Friday, 30 March 2018

Thursday 29 March

  1. Well done to our fantastic S1 pupils and 20 + staff who contributed so enthusiastically to a highly successful S1 residential last weekend in Lockerbie.
  2. Thanks to everyone who participated in and, in so many ways, supported pupil involvement in our School’s Spring Fling concert and the series of city wide Resonate events.  Apologies to anyone who was not able to attend some or all of our Spring Fling. We will be looking to using a larger venue from 2019.
  3. Best wishes to pupils in S4, 5 and 6 who will be continuing to work on exam revision during the holiday. As previously advised, staff are offering a programme of revision classes during the holiday. These are free to all students.  
  4. Here is a short video of the workshop by the SCO who visited us at the end of January to work with some S3 Music pupils and S2 percussionists. The pupils did brilliantly and it was a great experience overall.
  5. Thanks to members of our Parent Council and Pupil Voice for supporting our continuing campaign to get wifi access on the school campus for pupils in S4, 5 and 6 to access revision materials during exam leave.
  6. Lovely to see the pupils from Collège Pierre Matraja (near Marseilles) integrating so well into Edinburgh life this week. Huge thanks to the families who are hosting our visitors and to Mr Ponte for overseeing the arrangements.  
  7. We enjoyed our visit by pupils and staff from Saijo high school in Japan yesterday afternoon. It was uplifting to hear the pupils talking so enthusiastically to each other about the importance of recycling and managing resources in a sustainable way.
  8. All are on holiday from 340 Pm today until 830 Am on the morning of Tuesday 17 April.

And finally,

I take this opportunity of wishing all a wonderful Easter holiday.

Donald j Macdonald

Friday, 23 March 2018

Friday 23 March

  1. Term ends at 3.40pm on Thursday 29 March
  2. Pupils in years 4, 5 and 6 will be working hard for exams during the next few weeks – Easter revision classes timetable is now available on the school website.
  3. By contrast, no formal homework will be set for pupils in S1,2 and 3. They are expected to read each day and spend quality time with family and friends in the Scottish sunshine.
  4. Our Police Link officer has requested I remind all that in no way should parents/family members attempt or seek to find the perpetrator when pupils have fallen out. School staff will deal with such matters and liaise with the Police as appropriate.
  5. Well done to -
    1. Catriona Forrest and Evie Tynan, both in S3, who won Class Academy Sailors of the Year 2017 at the RYA Scotland awards ceremony last month.
    2. Elena Santoya-Brown who is currently on tour with the Scotland U17 women's football squad at the Elite Round stage of the European Championships.
    3. Lucia Montgomery in S4 who won the overall first place medal for JGHS this week in the Edinburgh schools cross country league.
    4. the senior girls netball team who WON against Sgoil Ghaidhlig Ghlaschu on Monday to qualify for the finals day which is at the Oriam performance centre at Heriot Watt University on Friday 23rd March.
  6. Fantastic news from the Huntingdon’s association Scotland Poetry writing competition where we have swept the boards in the under 16s category .ALL 5 FINALISTS come from Gillespie’s s2!
a.       Evie Wright
b.       Luke Boyle
c.       Jasper Harris
d.       Lucy Robertson
e.       Elizabeth Mole
Additionally, the following students were commended by the judges:
  • Anna Grothey
  • Ekke Mottus
  • Laila Flores-Rueda
  • Alex Moir-Barnetson
  • Daniel Rybtsov
  • Chayvonne Blue
  1. Bon voyage to the 185 S1 pupils and the intrepid 2o staff who are invading Lockerbie this weekend for a couple of days of outdoor activities.
  2. We have a group of pupils and staff from Japan joining us next Wednesday afternoon to share practices on recycling and sustainability.
  3. This week’s Parent Council was well attended and had two main items on the agenda. 
    1. With Parent Council support we managed to persuade the City of Edinburgh Council to consider giving wifi access to senior pupils to CEC whilst in the school building during exam leave.
    2. Secondly, the challenges around rising school rolls was discussed. A special meeting may be arranged in May with Council Officers to discuss how an extra 200-500 pupils will be accommodated and provided for at JGHS over the next 8 years.
  4. As we go to press I am awaiting confirmation as to whether our French visitors will make it to Scotland or have to postpone as a result of Air Controller strikes in France.

And finally, have a lovely weekend and remember that clocks go forward this weekend so an hour less in bed for all!

Donald j Macdonald

My Quote of the week: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”

Friday, 16 March 2018

Friday 16 March

1.       Spring Fling takes place on Wednesday 21 March.
2.       The city wide Resonate concert takes place on Thursday 22 March. Best wishes to all who are involved in both concerts.
3.       Our next Parent Council is on Tuesday 20 March. Agenda items will include:
a.       Wifi access for pupils and visitors – Lorna Sweeney (Senior Education Manger) will be in attendance to advise on progress on the request for senior pupils and visitors to the school campus to be able to gain internet access using personal devices.
b.       Increasing pupil population and accommodation arrangements for the future.
4.       Our S1 residential takes place from Friday 23 March. Here’s hoping for warmer weather than of late. Parents are reminded that pupils involved will not be expected to bring school equipment/books next Friday. Thanks to Ms Smith (RME and Psychology teacher) for leading on this.
5.       Staff and pupils in years 4,5 and 6, have been very busy in recent days in ensuring that exam related assignments have been completed by the stated deadlines. Thanks to all for your support with this.
6.       Planning is now underway for next year’s South Africa Trip in February 2019. Parents of S5 are asked to look out for communications related to this.
7.       School will finish this term at the usual time of 3.40 pm on Thursday 29 March.
8.       Work has recently begun on updating our current website. It is planned to launch an updated version in the Autumn of 2018.
9.       On Thursday 22 March we look forward to welcoming 30 French students and three teachers to the Scottish leg of our exchange with Collège Pierre Matraja which is based near the coastal Mediterranean town of Sausset-les-Pins near Marseille. Thanks to all the families who are hosting!
10.   Well done to:
a.       Cameron Hook and Stuart Mackay (both S5) who have both been selected to play for the Scottish U20 Men’s National Volleyball Team in the upcoming European Small Countries Division taking place between Thursday 22nd March and Monday 26th March.
b.       Jess Casot in S3 who, next week, will be the Deputy Stage Manager for a production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers with Edinburgh Grand Opera in the Churchill Theatre.  Jess has been lucky enough to be mentored by professionals from the National Theatre of Scotland and Scottish Opera and is shadowing the lighting designer to gain new skills she can put into practice in the school’s own theatre in future.
11.   All visitors to the school are asked to be especially careful and mindful of pedestrians, especially younger children, when exiting either of the school car parks.
12.   All parents/carers are requested to complete the current school survey.  The information gained by us will help us to improve what we do.
13.   Please continue to share news of pupils’ achievements with me so that I can add to my weekly update.

And finally, returning to the theme of snow, you may be aware that there is snow forecast for later this weekend. Should there be an impact on schools, this will be shared with parents via text and email as previously.
Have a great weekend.


Donald j Macdonald

Quote of the week: “A few years ago, the city council of Monza, Italy, barred pet owners from keeping goldfish in curved bowls... saying that it is cruel to keep a fish in a bowl with curved sides because, gazing out, the fish would have a distorted view of reality. But how do we know we have the true, undistorted picture of reality?’’  (Stephen Hawking)