School news 19th August 2016

SQA Exam Results – Pupils in S4, S5 and S6 received their exam results in the post on Tuesday 9th August 2016.  Gairloch pupils have again achieved success above Highland and national averages.

Gairloch High School Logo.svg

In S4 all pupils 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 National 5 English with 14 A passes. All pupils sitting Nat 5 Chemistry, Design & Manufacture, Engineering Science, French, German and Gaelic (learners and fluent) achieved an A pass.  In National 5 Maths 13 pupils out of 17 achieved A passes.  The majority of pupils in S4 sat the maximum of 6 exams with success at various levels.  In National 5 Art and Design, Modern Studies, Computing all pupils passed with either an A or a B grade.  This year three S4 pupils successfully achieved A passes at Higher level one year ahead of expectation.  Hannah Wood achieved an A pass in Higher Art.


In S5 results in Chemistry and Gaelic Learners were particularly strong with a good number of A passes in Higher English and Maths.  All pupils sitting Higher Music achieved an A pass including Caitlin Mitchell and Sara Johnston from S4.  S5 pupils also performed well in Higher French and Maths.  Overall more than half of S5 and S6 pupils achieved at least two or more awards at Higher.  Several pupils achieved 5 Highers with Mark McLean gaining five A passes.


Gairloch High expects any pupil considering Higher Education to attempt Advanced Higher courses in S6.  Former Dux and Head Girl, Freya Baptist achieved an A passes in each of her three Advanced Higher subjects:  Maths, Chemistry and Music.  This is roughly equivalent to success in a first year university course.  Other pupils gained Advanced Higher awards in Art and Biology.


Pupils sitting exams in National 5 Drama and Higher Psychology, supported by West Highland College staff, all passed.  In Drama the class of 9 achieved 7 A and 2 B passes.  This year the school is offering Higher Drama on the basis of this success.


Mr Port congratulated all pupils and thanked the staff whose hard work has supported such good results.  “While it is always the case that some pupils will be disappointed with some of their results, overall Gairloch pupils have had another very successful year in the exams.  These SQA results are an important factor in measuring personal performance at a national level however many pupils have achieved additional awards in other areas.  The development of vocational courses such as Hospitality, Outdoor Education and Rural Skills among others now provides pupils with a range of experiences and certificates such as NICAS and ASDAN, which assist along with Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to give each pupil a broad portfolio of qualifications to take to colleges, universities and possible future employers.


Any pupil (even those who have now left) can discuss their situation with school staff and get advice about possible pathways.   Universities and colleges often take more than exam passes into account including other activities and experiences that pupils have.


The analyses of results continues now that school has resumed to make sure we provide the best support and encouragement for pupils as they make their way through the national exam system.

School news 8th July 2016

Prizegiving – This annual recognition of success took place on Wednesday 29th June.

List of Individual Trophies & Prizes 2016 here.

Prizegiving 2016

Click on the image above to see lots of photos from the event.

Many awards were presented and successes were recognised at the event.  The Pipe Band started the show and C for Craic played.  More can be read on the website and photos are also available.   As Prizegiving drew to a close presentations were made to Miss Thistlethwaite on her departure, Mrs Port for her support of the school, most recently by helping during the S1 Cairngorm Residential week, and finally to Mr Port as a result of his departure as Headteacher this summer.

In his farewell speech Mr Port commended the hard work of the pupils, staff, parents and partners for the benefit and success of all pupils.  He spoke about the good relationships at all levels within the school and how this promoted learning, citizenship and success at personal, local and national level.  Mr Port told the assembled audience how much his time at Gairloch meant to him and wished everyone well, thanking all staff (past and present) for their support over eleven years.  Mr Port gave special thanks to Mr Hulme (Depute Head), who had worked closely with him throughout, and praised his commitment to the school in recent years particularly during Mr Port’s medical absences.  Mr Port also thanked the other members of the SMT, Dr Caley and Mr Milner.  Finally Mr Port wished all the pupils well including the new Head Girl and Boy, promising to keep an eye on all as they continued through school.

We were grateful for the blessing of Rev Alasdair MacLeod.  Coincidently Rev MacLeod is also retiring and everyone in the school community wished him well for the future.  Dr Caley, with the assistance of others, has to be thanked once again for organising a successful and enjoyable Prizegiving!

Senior PrefectsSee all the details of appointments here.

Prizegiving - 166 Head Girl – Christie Wilson   Head Boy – Lucas Jackson

Sports Day

Sports Day 2016

Overall House competition for sports day – 1st Kerry with 346 points, Tollaidh 2nd with 325 points and Maree 3rd with 313 points.  See all the details and view the photos here.

Staffing – We have a Probationer Teacher in English joining us for a year in August.  Miss Victoria Fordham is newly qualified and we hope she enjoys her year at Gairloch.  She will no doubt add to the energy and enthusiasm already present in the English Department!

Former Pupil SuccessRead here about former Head Girl and Dux, Anna Hulme.

Click here to find out about Ruairdhri Wright, former Head Boy the same year as Anna.

Well-done to Anna and Ruairdhri!  If you have information about the progress of any other former pupil please alert the school by email, website or telephone so that we can inspire the current pupils with the possible futures that might be available to them.

Malawi Partnership – Following the very successful visit of a group of pupils and teachers from our partner school in Malawi to Gairloch in August 2015, we are now in the early stages of planning the next visit to Malawi. It is hoped that a group of 8 pupils, together with 3 or 4 teachers, will be able to visit Mlozi School in October 2017. We have greatly appreciated the interest and support of the community over the past 8 years of the partnership and look forward to your continued support as we prepare for this next venture.  Read about our partnership here of visit Facebook.

The Den YPI – S3 pupil Scarlet Pickering writes – The Youth Philanthropy initiative has been a project for S3’s in Gairloch High School for 2 years running.

The Den

Catherine & Scarlet presented with cheque by judge Mrs Brady – click on the photo above for more images

The class split into groups and each group represented a local charity. This year the charities were: Advocacy Highland, The Den, Poolewe Swimming Pool, The Archie Foundation, The Gale Center and the Museum.

These 6 groups would be competing for a grant of £3000 for their chosen charity.  This year, the Den received the £3000 grant.

I know I can speak for all of the groups by saying it was a scary experience, but well worthwhile as we all did extremely well. A lot of this was down to Ms Velt making sure we were organised, so we thank her for that!

This was definitely a learning experience for all of us, but a great one at that. It gave us an opportunity to make a big difference for a charity in need!

Art Competition – Nadia Fenton won first prize in the S1-3 category of the Scottish Government’s design competition for which she had to design a poster showing her vision for farming of the future. Read more here.

End of Term Football – Our annual end of term football competition took place on the last day of term. This is primarily a fun event with a little bit of competition thrown in.  Read more here and view the photos.

Football Competition 2016

Thanks to all the staff who made this event possible.

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

  • 15th August – Staff INSET
  • 16th August – Pupils return for session 2016/2017


School news 24th June 2016

Inverness Local Mod – Success at the Inverness Provincial Mod on Friday 17th June for some of our pupils. Well done to all involved.

C07 Literature – Story (Secondary) – 1st Eòin Cumming
C08 Literature – Poetry (Secondary) – 1st Eòin Cumming
C27 Verse Speaking – 13 & u16 Fluent – 1st Eòin Cumming
C35 Reading at Sight – 13 & u16 Fluent – 1st Eòin Cumming
C43 Conversation – 13 & u16 Fluent – 1st Eòin Cumming
C61 Vocal Solo – Boys 13 & u16 Fluent – 1st Eòin Cumming
C66 Vocal Solo – Traditional 13 & u16 – 1st Sandi MacLean
C90 Fiddle – 13 & u18 – 3rd Maisie Baptist
C91 Fiddle – Groups u18 – 2nd C for Craic

Summer Concert at Inverewe Garden – Friday 24th June at 7.30pm. This concert will feature the school folk group, C for Craic, as well as pupils playing solo items. All are very welcome – donations will be gratefully received, and refreshments will be available.

Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Expedition Assessment – Twelve of our Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award pupils successfully completed an expedition through the Dundonnell Forest on Monday 13th & Tuesday 14th of June, accompanied by Mr Sutherland and Dr Close.

Their journey started at Coire Hallie with a steep climb up to the path junctions towards Shenevall Bothy and An Teallach. After the descent to Shenevall they headed past Achnegie before camping near the Abhainn Loch an Nid.

Miss MacAllister was assessing the groups and she joined them in the late afternoon to discuss their route, camp craft and plans for day two.

On day two the separate groups headed south, past Loch an Nid before walking to the Lochivaon Bothy for some welcome lunch. All that then remained was to push on along Loch a Bhraoin itself before reaching the school minibus.

Bronze DofE Assessment 2016Click on the photo to see more images of the expedition

Engineering Science – The Engineering Science classes have been busy the last few weeks.

  • Former pupil, Robert Marshall gave a talk to the S2/S3 Engineering Science class on his work as a Subsea Engineer with Shell. He talked about subjects he did in school, different pathways into the industry and work he has been involved in past and present.
  • Engineering Science Wind Farm Visit – On Thursday 9th June the new National 5 and Higher class went to visit Lochluichart and Corriemoillie wind farms. First we visited the Corriemoille site as some of us had worked on projects relating to it. When we arrived we were given PPE (a hard hat, protective glasses and hi-vis jacket) and a Health and Safety talk. We were then driven around the site and saw a turbine base before the concrete was poured, the site quarry, a concrete pour and the building that all the electricity goes before entering the grid. After this we ate lunch then went to the Lochluichart wind farm. We were given a general talk on the turbines and were able to see up close how large they were – Eilidh MacDonald.

Thanks also go to Angela Rae our STEM Ambassador for helping to organise this day for us.

Engineering Science 2016

Click on the photo to see more images of the trip

A-Level Geology – This new course has begun at Gairloch High School, being the first in Scotland to run the A-Level after Higher Geology was discontinued by the SQA. It has been supported by the Edinburgh Geological Society and Tomlinson-Brown Trust which has benefitted pupils by providing course materials and fieldwork equipment. The course builds from the basics of geology and earth science – examining the earth as a system; studying rocks, minerals and fossils and, later this year, how geology interacts with the human environment. Living in such a geologically rich area with the opportunity for lots of fieldwork this course provides more opportunities in the curriculum for our oldest pupils.

Highland League Basketball – Gairloch High Senior Basketball team pulled off a great win against Millburn Academy. The final score was 47-39 and our boys are now this year’s Highland League Champions! Well-done Gairloch. Gairloch Senior Boys beat Wick High School, Fortrose Academy, Inverness High School and Charleston Academy on the way to the final. We are all very proud. And thanks to Mr Milner for his support to the boys.

Highland League Basketball 2016

Click on the photo to see more images of the final game

Velotech – Mr Sutherland is delighted to report that our Velotech Bicycle Maintenance Course certificates have arrived for last sessions’s Outdoor Education pupils.  Our 8 pupils were successfully awarded the Red, White or Blue Award depending on their knowledge and skills in inspecting, adjusting and repairing basic problems with a mountain bike.

Last week we were informed that Gairloch High School is currently the only School in Scotland offering this industry recognised award.  We are grateful to Maxine Scott (Highland Council) who provided startup funding; Ian Sikora of Outfit Moray for supplying & delivering our four sets of workstations and tools; Al Gilmour the Head of Mountain Biking at Glenmore Lodge for inspecting Mr Sutherland’s class working on the award and finally for Graeme King at Velotech Cycling Limited for making the whole thing possible. A new class of senior pupils has just started the course.

Velotech 2016Click on the photo to see more images

Staffing – Rosie Kirkness has taken up a position with West Highland College and will be in charge of Hospitality Classes next session. Rosie is a former pupil and it is great to see her bringing her skill and experience back to assist the pupils. Rosie replaces Kirsty Thistlethwaite who is leaving. We wish Kirsty all the best and thank her for her contribution to Gairloch High School.

Headteacher, John Port, recently informed parents and staff that he is to retire in August. Mr Hulme will be Acting Headteacher from 15th August while the Council goes through the process of appointing Mr Port’s replacement.

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

  • 24th June – C for Craic @ Inverewe Gardens 7.30pm
  • 29th June – Prizegiving 1.30pm in the school
  • 1st July – School closes for summer (1.30pm)

The next issue will be the last before the summer holiday and will contain details of Sports Day and Prizegiving.


School news 10th June 2016

Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Practice Expedition – Eleven third year pupils took part in this expedition in the Cairngorms on the 23rd and 24th of May. Mr Sutherland, Dr Close and Mr Cumming accompanied the groups. They were fortunate to have good weather and very few midges. For most pupils, this was the first experience of walking and camping. Pupils continued to learn and use navigation skills throughout the expedition. The two days walking were challenging but pupils demonstrated supportive teamwork and determination. The qualifying expedition will take place before the summer in the local area. The photo shows one of the groups in the Cairngorms.

Bronze DofE Group

We also have a Silver DofE expedition planned for June.

Junior UKMT Maths Challenge – In April most of S1 and S2 took part in the annual Junior UKMT Maths challenge.  This is a multiple-choice quiz that contains some very demanding questions.

Well done to Tom Wood who scored the highest mark for our school and will be awarded a Silver Certificate at assembly in due course.  Other successes in S2 were Harry Dalzell, Callum MacDonald, Nadia Fenton, Amy Nieto and Jasmine Brown.  All of who will be awarded a Bronze certificate.

In S1 Edana Sutherland was best in year and she will also be awarded a bronze certificate at assembly.

Well done to all who took part and thanks to Mrs Whall for organising.

Senior Phase – S4 and S5 pupils returned on the 7th June after sitting their exams. Pupils will begin to organise their study programs for next session and start to consider whether they are up to taking on Prefect and Mentoring responsibilities.

P7 Induction Days – On Thursday 26th May all P7 pupils had the chance to visit the High School and take part in our ‘Icebreaker day’ where they learned to get to know each other better, explore the school, and meet with Dr Close, register teacher to the new S1 pupils in August. The afternoon was devoted to ‘fun’ Science.

On the evening of Thursday 26th May parents were invited to attend an information evening at 7.30pm in the High School.  This included a tour of the school plus a chance to meet and talk to senior staff.

On Friday 27th May pupils returned for a day of Expressive Arts where they took part in a range of events from Drama, PE, Art and Music. In the photo you can see a group huddled together planning their next move.

Induction Day

On Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June, all P7 pupils returned to the High School for two days that introduced them to the timetable and new classes that they will be in after the summer holidays.

A lot of effort goes into preparing these days so that pupils can gain an understanding of the new environment of the High School and the expectations set by staff.

S1-3 Football: MacPherson Cup – Gairloch High School’s S1-3 team recently played two fixtures against Plockton High School. Having lost 4-3 at home the team travelled to Plockton on the 26th May where they lost 10-2. The game was a lot closer than the score would suggest with Plockton scoring five of their goals in the last few minutes.

Our team is young with all but two players being in S1 or S2. We are hopeful that this year’s fixtures will be a good learning experience and that we will be more competitive next year.

S1-3 Football team

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

  • 16th June – Sports’ Day
  • 18th & 19th June Gairloch Climbing Weekend
  • 29th June – Prizegiving 1.30pm in the school
  • 1st July – School closes for summer