadrochit on Thursday 22nd March for the finals, having qualified earlier in the session.

Highland Small Schools' Football 2018 The senior team lost 2-1 in their semi-final (Hector MacLennan was the scorer) and 1-0 in the third place play-off. Both games were close and the boys should be proud of their play.

Highland Small Schools' Football 2018

The younger team won their semi-final 2-1 (with two goals from Corey MacLennan) and narrowly lost the final 1-0 to Dornoch. They are pictured with their runner-up medals.

Thanks to Ann Fraser for driving the mini-bus and supporting the team and to Mr Cumming for organising the event.

Highland Rowing Festival

Over the last few months Gairloch has been competing in the Highland Indoor Rowing League.  We have been doing very well at this with nearly every year group competing.  The final round of the league was the Highland festival today (22nd March) for which we took 23 pupils.

Highland Rowing Festival 2018

Great results all round:
  • S1 Girls – Katie Mackenzie 1st/Ashley Quinn 2nd=/Amber Crawford 9th/Helen Urquhart 10th/Shonagh Mackenzie & Izzy MacDonald 11th=.
  • S1 Boys – Lewis Hildrey 1st/Ruaridh Beaton 2nd/Calum Mackenzie 3rd/Julian Davies 4th/Jay Abdelrhman 5th.
  • S2 Girls – Ellie Watson & Kirsty MacDonald 1st=.
  • S3 Girls – Abi Crawford 1st/Lucy Hildrey 3rd/Maisie Baptist 4th/Charlotte Brady 6th/Kyrene Tallach 7th.
  • S3 Boys – Kienan Hewitson 1st/Adam Lloyd 2nd.
  • S5 Girls – Amber Drummond 1st/Arlene Morrison 3rd/Morven Maclean 4th
  • S1-3 Relays S1-3 mixed Relay – 1st Abi Crawford/Lucy Hildrey/Maisie Baptist & Kienan Hewitson (all S3). 2nd Ashley Quinn/Ruaridh Beaton/Lewis Hildrey & Katie Mackenzie (All S1).
  • 3rd Adam Lloyd/Charlotte Brady/Kyrene Tallach (S3) & Ellie Watson (S2). Clean sweep for Gairloch!
  • S4-6 mixed Relay – 2nd Amber Drummond/ Arlene Morrison/ Morven Maclean(S5) & Adam Lloyd (S3!)

Highland Rowing Festival 2018

Gairloch High School Parent Council Meeting Tuesday, 13th February 2018


Vanessa Quinn – Chair, Julie Brady – Treasurer, Isobel MacKenzie – Acting Head Teacher
Eilidh MacDonald – Head Girl, Angela Tattersall, Debbie Townsend, Gerry Baptist, Lorna Nelson, Sarah Wright, Belinda Brindle, Grahame Mitchell, Angela Rae, Lucy Cairney, Pam Urquhart, Mairi Stephen, Ingela Davis, Fiona Mackenzie, Chris Hildrey, Hazel Mackenzie,


Kirsty Copland – Secretary, Stuart Smith, Maureen Cumming, Alison Rushbrooke

1. Review of previous minutes
2. Matters arising from previous meeting (VQ)
3. Head Teacher’s Report (IM)
4. School nurse (PM)
5. Choices S2 (AR)
6. Appointment Head Teacher
7. Management of Schools – update (AR)
8. Fundraising
9. Any other business
10. Dates of next meeting 8th May 2018

Gift Your Gear

Gairloch High School has been successfully running the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme at Bronze, Silver and Gold level for many years.  Expeditions have been undertaken in sea kayaks, on mountain bikes and on foot.  We have enabled pupils to ‘bag’ Munros and provided alternatives for those unable to complete a ‘full on’ expedition.  Across Highland, Gairloch has more pupils completing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award than any other school.

In addition to this, we provide S1 pupils with a residential week in the Cairngorms in May every year which includes a range of outdoor activities.  S1 pupils also take part in our SMART course where they experience many different activities throughout the year including climbing and mountain-biking.  S5/6 pupils can opt to take the Outdoor Education course which includes climbing, mountain-biking and hill-walking.

We have a small amount of spare kit (including tents) which is loaned to pupils on an ‘as needed’ basis.  Outdoor kit can be expensive and we have always managed to provide kit for pupils who need it.

This year for the first time we received a large box of great quality outdoor clothing from Gift Your Gear.  The kit will help us to ensure that all our pupils can continue to make the most of the wonderful outdoor environment that surrounds our school.

Gift Your Gear is a UK based initiative, founded by Sarah Howcroft in 2012 to provide donated outdoor clothing and equipment to UK community organisations, youth groups and charities working with young people in the outdoors.

Gift Your Gear encourages people to donate unwanted outdoor clothing and equipment they no longer want or need.

Rohan shops are currently collecting for Gift Your Gear from 1st March to 1st April 2018 in return for a 15% discount on new kit.  Everyone’s a winner!

Gairloch High School Cross Country 2018

Pupils have been working on their cross country fitness, resilience and determination in PE.  On Wednesday 7th March we had our schools cross country competition.  It was perfect running conditions as most of our cross country season has been this year.  A small group of pupils ventured out for the run, including all S1, S3 long PE and many other willing runners.  Thanks to the senior pupils who helped marshal and assist on the day.

The results were:

S1-3 Girls
  • Winner joint 1st = Maisie Baptist (S3) and Kirsty MacDonald (S2)
  • 2nd – Helen Urquhart (S1)
  • 3rd – Izzy MacDonald (S1)
S1-3 Boys
  • Winner 1st – Corey Maclennan (S2)
  • 2nd – Sam Frost (S2)
  • 3rd – Luke Elder (S2)
S4-6 Boys winner joint 1st = Callum MacDonald (S4) Joel Goldby (S4)
No S4-6 girls running this year.

School Cross Country

Well done to all our winners and to everyone that took part!

S1 beach clean report

What did we do?

We held a beach clean at the beach beside the myrtle bank on the 26th of February, and got some people from the community to help us pick litter up of the beach so that animals don’t get injured from plastic,ropes,fishing nets or any other form of litter.
S1 Beach Clean
How did we do it?
We went of into groups and spread out across the beach on both sides of the river with a bin bag each.In the end we had collected 60kg of litter from the beach.
S1 Beach Clean
Why did we do it?

We cleaned the beach because every year over 1,000,000 animals die because of litter,so we helped our community a little by cleaning up our beach to help our beach to be safe.also the beach wouldn’t look very appealing if we didn’t clean it.

by Katie and Ruaridh

Ski Trip 2018

Twenty eight pupils, three staff and two adult helpers travelled to Les Menuires in the French Alps in January this year.  The conditions were fantastic, lots of sunshine, snow and blue bird days.  Intrepid beginners soon became proficient and those who had skied before developed their skills to a high standard.   We met up with a group from Lochaber High School and friendships developed!  The comments which follow are from pupils’ evaluations – we think they had a great time and would love to return!

Ski Trip 2018

There are loads of photos of the trip on Flickr.

Ski Trip 2018

  • Fun, eventful, tiring
  • Challenging, exciting, rewarding
  • Amazing fun interesting
  • Learned many things
  • fun, memorable, eventful
  • interesting, scary and adventurous
  • Fun, amazing, beautiful area
  • Sun, snow, ski!
  • Unique, enjoyable, exciting
  • Exciting, tiring, adventurous
  • Frustrating, for filling and exciting
  • Fun, cold, exciting
  • Amazing, Highlight, Memorable
  • amazing fun exciting
  • Amazing, unreal, enjoyable
  • amazing, super, fun
  • Interesting, educational and intense
  • Unforgettable
  • Exciting,
  • Eventful
  • Skiing was great!
  • Interesting learning experience
  • Fun educational amazing
  • Entertaining, action-packed, relaxing
  • Fun, good experiences, funny
  • This was a well organized trip
  • I really enjoyed the trip and this should definitely be repeated so more people can get the opportunity to learn to ski
  • The skiing was the best part by far and I feel I’ve tried some new things and developed my own abilities further.
  • The local pizzeria however was top quality 🙂
  • Better than last year
  • Loved it!
  • It was a great experience and it was amazing to get the chance to ski abroad
  • Really enjoyed the skiing and all the jumps we did
  • It was really fun and would love another trip
  • If you have the chance to go definitely go because it’s a trip you will remember for the rest of your life.
  • i absolutely loved the trip and cant wait till next year!
  • It was a great trip, and thank you to the teachers for giving their time to take us.
  • it is recommended to go to if you get the opportunity and i would defiantly go again
  • it was an unforgettable and amazing experience and i would do anything to do it again, it especially good to be with Lochaber high since they are scottish and we can learn to know each other better
  • I really enjoyed it
  • I really enjoyed it and hope I can go again
  • I hope that we can go again

Gairloch High School Parent Council Meeting

Tuesday, 21st November 2017, 7pm at Gairloch High School Library

Present – Vanessa Quinn, Julie Brady, Isobel Mackenzie, Kirsty Copland, Belinda Brindle, Pam Urquhart, Fiona Mackenzie, Mari Stephen, Lucy Cairney, Gerry Baptist, Amber Drummond, Maureen Cumming, Stuart Smith (7.30pm), Grahame Mitchell (7.45pm)

Apologies: Chris Hildrey, Eilidh MacDonald, Ingela Davis, Alison Rushbrooke, Debbie Townsend, Hazel MacKenzie, Alison Gault

Vanessa opened the meeting and thanked everyone for attending. We welcome Amber Drummond who is the nominated S5 representative.

  1. Review of previous minutes – the minutes verified by Lucy Cairney
  2. Matters arising from previous meeting (VQ) – it would be helpful if the minutes could be circulated quicker. KC confirms that once they are confirmed accurate by VQ, IM and another if necessary, they will then be emailed to the committee with a deadline with which to respond with any questions or corrections.  KC will then email to IM for publication on the school’s website.

VQ – St Andrews Day Ceilidh didn’t happen as unfortunately it was too busy a term and there wasn’t enough interest to make it happen.

The school has purchased 8 bikes.  A teacher (AG) is keen to take pupils out, he has the appropriate qualification for groups of up to 8 pupils at a time. This would encourage  health & well-being and wider achievement (certificates, groups etc).  IM is wondering if we could we assist with a contribution?  Either to the bikes themselves or the equipment?   VQ suggests we discuss at the end of the meeting re a fundraising group.  LC agrees to source high-vis vests for this.

JB confirms that the accounts are now audited (attached)

  1. Head Teacher Report (IMK)

Education Scotland – HMIe IMK commented on the positive aspects of the recent inspection and read the draft letter to parents.  Staff are pleased with the content of the letter and look forward to receiving the full report.

Sportscotland – Gold School Sport Award  – we were delighted to be informed that the school has been awarded a sportscotland Gold School Sport Award for 2017-2019. The Gold School Sport Award is recognition of the school’s achievements in putting sport at the heart of your school’s planning, practice and ethos.  The Gold Award also highlights that your school has shown excellent practice across the core areas of the Award and demonstrated an on-going commitment to increase young people’s opportunities and engagement in physical education, school sport and leadership and provide clear pathways to life-long participation in sport.  An award ceremony is being arranged for this in the new year.

Staffing Pupil Support Assistant appointed – Mr Michael Bulmer  – the Facilities Assistant vacancy will now be advertised – this is arranged by Development and Infrastructure.

Pupils’ Successes and Opportunities – Royal National Mod; Gaelic Debating; Scottish Rowing; Engineering Buoyancy workshop; So You Want to be a Doctor staff from Aberdeen University visiting on 7 December; two pupils attending Lessons from Auschwitz.

Assemblies and Time for Reflection – these have continued during the term and are focusing on our school vision.  We enjoy welcoming members of the community to these events.

Charities  – the school continues to support many national and international charities.  So far we have raised funds for Jeans for Genes; Unicef; Blythswood; Poppy Scotland and Children in Need.

Senior Art Exhibition – our annual Art Exhibition and launch of the school calendar takes place on Thursday 30 November.  Please come along and view the excellent work on display.

School Nurse – we have received information that recent adverts have proved successful and interviews will be held later this month.  We are all very concerned that this service hasn’t been available to pupils but the school has continued to work directly with pupils to support them in any way we can.

Scottish National Standardised Assessments – the Scottish Government has introduced a single nationally developed set of standardised assessments for pupils in P1, P4, P7 and S3.  The tests focus on reading, writing and numeracy and are designed to give teaching staff information to plan next steps.  Our S3 pupils will undertake these tests towards the end of November and parents of pupils in S3 will receive information letters.

Empowering Schools – a Consultation on the Provisions of Education (Scotland) Bill  – this document was highlighted to the meeting and those present were encouraged to view this online.

  1. Work Experience (KC)

KC asked what the current arrangements regarding work experience are?  There seems to have been no mention which is unlike previous years.  IM explained that DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) are now the caretakers of this.  They are the recognised body who assess and verify possible employers and ensure documents, insurance and risk assessments are in place prior to a placement.  Unfortunately, there seems to have been a delay in this happening for our area.  IM has expressed her concerns but unfortunately the situation remains.   IM went on to explain that they are seeking to update the school work experience arrangements by encouraging work experience to happen when the individual is ready and not during a set week when the entire year group is out at the same time.  There followed some discussion regarding parents organising their child’s own placement and whether this was something that could be considered.  This may mean that some students are at a disadvantage to others.  An option may be to address DYW with our concerns re the delay in approving placements.

Re student’s careers – this is talked about during S4 in PHSE and pupil support encourage students to think about their various options and what may come next.  A discussion followed regarding the careers information and guidance surrounding FE/HE and employment.  The breadth of employment opportunities in the world is vast and the need for our students to know about them is vital.  Pupils and parents alike have a limited view of employment options or future studying options.  Past pupils returning is a great way to illustrate what is available.  How can we make this happen?  It was suggested that we could expand Interview Skills Day.    An issue to return to at a later meeting.

  1. Interview Skills Day (VQ, JB, DT)

VQ has written to IMK to address 3 points, 2 of which we go onto discuss and the third, the attitude, approach and preparation of the interviewers was briefly discussed and it was decided that VQ would meet with the event organiser (Nevis Hulme) and IMK.

This has long been a successful day involving members of the community and the school itself. It has always been very well attended by the S5 and S6 pupils (with S4 leavers also being welcome to attend). It was considered useful for all pupils regardless of their future plans. However, this year it was very poorly attended, only 14 students; none of them from S4. There followed a lengthy discussion surrounding the management and organisation of the day, its desired outcome and the best way to ensure it is achieved. It was also mentioned that not all pupils are comfortable participating and that perhaps it is not a “one size fits all” event. However, it is hoped that this event will be repeated in future years and the form which it may take could be addressed either with or without the help of the PC. It is an important learning tool for the pupils and one which the PC are happy and keen to be involved in.

BB – pointed out that the numbers involved seemed lower with a number of S5 pupils absent that day.

Update:  A meeting between VQ, NH and IM took place on 30th November.   It was agreed at the meeting that the form of the interview skills day would be remodeled and run more as a careers day, with speakers, rehearsing and preparing of interview skills and members from the community who are actively involved in the current day work place would ideally be involved. The PC looks forward to getting involved in the organization of this event next year.

  1. School nurse (PU)

PU queried the current status of school nurse provision.  IM confirmed that the post had been re-advertised.  She went on to say that issues arising were being dealt by herself and CB.  There is of course also the local GPs who can assist if appropriate.

  1. Slattadale (FM)

FM stated that following the last meeting she felt very passionate about the Slattadale Bothy.  She went out to have a look – needs work but not £££ in monetary terms.  However, ownership is still unclear although we are leasing it from the Forestry Commission.  MS and FM happy to have a look at the documents and assess the situation.  MS wonders if a building is really necessary?  If it was renovated would transport then become an issue thereby making it unfeasible?  Apparently the Estate definitely don’t own it. The plan had been to establish an outdoor education centre for us and other groups to use thereby financing the upkeep and maintenance, but does this remain a realistic vision.

Stuart spoke to Janet Miles at the GALE Centre and it might be something they would take on.  It would need a local to drive it, but GALE would have the knowledge to take it further.  It was discussed whether a project of this scale can be a school project?  Sustainability is the main issue.  FM suggests we stop thinking in terms of an education centre and downsize to just a base for the community including school?  It’s clear a Sub-group needs to be formed to make a proposal as we are unable to keep debating the same ground at every meeting.  FM, MS and PU agree to form a sub-committee to assess the situation and to then feedback.  KC offers assistance with locating the owner/title deeds if details of the lease are passed to her.

  1. Management of Schools – update (AR)

Timescale now in place Draft Plan issued on 9th Feb with a further 10 days for comment.  New email for questions and queries from parents and community available now and distributed.  12th, 13th , 14th Dec meetings locally to answer questions – Don Easson and Norma Young to attend.

  1. Fundraising

Please give email address to Vanessa if interested in being on the fundraising sub-committee.

  1. Outdoor space improvement

Very few responses to email from VQ, perhaps just nominate a specific Saturday and open to all.  We will resume our efforts in the Spring.

  1. AOCB

The Art depts. Art evening is in the school library on Thursday 30th Nov.  Asking for an adult to oversee, pupils already organised to actually fetch and carry.

Pupil Support – UCAS applications, do they get any help?  Yes, Mr Hulme as always.  BB says she does a lot informally as do other teachers, but Mr Hulme oversees.

Meeting concludes 8.47pm

Next meeting 23rd Jan 2018

New Mountain Bikes

The school had 8 new mountain bikes delivered on December 18th. These bikes will be used by  S1 pupils in cycling safety and in preparation for their Cairngorm trip in May, up to S5/S6 Outdoor Education pupils doing cycling maintenance and cycling activities.
Thanks to Mark at Orangefox Bikes in Muir of Ord.

New Mountain Bikes

New Mountain BikesNew Mountain Bikes