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JGHS Newsletter

March 2003

Diary Dates
James Gillespie
Headteachers Remarks

I ask you this month to read carefully the two items below on attendance at school and Dress Code. We should now be able to publish next month some details of our bi-centenary plans for the year ahead. Many former students have sent us their email address. 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. A bit more about our history:

James Gillespie's school proved so popular that it soon outgrew the original building near the grounds of the 'hospital' in Gillespie Crescent. In 1870 the old men and women were moved out of the ‘hospital’. This may sound quite heartless but this was not a hospital, as we know it, but rather a home for the poor. The original school building was demolished and shops and tenements were built between 37 and 43 Bruntsfield Place. Just think: if these substantial buildings are ever demolished perhaps archaeologists of the future will un-cover evidence of the original school.

Once the 'hospital' was cleared, the building became a very popular school for over 1000 five and a half to thirteen year olds although were actually 1700 applications for places. The old sepia photographs which feature on the web site and in the school calendar, show the scene inside the new school. One major change was from a totally free school to the need to pay some nominal fees. The school flourished on this site for the next 26 years managed by the Merchant Company until it again outgrew its space.


Colin Finlayson

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Iraq War - Attendance issues.

A number of organizations are encouraging school students to attend anti-war demonstrations during school time. Whilst we recognize that many children and adults have strong convictions about the war, the school has conveyed a clear line to all students about absenting themselves from school. We cannot give permission for any young person to absent themselves from school for political purposes. It is also not acceptable for a parent to write to school seeking to authorize the absence since the law is clear that it is the responsibility of parents is to ensure their children attend school. We are also concerned for the safety of children who leave school. All absences related to anti-war demonstrations will therefore be recorded as truancy from school.

This does not indicate the school is adopting a pro-war or anti-war stance. It would be improper for us to do so. Our responsibility and duty is to record attendance, to encourage students to be responsible learners, and to keep you informed. These are difficult times for all of us and feelings are running high. We are urging restraint and calm, considered responses in line with our school ethos and value statements.

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Dress Code

During the past few months, we have conducted, along with the School Board, a major consultation on a Dress Code for the School. The consultation was with staff, students and parents (the School Board posted a questionnaire to parents asking for their views).

As you would expect, a variety of views were expressed. Staff on the whole felt that there was a place for improving the dress code of the school. We carried out a formal consultation with students during personal and social education lessons and teaching staff were impressed by the intelligent and mature way in which students considered the options. While some groups agreed with the staff view, on the whole students felt that given the nature of James Gillespie’s a formal dress code was not needed. It was clear from an analysis of the response to their survey (36% response from parents), it was clear that a majority of parents responding were not in favour of a change and the School Board expressed the following view that "Parents are strongly opposed to the introduction of a traditional school uniform. If there is to be any change in policy parents have a weak preference for option 3 (informal uniform). However, many parents have stated very strong reservations about the introduction of a uniform of any sort. If the School decided to introduce a uniform, it appears that it would be difficult to enforce. A significant number of pupils would not comply and would be fully supported by parent."

The Board of Management of the school have considered all these views and have decided that the clear majority of the stakeholders in our school feel strongly that a more formal dress code is not required for James Gillespie’s, but that we should define more clearly the current position in defining the kind of clothing that is acceptable in school. We will therefore be considering very carefully how to improve the dress code so that dress more appropriate to school is worn.

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Literacy Corner

During the past few months, we have conducted, along with the School Board, a major consultation on a Dress Code for the School. The consultation was with staff, students and parents (the School Board posted a questionnaire to parents asking for their views).

As you would expect, a variety of views were expressed. Staff on the whole felt that there was a place for improving the dress code of the school. We carried out a formal consultation with students during personal and social education lessons and teaching staff were impressed by the intelligent and mature way in which students considered the options. While some groups agreed with the staff view, on the whole students felt that given the nature of James Gillespie’s a formal dress code was not needed. It was clear from an analysis of the response to their survey (36% response from parents), it was clear that a majority of parents responding were not in favour of a change and the School Board expressed the following view that "Parents are strongly opposed to the introduction of a traditional school uniform. If there is to be any change in policy parents have a weak preference for option 3 (informal uniform). However, many parents have stated very strong reservations about the introduction of a uniform of any sort. If the School decided to introduce a uniform, it appears that it would be difficult to enforce. A significant number of pupils would not comply and would be fully supported by parent."

The Board of Management of the school have considered all these views and have decided that the clear majority of the stakeholders in our school feel strongly that a more formal dress code is not required for James Gillespie’s, but that we should define more clearly the current position in defining the kind of clothing that is acceptable in school. We will therefore be considering very carefully how to improve the dress code so that dress more appropriate to school is worn.
.

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Staff Changes

ÿ Good Wishes to Charles Davies Cole after 21 years of service to young people at James Gillespie’s.

ÿ To Frank Docherty who retired as Technician in our Design & Technology Department.

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Help for Parents

'Parentline Scotland’ is a free confidential telephone helpline for parents or carers to call about any problem or worry concerning a child. If you or anyone you know would find it helpful please call them on 0808 800 2222.
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Rugby Ball !

Signed by the team and used in
International Match.

Support your PTA by phoning or emailing your offer - starting at only £10!

Closing date Monday 31 March 2003 at midnight!

Contact: aefairley@msn.com OR
Anne @ 667 2733

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Congratulations

To Myolin Chetty who graduated from Newcastle University with a Mb BS (Medicine) and to M Elliot who graduated with a BSc Hons in Software Engineering.

Here are 2 of the poems by Astrid and Liam:

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Diary Dates

March 25th School Board and Parent Teacher Association at 7.00 p.m.
March 27th 2nd Year parents’ consultation evening from 7 p.m. onwards - non-practical subjects
April 3rd Music Department Spring Fling
April 7th Easter Holidays!
22 April School re-starts after the holiday

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