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JGHS - Newsletter - October 2003

From the Head Teacher leaving.

My years at James Gillespie’s have been a great privilege for me, working with the staff, parents and the fantastic young people who pass though our school.

Gillespie’s has a long and proud academic tradition. In recent years we have been able to extend that tradition by developing an ethos that is in tune with modern society. It is a different tradition from the Gillespie’s of history. But, tradition needs to be continually updated so that it is appropriate for the children of today. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate described the Gillespie’s of 2002 as having ‘a culture which promotes high levels of attainment and mutual respect and understanding between pupils from diverse cultures’. We could not, I think, ask for more.

I wish you all continued success in working together to provide high quality education for our young people.

Colin Finlayson

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From the Head Teacher starting.

Our bicentenary year has been an exciting one for all of us. It is also a significant year in that Colin leaves us today to take up his secondment with the City of Edinburgh Council.

I am, I hope, known to the young people and parents of our school since I have been Assistant Head Teacher and Depute Head Teacher over the past 12 years. I am delighted to be taking over as the Head Teacher, and there is nowhere else I would rather be.

Gillespie’s is a wonderful school to work in as Colin’s quote from the HMI indicates. I look forward to consolidating the excellent reputation of the school and I have a number of ideas for further developing our high levels of achievement.

I would like to publicly thank Colin for his excellent leadership throughout his time here. I promise you that I will give my all to ensuring that JGHS carries onwards and upwards.

Alex. Wallace

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Attendance Guidelines

'We now have new instructions from the Scottish Executive on requests for Family holidays taken during term. These mean that the school cannot normally authorize absence for this purpose since there is a legal responsibility on parents to ensure their children attend school. The attendance record will for children absent for holidays will therefore be marked as "Unauthorized Absence". We clearly do not wish any child to have this on their record; so family holidays during term should be avoided, since holidays can only be legitimately taken within the school holidays.

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Your P.T.A. has launched the Hundred Club.

HOW IT WORKS: You buy one ticket for £10 (more than one if you like) and receive a draw number for the year. Three times a year there will be a draw with 3 prizes, so 9 chances to win cash. From the ticket money 50% will be returned in prizes and 50% will go to PTA funds.

HOW DO I JOIN: Forms will be available at most school events or from Melanie Dougal via the school office or come to a PTA meeting and get one there. We are hoping this will be a simple but effective way to raise funds for PTA/school projects in the future. We hope you will agree and support the
idea. Thank you and Good Luck.

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Poetry Competition

Congratulations to Stefan Ebmeier and Anna Wallace who won prizes in the Scottish Book Trust/ Royal Mail competition for their poems on theme of 'Transformation'

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Book Corner

We had the opportunity to carry out consultancy work for Edinburgh publisher Barrington Stoke who specialize in books for reluctant readers. 2nd year students Iona Anderson, Ellie Bate, Kim Donohoe, Eilidh Harper, Claire Kennedy, Naomi Krug, Kirsty McCaskill and Josie Vallely participated. In return for their feedback each students received a free copy of the novel House of Lazarus by James Lovegrove with their names printed inside.------------

Lost property

Due to the limited space and vast amount of lost property within the school, lost property will only be kept for one month in the Medical Room. Property not claimed within this time will have to be
disposed of. A notice will
be placed in the Pupil
Bulletin every month
advising pupils to check the
Lost Property before this happens


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After School Sports

We offer a wide range of activities. Although some activities, like football, involve the best players competing against other schools, all levels of ability are encouraged to come along. Participation is more important than skill! After October indoors, and when possible, outdoor football is open to all who would like to play, and not just for the competitive teams.

Although most clubs are well attended, we have space for more participants and in particular students from 1st year.

We offer parents a challenge! Have you encouraged your child to take part in one of the sporting activities offered? Please do encourage their participation and take advantage of what is being offered.

Mondays: Football
Introduction to Break Dance
Tuesdays: Badminton
Break Dance
Table Tennis
Girls Football
Wednesday Basketball (girls)
Break Dance
Thursday Basketball (boys)
Swimming Fitness
1st year Netball
Friday Volleyball


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PTA Disco

We are holding our first disco for 3rd/4th years on 16th October (next one for 1st/2nd years on 19th November). We are hoping it will be a good fun night for our teenagers. Tickets will be available at school - announced at assembly - first come first served so get them quickly! If any parents would like to help (possible remuneration) then please contact Anne Fairley 667 2733.


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Once again, JGHS students achieved fantastic results in their grade exams at the end of summer term with every student passing their exam, and some with distinction. Well done!

Clarsach Performers

We are lucky in having many talented youngsters learning clarsach and their playing has been much in demand of late!
Many thanks to all who have given up their time to perform at various events and functions within the last couple of months.
Bridget Bradley and Alicia Dawes-Salazar provided music for the Church of the Good Shepherd's annual fayre and Cairistiona MacKinnon has provided music for the opening of a new Edinburgh Tour with MSPs present.
The above students were joined by Ramsay MacMahon and Donna Kelly who performed at a retiral lunch, which the Director of Education hosted, and the group also performed the following evening at the school's Bicentenary Celebration weekend. Thanks again to all those students involved.

JGHS Rock Night

This will take place on Thursday 6th November from 7-9 pm and promises to be a noisy night once again! Nine top bands from the school will performing - tickets are £3 and on sale the week before during break in the foyer and on the night.

Bicentenary Concert - 18th December

Rehearsals are well underway for the return to the Usher Hall and all bands, groups and choirs are building up to the event!
Weekly rehearsals are as follows and all students must attend:

String Orchestra Wednesdays at 3.30 pm
Senior Wind Band Fridays at 12.40 pm
Guitar Group Wednesdays at 3.05 pm
Clarsach Group Wednesdays at 3.05 pm
Junior Wind Band Wednesdays at 3.05 pm
Senior Choir Tuesdays at 3.45 pm
S2/3 Choir Thursdays at 3.45 pm
S1 Choir Mondays at lunchtime

In addition, the flute ensemble continues to rehearse weekly.

Edinburgh Schools Rock Concert 27th October

This convert in the Queen's Hall features bands from many Edinburgh schools, including two from JGHS: 'Ziolowski' and 'Skobee'. The guys need as much support as possible as it is a fierce competition! Tickets are £3 and will be available from Mrs O’Brien in the Music Department.

British Open Band Championships

Congratulations to Gordon Jenkins who teaches brass at JGHS who won the prize for best soloist on soprano trumpet at the above competition. This is a very prestigious event and Mr Jenkins has achieved a remarkable success as he was playing against the top musicians in the country. Well done also to Mr Jenkins' band who came in an overall 2nd in the competition.


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October Dates

1st Quiz Night – Unfortunately we have had to cancel this event meantime.
8th PTA Committee
14th School Board at 7.00 p.m. Please note change of date from 7th October)
13th Work Experience week for 4th year students
13th-17th American Exchange
15th Primary 7 Parents Tour the school
20th-24th October holiday week
27th Staff resume
28th Students resume


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