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.”

School news 10th July 2015

Prizegiving 2015Details of the awards and certificates presented at Prizegiving this year are available on the website along with a large number of photos.  Click here.

At the ceremony held in the school on Monday 29th June C for Craic and Gairloch & District Pipe Band provided the music. We were also pleased to have the blessing of Reverend Dan Paterson, the newly appointed minister of Poolewe and Aultbea Free Church.

In the Headteacher’s speech, Mr Port mentioned and thanked those staff that have either retired this year or are moving to new jobs. Mrs MacLeod, Ms Leitch, Mrs Newman, Mrs Campbell, Ms Mackison, Mr Avenel and Mr Johnston. All will be missed. Mr Port also welcomed new staff Miss Smith (Geography) and Dr Brindle (English). The appointment of a biology teacher is currently underway. Mr Port once again gave his thanks to all the school staff for their unstinting dedication to the pupils and the work of the school. Ms Mackison was presented with flowers as thanks for presenting the prizes and Dr Caley also received flowers in thanks for organising the event.

During Prizegiving the new senior prefects were announced and presented with their badges. For 2015/2016 the Head Boy is Joseph Smith and Head Girl is Freya Baptist. Depute HB – Referdinand Balanquit, Depute HG – Charlotte Kelman. House Prefects were also announced and the full list is available here on the school website.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award GOLD – This year we have reported that three S6 pupils Sofie Banister, Innis Taylor, Siobhan Vickerstaff and former pupil Róisín Somers are receiving their Gold Award. We can now add Luke Gorman, former Head Boy, to the list. Luke is currently studying at the University of Stirling. Well-done Luke!  You can see photos from Holyrood here.

Success in local Mod – C for Craic won the Fiddle Group competition at the Inverness Provincial Mod on Friday 19th June.   Sandi MacLean won the 13-16 years Traditional Gaelic singing competition and also retained the Jessie Cameron Memorial Trophy for the second year in a row. Her performance was described as outstanding. Alasdair MacDonald won the 13-18 Accordion Competition and Sara Johnston was third in the Secondary Fiddle Solo competition. We have a very strong and able group of musical pupils at the moment and they continue to improve with the ongoing support of their tutors. Well done to all our winners! Inverness Provincial Mod 2015

Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – The group representing the Gairloch Community Car Scheme (Connor Forbes, Cameron Tallach, Gregor Vickerstaff, Carla Watson and Breah Stephen) were judged to have given the best presentation and were given a £3000 cheque by Bruce Alexander representing SSE (who are co-sponsors of the YPI in Scotland). The group then presented the cheque to a delighted Christine MacIver!  You can read more and see photos here on the website.

Water Week 2015 – S1 have spent the last several weeks in World Class learning about what it means to be water vulnerable. They’ve looked at the causes of having little, or unsafe, water and how it can affect daily lives. To reinforce this message, each group had to carry the amount of water they would usually use in one day (varied from 80-140L) around the 200m track. You can read more and see some photos from the event by clicking on the photo below.Water Week 2015Drawing Competition – S3 pupils were asked to draw a toothbrush and toothpaste for homework. Local dentist Dawn Pickering chose the winners: 1st – Roddie Wyatt, 2nd – Arlene Morrison and 3rd – Scarlet Pickering. The Dental Practice gave the winner an electric toothbrush and will display all of the drawings in the waiting area. Well done to the 3 finalists.

Hannah’s Hair – Hannah Wood, S3, has been growing her hair for a while now with the intention of donating it to the Little Princess Trust. This is a charity that makes and supplies real hair wigs to children who have lost their own hair due to cancer treatment. The average cost to the charity is around £350 to make a wig. Hannah had 15inches of hair cut off recently and has managed to raise £500 (and counting). Well-done to Hannah! You can find a link here on the school website to Hannah’s JustGiving page and perhaps make a donation.

End of Term Football – The annual tournament took place on the last day of term with the vast majority of pupils taking part. Click here to read about the event and see photos of each of the teams.

Important Dates – More details on the school website here.

  • 17th August 2015 teachers only INSET
  • 18th August 2015 Pupils return
  • 7th / 8th Sept – NEW DATE for Bronze Expedition

Youth and Philanthropy Initiative

The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative encourages school pupils to find out about social issues affecting people in their local community and about the charities who are supporting those people.  Having done this, pupils (in groups) create presentations about one of these charities.  The presentations are judged and the best wins £3000 for their charity.

Following the Charities Fayre in May, six groups of S3 pupils have been busy preparing presentations on their six chosen charities – Befrienders Highland, Highland Hospice, Gairloch Community Car Scheme, Gairloch and Loch Ewe Action Forum, Ross-shire Women’s Aid and CLIC Sargent.  With £3000 at stake, their presentations had to meet strict judging criteria as well as being interesting, thought provoking, creative and involving all team members.

On Wednesday 1st July, Ann Sim from YPI met our six judges who included school staff, pupils and members of the local community, to brief them on the judging process.  S3 pupils then gave their presentations to an audience of staff and pupils and the judges.  While the judges deliberated, C for Craic kept everyone entertained.

It proved to be difficult decision but the group representing the Gairloch Community Car Scheme (Connor Forbes, Cameron Tallach, Gregor Vickerstaff, Carla Watson and Breah Stephen) were judged to have given the best presentation and were given a £3000 cheque by Bruce Alexander representing SSE (who are co-sponsors of the YPI in Scotland).  The group then presented the cheque to a delighted Christine MacIver!

YPI 2015Click on the photo for more images from the event

YPI grants over one million pounds to social service charities each year, 100% determined by thousands of secondary school pupils who have been informed and empowered through this multi-award-winning philanthropy project.  Gairloch High are very pleased to now be involved in this scheme.

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