Monday, 18 March 2019

Friday 15 March


Warmest congratulations to:
1.       Callum Stark who won first prize in ‘ARTiculate’ on Wednesday evening. ARTiculate is a national public speaking competition for school age young people on a topic of Artistic interest.
2.       Kinli Kwok (S3) who won the  Tae Kwon Do Fighter of the year award whilst representing Scotland in her age category.
3.       Hanga Eory (S1), Calum Usher (S1), Rachel Allan (S2) and Chirag Shetty ( S2) who took part in the Junior UK Maths Team competition held at the University of Edinburgh on 8th March. The pupils were an absolute credit to the school and they secured 4th place out of 26 teams in this highly competitive event.
4.       The JGHS Pipe Band who competed in the Scottish Schools’ pipe band championships last weekend. There were clear signs that this young and developing band has a very promising future if they continue to practise and work together.
5.       Louis Mackintosh; Esther Silverton; Phoebe Burke and Anna Mantle who, accompanied by Mrs Sturm attended a gala dinner on Wednesday evening to celebrate the achievements of Social Bite, the social enterprise that was set up to tackle homelessness. The guest of honour was Malala Yousafzai after whom we names our main teaching block.
6.       Our S2 netball team who have made it through to the Scottish final on Thursday 21 March. I understand the final is likely to be a ‘West vs East’ affair!

Dates for the Diary

1.       We would like to have one last get together with those involved in the South Africa Exchange Project 2018/19. This would be with the current S6 who went to SA and their parents/carers. This will take place from 6pm-7pm on Tuesday 19 March in the Forum. The agenda will be to share the long awaited Vlog and evaluate the project.
  1. This year, due to growing demand, we have decided to run a 'Spring Fling concert series over two nights, Tuesday 26th March and Wednesday 27th March. Both concerts will take place in the Muriel Spark Performing Arts theatre from 7.00 – 8.00pm. This is another wonderful opportunity for our young people to participate and perform in one of the many musical ensembles, choirs and instrumental groups the school offers.
    • Tuesday evening’s concert will include String, Clarsach and Guitar ensembles, our ‘Trad’ group and the Junior Choir. We are also delighted to welcome students from Preston Street Primary School.
    • On Wednesday the Wind and Pipe bands will perform alongside our Chamber Choir, Senior Choir and Rock ensembles.
    • Tickets will be on sale from the door on the evening of the concert priced at £3 per evening, or £5 if you are attending both nights.
    • We hope that you can come and support our young performers for what promises to be a great event.
  2. On Tues 19th March @ 7pm in the Library in the Malala building the JGHS Parent Council would like to invite everyone from our school community to our next PC meeting.  Jeff Warden, DHT, will be updating on curriculum planning and we will have updates on Wifi and rising rolls. Everyone is very welcome. If you can't make the date our minutes are online at http://jghscouncil.btck.co.uk/
  3. Please support our main Parent Council social event this year at 7pm on Friday 26th April 2019 in the foyer at JGHS. 
    • We will have wine-tasting with Vino wines, music, food, a pop-up prosecco bar and fruit punch. 
    • Everyone is welcome – parents, carers and staff – please come and support your school.  
    • Eventbrite ticketing information to follow.
  4. The big pedal is fast approaching, 25th March till the 5th April, the aim of the two weeks is to encourage cycling to school.
    • To launch this, we plan to hold a bike breakfast on Tuesday 26th March from 8.15am (too many will forget if it’s the Monday!).
  5. At 7 pm on Friday 22 March our pupils are staging a play to raise funds for and to raise awareness of period poverty. ‘A Feminine Ending’ is a bittersweet comedy about a girl who knows what she wants, but not quite how to get it. ’Issue Now’, a Pupil led charity, is putting on this production to raise money for Lilypads, a charity helping those in period poverty. ‘The play’s message is so important and we thought that this would be a refreshing, challenging and exciting way in which we can raise money for a cause that really matters. So please, contribute to something good, and sit back, relax, and enjoy the show! We hope to see you on the 22nd Lori Stott (S6)

And finally, thanks to the 400+ parents who contacted us to authorise their child’s attendance at today ‘s climate change protest’ being staged at the Scottish Parliament. I find it very encouraging to see so many young people actively engaged in a matter of such pressing importance. Thanks also to our office staff who have processed all of these requests and continue to do so throughout this morning.

Donald j Macdonald
Headteacher

Friday, 8 March 2019


On Friday of each week, I distribute a ‘Friday Update’ which gives a flavour of some of the varied activities going on in our school.  If you have something you would like to share then please email Admin@jamesgillespies.edin.sch.uk. The ‘Friday update’ is emailed to all parents/carers and staff and is placed on the Headteacher’s blog.
  1. Today is International Women's Day. The focus of this year’s theme is on innovative ways in which to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.
  2. In relation to the pupils’ Climate Change Protest scheduled for Friday 15 March, the City of Edinburgh position is that pupils wishing to take part must provide a letter of consent from parents to authorise release from school.  Without parental consent any absence is recorded as an unauthorised absence. By giving consent parents are taking responsibility for their child’s welfare whilst off the school’s campus.
  3. Congratulations to:
    • Fiona Oatman who was appointed as SfL teacher on Thursdays and Fridays. This additional position has arisen as a result of our rising school roll.
    • Brandon Kanady (Pupil Support Officer) who was recently appointed to our staff to offer additional 1 to 1 support for pupils at JGHS who need a little bit of additional personalised support to allow them to thrive.
o    Cameron Hook in S6 has been chosen for the Scotland’s Men’s Volleyball team to take part in the St. Patricks Day international tournament.
o    Sam Shannon in S1 who recently won the National Squash Championship U13 in Aberdeen. This confirmed his position as Scottish number one. He will now captain Scotland in the Five Nations Squash International( Scotland, England, Ireland, France) to be held in Dublin in April. 
o    Daisy Adams in S1 who organised a bake sale last Friday accompanied by some of her S1 peers. Close to £90 was raised for Mary’s Meals. Daisy was inspired by the acts of kindness theme being highlighted at JGHS.
o    Jamie Clyde (S1) who was successful in auditions and has now got a place on a week-long residential with the Scottish Youth Choir.
o    Jasmine Tarsia (S2) and Christie Peden (S2) who, today, raised over £60 for the Baden-Powell Scouts’ Association by running a bake sale. 
4.       On Tuesday 5 March, a peer theatre group called ‘Fast Forward’ presented to all S3 pupils on the risks and pressures associated with gambling. This was an active presentation with a scenario being acted out involving teenagers and the risk associated with trying to make a ‘fast buck’. After the presentation, pupils were asked to consider the scenario and think about the risks associated with gambling. Pupils were also given the opportunity to pick up a card with details of a gambling support group. The presentation was well received by the pupils, and we hope to work with ‘Fast Forward’ again in the future.
  1. The deadline for parent feedback from the recently issued prelim results/recommendations (sent by email to parents of s4, 5 and 6) email is today. If there are no changes sought then no reply is required.
  2. A Jobs’ Roadshow took place at Corn Exchange on Wednesday. A group of S4/S5 pupils travelled out to meet over 70 different employers and training providers. Feedback from our participants are that they feel much more confident to apply for courses/opportunities beyond school. Please encourage pupils who are considering moving on from school to keep checking the Edinburgh Guarantee site for opportunities.
  3. Good luck to the JGHS pipe bank who are taking part this Sunday (10 March) in the Scottish Schools’ pipe band championships at Inveralmond Community High School in Livingston.
8.       Best wishes to Callum Stark (S4) who will, on Wednesday 13 March, represent JGHS at ARTiculate - a national public speaking event about a particular artist who has inspired him and challenged his thinking.

Dates for the Diary
9.       This year, due to growing demand, we have decided to run a 'Spring Fling concert series over two nights, Tuesday 26th March and Wednesday 27th March. Both concerts will take place in the Muriel Spark Performing Arts theatre from 7.00 – 8.00pm. This is another wonderful opportunity for our young people to participate and perform in one of the many musical ensembles, choirs and instrumental groups the school offers.
o    Tuesday evening’s concert will include String, Clarsach and Guitar ensembles, our ‘Trad’ group and the Junior Choir. We are also delighted to welcome students from Preston Street Primary School.
o    On Wednesday the Wind and Pipe bands will perform alongside our Chamber Choir, Senior Choir and Rock ensembles.
o    Tickets will be on sale from the door on the evening of the concert priced at £3 per evening, or £5 if you are attending both nights.
o    We hope that you can come and support our young performers for what promises to be a great event.
10.    On Tues 19th March @ 7pm in the Library in the Malala building the JGHS Parent Council would like to invite everyone from our school community to our next PC meeting.  Jeff Warden, DHT, will be updating on curriculum planning and we will have updates on Wifi and rising rolls. Everyone is very welcome. If you can't make the date our minutes are online at http://jghscouncil.btck.co.uk/
11.    Please support our main Parent Council social event this year at 7pm on Friday 26th April 2019 in the foyer at JGHS. 
o    We will have wine-tasting with Vino wines, music, food, a pop-up prosecco bar and fruit punch. 
o    Everyone is welcome – parents, carers and staff – please come and support your school.  
o    Eventbrite ticketing information to follow.
12.    The big pedal is fast approaching, 25th March till the 5th April, the aim of the two weeks is to encourage cycling to school.
o    To launch this, we plan to hold a bike breakfast on Tuesday 26th March from 8.15am (too many will forget if it’s the Monday!).
13.    At 7 pm on Friday 22 March our pupils are staging a play to raise funds for and to raise awareness of period poverty. ‘A Feminine Ending’ is a bittersweet comedy about a girl who knows what she wants, but not quite how to get it. ’Issue Now’, a Pupil led charity, is putting on this production to raise money for Lilypads, a charity helping those in period poverty. ‘The play’s message is so important and we thought that this would be a refreshing, challenging and exciting way in which we can raise money for a cause that really matters. So please, contribute to something good, and sit back, relax, and enjoy the show! We hope to see you on the 22nd Lori Stott (S6)

My quote of the week: ‘"The true purpose of arts education is not necessarily to create more professional dancers or artists. It's to create more complete human beings who are critical thinkers, who have curious minds, who can lead productive lives." (Kelly Pollock).


I wish all a lovely weekend.

Donald j Macdonald
Headteacher