As my first year at Gillespie’s draws to a close I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on what has been a most enjoyable, successful and busy year. On taking up office in January I was immediately struck by the strong sense of community and unity of purpose that prevails in the school. Pupils and staff are proud of the school and enjoy working together. Parents are engaged in the life of the school and they are quick to support when their child needs that little bit of extra encouragement to do his/her best. This united approach will ensure that our school will continue to grow and develop and overcome the challenges that lie in store.
The challenges overcome this year include the implementation of management restructuring and the continuing successful implementation of Curriculum for Excellence. The teamwork and unity of purpose I referred to earlier contributed significantly to us successfully completing the management restructuring before the summer holiday and ensuring the change of timetable in early June went ahead as scheduled. In June of this year our new S3 were the first to embark on the new Curriculum for Excellence courses that will lead to National 4 and 5 certificates. I am delighted at the progress they are making and am confident that they will be successful in the new exams in the summer of 2014. Our new Curriculum and Pupil Support Leaders have settled in well to their new roles and are working hard to ensure that our school continues to grow and thrive.
Towards the end of the summer we learned that our examination results were, once again, among the best in Scotland. From what I have witnessed as I visit classrooms across the school and talk to pupils, staff and parents, I am confident that next year’s results will be equally as good, if not better. We will achieve this by continuing to work hard and having the highest expectations of each other.
After the summer we bade farewell to a number of long serving staff and welcomed several new staff to our wider team. As we prepare pupils for a world that continues to change it is essential that we continuously challenge, review and adapt the service that we provide. Throughout the year we have benefitted from the new perspectives and innovative ideas brought to the school by the new staff that have joined us.
Throughout 2012 we have continued to work towards making the necessary arrangements for the building of our new school, which is scheduled to begin on 1 July 2013, with an anticipated completion date towards the end of 2015. We are excited at the prospect of a brand new building with ‘state of the art’ facilities being available to us.
As we prepare to go to press, pupils in S4 are in the midst of their prelims and pupils in S5 and S6 are getting ready for their prelims which begin in the latter half of January. We wish them every success in these exams.
As a busy and productive term draws to a close we are all looking forward to a restful break over Christmas with our families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff, pupils and parents for your continued hard work, support and endeavours throughout 2012 and I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a prosperous and successful new year. (Bliadhna mhath ùr agus Nollaig chridheil dhuibh uile).
Donald J Macdonald (Headteacher)