School news 4th April 2014

Beach Clean – This is now the eleventh year that Gairloch High School pupils have cleaned the beach between Strath and The Myrtle Bank Hotel.  They managed to collect over 50 sacks of rubbish in the first clean up.  This year, the beach was covered in more rubbish than in any year since that first one.  S5/6 Outdoor Education pupils spent some time on Wednesday morning and S1 SMART pupils spent Wednesday afternoon cleaning the beach as far as the pumping station.  They have made a brilliant job!  We plan to clean the section from the pumping station to the river on Wednesday afternoon and welcome any support from the community – gloves and sacks can be provided!

S5/6 Beach Clean 2014

Click on the photo to see more images.  S1 pupils were also out in January cleaning the beach below the graveyard.  Click for photos.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – Former pupil Mags Mathieson has just achieved her silver award. Nikki Goldby, S4, has achieved Bronze. Well-done girls!

One Red Nose – On 21st March, GHS Drama Club performed a collection of short scripted and devised scenes. We chose plays which were happy and others which were a bit sad, to show both sides of Comic/Sports Relief. Helen Peat, our wonderful drama teacher, found 3 comedy plays and we wrote 3 serious plays ourselves. The plays were: “The Audition”, “The Waiting Room”, “A Day in the Life”, “Cube Farming”, “Casual-ty” and “Ever Decreasing Circles”. Maia Mackenzie also performed two songs, “Your Song” by Elton John and “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men. We managed to raise £152, which we will donate to Sports Relief. Now we have quite a few more people coming to our weekly drama group, which is great because we can perform bigger plays!

We would like to thank Andy Bowker, the office and cleaning staff, Ms Hunter, Ms Thistlethwaite and her INT 2 Hospitality class for the interval refreshments, our parents and everyone who has supported us. Caitlin Mitchell and Hannah Wood (on behalf of the GHS Drama Club)

Sport Relief – On 20th March pupils organised a one-mile walk around the school at lunchtime. Staff and pupils raised £115.48. Carys Townsend and Eilidh MacDonald also raised £100 by selling squares on a prize draw. Well done to all!

Art Exhibition – The S2 Self Portrait Exhibition is running until April 2nd in the GALE Centre. See if you can recognise our S2 pupils from their portraits by visiting the show!

Donation of Outdoor Equipment and Clothing – We recently received a donation of equipment from Mrs Joan Smith, Derby. Her husband died recently and she has kindly passed on a selection of protective clothing and rucksacks. Through their daughter, Mrs Hilary Crick, Beauly, they had heard of our Outdoor Activities and we have been fortunate enough to be gifted the equipment to support the activities of the pupils. Thank you!

Pupil Success – Alasdair MacDonald recently took part in the Inverness Music Festival. Alasdair received a first place with Distinction in Advanced Accordion. In the Open Competition he came second with an Outstanding. Well-done Alasdair!

Malawi Presentation – Recently S5 pupils, Beth Townsend and Sofie Banister were invited to an evening with the Dingwall Rotary at the Tulloch Castle Hotel. The evening was designed to give members and guests of the Rotary an update on our trip last October. The Rotary kindly donated money to assist our Partnership with Mlozi. Beth and I gave a presentation assisted by Mr Port and accompanied by a selection of photographs and videos. Everything went very well and our Malawian tales were gratefully received. (Sofie)

S1 Bring and Buy – With additional funds collected the S1 pupils finally raised just over £2000 at their Bring and Buy. The pupils would like to thank the following local businesses for their support: Inverewe Garden, Paul Tattersall, Gairloch Trekking Centre, Button Bothy, The Shieling, Shieldaig Bar & Coastal Kitchen, Loch Torridon Smokehouse, Landmark, Kenneth Morrison’s Butchers, Isle of Ewe Smokehouse, Beautopia, Aultbea Stores, Cornerstone, Dentist, Gairloch Pantry, Kenny Tallach (Argocat), Aultbea Hotel, Myrtle Bank Hotel, Eddie Ritchie, Torridon Sea Tours, Bridge Cafe, Ewe Canoe, Poolewe Shop.  Click here for some photos.

Judo demonstration – For the last three years, during P.E. lessons, Mr Hulme has been giving pupils five-week taster sessions to learn a little about judo. As he has not had another person with knowledge of the sport to work with, this has limited the range of judo that could be demonstrated. For this reason, Mr Hulme arranged with Mr N. Shepherd, a fellow member of Invergordon Judo Club, to give a demonstration of the various techniques that make up the sport. In front of the whole school, the two ‘judoka’ displayed throws, hold-downs, strangles and arm-locks. The pupils particularly enjoyed seeing Mr Hulme strangled! The session concluded with a brief bout of contest fighting and the opportunity for questions. It is hoped that some pupils will have been intrigued by what they saw and take up the sport should the opportunity arise in the future.

Lord of the Flies Dance Workshop – On the 20th March, 28 boys from S1- S6 took part in a thoroughly enjoyable dance workshop. The company ‘New Adventures’ are offering dance workshops as part of a nationwide project to inspire, uncover and nurture existing talent while challenging stereotypes and breaking down barriers to male participation in dance. The tutors were very impressed with the boys’ efforts, and they have all been invited to a further audition if they wish the opportunity to perform alongside professional dancers at Eden Court Theatre in an adaption of William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’. Auditions will take place in Inverness all day on 12th April with call-backs for a second day on 13th April. For further information, contact Nat McCleary on 07837433196

50 Days to Fit – By the time you read this, the 5×50 Challenge will be underway. We hope that the 138 members of the GHS team are enjoying their more active lifestyle and are contributing lots of kilometres to the team total. The Activity Tourism class just have a few reminders for you all: remember to get friends and family to sponsor you in your efforts; remember to log your activity every day and post comments and pictures to; and lastly, remember the prizes – greatest distance, most sponsorship raised and most innovative 5K!

Important Dates – Available on the school website. School re-opens after Easter on Tuesday 22nd April. We are only back 4 days before the final exams begin! Study club has been arranged for S4 -6 pupils from Monday to Wednesday 7th-9th April.


School news 21st March 2014

World Book Day  - For World Book Day on 6th March, 2014, Yasmeen, our librarian, came up with a very interesting idea which she called “Speed Book Dating”  – but don’t worry, it’s not what it sounds like!

The S2 Book Group members each had to choose a book that we liked:  Caitlin Mitchell chose “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer; Carys Townsend chose “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by JK Rowling; Eilidh MacDonald chose “Evermore” by Alison Noel; Hannah Wood chose “I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You” by Ally Carter; Jasmine Connop chose “The Diary of Dorkius Maximus” by Tim Collins; Jade Paterson chose “Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour” by Morgan Matson – Christie Wilson (S3) stood in for Jade on the day; and Olivia Walker and Leonie Baptist chose “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan – Leonie did the talk on the day.

Book Dating Certificates

We prepared during breaks and lunchtimes in the library, by printing out pictures and making signs and bunting.  On the day, we set up tables and laid out the books, then at lunchtime people visited the Library and we had one minute to tell each one about our chosen book.  As the visitors moved around our tables, they drew on a printed sheet a heart around the books they wanted to “date”, and at the end gave their sheet to Yasmeen, who arranged for them to borrow their favourites.  It was great fun and an entertaining way to recommend books to each other!  (Leonie Baptist and Hannah Wood, S2)

There is currently a display in the Library of the books listed above and others of similar appeal.  You can click on the photo above to see more photos from the event.

Young Musicians at Eden Court – On Sat 8th March members of the Highland Youth Orchestras and Bands took part in another series of concerts in Eden Court.  Nessie Gearing (S6) is a member of the Highland Schools Wind Band. Megan Copland (S3) and Eilidh Owens (S5) are members of Còisir G.  Oscar Howard (S5) is in the Highland Youth Big Band.  Leonie Baptist (S2) and Hannah Wood (S2) are members of the Highland Youth String Orchestra.  Becky Griggs (S6) and Luke Gorman (S6) are in SNAS. Nessie Gearing and Freya Baptist (S4) are in the Highland Regional Youth Orchestra.  The event was tinged with regret for some of the pupils.  Becky, Nessie and Luke leave school shortly so this was their last performance in these events.  Fortunately they will have many treasured memories and experiences.  Read more here and see photos by clicking here.


S2/3 Highland Small Schools’ Football Tournament – The S2/3 Gairloch team travelled to Drumnadrochit on the 28th of February accompanied by Mr Cumming and Andy Bowker. Gairloch dominated their semi-final against Mallaig but unfortunately lost the game 1-0. In the third-place play off, the team beat Ardnamurchan 3-1 with goals from David MacGregor (2) and Lewis Campbell.

Àrd-Ìre Ghàidhlig / Higher GaelicBu toigh leinn taing a thoirt do Cathaidh NicLeòid, Iseabail NicCoinnich, Marion Nic an Tàilleir agus Peadar MacDhòmhnaill a thadhail air a’ chlas againn anns na seachdainean mu dheireadh. Bha e glè inntinneach a bhith a’ còmhradh riutha agus a bhith a’ faighinn barrachd a-mach mu dhualchainntean na Gàidhlig.

We would like to thank Cathy MacLeod, Isobel MacKenzie, Marion Taylor and Peter MacDonald for visiting our class during the last few weeks. It was very interesting to speak to them and to learn more about different Gaelic dialects.

Dancing Day – On the 5th of March pupils from S3 – S6 took part in a dance workshop. Y-dance is a Glasgow based organisation that travels all over Scotland teaching pupils the basics of dance. During the day we were taught two dance routines incorporating street dance and musical theatre. The instructors encouraged us to step out of our comfort zone and be creative. We worked in teams and choreographed our own routines, using the moves that they had shown us.  At the end of the day we performed our routines to a selection of teachers, who thoroughly enjoyed it. This day has built up our confidence and has prompted us to start a lunchtime club for anyone who wishes to continue developing their ability. Thanks to Y-dance for the inspiration they provided.  (Beth Townsend and Holly Morrison)

Basketball result – The senior boys played Fortrose Academy Wednesday 12th March. Fortrose are the current league leaders and have an exceptionally talented team, with five Scotland squad or national league players in their team (we have one). The first quarter was worrying; we were down 23 – 4 and it looked like the rest of the game was going to feel like a very long time. The second quarter saw our team defending much more effectively, driving for the basket and rebounding well at both ends. The pressure paid off and we came back to within four points of our opponents. The rest of the game produced some outstanding, disciplined play from both teams but we weren’t able to overcome our first quarter deficit and we eventually lost 84 – 62. Despite the final result, everyone there felt it was a great game to watch. Thanks to Neil MacLeod and Brian Whall for helping Mr Milner referee.

We have finished in the middle of the Highland Schools’ League, with Fortrose and Alness above us, Charleston, and Invergordon below – pretty good for, by far, the smallest school in the competition.

5×50 Challenge – Gairloch High has entered this year’s 5×50 challenge. The challenge is to run, walk and cycle, jog or swim for 5km every day for 50 days. You can do it as part of a team of two or three or by yourself. Exercise classes at the leisure centre or swimming pool would count, so if you take part in spinning, body balance or futsal that could be your 5k that day every week. You could even hire a court and play an hour of badminton or short tennis. The challenge will start on the 30th March until the 18th May. The sponsor money raised will go towards the renovation of the school’s building at Slattadale, which we hope can be used as an outdoor learning centre for future years.


The pupils in the Activity Tourism course are organising the school team for this event and we are very pleased that over 100 pupils have signed up already. We hope that parents will join in with the challenge and support their children by encouraging them and sponsoring their efforts to complete their 5km each day. More information can be found at www.5× or on Facebook here We also have our own Facebook 5×50 page here.(Chris Young, Luke Gorman, Neil MacKenzie and Jake MacDonald)

Attendance is important

Pupils will bring home a letter from the Headteacher, Mr Port, this week reminding parents of the need for pupils to attend school on a very regular basis.  While there is always sometimes the need to stay off school either for medical or family reasons, attendance should be very high (95-100%) for nearly all pupils.  Too often pupils miss important work, deadlines or assessments due to absence.  Attendance Letter for parents (pdf).

School news 7th March 2014

Intermediate Maths Challenge – S3 and S4 pupils took part in the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge recently.  Well done to Deborah Connop who got the highest score and will receive a bronze certificate.  Alfie Gudgeon will also receive a bronze certificate while Mark McLean got the highest score for his year group.  Well done to all who took part in this tough challenge.

FutureChef 2014 Competition – The area heat of this competition took place in school on Wednesday 5th February with pupils from Ullapool, Gairloch and Plockton competing.  The visiting judges complemented all three competitors.  Ann McLean of Gairloch (on the right) was runner up.  The winning pupil from Plockton will proceed to the next round.

FutureChef Heat

Urras Iain Muir / John Muir TrustBho chionn ghoirid tha Ainslie NicCoinnich (B6) air a bhith ag eadar-theangachadh stuthan dhan Ghàidhlig airson làrach-lìn Urras Iain Muir. Tha an t-Urras air a bhith glè thoilichte leis an ìre de dh’obair a rinn i dhaibh.

Recently, Ainslie MacKenzie (S6) has been translating items to Gaelic for the John Muir Award website. The Trust has been very happy with the quality of her work.

Duke of Edinburgh Award – Eilidh Owens, Innis Taylor and Ciaran Alexander were all presented with their Silver Award at Assembly recently.  Well done to them!

Exploring Careers in Health Day – Sofie Banister, Charlie Bulmer, Callum Mackenzie, Carla MacLean, Beth Townsend and Siobhan Vickerstaff attended workshops on Thursday 27th February at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness.

Between them, they spent time in workshops with clinicians in Nursing, Learning Disabilities Midwifery, Pharmacy, Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy, Diagnostic Radiography, Research and Development, Clinical Skills, Orthotics, Medicine and Medical Careers.

At the Plenary, it was obvious from the feedback from the many pupils across Highlands, how useful the day had been.

Charity Sleepover  - S5 and S6 pupils arranged a sleepover in the school recently and raised £120 for Disaster Relief in the Philippines.  Deputy Head Boy, Donald Mackenzie reported, “The Gairloch High Sleepover was a great success.  Pupils arrived after half past seven and a fun evening of games, including a quiz prepared by Mrs Widdows, began.  By midnight everybody was in bed and eventually, I think, enough sleep was had for the following day of school.  Overall everyone enjoyed the event and we have raised over £120. Thanks to all the adults who provided support for this venture.”

Basketball result – On the 25th February, the senior boys played at
 Charleston Academy in their latest Highland Schools’ League game. They
picked up the pace as the game went on and eventually won by 85 – 67: our
highest ever score. The next game will be against Fortrose Academy, at
home, after school on Thursday 13th March.


In the picture, Jake MacDonald (No 7, Gairloch) is jumping against Ashley Todd (Charleston and Scotland U16).  Click on the photo for more images from the match.

Former Pupil Success – The Misha MacPherson Trio picked up the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award recently.   One of the trio is Conal McDonagh, formerly of Gairloch High, who moved to Plockton Music School to focus on his music, while completing his Secondary Education.  The trio will get the chance to perform all over the world in a variety of festivals as a result of this success.  Congratulations to Conal and his fellow musicians!  Check out their website here and even download a couple of free tracks!

One Red Nose – The Gairloch High School Drama Club will present a collection of scenes exploring the light and dark side of Comic Relief.  Friday 21st March in Gairloch High School at 6pm.  Entry is by donation for Comic Relief.

Exhibition of Self Portraits by S2 – AN exhibition of work by S2 pupils will be on view at the GALE Centre between Tuesday 25th March and Wednesday 2nd April 2014.

Important Dates – available on the website here.

  • 7th March S5/6 reports issued to parents
  • 13th March – S5/6 Parents’ Evening
  • 14th March S4 reports issued to parents
  • 15th March – S1 Bring and Buy Sale
  • 20th March – S4 Parents’ Evening

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