Friday, 23 February 2018

Friday 23 February 2018

1.       Welcome back to everyone after what I hope was a super February break.
2.       Thanks to all who continue to support our South Africa project. I was privileged to be part of this year’s party of 48 and I can testify that we had a fantastic time. Our S6 did us proud!
3.       Well done to the following for taking part in the Scottish Indoor Athletics championships in early February:
a.       Rose Newman S2
b.       Cerys Scott-Hobbs S3 - came 3rd on the Girls’ U16 Pole Vault – 2.40m
c.        Anna Swan S4
d.       Callum Newby S4
e.       Anna Swan S4
f.         Callum Newby S4
g.       Fabian Despinoy S4 - came 2nd in the Boys’ U16 800 M
h.       Lucia Montgomery S4
i.         Tom Ireland S4
4.       Thanks to all the families who contributed to the success of our Spanish exchange. I’m sure all of our pupils are looking forward to the return visit to Tenerife in May!
5.       Congratulations to Clara Potter (S6) who, during London fashion week in February, was so successful her pictures appeared in Vogue online.
6.       Congratulations to Julia Follan (S6) who was a finalist in the British Council Mandarin Speaking competition held 3 weeks ago in London. JGHS was one of 4 Scottish Schools who competed in the finals.
7.       I have signed JGHS up for Earth Hour 2018 on Saturday 24 March. More details to follow.
8.       Well done to all who took part in the concert on Monday afternoon with Dunwoody High School from Georgia in the USA. The playing of ‘Georgia on my mind’ at the 4 pm joint concert was wonderful!
9.       Today at break time, as part of Purple Friday, staff and pupils were invited to sign and/or place a message of support for our LGBT Youth community. The funds raised at today’s bake sale will be used to support the activities of our school LGBT club in relation to promoting and understanding the diversity in our school community.
10.    JGHS will be celebrating World Book Day on Thursday 1 March. There will be a Big Book Swap in the Forum at lunchtime. World Book Day tokens will also be available from the Forum -  exchange your token for a special WBD book or use it to get £1 off a book of your choice. Know Your Author Quiz will take place in the library all week from Monday 26 February.

And finally, I take this opportunity of wishing all a very Happy (Chinese) New Year. 新年快  May this Year of the Dog be a resoundingly happy and healthy one for you all.

Donald j Macdonald

Friday, 2 February 2018

Friday 2 February 2018

  1. Later this evening, we will welcome 32 pupils from our link school in Tenerife. They will be with us over the coming week.
  2. Our South Africa group leaves on Tuesday (42 pupils and 6 staff). We wish them well on their journey and congratulate all who have raised over £5000 for our SA projects/links.
3.       Well done to the following pupils who won 2 gold medals at the Scottish Schools Swimming Championship on Saturday the 27th of January at Dollan Aqua Centre, East Kilbride.
o    Thomas McSkinning First (gold) for 200m breaststroke
o    Liam McLaughlin First (gold) for 100m Freestyle
4.       We had a great turn out on Wednesday morning for the bicycle breakfast. Thanks to Tesco's for providing the pastries and snacks free of charge and to the police for marking the bikes. We had a very good (discounted) sale on the locks and lights but there are still some available. If you would like a high quality D-lock for £10 (subsidised by funding) please contact
5.       Our Gardening club has new resumed and takes place on Monday’s after school 3:45 – 4:30pm in Science Lab 1.
6.       There is a careers event organised by Boroughmuir HS happening on 27 February to which JGHS families are invited. (See attached flyer).
7.       Bookings for the S4 consultation evening are now ‘open’, go to

And finally, Thursday 1 February 2018 marked the 100 anniversary of the birth of Muriel Spark – one of our most famous former pupil. Dame Muriel Spark DBE, CLit, FRSE, FRSL attended JGHS from 1923 -35. From a very early age, teachers and parents recognised and nurtured her talent as a writer. Muriel Sarah Camberg flourished as she grew up in Bruntsfield and came to be regarded as one of Britain’s most accomplished and finest novelists. Later this year on Friday 18 May we will celebrate Muriel Spark’s achievements on Founder’s day, when we reflect on the remarkable history of James Gillespie’s HS since it was founded in 1803. A main theme this year will be the contribution JGHS women have made to society.
A couple of quotes from Muriel Spark I particularly like:

At Gillespie’s we believe that each and every one of our pupils has at least one special talent.  With your continuing support and encouragement they will be the next generation of writers, mathematicians, explorers, scientists, designers, musicians, politicians, captains of industry, academics, sportsmen and women, chefs, stage performers  etc.  They are all our ‘crème de la crème’!

Have a lovely weekend.

Donald j Macdonald

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Friday 19 January

  1. The prelims are now in full swing: fingers crossed that all our pupils derive maximum benefit from this experience.
  2. Well done to the group of eight S2 boys who played for Currie Star FC in an amazing cup semi final beating the league leaders to make the Kilvin cup final. The S2 boys are: Daniel King (cap), Santosh Rowe, Cameron Buchanan, Ben Smyth, James Gallacher, Ruthven Dunn & Sean Garotti. Well done to all!
  3. On Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 January, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra will be at JGHS to offer a wonderful opportunity for some of our Nat. 5 pupils and percussion pupils to take part in a music-making workshop with professional musicians next week. The final performance of this will then be filmed and recorded. This project takes its inspiration from the percussion concerto Incantations by Finnish composer Rautavaara. All participants will receive free tickets to hear Incantations performed by the SCO and the Scottish percussionist Colin Currie.
  4. Well done to:
    1. Ms Dickinson (Science Department) who has been selected to represent GB in international Triathlon championships in Madrid in September 2018.
    2. Ms Eyre (PE Department) who will represent Scotland in an international netball tournament from 6-10 June this year.
    3. Elena Santoyo-Brown who has been selected to go to Iceland with the Scotland Under 17s from the 17 February for a series of matches in preparation for the European Championships in March 2018.
    4. Archie Ellen who had a very exciting and satisfying weekend  at the HSBC UK Cyclo-Cross National Championships in Hetton, Sunderland. Archie finished 17th overall in his age category and was top ranked Scottish rider out of nearly 70 U14 boys.
  5. Thanks to all who have supported this year’s South Africa fundraising efforts. Please do come along and support the next evening fundraiser on Friday 26 January.
  6. The next JGHS Parent Council meeting will be on Tuesday 23 January @ 7pm in the library.  Christopher Ross, Catering Operations Manager with the City of Edinburgh Council, will be at the meeting to talk about the proposed pilot introduction of biometrics, an electronic fingerprint system, for payment of school lunches.  Also on the agenda will be rising school rolls and wifi provision for pupils. All are welcome.
  7. Please email if you have any news you would like to share with the wider JGHS community.

And finally, wrap up warm this weekend - it’s going to be another cold one.

Donald j Macdonald