School news 20th February 2015

GOLD Duke of Edinburgh Award – Sofie Banister has completed her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Sofie will receive her award at an official ceremony in the summer. Meanwhile her name has been added to the Honours Board in the school hall alongside the names of other pupils that have achieved Gold. Well-done Sofie – completing this before leaving school is a major achievement requiring focus and determination! Freya Baptist and Matthew MacLean received their Silver certificates and Jack McCruden has been awarded Bronze at School Assembly.

Cross Country 2015Sofie Banister – recent recipient of her GOLD DofE Award also won the Senior Girls Cross Country Event.  Read more below.

More Badminton Success – Nadia Fenton, S1, has achieved success in the Highland Badminton Group U13 competition held at Charleston Academy on 3rd February. Nadia and her partner came first in the doubles. Nadia also got a third place in the mixed doubles and reached the quarterfinals of the singles.

U13 Badminton Success

Higher Geography involved in Local Planning – As part of their consultation process for the West Highlands and Islands Local Development plan, Lynn Clarke and Carrie Grant from the Highland Council’s planning department visited Higher Geography pupils to hear their vision for Gairloch and the surrounding area. After an introduction to what a local development plan is pupils identified what they liked about the area and how those things could be safeguarded. Pupils were then invited to start their own submissions to the consultation by using local maps to mark areas for different land uses – housing, retail, industry and open space to name a few. Some of the ideas they came up with ranged from more affordable housing in Gairloch, an expansion to the college, greater number of bus stops, large protected areas as a National Park and even a bakery. These maps will now be completed and passed along to the planning team to take to other public bodies for consideration. Pupils will be able to see these reflected in the draft plan due towards the end of 2015.

Higher Geography

The Touring Network – “Titus” by Jan SobrieThanks to Miss Mackison and West Coast Arts, the Touring Network came to our school on 3rd February to perform, but it had been kept a secret. We were about to start our English lesson, just beginning to wonder why the second years were in the class too, when a random stranger came into the room and stood on the table at the front!  We didn’t have time to figure out what was happening before “10-year-old Titus” started to tell us his life story, as if he were standing on the edge of his school roof. Gavin Wright, who played Titus and all the other characters in his story, was really funny, but some parts of the story were sad and dealt with serious things too.  Normally you expect to go to a theatre to see a play performed, but this play came right into our classroom for us – as did a fresh sardine which flew through the air (thrown by Gavin’s assistant Lou Turnbull from the corridor) to help us believe that our dreams can come true! (Nadia Fenton and Cameron Maclennan, S1)

Some pupil comments:

  • …out of the blue a man wearing bright red shoes, looking lost, stormed into our class and climbed onto the table!
  • It was a great performance, well worth watching.
  • It was so much fun instead of doing normal English!
  • It was really surprising to see a man walk into class and shout from a table.  It really grabbed everyone’s attention.
  • …the room was filled with laughter – it was great.
  • Gavin had a lot of energy.
  • At the start I was scared that a drunk had walked into the class!
  • I loved it when he just entered the room and stood on the table and started smiling!
  • I wish I could watch it again.
  • When Gavin came in I was at first like – ?  But then he got on the table and I was still like – ?  Then he told the story and I was like – oh!
  • I thought the best part of the play was when the fish fell out of the sky.  It was brilliant!
  • Of course it was a bit weird, a random guy walking into the class, but it was great!
  • Something I won’t forget!
  • I would pay to see that in a theatre.
  • The actor did a great job playing multiple emotions and roles.
  • When he first came in I thought he was checking the electricity!
  • Today a random guy walked into the classroom and proceeded to perform a one-man show!
  • It was funny and sad at the same time.
  • It was great how the actor made a school desk come to life!
  • There was a lot of suspension of disbelief.

Malawi Quiz Night – Well done to the S2/S3 Malawi Fundraising team! They raised £328 on the evening of Friday 6th February during the quiz. They did a very good job welcoming members of the community, serving teas and coffees, selling raffle tickets and of course presenting the quiz! A big thank you should go to Miss Velt for organizing the pupils and everyone who contributed and took part.

Cross Country EventOn Wednesday the 11th of February, the Gairloch High cross-country took place with 54 pupils taking part. Due to the muddy portions of the track, we were briefed to run to the conditions to avoid injury. The course was enjoyable with challenging uphill sections to go with the fast paced downhill areas on the mixed track at Flowerdale. The cold air provided good running conditions and combined with dry weather allowing the participants to push themselves to the best of their ability. (Alasdair Macdonald and James Aaron S5).

Sofie Banister (S6) was first of the Senior Girls to complete the course followed by Laura Russell and then Eilidh Johnston and Catherine Wyatt battling it out for 3rd and 4th place. The Junior Girls’ race was very competitive and all the top places went to S1 girls. The race was won by Emma MacDonald with Isabella Wiseman in 2nd place and Nadia Fenton in 3rd.

Jordan Gorman won the Senior Boys’ race followed by Alasdair ‘Buckets’ MacDonald in 2nd and Alasdair MacDonald (S5) in 3rd. The Junior Boys’ race was a tie with David MacGregor, Iain Nelson and Evan MacPhail all crossing the finish line together. Well done to all runners who completed the course and tried their best.

Thanks to Mr Bowker, Mr Johnston, Ms Newman, Miss MacAllister, Miss Smith, Mrs Hildrey and Mrs Johnston who helped with marshalling, photography and driving duties. Well done also to members of the Activity Tourism class who set out arrows round the course, marshalled, took photographs and did the scoring on the day. Thanks also to Mrs & Mrs Mackenzie for providing us with shelter, refreshments and use of the garden in front of Flowerdale House to warm-up, start and finish the races.

Photos can be seen on the website by clicking here or on the photo of Jordan Gorman winner of the Senior Boys below.

Cross Country 2015

S1 GRAND BRING AND BUY SALE – We welcome donations: baking, books, DVDs & CDs, bric-a-brac, plants, electrical items in good working order, toys, clothes in good condition, jewellery, bottles and raffle prizes.

Items for the sale can be:

  • Handed to any member of the school
  • Delivered direct to the Community Hall on Friday 13th March between 3.30pm and 6pm
  • Collected by us – call the school office on 712275 and leave your details.

The sale takes place on Saturday 14th March – 10am in the Gairloch Community Hall – please support S1 pupils!

Parent Council fund-raising – The Parent Council are selling blank cards from various locations around the area. The cards use photographs submitted by school pupils. With the help of local photographer Gordon Harrison parents selected photographs taken by Iain Nelson, Holly Morrison and Amy Tattersall. The colour photo-cards are available for £1 each of 6 for £5 if you take one of each. Cards can be viewed and purchased in the School Library and Laide Post Office

Study Club Survey

We asked S4, S5 and S6 pupils to complete a survey about attendance at After-School Study Club. Pupils have now completed their survey and we are analyzing the results. We also sent home a survey for parents. It is available here in case you haven’t received it from your son or daughter. Please consider giving us some feedback by completing the form and returning it to the school. We want to get the most out of the work we do and study club is an important part of that.

School news 6th February 2015

ROLLS-ROYCE STEM Event – On 30th January the school welcomed back former Dux and Head Girl, Anna Hulme. As a representative of the charity Engineers without Borders and a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador, Anna, currently in third year studying Engineering at Strathclyde University, worked with pupils throughout the day.

Anna talked to senior pupils about careers in engineering and the sciences and discussed the amount of hard work required to successfully study at College and University. Later she ran two practical sessions for S1/2 and S3/4 that simulated buying materials and building a water filtering system to provide safe drinking water for communities in various countries around the world. The pupils worked in groups and were funded in proportion to the wealth of the countries that they were representing e.g. UK, Cambodia, Mexico and Somalia.

STEM Clean Water Event

Click on the photo above to see more photos

Anna was invited into school as part of the Rolls-Royce Science Project, which is looking at innovative ways of teaching science and engaging young people in thinking about solving problems using the evidence available.


Primary pupil’s game inspires national competition success Sara Johnston, a Gairloch High School Young Ambassador, was recently crowned runner-up in a National Obesity Awareness Week (NOAW) competition, winning £1,000 funding to go towards school sports equipment.

Active Schools Coordinator, Martin Godwin, challenged our Young Ambassadors to design a new sport or physical activity and enter the competition. With only a few days before the competition deadline, Sara decided to adapt one of Mr McDonagh’s class games to enter the competition.

National Obesity Awareness Awards

Click on the photo above to see London photos

Mr McDonagh’s pupils in Gairloch Primary have various games that they have developed through mixing different sports and activities. This method allows all the pupils to become part of the activities, bringing their ideas to the table and then building strategies to be successful once the activity is set up. The game that inspired Sara was a mix of volleyball and dodgeball and once some small adaptions were made to the activity “volleydodge” was born. Sara’s entry impressed the judges and Sara was announced as the competitions runner up.

Sara attended the NOAW prize giving ceremony at the Olympic Park, London on Thursday 15th January. Disney sponsored the competition and Sara not only left the prize giving with a medal and certificate to acknowledge her achievements, she received some Disney goodies as well.

The Young Ambassadors will now liaise with the PE department, Active Schools and their fellow pupils in order to decide what equipment will be purchased.

The funding will be shared with Mr McDonagh’s class in Gairloch Primary School and their class has been invited to present ideas on the equipment they would like to see purchased.


U15 Basketball – The under-15 boys plus Sara Johnston played Inverness Royal High on Wednesday 21st January. Despite losing 66 points to 42, this was a much-improved performance. Well done to all who took part or helped in any way, particularly Mr Milner for coaching, Mr Johnston for refereeing and senior pupils, Innis Taylor and Referdinand Balanquit.

Gairloch v IRA Basketball

Click on the photo above to see game photos

S1 GRAND BRING AND BUY SALE – Saturday 14th March – 10am in the Community Hall

Stalls, Competitions and the BIG Raffle! – We welcome any or all of the following donations: baking, books, DVDs & CDs, bric-a-brac, plants, electrical items in good working order, toys, clothes in good condition, jewellery, bottles and raffle prizes. We can auction anything within reason!

Items for the sale can be:

  • Handed to any member of the school
  • Delivered direct to the Community Hall on Friday 13th March between 3.30pm and 6pm
  • Collected by us – call the school office on 712275 and leave your details.

School news 23rd January 2015

Malawi Fundraising – we are always very grateful for the support from members of the community raising funds to help finance events that benefit the pupils. Staff are always looking for external sources to supplement this local fundraising. Examples of this are the grants obtained previously by staff for Comenius projects and the construction of the climbing wall. We have been successful in obtaining another £3000 to support our Malawi partnership. An application for Connecting Classrooms, compiled by Mr Hulme with Dr Caley’s help, has been successful. The £3000 will be available for visits by teachers between schools in the Malawi-Scotland Partnership.

Malawi Quiz Night – S2/3 pupils are very busy at the moment, preparing for our next fundraiser. We are organising a fun quiz night on Friday the 6th of February starting at 7pm in the High School hall. Only £5 per team and there will be some great raffle prizes in store! Look out for the posters around the local shops and put the date in your calendar.

Malawi Quiz Poster

FilmG Project – The Gairloch Heritage Museum recently contacted the school to see if they could enlist three young actors for a short film they had scripted and were planning to enter in the annual FilmG competition. Fluent Gaelic pupils in S1-3 had the opportunity to register their interest in this project.

Max Conway, Iain Nelson and Sorley Street took part in the drama that was filmed at the Gairloch Museum on Thursday the 15th of January. The film will shortly be uploaded on to the FilmG website and we hope it does well in the competition.

Helping local Mountain Rescue Team – As in previous years we are delighted to provide all of the catering (sourced, prepared and provided by the pupils in the Professional Cookery class) for the recent Torridon MRT training weekend in Lochaber.  Team member and teacher Mr Sutherland reported, “This is a service that the team have all come to look forward to both for the quality of the food supplied and because it allows us to focus on the training aspects of the weekend.”

Feeding the MRT

In the photograph above class members Chloe, Holly, Oscar and John Scott help load up the food along with class tutor Miss Thistlethwaite.

Prelim Exams – S4/5/6 pupils should have finished their prelim exams by now. The pupils should be sharing results with parents. Reports for these important exams are being produced but take a while to publish. (S5/6 Reports issued 27th February and S4 Reports issued 9th March.) If any parent is concerned with the progress of their son or daughter prior to the Parent Evenings in early March please don’t hesitate to contact Pupil Support at the school for advice.

It’s that time again – the GRAND annual fundraiser for S1 Cairngorm Week and selected charities is coming soon – Each year, S1 pupils organise a Bring and Buy Sale in Gairloch Community Hall to raise money towards the costs of their outdoor activities week in the Cairngorms in May. Each pupil attends the residential week in May, which will be from Monday 11th to Friday 15th May this year, and the charge for the week is minimal. Most of the money required to fund activities, food and accommodation comes from the school fund and the profits of the Bring and Buy Sale.

The Sale is organised by the S1 pupils themselves, with support from staff and parents, including the Parent Council. It is a valuable experience for the pupils in developing many skills, including those of teamwork and communication.

In the past, this has been a very successful event, with tremendous support from families and the community.

You may be approached soon and asked to donate a prize for the amazing raffle. Lets hope you find it impossible to refuse the smiling S1 pupil who makes the request!


Saturday 14th March – 10am in the Community Hall

Stalls, Competitions and the BIG Raffle!

We welcome any or all of the following donations: baking, books, DVDs & CDs, bric-a-brac, plants, electrical items in good working order, toys, clothes in good condition, jewellery, bottles and raffle prizes. We can auction anything within reason (antiques a specialty!)

Items for the sale can be:

  • Handed to any member of the school
  • Delivered direct to the Community Hall on Friday 13th March between 3.30pm and 6pm
  • Collected by us – call the school office on 712275 and leave your details.

Pupils will be putting posters around the community soon!

Last year we changed venue to Kincraig Christian Centre. This proved to be a great success. The building is maintained to a very high standard and central to the area where all of our activities take place.

Important Dates – S1 Monitoring Reports issued on Monday 26th January. 16th – 18th Feb pupils on holiday. More on website here.


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