our school


December 2002

Parents Network
Quiz Night
December Diary Dates
James Gillespie
Headteachers Remarks

This is the last newsletter before we enter our bi-centenary year. Please help us by encouraging all current and former students to log on to our database alumni@jghs.edin.sch.uk to leave their email address and for information. We warmly invite you all to participate in our first two major events:

Buy the Gillespie’s Bi-Centenary calendar - photographs of the school throughout its history in a desk diary format. This high quality calendar has been commercially produced and is on sale from the school office for £4.00
Join us at the Lyceum on 28 January for what will be an amazing Gillespie event! The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie written by famous former pupil Muriel Spark is being performed and through the initiative of our parent teacher association we have booked the whole Lyceum for a Gillespie night. This will be not just a performance of the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, but also a celebration of what the legacy of James Gillespie
produced. Put this date in your diary - further details very soon.

On behalf of all the Gillespie’s community, I wish all your a very peaceful and happy Christmas.

Colin Finlayson

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James Gillespie left £12,000 in his will to establish a hospital for poor men and women who were aged (those over 55!). £2,700 was left to establish a school for poor boys (a new secondary school today costs about £20 million!). The Gillespie Trust was established and it bought a building know as ‘Wrichtis House’ and a few acres of ground at the West end of Bruntsfield Links. The building was demolished and the hospital and school built.

The school opened in 1803 for 65 poor boys aged 6- 12 years. The boys had to have certificates proving their poverty and that at the time of their enrolment they were free from disease! Gillespie’s is believed to be the first free school erected in Scotland.

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Aline Kirkland

Aline is in 1st year and recently won the finals of the British Youth Climbing Series in her category, making her
the British under 13 girls champion. She was part of the South of Scotland team, which achieved 2nd place out of 10.

S2 and S3 pupils

Poems written by a number of students are to be published in an anthology called "The Write Stuff - Lothian". Students who work is published will be contacted, so parents can make orders for the books.

4th Year Football Team

A long winning run of games was continued on Saturday with a great game and a 3-1 win for Gillespie’s against Broughton on Saturday. This puts the team at the top of the league!

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Maths News

UK Maths Challenge

Forty-two students from 5th & 6th year recently entered the United Kingdom Senior Maths Challenge. They achieved 2 Gold, 4 Silver and 12 Bronze awards. This is a very demanding challenge and we are very pleased with the results.

Special congratulations go to Joel Raffel who got a very high score and has now been invited to participate in the British Maths Olympiad. We wish him well.

Maths and Problem Solving/Outdoor Weekend

Chris Kelly, Sunil Bhopal and Ruofan Liao, all in 6th year recently spent a weekend (along with Mr Benicki of the maths department) at Lagganlia outdoor centre on a problem solving and maths course. They came back full of enthusiasm for what had been an exciting and fun weekend. They even learned something!

About 36 sixth year students from the Lothians took part. One of our students quoted "It was really funny - everybody who was there said they expected it to be a real bunch of geeks who went - but we were all perfectly normal!"

The weekend is held every year
and is open to anyone studying
maths in 6th year.

Current 5th year students can
get more detail from the 3 boys
or from Mr Benicki
or Ms Seator.

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Sport News

Celebration of Sporting Achievement

The City of Edinburgh
is recognizing children
who have achieved
sporting success by inviting them to a reception at the City Chambers on 6th December. Two girls have been nominated to attend this reception:

Roya Arabshahi in 2nd Year has represented East of Scotland many times in badminton and has also represented East of Scotland playing tennis at Wimbledon this year

Jade McCabe in 5th year has represented Great Britain at Tae Kwon Do in the European Championships.

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Water Aid

S2 Geography classes, as part of their Water & Health Unit, have decided to repeat the very successful Water Aid charity appeal launched in 2001.

Every student in the school will be encouraged to consider making a regular subscription-style contribution. The appeal aims to help to cooperate with the international agency Water Aid to improve water quality in Asia and Africa.

Every year group will receive a presentation, which stresses the link between water, disease and poverty and focuses on the need to help people to help them to improve the quality of supply.

Each pupil is asked to consider giving 50p - the price of a can of Coke - per week for 6 weeks.

This project encourages responsibility for other people in our world – please encourage your child to give to this project.


Literacy Corner

Parents - Why Don't You...

Encourage your child to do word puzzles. (It really helps to keep a Thesaurus and an atlas handy for crosswords.)

Shore Poets

Congratulations to Amy Russell and Claire Chatterley (6th Year) and Astrid Brown and Liam Power (3rd Year) who participated in the Shore Poets Open Night on 24th November. The poems they read were very well received and many in the audience commented on the quality of their contributions. The Shore Poets meet on the last Sunday of every month in the Canons' Gait pub on the Royal Mile at 8 pm - pupils (3rd Year and above) are welcome, but must be accompanied by parents.

Such Strange Joy - ten years of Shore Poets is the group's third anthology and is available from Mr Crosbie (W5) for £7.99, or £7.00 per copy if two or more are ordered. An interesting Christmas present, perhaps? All royalties go to support Shore Poets.

Here are 2 of the poems by Astrid and Liam:

My Pet Turkey
After Jo Shapcott by Astrid Brown

I take care of my turkey,
I hide it at Christmas
And never talk about stuffing.

He's better than a hoover,
Gobbling up all the crumbs
And it doesn't need plugging in.

My turkey pecks me on the cheek when I'm down.
"Keep your pecker up," he says.

Vodka by Liam Power

I am God of slur,
the daze master.
I have been brewed
to great effect.
My strong sickening taste
destroys all meaning,
My after-effects are punishing.
The relentless sickening
inspires my educating detention.

Can’t get your child to read?

We've asked our Library and Resource Centre Manager, Anne Inglis to recommend a few titles in good time for Christmas. This is what she came up with...

Where to start?

There are so many good books out there for teenagers just now. Here are just a few suggestions:

Boys love all of the titles by Darren Shan .. even the most reluctant reader will respond to these.

"Angel factory" by Terence Blacker would suit S1/2 pupils.

The mysterious Lemony Snicket writes "a series of unfortunate events" all 3 titles are proving very popular

"Holes" "There's a boy in the girl's bathroom" or "The boy who lost his face" all by Louis Sachar are good for S2/3.

"Secret heart" or any other titles by David Almond are excellent titles for S1.

"The basic eight" by Daniel Handler would suit S4/5

More good titles can be seen in the latest issue of Teen Titles in the School Library.

Happy Christmas reading!

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Music News


A number of our students are involved in this years fund raising concert for the charity Childline on Tuesday 3 December. Items are to be presented by Edinburgh Schools Jazz Band, Concert Band and Guitar Ensemble in what always proves to be an enjoyable event.

Tickets are available at the door.

CAROL CONCERT - McEWAN HALL - Wednesday 18 December, 7.30 p.m.

We are now in the final stages of preparation for the Carol Concert. We have over 400 performers lined up to present a selection of Christmas music. Items are to be presented by our string orchestra, wind band, jazz band, guitar/clarsach ensemble and choirs. Once again we welcome performers from our associate primaries.

The Carol Concert is to be held in the magnificent McEwan Hall, which belongs to Edinburgh University and is used for graduation ceremonies and large conferences. Already our bands, orchestras and ensembles are rehearsing with Christmas in mind! Choirs will start later this month and are open to all students. Please book this date in your diary and buy tickets early to avoid disappointment! Tickets, priced £4.00/£2.00 are available from the foyer in School during intervals and at other times from the office. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Parent Network

14 of us met this month to discuss the role of ‘parents as friends or limit setters’ – we shared views and experiences in a useful meeting.

The next meeting is on Wednesday 5 February in the staff room when we will be discussing and sharing views on "What the parent role could be at home - part of the inclusive Gillespie’s culture involving parent support for young people at home". Please do join us for a stimulating discussion!


Quiz Night

The Gillespie’s Quiz night returns on 22nd January 2003.

This is our 6th year of working with the PTA to organize a quiz night.

Get your team ready, as this will be a fun night for all..

Tickets on sale in January



This 2003 French
Exchange will take
place May and June –
the group from Luçon
hopes to arrive
here in May, and we
hope to go to France
at the end of June 2003.
Pupils in S2 and S3 are eligible to take part and have already received information. There will be an informal meeting for families who are interested in taking part in the staff room on Thursday 5 December
at 7.30 pm.


Tuesday 4th December School Board Meeting
Thursday 12th December 2nd year Christmas party 6.30 - 9.00 p.m.
Monday 16th December 1st year Christmas party (afternoon)
Wednesday 18th December Carol Concert in McEwan Hall at 7.30 p.m.
Friday 20th December Christmas holidays begin!

Monday 6 January Term begins at 8.30 a.m.
Thursday 14th January PTA and School Board Meetings
Monday 27th January S3 Parents’ Consultation Meeting at 7.00 p.m.

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