1. Welcome to Alan Russell who joined us this week in the Physics department. Alan replaces Robert Brice who left us two weeks ago.
2. On Tuesday evening, Ariane Branigan and Callum Stark were the worthy winners of the second round of the Donald Dewar Memorial Debate, organised by the Law Society, and have now progressed to the semi-final. The competition was held at The Edinburgh Academy where the Gillespie’s team succeeded in beating a team from Edinburgh Academy and two teams from George Herriot’s to claim their deserved place in the semis.
3. Congratulations to Laura Johnson, S5, who has recently been accepted to join the cello section of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, Senior Orchestra, for their two courses and concerts this spring and summer.
4. I was delighted to receive confirmation this week of the amount of funding we are to receive directly from the Scottish Government. You can view the amounts allocated to schools in Scotland by following this link. http://news.gov.scot/news/pupil-equity-funding We will be consulting across the school community in the next few weeks on how best to use this money to make the biggest difference to a targeted group of young people in our school.
5. Well done to S6 pupils who have been washing cars this week to raise funds for our South Africa Project. Next week a group of staff and S6 students will spend the February break working with our partner schools in some of the townships in the Durban area. This will be our fourteenth consecutive trip to South Africa. Whilst out there we will also link with ongoing charitable projects set up by Alex Wallace (former Headteacher) which scores of former pupils, staff and parents.
6. You may wish to register with Easyfundraising. https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/ This scheme arranges for donations to transfer directly to Parent Council funds when you complete an online purchase. Most of the big retailers have signed up and it costs you nothing extra.
7. Pupils studying towards Higher Physics attended a lecture this morning on sub atomic particles and forces theory. Many thanks to Professor Luigi Del Debbio from the University of Edinburgh who took time out from his busy schedule to share thoughts on the unfolding wonders of the universe.
8. S2 reports were issued this week. I am pleased that so many of our S2s are working hard and achieving so well.
9. Staff are now putting the finishing touches to the marking of prelims for S4,5 and 6. Parents will receive a report with marks/grades in the next 2/3 weeks to inform next steps for pupils and meetings with staff.
10. Around 100 S2 pupils enjoyed a party in the Spark building last night.
11. We wish our Spanish exchange party a safe journey back to Tenerife this morning. Huge thanks to the many families who hosted pupils and made this week so memorable and to Peter O’Connor who coordinated the entire programme. Those I spoke with this morning spoke warmly of their Scottish friends and our magnificent city. We hope that the friendships forged this week will continue and grow over the coming years. Our pupils can look forward to the return visit to Tenerife at the end of April.
12. Copies of the recently published book (Faithful and Brave) celebrating the school’s 2014 year history (£17.99) are still available from the school. Collect in person or email the school to order your copy. All proceeds go to the JGHS Trust who raise funds for a variety of school initiatives.
13. Please note that we are on holiday from 13 to 17 February. All return for 0830 on Monday 20 February.
And finally, I wish all a lovely weekend.
Donald j Macdonald