Friday, 3 February 2017

Friday update 3 February 2017

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. 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. 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

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Boeing, Boeing

A huge thanks to all who were involved in staging or attended this year’s superb senior Drama production. The standard seems to get higher and higher each year!

One highly impressed critic wrote on social media:

‘A hilarious night at James Gillespie's High School enjoying this year's senior drama, the breakneck-farce 'Boeing Boeing,' translated into English in 1962 and said to be the most performed French play in the world. It’s the Sixties and suave bachelor Bernard couldn't be happier: a flat in Paris and three gorgeous air-hostesses all engaged to him without knowing about each other. But Bernard’s perfect life gets bumpy when his Irish pal Robert comes to stay and a new and speedier Boeing jet throws off all of his careful planning. Soon all three stewardesses are in town simultaneously, timid Robert is forgetting which fibs to tell to whom, and catastrophe looms... brilliant performances by Robert Davis, Maddie Cassidy, Jack Richardson, Michael Barker, Stella Clancy and Lori Stott, in a show entirely produced, directed and staged by school students’

Special thanks to  to Malcom Hardie and Zee Sulleyman whose leadership from behind the scenes continues to ensure that our seniors’ talents are recognised, nurtured and celebrated.

Sad to think that this is the last year in High School for Maddie, Jack, Michael and Stella but I’m sure we’ll hear more of their acting talents in the future.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

OECD tables

OECD league tables
Today's news in relation to league table positions for Scotland makes very uncomfortable reading.

We will need calm and clear heads in the coming weeks. We must avoid knee jerk reactions.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Fidelis et Fortis

The clock that never worked, the sinister Green Lady, the day we nearly drowned the Queen Mother – it’s all in a sparkling new book, Faithful and Brave: A Celebration of James Gillespie’s High School. Commissioned by the James Gillespie’s Trust to mark the opening of our new campus, and penned by award-winning journalist John MacLeod – himself a former Gillespie’s pupil – Faithful and Brave is 304 fact-packed and heavily illustrated pages, covering our entire history from the last days of Mr Gillespie to Callum Skinner’s Olympic glories in August 2016. A gripping read, a physically beautiful book and the perfect present, with a warm foreword by Grant Stott – it’s unputdownable. Buy your copy right now. And another for a friend!

1. Email the school at: to reserve a copy and arrange for collection. Price £17.99
2 Electronic payment:
TSB Sort Code: 30 13 01; Account number 00972295
• Price is £17.99 if collected from school
• Price is £21.25 if the book is to be posted.
The book will also be available for sale at various school functions in the next few weeks.
The formal launch of the book will take place on the evening of Wednesday 14 December at the school. Details to follow.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Paolozzi Art Competition

Amidst 39 nominations from 15 secondary schools in this year’s Paolozzi Art competition I am delighted to that

·         Ellie Byron was the outright winner in the category ‘Spirit of Paolozzi’

·         Anna MacKenzie was awarded a commendation for ‘Talent and Creativity’

·         Pepa Chesworth-Russell was awarded a commendation for the category ‘New Directions’

 The award ceremony took place last night at the National Gallery of Scotland on the Mound.

 Warmest congratulations to the girls for winning these prizes and continuing the JGHS winning run in this highly prestigious competition.

Sincere thanks to Stella Christie, Iona Molleson, Stephanie Troon and Jane Wood for their leadership and inspiration in supporting our charges towards this latest success.