Friday, 21 June 2019

Friday 21 June

1.      Thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of various events in the past week. This includes:
a.       Diverscity 2019 (3 concerts)
b.      Sports’ awards evening
c.       Gaelic Concert
2.      Over the past 4 days, we have had the pleasure of welcoming 256 P7s to the High School. It has been our practice for many years to give P7s a taste of what High School is like prior to the summer holidays. This helps allay fears and anxieties for pupils (and parents!) who can be anxious at the prospect of such a major change.
3.      Over the past 2 weeks, we have been busy appointing new staff as our roll continues to rise. I will share a staffing update in the next few weeks.
4.      Recently released Curriculum for Excellence levels of attainment (for S3 pupils) for all CEC schools shown excellent results for JGHS. They confirm that recent efforts to focus on the development of Literacy and Numeracy are paying rich dividends.
5.      Thanks to the maths department who have started lunchtime drop in sessions for staff to share tips for more effective and fun ways to incorporate maths skills across the school.
6.      On Friday 31 May, several students from James Gillespie's High School attended an awards ceremony at Heriot-Watt University for the Scottish Maths Challenge. The event included a talk about game theory by Dr Mark Wilkinson, which covered topics such as Nash equilibria and, by way of further example, game theory problems such as the Prisoners' Dilemma. The following pupils received awards:
a.       Kenneth MacIver (Gold)
b.      Chirag Shetty (Silver)
c.       Rudy Adair (Silver
d.      Hanga Eroy (Gold)
e.       Andrew Wright (Gold)
f.        Robert Newman (Bronze)
g.      Sam MacIntosh (Bronze)
h.      Artruro Vargas (Gold)
i.        Rachel Allan (Bronze)
j.        Reuben Laurier (Bronze)
k.      Rose Newman (Silver)
l.        Abby Earnshaw (Bronze)
m.    Esther Silverton (Bronze)
n.      Fedor Cheltsov (Silver)
o.      Sai Raghv Neelothpal (Neelu) Saraswatibhatla (Silver)
p.      Thessaly Silkenat (Bronze)
Best wishes to:
7.      Pupils and staff who are en route to New York today and will spend the next week exploring topics covered in the Modern Studies syllabus
8.      Pupils and staff from the Gaelic Department who are off to the Misty Isle today to spend a week immersed in outdoor education and Gaelic culture. I am hoping that Mr Neithercut will be able to assist our pupils in understanding the Skye Gaelic.
9.      Rhys Edwards (S2), who will be competing in the European Youth Cycling Tour in Assen, Netherlands. Rhys will be competing against the cream of the European Youth cyclists, including the Dutch, French and German champions.
Well done to:
10.  Jessica Philp and Freya Clarkson (both S5), who are members of the Edinburgh Synchronised Swimming Club Junior Team which won 1 bronze and 4 silver medals at last weekend’s Scottish National Age Group Championships in Glasgow (15-16 June).  In addition, Edinburgh was overall Scottish Club Champion.
11.  Kirsty Johnson (S4) who won the silver medal in Glasgow in the Scottish National 500m Time Trial Track Championship (Under 16 girls) and Sarah Johnson (S2) who won the bronze medal in the Scottish National 8km Scratch Championships (Under 14 girls). 
12.  We will have the S6 leavers’ ceremony next Thursday at Greyfriar’s kirk. Owing to the popularity of this event, we have to go offsite to accommodate an audience that can exceed 700. Following the ceremony and champagne reception at the Kirk, pupils and staff will travel by coach to the Sheraton hotel for the ‘Prom’; Parents and carers have been invited to the City Chambers (c/o JGHS Trust) to meet and reminisce over a finger buffet and a further glass or two of a suitable refreshment.
13.  I take this opportunity of reminding everyone that school will finish for the summer a week today (Friday 28 June) at 1200.

My quote of the week:
‘Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.’  (Albert Camus)

I wish a lovely weekend.

Donald j Macdonald

Monday, 17 June 2019

Friday 14 June

1.       Today, Friday 14 June, two  S5 students (Salma Daffallah and Aaliyah El-Salahi) with strong family connections to Sudan held a bake sale to raise money for medical aid in Sudan and will be doing a bucket shake round classes next Wednesday 19 June. It would be much appreciated if people can donate money to help this most worthy cause. Well done to both girls and their team of S5 helpers.
2.       During this past week we welcomed two members of staff to JGHS from Isidingo PS – one of our three partner schools in South Africa. The two staff who are with us were warmly welcomed to school on Monday and have spent the past few days getting a feel for Scottish Education and culture in Edinburgh. Both are hugely impressed at how fortunate we are at JGHS to have such a wonderful building and such a well-resourced school. Owing to a problem in obtaining VISAs the visit by pupils and staff from both Dloko and Zwelibanzi will be delayed until September.
3.       Warmest congratulations to:
a.       The following JGHS S3 pupils who swept the board in the under 16 category for the 2nd year in a row in the Scottish Huntingdon’s Association poetry competition.
                                                               i.      Georgie Garrett (Winner)
                                                             ii.      Kenneth MacIver (Runner Up)
                                                           iii.      Christopher Rae (Second Runner Up)
b.       Reuben Stiven (S4) who is a prize winner in the 2019 Pushkin creative writing competition. Reubin will receive his prize and then go off on the writers’ week long course in the Highlands later this summer.
c.       Seumas Cross (S3) who  is performing in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in two of Captivate Theatre’s productions at the Rose Theatre this summer. He is playing the role of Archie in Jason Robert Brown’s musical ‘13’ and also the role of Charlie in ‘Oliver’.
d.       Susannah Kernohan (S4) who, last week, was successful in being appointed as one of two young ambassadors to represent Scotland at Jiading Youth International Friendship Camp near Shanghai, China.  Susannah saw off formidable opposition to secure her place. Susannah will fly to China towards the end of July 2019 and spend around a week interacting with other similarly highly impressive young people from around the world.
4.       The Parent Council would like your views on the type of school community events you would like to attend. Please take 5 minutes to complete this short survey before the end of the school term. The Parent Council will use this information to consider what events it might run next year.
5.       Earlier this week I was privileged to attend the annual Mandarin Conference involving schools from across the UK. It was great to see some of our pupil’s work being featured as best practice.
6.       Families planning to take children out of school during term time should email or write to me giving the reasons for the term time absence. That will allow me to make a decision on whether the absence is recorded as ‘authorised’ or unauthorised. By way of example, special family events and instances where it is not practical for families to go on holiday out with term time because of employment restrictions would likely be recorded as authorised.
7.       Diversecity 2019 will take place on 14th & 15th June. This is a showcase event featuring drama, comedy, dance, music as well as a performance from our South African visitors. It promises to be an amazing event! Performances take place at 7pm on Fri and Sat evening in the Theatre in the Muriel Spark Building. Tickets will be sold on the door priced at £7.50 for adults and £5 for concessions. On Friday, there is also a Matinee Special at 1:45pm. All tickets for this performance are £1. We look forward to seeing you there!
8.       Our annual Sports awards ceremony has been reinstated and will take place on the evening of Tuesday 18 June. All are welcome.
9.       Join us for the second “Oidhche Òigridh” of 2019 on Thursday 20th June, 7pm (for 7.15pm), James Gillespie’s High School Theatre. A special night of Gaelic music and culture (and a cuppa!)! Norrie Maciver from Skipinnish will perform with our talented singers and musicians from James Gillespie’s High School. Tickets £5 for adults and £3 for young people. Pay at the door.(With support from BnaG)
10.   On Tuesday of next week we look forward to warmly welcoming 260 P7s to James Gillespie’s HS. During their 3 day visit with us they will have opportunity to meet teachers, other pupils and to familiarise themselves with how a High School operates.

My quote for the week: ‘No one has ever become poor by giving’. (Anne Frank)

And finally,

All the best for a dry and enjoyable weekend.

Donald j Macdonald