Monday, 9 December 2019

Friday 6 December


  1. Recent newspaper reports suggest that our Examination Performance at JGHS has declined in the past 12 months. Please be reassured that this is not the case. In fact, our attainment continues to rise. What has changed Is how the data is aggregated and presented. I will be sharing more about this at next week’s coursing evenings for S2 and S4/5. I will also be saying more on this topic at the next Parent Council meeting on the evening of Tuesday 21 January 2020 for other parents who wish to find our more.
  2. Due to high demand we have been able to release additional tickets for the annual Christmas Concert at the Usher Hall on 17th December. The final remaining tickets will be available from 10am on Saturday 7th December. http://www.usherhall.co.uk/whats-on/james-gillespies-high-school-christmas-concert-1
  3. This year, as in previous years, the art department have chosen six S1 pupils Christmas designs, and created packs of Christmas cards. These are currently on sale on parent pay to all parents of S1 and S6 parents, priced at £4.50 a pack, with all profits going to help with the South Africa fundraising. There is only 50 packs of cards available, so get in quick before they sell out!
  4. Huge thanks to all who supported this year’s Wee Sleep Out on Friday 29 November. I’m delighted to share that the total raised currently stands at £14, 486.63.  If you would like to contribute further please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/jamesgillespies. All proceeds  go to Social Bite – a social enterprise that aims to eradicate homelessness in Scotland. This link will be active until Friday 20 December.
  5. Thanks to the following local businesses for supporting our Sleep Out.
    1. CAS Ltd.
    2. Be Inspired Fibres
    3. The Zoom Club
    4. Sheila’s Fish Shop
    5. Marchmont Dental Care
    6. New Leaf Co-Op
    7. Doodles
    8. Nordic Living
    9. Waitrose
    10. Marchmont Gallery
    11. Meadowlark Yoga
    12. The Edinburgh Bookshop
  6. Earlier this week we launched a new school app that makes accessing key information and communicating with the school more straightforward. We will also be using this App to target communications to parents/carers of specific yeargroups. School App for Parents – although this is directed at parents, anyone can download this app. It provides the user with easy access to the school website, ParentPay, school bulletin, calendar and much more. Parents and carers, grandparents, aunts & uncles, brothers & sisters, everybody… please download School App for Parents!
    1. Apple link - https://apps.apple.com/…/school-app-for-parents/id1309721219
    2. Android link - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…
    3. You then find James Gillespie's in the drop down menus and use this App to more easily communicate with us.

 Dates

  1. Our Senior Drama production is on 6 December - matinee and evening performances. Tickets at the door
    1. Matinee Performance 1:45pm all tickets £1
    2. Evening Performance 7pm Adults £6, Concessions £4
    3. Tickets sold on the door at the Muriel Spark Building.
    4. Synopsis: This comedy farce is set in London 1927.  Things are not going well for Sir Hector Benbow.  His secret liaison with a shop girl is scuppered by his wife’s early arrival home.  What’s more, there are reports that Thark, the old family home, is haunted.  Sir Hector and the rest of the family set out to the house to prove the rumours wrong.
    5. This year’s production involves students from S3-S6.
  2. Princess Switch Rehearsal Times - Monday 9th December
    1. P1 & P2 - All choirs.
    2. P3 - Wind band only.
    3. P4 - Strings only.
    4. P5 - All choirs, wind band and strings
    5. P6 - All pupils performing in the orchestra for Loch Lomond (including Pipers/Snare drums/Clarsach)
  3. Coursing information meetings will take place on the evening of Tuesday 10 December.
  4. Our dining room will be offering traditional Christmas lunches on Wednesday 11 December.
  5. The next Edinburgh Maths Circle will take place on Saturday 14th December, from 13:00 until 16:00, in the James Clerk Maxwell Building (room 3217 and the Level 3 Café Area).  The building is located in the University of Edinburgh King's Building campus. As you may know, the Edinburgh Maths Circle, organised by the Maths Outreach Team, is a free drop-in session where children aged 5 to 16 and their families can join in with exciting mathematical activities, games and puzzles. Further details and travel information can be found at: https://www.maths.ed.ac.uk/school-of-mathematics/outreach/maths-circle

 Congratulations to:

  1. Mrs Edwards (Languages faculty) on the safe arrival of baby Ivy Sinclair Edwards. All are reported to be doing well!
  2. Dr Wallace (Sciences) on the birth of baby Nola. All doing well!
  3. James Plant who is one of the runners up in the Sunday Times Short Story competition for his entry ‘My sister’.
  4. Lennox Walker for amassing the most points in the Gaelnovember competition.
  5. The following boys who have been selected to represent Edinburgh Schools in the U15 National Trophy football game against Dundee.
    1. Daniel Hart S4
    2. Moray Bean S3
  6. All who took part in the Edinburgh & Midlothian Schools Swimming Championships! In particular, it was excellent to see the Boys open freestyle team coming second in a very tight race with Stewart's Melville and George Watson's College! The boys in this team were Liam McLaughlin, Ross Kerr, Robert Wright and Lorne Wight.
  7. Liam McLaughlin, Anna Green and Finlay Penman have been nominated to compete at the Scottish School's Championships in January, we will find out later in the month whether their entry has been successful.
  8. Boys 11/under 50 Free
    1. 9th Kevin Chen 36.75
  9. Boys 11/under 50 Breast
    1. 4th Kevin Chen 47.93
  10. Girls 12/13 100 Freestyle
    1. 17th Emily Buchanan 1:13.98
    2. 18th Eilidh C Stewart 1:14.15
  11. Girls 16-18 100 Freestyle
    1. 4th Susannah Kernohan 1:10.01
  12. Boys 12/13 100 Freestyle
    1. 4th Finlay Penman 1:07.03
    2. 9th Eric Balic 1:15.73
  13. Boys 14/15 100 Freestyle
    1. 9th Felix Walker 1:03.53
    2. 10th Josh Tough 1:07.93
    3. 11th Cai McEwan 1:15.69
    4. 12th Andrew Wright 1:16.06
    5. Boys 16/18 100 Freestyle
  14. 11th Daniel Keerie 1:13.34
  15. Girls 16/18 200 Butterfly
    1. 5th Susannah Kernohan 2:49.07
  16. Girls 12/13 100 Backstroke
    1. 3rd Anna Green 1:05.76
  17. Boys Open 400 Freestyle
    1. 1st Liam McLaughlin 4:08.78
    2. 2nd Lorne Wight 4:44.45
  18. Boys 12/13 200 Individual Medley
    1. 6th Finlay Penman 3:00.28
  19. Boys 14/15 200 Individual Medley
    1. 6th Felix Walker 2:39.36
  20. Boys Open 4x50 Freestyle Relay
    1. 2nd Liam McLaughlin, Lorne Wight, Ross Kerr, Robert Wright 1:42.08
  21. Boys 14/15 200 Freestyle
    1. 7th Josh Tough 2:31.57
  22. Boys 16/18 200 Freestyle
    1. 1st Liam McLaughlin 1:59.08
  23. Girls 16/18 100 Breaststroke
    1. 2nd Evie Tynan 1:26.34
  24. Boys 16/18 100 Breaststroke
    1. 4th Lorne Wight 1:15.19
  25. Girls 12/13 200 Backstroke
    1. 9th Eilidh C Stewart 3:06.96


My quote for the week: " Education is about inviting every single person who enters a school to realise his or her relatively boundless potential in all areas of worthwhile human endeavour. It is concerned with more than grades, attendance, and academic achievement. It is concerned with the process of becoming a decent and productive human being’’. (William Watson Purkey)



Wishing all a fantastic weekend.

Donald j Macdonald
Headteacher

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Fundraising to support the homeless 2019


Sincere thanks to everyone who supported the JGHS 2019  ‘Sleep Out’ in aid of Social Bite.



To all who donated money, dropped off non-perishables for Edinburgh’s homeless,  gave up your Friday Night/Saturday morning to ensure that so many youngsters were able to take part, and contributed in myriad ways, Thank You.



In total, 225 (S1,2 and 3) pupils slept over and another 25 seniors helped out with the various activities and games on Friday night. 30+ resilient staff were at the school overnight to provide encouragement and to ensure all of our young people had fun and were safe. Local businesses also came on board this year; some donated online whilst others donated prizes for various competitions.  Thanks for the many online messages of support which added to the camaraderie in the lead up and on the night of the event.



Finally and especially, huge thanks to Emma Sturm (Teacher of English) who, with her characteristic warmth of personality and impressive attention to detail, ably supported by her enthusiastic band of ‘elves’, coordinated and planned last night’s event and all the associated fundraising.



We have, as at 1120 on Saturday 30 November, raised the magnificent sum of £12,003.29.  All of the money raised goes towards supporting those unfortunates who are homeless in Scotland.



The opportunity to donate will remain open till Christmas so we expect this sum to rise further. https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=jamesgillespies&pageUrl=2



I’d like to wish all a lovely and restful St Andrew’s day.



Yours, in appreciation,

Donald

PS  “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” —Mahatma Gandhi



Donald j Macdonald (Headteacher)

Friday, 29 November 2019

Friday 29 November


  1. Thanks to all parents/carers for your continuing efforts in ensuring that pupils are on the school campus for 830. Classes are scheduled to start promptly at 840.
  2. Thanks to all who are supporting pupils in getting ready for our annual Christmas Concert at the Usher Hall. Book now to avoid disappointment! http://www.usherhall.co.uk/whats-on/james-gillespies-high-school-christmas-concert-1 (Post script - Now Sold out)
  3. This year, as in previous years, the art department have chosen six S1 pupils Christmas designs, and created packs of Christmas cards. These are currently on sale on parent pay to all parents of S1 and S6 parents, priced at £4.50 a pack, with all profits going to help with the South Africa fundraising. There is only 50 packs of cards available, so get in quick before they sell out!
  4. Thanks to all who attended our Parent Council meeting on Tuesday evening. A main topic on our agenda was a presentation by Craig Watt (English Faculty) and discussion on how we can best support our young people on dealing with bullying in its various forms.  Minutes of meetings and future dates can be found at: http://jghscouncil.btck.co.uk
  5. On behalf of the school, the JGHS PC would like to say a big thank you for helping us to raise £8000 in 2018-19.  The money you have kindly donated or helped to raise is directly benefitting pupils across the school, in a wide range of activities including: the Nurture Group; play therapy; word games; books; subscription to online newspaper; the STEM club; the computer club and the netball club amongst others.  See the attached pdf or go to our PC website for more info.  Please help us to provide the same support, or even better, next year! Our Festive Fundraiser is now live: you can donate through ParentPay. Your money will enhance our students' experience at school.  Every pound helps.  Thank you!  JGHS Parent Council
  6. This year’s Wee Sleep Out takes place tonight (Friday 29 November) involving pupils in S1,2 and 3. Total raised is currently at £8,400 and climbing. If you would like to contribute further please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/jamesgillespies. All proceeds  go to Social Bite – a social enterprise that aims to eradicate homelessness in Scotland.
  7. Well done to  all the S2 pupils who were involved in the Legal Experts in School initiative on Thursday morning.

Dates

  1. Annual reports will be issued to S2 pupils on Wednesday 4 December.
  2. Our Senior Drama production is on 6 December - matinee and evening performances. Tickets at the door.
  3. Our dining room will be offering traditional Christmas lunches on Wednesday 11 December.
  4. The next Edinburgh Maths Circle will take place on Saturday 14th December, from 13:00 until 16:00, in the James Clerk Maxwell Building (room 3217 and the Level 3 Café Area).  The building is located in the University of Edinburgh King's Building campus. As you may know, the Edinburgh Maths Circle, organised by the Maths Outreach Team, is a free drop-in session where children aged 5 to 16 and their families can join in with exciting mathematical activities, games and puzzles. Further details and travel information can be found at: https://www.maths.ed.ac.uk/school-of-mathematics/outreach/maths-circle

Congratulations to:

  1. Jack Craig (5T2) who spoke ‘confidently and eloquently’ at a National Creative Learning Event on Wednesday 27th November at Dynamic Earth to share about his experience so far in the Foundation Apprenticeship programme in Creative & Digital Media.
  2. The following pupils who attended a ‘Beats and Bass’ workshop in the Theatre on Monday. We were joined by pupils from other schools around Edinburgh and the Lothians. The workshop was a demo and Q&A with drummer Steve White and bassist Lorna Thomas.
    1. Caspar Ward - 2W1
    2. Fraser McCluskey - 2W1
    3. Ewan Briggs - 3L1
    4. Josh Barnes - 3R3
    5. Luke Baird - 3T2
    6. Cameron Marshall  - 3L1
    7. Reuben Stiven - 3L2
    8. Stuart Brockbank - 4T1
  3. Toby Mackintosh (S5) who won the senior men’s foil (Scottish Schools) at last week’s championships.
  4. Mrs Edwards (Languages faculty) on the safe arrival of baby Ivy Sinclair Edwards. All are reported to be doing well!





My quote for the week: "Never regret a day in your life:  good days give happiness, bad days give experience,  worst days give lessons, and best days give memories."  (Source unknown)



Wishing all a lovely weekend as we welcome December and the lead in to Christmas.



Donald j Macdonald

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Friday 22 November


  1. UCAS - Please note that the deadline for pupils registering their intention to apply for university in 2020 is Wednesday 27 November.  If you have any queries please contact Ms Peters.  
  2. Thanks to all parents/carers for your continuing efforts in ensuring that pupils are on the school campus for 830. Classes are scheduled to start promptly at 840.
  3. Thanks to all who are supporting pupils in getting ready for our annual Christmas Concert at the Usher Hall. Book now to avoid disappointment! http://www.usherhall.co.uk/whats-on/james-gillespies-high-school-christmas-concert-1
  4. This year, as in previous years, the art department have chosen six S1 pupils Christmas designs, and created packs of Christmas cards. These are currently on sale on parent pay to all parents of S1 and S6 parents, priced at £4.50 a pack, with all profits going to help with the South Africa fundraising. There is only 50 packs of cards available, so get in quick before they sell out!
  5. This year’s Sleepout takes place on Friday 29 November involving pupils in S1,2 and 3. If you would like to contribute please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/jamesgillespies. All proceeds  go to Social Bite – a social enterprise that aims to eradicate homelessness in Scotland.
  6. Hollywood comes to JGHS! A film company has approached us about having our school choir take part in the production of the sequel to successful Netflix film, The Princess Switch. The Performing Arts faculty are currently liaising with them about possibilities and more information will come out about this in due course. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/princess-switch-sequel-set-at-netflix-1250807
  7. There will be fundraising activities next week at lunchtimes to raise money for our South Africa project.

Dates

  1. S6 Photos will be taken on Tuesday 26 November
  2. Our dining room will be offering traditional Christmas lunches on Wednesday 11 December.
  3. Our Senior Drama production is on 6 December - matinee and evening performances
  4. JGHS has been shortlisted for a national UK award in ‘Partnership Working’ as a result of our efforts with Boroughmuir HS and George Watson’s College in developing the teaching of Mandarin across schools in Edinburgh and the lothians..
  5. The JGHS Parent Council would like to invite everyone from our school community to our next PC meeting on Tues 26th Nov.  We will be discussing JGHS policy and approach to addressing inappropriate behaviours, including sexual harassment of peers, online behaviours and how parents can support the school and pupils to build a respectful school community. Also on the agenda: pupil equity initiatives, rising rolls and capacity.  Everyone is very welcome on Tues 26th Nov @ 7pm in the Library in the Malala building.  If you can't make the date our minutes are online at http://jghscouncil.btck.co.uk and if you have any topics you would like raised at future PC meetings please email us at jghscouncilcomms@gmail.com
  6. The S6 fundraising Ceilidh takes place this evening from 1830 – 2100
  7. The next Edinburgh Maths Circle will take place on Saturday 14th December, from 13:00 until 16:00, in the James Clerk Maxwell Building (room 3217 and the Level 3 Café Area).  The building is located in the University of Edinburgh King's Building campus. As you may know, the Edinburgh Maths Circle, organised by the Maths Outreach Team, is a free drop-in session where children aged 5 to 16 and their families can join in with exciting mathematical activities, games and puzzles. Further details and travel information can be found at: https://www.maths.ed.ac.uk/school-of-mathematics/outreach/maths-circle

Good luck to:

  1. Our Volleyball boys who are competing in Dundee on Thursday the 28th of November
    1. Joseph Pinsky
    2. Pere Tenesa Navrarro
    3. Sergi Mackinlay Vich
    4. Cole Turnbull
    5. William Petrie
    6. Ali Jahanbakhsh
    7. Gavin Hayes
  2. All pupils who are sitting their Associated Board Graded Music (ABRSM) graded exams on Tuesday 26 November.
    1. Viviane Bachmann           Violin    
    2. Jack Oatman                      Violin    
    3. Josh Tough                          Violin    
    4. Simon Goerke                   Violin    
    5. Chirag Shetty                     Violin    
    6. Oliver Coombs                  Guitar  
    7. Rosalind Orr                       Piano    
    8. Nora Alcock-Garrido       Piano    

Congratulations to:

  1. Danny Chisholm 4T1 who has been selected to trial for Aberdeen Football Club.
  2. Lori Stott (Last year’s S6), who is currently starring in the CBBC production - The Demon Headmaster. It has been (incorrectly!) suggested by staff that she may have been inspired by her years at JGHS.



My quote for the week: "“The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways” (Source unknown)



Wishing all a fantastic weekend.



Donald j Macdonald

Headteacher

Monday, 18 November 2019

Friday 15 November


  1. An email relating to arrangements for the (S1-3) Alternative Timetable on 20 and 21 May 2020 was posted to families last week. In response to parental feedback, we have changed to an online booking system – the deadline is this Sunday, 17th. Thanks to Miss McLennan and Ms Dickinson for their management of this programme. The online form can be accessed directly from here. https://www.jamesgillespies.co.uk/alternative-timetable-now-live/
  2. Following the award winning success of last year’s ‘Wee Sleep Out’, when we raised over £11,000, arrangements are currently being finalised for this year’s Wee Sleep Out on Friday 29 November involving pupils in S1,2 and 3. If you would like to contribute please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/jamesgillespies. All proceeds go to Social Bite – a social enterprise that aims to eradicate homelessness in Scotland.
  3. A reminder that next week there will be in-school rehearsals for Senior Ensembles in preparation for the Christmas concert. Please check noticeboards in the Music department for specific information and arrive promptly to the theatre at your allocated time.
  4. Annual Data Check forms -Data capture forms will be issued by Key Adults next week to any pupil that has not yet completed/returned one. It is essential for our records that these are returned with any changes to personal or contact details. Please also notify the school if your child has any medical condition/health issues that we are not aware of.  The signed form should be returned to Reception ASAP - if there are no changes please mark this also.
  5. The JGHS Parent Council would like to invite everyone from our school community to our next PC meeting on Tues 26th Nov.  We will be discussing JGHS policy and approach to addressing inappropriate behaviours, including sexual harassment of peers, online behaviours and how parents can support the school and pupils to build a respectful school community. Also on the agenda: pupil equity initiatives, rising rolls and capacity.  Everyone is very welcome on Tues 26th Nov @ 7pm in the Library in the Malala building.  If you can't make the date our minutes are online at http://jghscouncil.btck.co.uk and if you have any topics you would like raised at future PC meetings please email us at jghscouncilcomms@gmail.com
  6. A warm welcome to the following staff who started with us this week:
    1. Angela White -  School Office
    2. Vasilelios Tsakonitis -  Sciences Technician
    3. Niall Evans - Sciences Teacher
  7. Written reports for S5 and S6 were issued to pupils on Wednesday 13 November. We hope that these were relayed safely and promptly to parents/carers.

Well done to:

    1. Daniel Hart S4  and Moray Bean S3  who have been selected to represent Edinburgh Schools in their next U15 National Trophy match.
    2. The following pupils who represented JGHS a the Scottish China Education Network Youth Summit on Friday 8 November:

S2

    1. Melissa McClellan



S3

    1. Isobel Crawford
    2. Louise Thomson
    3. Louise Macleod
    4. Kai Rogers
    5. Arooj Sarwar
    6. Anna Szendrei



S4

    1. Lucy Robertson
    2. Heidi Miller
    3. Lola Bradbury
    4. Susannah Kernohan



S5

    1. Cameron Yung
    2. Samuel Urqhart
    3. Lucia Garland



S6

    1. Alejandro Tamariz-Martel
    2. Marley Adair
    3. Aurora Branigan
  1.  
  2. Best wishes to the following pupils who, on Thursday, worked with serving professionals  to prepare for this session’s BBC Alba's Film G production.

S4s

    1. Sorcha Thompson
    2. Sadie Drye
    3. Ellie Gallagher
    4. Anna Halliday
    5. Fraser Peel
    6. Sandy MacGregor
    7. Felix Walker
    8. Maral Rahmani
    9. Esther Silverton
    10. Liza Gogoliuk

S1s

    1. Casey Rennie
    2. Manus McLeod
    3. Flynn Conroy
  1. Good luck to our Under 13’s (S1) football team who are playing against James Young High School on Friday in the 3rd Round of the Scottish Shield competition.
  2. I was immensely proud of the 40+ S2 pupils who on Wednesday of this week took part in the Legal Experts in School initiative. The 6 practising lawyers were glowing in their praise of those who took part for their positive attitude and keen interest in legal work. Thanks to Ms Shearer for organising.
  3. Tickets for our annual Christmas Concert at the Usher Hall are now on sale from their box office. Book early to avoid disappointment! http://www.usherhall.co.uk/whats-on/james-gillespies-high-school-christmas-concert-1
  4. Well done to Darcey McConville who continues to develop as a great young talent in water polo. Most recently, Darcey has been selected to represent Scotland.



My quote of the week: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” (Plato)



Best wishes to all for a lovely weekend



Donald j Macdonald
Headteacher

Friday 8 November


  1. Sincere thanks to the families who have hosted our students from Hong Kong this past week. Particular thanks also to staff, (Mr Warden in particular) for supporting our partnership with Law Ting Pong Secondary School.
  2. On Thursday, members of our Princes Trust class went round the school to sell poppies. In our multi-cultural context we seek to emphasise that the poppies commemorate all those who have been affected by conflicts across the world.
  3. A gentle reminder that the S6 Year Group Hoodies are now available to purchase via the following link http://wav.ee/jghsleavershoodies20.  Please note the online shop closes on Tuesday 12 November and it is recommended all orders are placed before midnight Friday 8 November.
  4. An email relating to arrangements for the (S1-3) Alternative Timetable on 20 and 21 May 2020 was posted to families earlier this week. In response to parental feedback, we have changed to an online booking system. Thanks to Ms Miss McLennan and Ms Dickinson for their management of this programme.
  5. Following the award winning success of last year’s ‘Wee Sleep Out’, when we raised over £11,000, arrangements are currently being finalised for this year’s Wee Sleep Out on Friday 29 November involving pupils in S1,2 and 3. If you would like to contribute please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/jamesgillespies. All proceeds  go to Social Bite – a social enterprise that aims to eradicate homelessness in Scotland.
  6. Ms Byrne started in Modern Languages this week to replace Mrs Edwards who is on maternity leave.
  7. Many thanks to the many who responded so positively to last week’s request for donations of good quality PE/Sports kit (tracksuit bottoms, shorts, t-shirts) and Winter Coats. We had such a strong response that we now have what we need so no more needed at this stage. We may return to this request in the new Year.
  8. Written reports for S5 and S6 will be issued to pupils on Wednesday 13 November. We hope that these will be relayed safely and promptly to parents/carers.
  9. Well done to:
    1. Chirag Shetty 3R3, Rachel Allan 3R1, Fedya Cheltsov 4W2 and Ruaridh Usher 4R2. For the second year running, JGHS, against tremendous competition involving 60+ schools across the whole of Scotland, JHGS were crowned ‘National Enterprising Maths’ champions! Our team displayed excellent mathematical thinking, problems solving and team work throughout all the rounds. Fedya and Ruaridh were on the team last year who also came first. This is now the third consecutive year that JGHS has been in the top three schools in Scotland.
    2. John Dabos-Doukas (S6),  Abi Hossell (S6), Minnie Peacock (S5) and Catriona Forrest (S5) who were placed 6th in the regional United Kingdom Mathematics Trust (UKMT) senior team round.
    3. Isabel Scott [S6] and Natalie Cameron [S6] who represented James Gillespie's High School at this year’s National Gaelic Debate in Stornoway. Ably supported by Ms MacIver, the girls made new friendships with other Gaelic speakers across Scotland and enjoyed meeting some interesting characters. Though we haven’t progressed to the final both girls were praised for highly creditable performances.  Nach math a rinn sibh!



And finally, I’d like to remind everyone of our school vision statement.



‘Our vision as a school is to create a nurturing environment in which all feel welcome and part of a larger family. All members of the school community will feel appreciated and enabled to forge friendships based on values they will embrace for life. We seek to ensure that James Gillespie’s High School provides a foundation for a lifetime of learning, embracing the diversity within our wider community, so that every individual can excel in their own unique way.’ Our Vision Statement outlines what we aim to achieve as a school community over the coming years.





Best wishes to all for a relaxing weekend.



Donald j Macdonald

Headteacher

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Friday 1 November

  1. It was great to see so many S1 parents at our two parent consultation evenings this week. These meetings give us the opportunity to identify any settling in issues that may have arisen in the transition to High School and to strengthen partnership working between our staff and parents/carers.
  2. Our S1s enjoyed their Halloween party on Tuesday evening. I’m delighted to hear that the ‘Green Lady’ who has ‘lived’ in Bruntsfield House for hundreds of years made her customary appearance. Thanks to Andrew Digance (DT Faculty) for coordinating the event.
  3. S4 reports will be issued to pupils on Wednesday 6 November.
  4. The planning application to upgrade Darroch to a modern school went live earlier this week. We are scheduled to be using Darroch as an Annexe from August 2021.
  5. All the very best to Mrs Edwards (Modern Languages) who is now on Maternity leave and to Mrs Charnley (Gaelic) who will shortly leave us to take up a Gaelic post at Breadalbane Academy.
  6. Parents are advised that under no circumstances should pupils take any fireworks to school. We remind all to be careful at this time of year and to be especially mindful of the negative impact fireworks have on other people and on animals who share our neighbourhoods.
  7. We look forward to welcoming pupils and staff from Law Ting Pong (our partner School in Hong Kong) to JGHS next week. Sincere thanks to the families who are supporting this partnership by hosting HK pupils. JGHS is one of several Edinburgh schools who formed a HKSSISP partnership (Hong Kong Scottish Schools Improvement Partnership) a few years ago. Our partnership working with Law Ting Pong Secondary School is now in its third year and developing in scope. We are a founding member of this group and now work closely with schools, both independent and state, to promote educational and cultural links with HK. JGHS also has exchange partnerships with schools in South Africa, Spain, France and Germany. We are in the early stages of developing a Gaelic school partnership with school(s) in Nova Scotia.
  8. Many thanks to all who have contributed so generously to our Food Bank. Items delivered to us will be collected at 130 this afternoon. The Food Bank collection is now closed.
  9. JGHS has recently embarked on achieving ‘Right Respecting School’ Status. Our coordinator is Ms Tania Peters, one of our Pupil Support Leaders.
  10. This week we launched Gaelvember/Gàidhlig Sa-mhàin, courtesy of Miss MacIver’s hard work. The idea is to encourage S1 and S2 pupils to use their Gaelic in more social settings for the month of November (and hopefully beyond) 
  11. Well done to all pupils involved in the various charities we support as a school. Earlier today bake sales raised £138 for our local Foodbank and a further £200 for Islamic relief. I am so proud of the efforts of all in supporting such worthy causes.
  12. Our Higher History pupils have been invited to a Higher History Conference at Stewart’s Melville College to hear speakers on the Scottish wars of Independence on the morning of Thursday 7th November
  13. We are looking for donations of good quality PE/Sports kit (tracksuit bottoms, shorts, t-shirts) and Winter Coats. If you have any of these items which your child has grown out of then we would love to find them a new home. We may share out donations with pupils who are in need and/ or use for fundraising / charity events. If you have any donations then please hand them into the school office.
Congratulations to:
    1. Sam Shannon in 2S1 who won the Central Junior Squash Open Division 1 at Bridge of Allan Squash club at the weekend. He was seeded fourth, but defeated the number one and two seeds to take the title. He will now captain the U13 Scottish Team at the British Closed Championships in Nottingham this weekend.
    2. Darcey McConville who now represents Scotland at U19 level in Water Polo.
Good luck to:
  1. The following pupils who sat Oxbridge admissions assessment earlier this week:
    1. James Beeston – Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment
    2. Ellen Beattie – Thinking Skills Assessment
    3. Molly McMahon – Thinking Skills Assessment & Modern Languages Admissions Test
    4. Liam McLaughlin – Thinking Skills Assessment
    5. John Dabos-Doukas – Mathematics Admissions Test
    6. Ruoyu Li – Thinking Skills Assessment
    7. Rebecca Sparks – Biomedical Admissions Test
    8. Neelu Saraswatibhatla – Cambridge Test of Mathematics for University Admission
    9. Siddharth Kalappurackal – Engineering Admissions Assessment
  2. The following pupils who, on Monday 4th Nov, will take part in the Senior UK Maths team competition.
    1. Abi Hossell (S6) 
    2. Minnie Peacock (S5)
    3. Catriona Forrest (S5)
    4. Neelu Saraswatibhatla (S6) 
  3. Isabel Scott [S6] and Natalie Cameron [S6] will represent James Gillespie's High School at this year’s National Gaelic Debate. The first two rounds will take place in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis on Tuesday 5th November and Wednesday 6th November. Gura math a thèid leibh!


And finally, a reminder of what our school values are, as updated from earlier this year:
Respect; Kindness; Integrity; Inclusion and High Expectations.

Wishing all a lovely weekend.

Donald j Macdonald
Headteacher

Friday, 25 October 2019

Friday 25 October


  1. It was lovely to welcome all the pupils back to school on Wednesday of this week.
  2. Thanks to Mr Crosbie who, on Wednesday of this week, arranged for a celebration/education of Caribbean culture to take place at JGHS as part of ‘Black History Month 2019’. In thanking colleagues for arranging the event, one of our senior staff wrote: ‘The workshops, facilitated by members of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association, were engaging, informative, thought-provoking, passionate, fun and from what I saw, were very well received by all of the students.  On a personal level, I can honestly say that I have not smiled and laughed as much in a long time while watching all the students and staff dancing and singing in the Theatre.  It was really special and joyful, but with a clear and important message of inclusion, togetherness and unity.  I also had Bob Marley’s Redemption Song in my head for the rest of the day, which was no bad thing!’
  3. After the success of running it last year, we have decided to run the Legal Experts in Schools initiative again for this session. A number of our S2 pupils have signed up to take part and will be involved in 6 x 1 hour long sessions over the next few months. The first of these is on Monday 28th October. The Legal Experts in Schools initiative is a programme which provides opportunities for practising and trainee lawyers to engage students in interactive discussions about legal issues. The legal professionals draw on their expertise to increase young people’s understanding of the law, how it relates to their daily lives, their rights and responsibilities, and support students to develop their legal capability
  4. Work has now started in earnest towards getting Darroch Secondary School ready to be used as an annexe for JGHS from August 2021. It is our intention to relocate as much of our Gaelic Medium Education (GME) provision to Darroch from August 2021 in anticipation of GME relocating to a dedicated Gaelic School from August 2024. (The location of this dedicated Gaelic Secondary school has yet to be decided).
  5. This week and for the next two weeks we are fortunate to have speakers in school from the Samaritans to run sessions with S6 during Personal and Social Education lessons and also Stewart Ivory Finance who are running sessions to provide financial planning and advice on saving, budgeting and different types of loans.
  6. On Fridays during break time, we often have bake sales to raise money for a variety of causes. Today, Eilidh Cargill (S6) organised a bake sale to raise funds for her Project Trust year after summer. She is going to be doing primary teaching in India from the Autumn of 2020.
  7. Good luck to our pupils who have been selected to represent JGHS in the U13’s Scottish (Football) Shield against St. Kentigern’s this afternoon.
  8. Thanks to all who have already contributed to the school’s Foodbank. The deadline for contributions to our Foodbank is a week today – Friday 1 November. Any items with a reasonable shelf life are welcomed.
  9. Well done to:
    1. All pupils who took part in last week’s Royal National Mod which was held in Glasgow. Amongst our many winners and performers were: Seona Macdonald (3R1) and Eimear McShea (3L2) won the Comunn na Clarsaich Cup for their Clarsach duet performance (age 13-18). All the 2019 Mod results can be accessed here. Notably and most impressively, as in previous years, JGHS and Bun Sgoil Taobh na Pairce had very strong representation amongst prize-winners for the various Clarsach competitions. (Clarsach is Gaelic for Harp)
    2. This year the JGHS Clarsach players were collectively awarded the Tom Mathews Trophy. The Clarsach Society warded us the prize this year to recognise our pupils’  ‘overall demeanour maturity  and musicality’.
    3. Kirsty Johnson (s4) who has been invited to join the Great Britain Cycling Team’s Olympic Apprentice Development Programme for 2019-20. 
    4. Sean Gallacher (S4) and Mollaidh Nicholson (S4) who continue to achieve tremendous success in Golf. Both continue to impress with a string of winning performances in various competitions in recent months.
  10. Dates
    1. The S1 Halloween Party will be taking place on Tuesday 29 of October. The party will include a disco, a scare tour and various games and activities with prizes available for the best costume and the best dancer. Tickets will be on sale from the 23rd to the 29th of October in the Forum at break-time and cost £3. Food and drinks will be served throughout the night at no additional cost.
    2. Tickets for our annual Christmas Concert at the Usher Hall are now on sale from their box office. Book early to avoid disappointment! http://www.usherhall.co.uk/whats-on/james-gillespies-high-school-christmas-concert-1
    3. On Monday 28 and Wednesday 30 October, there are 2 parents’ nights for S1 pupils. Details of how to book meeting times with teachers has been emailed to S1 parents.

 And finally, please remember that the clocks go back one hour this weekend. This will make the mornings lighter for the next few weeks. All are requested to leave plenty of time for travelling to school so that pupils are on campus no later than 0830. Classes start at 840 on the dot!



My quote of the week: "The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice." (B Herbert).



Wishing all a delightful weekend.



Donald j Macdonald

Headteacher