School news 18th September 2015

Comenius evening – On the evening of Monday 31st August the Comenius club put on a final display of the trips they’d been on to the seven different countries. Playing throughout in the background we had a slideshow of photos taken during the week when the pupils and teachers from the seven other countries visited Scotland. Thank you to all those who came along and who made this a successful evening. Also to Kirsty Thistlethwaite for providing teas, coffees and cake.

Project Trust Honduras Fund Raising – S6 Prefect Nikki Goldby has raised over £740 in support of fellow pupil, Calum Nelson. Calum has been selected by Project Trust to spend a year in Honduras after he leaves school and he has been raising funds to support this venture. Nikki decided to help with a sponsored haircut. Last month she had 10 inches (25.4cm) cut off and collected over £740 to help Calum on his way. She also donated her hair to The Little Princess Trust. Nikki would like to thank everyone who made a donation. A very generous gesture so well done Nikki!

Nikki Goldby

S6 Prefect Nikki Goldby – photo by Ashleigh Elder

University visit – A group of senior pupils visited the Open Day at University of Glasgow recently. Organised by Mr Milner and accompanied by Miss Smith it is the intention of trips like to inform pupils about the possibility of Higher Education. Pupils are encouraged to consider carefully both the academic and social aspects of leaving home to study no matter what institution they gain entry after leaving school.

Gold Duke of Edinburgh Practice Expedition – On Monday 24th August, Eilidh Johnston (S5), Joseph Smith, Freya Baptist, Calum Nelson and Deborah Connop (S6) set out to the East Coast of Scotland to begin their 4 day hike towards the West. Andy Bowker kindly gave us all a lift to a small village called Croick, where we would begin our hike supervised by Mr Sutherland and Miss MacAllister. Heavy on our backs, our near to bursting rucksacks would be clamping on to us until Thursday afternoon! Croick was an interesting place, which included a historic church that had old messages, dates, and names scratched onto the glass during the highland clearances. Our first camp site was near Alladale Wilnerness Lodge. Here we had a chance to lighten up our bags by eating lots of food, but unfortunately, as always, the midges decided that things were going too easily for us. Out of nowhere, they swarmed over us and made anything hugely difficulty. Freya had no midge net, which was remarkable considering they were, as we all agreed, the worst we had ever experienced. The insects set the tone for the following day, when we walked to Deanich Lodge. A lovely building that stood out from the towering hills surrounding it. We hiked towards it and saw our teachers talking to men inside of a vehicle. We were told that this was a Bear Grylls survival location, which was being used by adventurous people from across the world to do all kinds of challenges. We felt quite pathetic having heard what some of these people had just done while we complained about how awful the midges were! But they were so very, very annoying! At Deanich Lodge we camped 2 nights, completing a small circuit around the area, and had a fantastic break from the midges so we actually got to eat and breathe normally for a while. Wind and rain was very welcome at this point. Calum and I, on the final morning, were praying not to wake up and look out of the tents window to see a billion black dots buzzing ready for us. Fortunately we were… fortunate, as there was a slight lifesaving breeze to keep them at bay. We were able to have bacon in peace for once. Eating as much as we could before the final leg. We packed up our tents, and walked towards Black Bridge, using our escape route due to bad weather on our planned exit route. Again, Andy drove all the way to pick us up and take us back to Gairloch, where there was a sure guarantee of a sea breeze. We all enjoyed the expedition, and didn’t feel too knackered. We all know our Qualifier will be much more demanding in both distance and location, but we are looking forward to making it as memorable as this one! Joseph Smith, S6
Gold DofE

S4/5 trip to the Scottish Parliament – A group of S4/5 pupils along with two teachers travelled to Edinburgh to visit the Parliament on the 2nd and 3rd of September. During the visit to Parliament they sat and listened to the First Ministers Question Time. Some of the topics discussed included the police force, GPs in rural areas and the refugee crisis. After lunch they got a talk about the Scottish Parliament and then spoke to two MSPs, Rob Gibson (SNP) and Mary Scanlon (Conservative) who represent our local constituency. The pupils asked them questions about broadband speed and wind turbines in the Highlands as well as the refugee crisis.  They got different views on these issues from the MSPs. The pupils learnt a lot from the trip and had a very enjoyable time. Caitlin Mitchell and Carys Townsend Apparently the group had been flagged up on Twitter before they even left the building. Scottish Parliament Visit

Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Assessment Expedition – On 7th & 8th September 4 groups of pupils were out in very ‘midgie’ weather being assessed on the expedition part of their Bronze Award. In spite of conditions all groups passed the assessment. The groups travelled between Dundonnell and the A832 via Achneigie and Loch a Bhraoin. You can view some photos, including route maps, on the school website. Bronze DofE Assessment

Click on the photo to see more from the expedition – including route maps

Important Dates – Check out the website or phone the school if you require information about events.

  • 21st Sept – S2 monitoring reports issued to parents
  • 24th/25th Sept – INSET Day – Staff only
  • 5th Oct – S4 Work Experience Week begins and S3 monitoring reports issued to paren

School news 4th September 2015

Malawi Visit – We started back with some additional staff and pupils in the school. Our visitors from Malawi arrived on Friday 21st August, and by the time you read this they will have already returned to Malawi. During the period of their visit, Mr Chimtali, Mr Banda and pupils Ayisha, Aida, Samson and Abdurashid worked with our staff and pupils (both former and current) in the High School and also in the local Primaries of Gairloch, Poolewe, Bualnaluib and Kinlochewe.

A selection of the activities are mentioned below but if anyone wishes they can visit the school website and see many more photos along with additional details.

We started with Assembly that had music from the Pipe Band and C for Craic, singing by Sandi MacLean and Highland Dancing by Mrs Browne’s pupils and included a welcome in English by Mr Port and one in Chichewa by Mr Hulme. There followed a roller coaster of activities in school and across the community. The visitors took part in lessons in Art, Music, Design and Manufacture, S1 SMART, Science, PE, Hospitality, Maths and English.

Here is what Evan and Connor (S4) had to say: On Wednesday and Friday, the members of Mlozi School visited our Design & Manufacture class.  We decided to make bird boxes with 4 students from Malawi. We all used different machines and tools, like a saw, sanding machine, pillar drill and hand drill.  Each of us was given a set of plans to work from.  They picked up new skills and learned them very well.  We enjoyed working with the students of Mlozi and we hope they enjoyed it and learned something new. (Evan McPhail & Connor Forbes)

Design and Manufacture// also went to Inverness with a number of the former pupils who visited Malawi in 2013. Our guests were interviewed on the radio, visited the museum and the Den and went canoeing with the Scouts. They visited the swimming pool and the market in Poolewe as well as the Duck Race. Some visited the Gairloch Show and attended local church services. Inverness with Malawi 10//

It has been a great opportunity for our pupils to meet and work with children from a different culture and find out the things they have in common. We will all now have to consider what we have learned from the visit and decide the next steps for our successful Partnership.

On Saturday 29th August we held a Ceilidh in the Community Hall.  Earlier in the day Mr Chimtali and the group were guests of Ross County football club. Mlozi football and netball teams play in Ross County colours and the club generously invited the six visitors along with some of our pupils to watch the match against Dundee Utd. It was a great trip with the group getting taken onto the pitch for a photo-shoot. And to top it all – Ross County won!

By 7pm people started to gather in the Community Hall for a very special evening of dance and music. The hall was comfortably full of adults and children and the Gairloch and District Pipe Band got the proceedings off to a grand start. C for Craic played and the Highland Dancers danced. The Malawian pupils also gave two displays of dance and performances were linked by lots of highland dances with music provided by Miss Hunter, Campbell Elder and Sid Garrioch. The Parent Council organised the refreshments and there was a raffle. Although the purpose of the evening was sociable the donations amounted to £725 and this will go towards keeping the Partnership alive.

Thanks to everyone in the community who supported us during this visit. Mr Chimtali and his colleague Mr Banda have commented several times on the high level of hospitality and friendliness shown towards them.

DofE Success – Eilidh Johnston has successfully completed her Silver Award. Well-done Eilidh!

Miss MacAllister and Mr Sutherland led a Gold training expedition for five pupils (Freya Baptist, Deborah Connop, Eilidh Johnston, Calum Nelson and Joseph Smith. The four-day expedition took place during a very unsettled weather period with lots of rain and two days of misery brought about by hordes of midges. The pupils survived and picked up the necessary skills required to achieve successful assessment at Gold level expedition. The group were in the hills north of Black Bridge and had the opportunity to visit the infamous church at Croick where the names of cleared families can still be seen etched in the glass windows.  There will be a report by S6 Head Boy Joe Smith in the next issue.

Important Dates – Check out the school website or phone the school if you require information about events.

School news 21st August 2015

New Staff – Miss Smith (Geography), Dr Brindle (English) and Dr Close (Biology) took up post this week as full time members of staff. Miss Smith is well known from her work last year. Dr Brindle has been teaching English at Dornoch Academy for the last few years. She has a PhD in Literature and has additional experience in Drama, SfL and Pupil Support. Dr Close is an experienced teacher with a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology. He has moved from St John’s RC High School in Dundee. Dr Close is also a qualified supervisor and assessor for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions and a keen outdoor enthusiast. We are fortunate to welcome these three capable teachers and look forward to benefitting from their professional contribution to the school.

Exam Results – Pupils in S4, S5 and S6 received their exam results in the post on Tuesday 5th August 2015.  Gairloch pupils have again achieved success above Highland and national averages.  The report published in the Gairloch Times was previously added to the website and can be seen here.

Gold DofE at HolyroodAt the beginning of July three of our S6 leavers travelled to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh with families to receive their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. The names of our three Gold Award recipients, Sofie Banister, Innis Taylor and Siobhan Vickerstaff, have been added to the Honours board in the Multi-Purpose Hall in school along with former pupils Róisín Somers and Luke Gorman, both of who have also been successful in achieving the Gold award this summer.

Gold AwardsClick on the photo to see another from the day

Silver Kayaking expedition – During the summer holiday Eilidh Johnston, Fraser Wotherspoon, James Aaron and Jack McCruden planned to travel the length of Loch Shiel, supervised by Mr Johnston, then onto the sea at Loch Moidart. The weather has no respect for route cards, however, and the group had to deal with a full gale on the middle day. They took the sensible decision to sit out the storm and spent the day practising their bushcraft skills. The expedition assessor, Dr Close and also our new Biology teacher, was more than happy with the group’s decision-making and teamwork. All have passed.

Silver Kayak training on Loch MareeClick on the photo to see more from the training expedition on Loch Maree

Maths Challenge certificates – The following certificates were issued to pupils at the end of last term:

At Junior level: Best in School and a silver certificate was awarded to Harry Dalzell (S1). Amy Tattersall and Morven MacLean (both S2) were joint second and received silver certificates and Best in Year. Kai Pickering and Scarlet Pickering (both S2) received bronze certificates.

At Intermediate level: Best in School and a bronze certificate was awarded to Mark McLean (S4).

At Senior level: Best in School and a bronze certificate was awarded to Bruce Wiseman.

Gaelic Writing Competition – Certificates were issued to Craig Collins, Amy Gudgeon & Cameron MacLennan at the end of last term for success in a national competition.

First Aid Certificates – S3 pupils were awarded their certificates for Emergency First Aid at final assembly last term.   They took part in of a one-day training course delivered in May by local trainer Corey Jones (Outdoor First Aid Ltd). Mr Bowker Dr Caley, Mr Hulme, Miss Smith and Mrs Downie were also presented with their certificates.

Important Dates – More details on the school website here.

  • 21st Aug – 1st Sept – Malawi visitors
  • 24th – 28th August – Gold DofE Expedition
  • 29th August – Community Ceilidh for our Malawi guests
  • 7th / 8th Sept –Bronze DofE Expedition Assessment

Visitors from Malawi – The school is hosting 6 visitors from our partner school in Malawi. The group is led by Mr Winnex Chimtali, the Headteacher of Mlozi School, who people may remember from his visit to Gairloch in August 2010. This time, he is accompanied by his colleague, Mr Paul Banda, and by four of their pupils: Samson, Abdurashid, Ida and Ayisha. The boys are both 16; the girls are 13 and 12 respectively. They arrived in Gairloch on Thursday 20th August and their last day here will be Tuesday 1st September. This very exciting visit is a follow-up to the first visit by pupils from Gairloch to Mlozi School in October 2013. It is being funded partly by money raised at that time in the hope of a return visit, partly by money raised since then and partly by a British Council Connecting Classrooms grant secured by Mr Hulme. We are very grateful for all in the community who have supported our fund-raising events over the years to make these visits possible. Over the summer holiday, visits to Malawi by Mr and Mrs Johnston, Mr Hulme and Bethan Townsend have helped to prepare the youngsters for their arrival in Scotland. Whilst they are here, our visitors will be working alongside pupils in the High School and Primaries to learn more about life in Scotland and for our pupils and staff to learn more about Malawi. They will also be out and about seeing more of our beautiful area and getting involved in community events and activities where possible. On Saturday 29th August, we will be having a ceilidh in Gairloch Community Hall so that everyone has a chance to meet our visitors, so please come along.

Headteachers with PEA

Mr Port and Mr Chimtali, Oct 2013, meeting with the District Education Advisor at Mlozi School. Initial discussions for the current visit began at this time

Exam Results Report 2015

Pupils in S4,5 and 6 received their exam results in the post onTuesday 5th August 2015.  A tense time for parents and pupils will for the most part be followed by relief.  Gairloch pupils have again achieved success above Highland and national averages.

In S4 all pupils have achieved awards in Maths and English as well as other subjects providing them with a sound base for future learning.  Several departments produced good results overall including English, French, Gaelic (learners and fluent), German, Maths, Modern Studies and Music.  S4 pupil Anna Cameron achieved an A grade in each of her 8 subjects.

In S5 half of the year group achieved at least 3 passes at Higher Grade with three pupils achieving 5.  Freya Baptist, school Dux, achieved A in all five of her exams.  Results in Biology, Chemistry and Gaelic were particularly strong with a good number of A passes in Higher English and Maths.

This year we had notable success for several pupils in new vocational courses related to Travel & Tourism, Rural Skills and ASDAN.  These awards provide a broader range of qualification to all of our pupils giving business experience as well as academic training.

Gairloch High expects any pupil considering Higher Education to attempt Advanced Higher courses in S6.  One third of the pupils in S6 achieved success in these university level courses.    Several pupils passed two Advanced Higher courses and Sofie Banister achieved an A passes in each of her three AH subjects:  Biology, Chemistry and Art.  This year we have, once again, several pupils heading to University to study a wide range of subjects ranging from Engineering through the sciences to Classical History.

60% of S6 pupils were also sitting Highers following on from studies in previous years.  Two thirds of the year group achieved 3 or more additional Highers in S6.  This reflects an increasing trend in S6 of pupils broadening study and improving their award levels prior to seeking work or pursuing further or higher education.  Subjects showing particular success at this level were Biology, Chemistry and Gaelic.

Mr Port congratulates all pupils and thanked the staff whose hard work has supported such good results.  “While it is always the case that some pupils might be disappointed with some of their results it seems that overall Gairloch pupils have again had a successful year.  And some pupils have done very well attaining the qualifications required to gain access to their chosen University or career.

As always we will analyse the results in depth and look at how we can continue to provide the best support and encouragement for pupils as they make their way through the national exam system.”


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