I wish everyone connected with the school – staff, pupils and parents – a happy and prosperous new year in 2006. A list of the main events this term is enclosed at the end of this newsletter, drawn from the mailshot issued at the beginning of the academic year.
S2 and S4/5 Course Choice Information Evenings – change of date
I mentioned in the last newsletter that we intended to hold these events on February 1st and 8th February. Unfortunately, I transposed the dates in error. (As a number of S4 parents will wish to attend Mrs Mackie’s Tree of Knowledge Study Support session on Tuesday 7th February, it is not logical to ask them to come to a meeting the next night as well! Mrs Mackie is about to issue the letter about the Tree of Knowledge to S4 parents.)
The revised dates are 1st February for S4/5 parents and 8th February for S2 parents as indicated below.
Parents of pupils in S2 will soon receive a letter inviting them to the S2 Course Choice Information Evening on 8th February in the Assembly Hall at 7.30. While we issue a course choice package to all pupils and do explain the process of choosing 8 certificate subjects in S3 to PSE classes, we realize that the process can be rather daunting to parents if you have not experienced it before with an older child. Members of the Senior Management Team will explain the process in detail and will be on hand to deal with individual concerns at the end. We would encourage all S2 parents to attend.
Parents of pupils in S4 and S5 will be receiving a similar letter inviting them to the S4/5 Course Choice Information Evening on 1st February in the Assembly Hall at 7.30 as they prepare to make their choices for next year. With the development of National Certificate courses at Intermediate 1 and 2 as well as Highers and Advanced Highers, it is important to understand the importance of making a good selection of subjects which link to career patterns and university and college applications. Again, members of the Senior Management Team will explain the process in detail and will be on hand to deal with individual concerns at the end. We would encourage all S4 parents in particular to attend.
S6 pupils and several members of staff organised a Fashion Show on the final day of term and raised £734 which will be used to support various activities around the school. Miss Moore’s pantomime “Beauty and the Beast “ and her sponsored walk with pupils raised £623 for the World Vision Charity.
British Heart Foundation Launch of “Food 4 Thought”
On Wednesday 11th January, we welcomed Susan Deacon MSP and the British Heart Foundation to the school for the launch of their educational resource Food 4 Thought. The resource emphasises to pupils how healthy eating contributes to a healthy body and is a welcome resource for schools. Ms Deacon had the chance to talk to a number of pupils who are making healthy choices in the Dining Hall each day by going to the Deli Bar for a choice of healthy fillings, a variety of vegetables, drinking milk and water rather than fizzy juice. Three photographers were present, so look out for pictures in the Evening News, East Lothian Courier and elsewhere.
A reminder that a proportion of our S2 pupils will be involved in the QMUC Roadshow event on the afternoon of Tuesday 7th February. There will be a chance for the community to come to the Roadshow from 5.30 to 7.00 the same day and I would encourage people to come in even if just for 30 minutes. Pupils are welcome to come at this time too.
I am delighted to welcome two new members of staff to the school. Following Mr Whyte’s appointment as Principal Teacher of ICT at Beeslack Community High School, Mr Lynch joins the Computing Department. Following Mrs Georgeson’s appointment as PT Modern Studies at Boroughmuir High School, Mr Nicolson joins the Modern Studies Department.
Mrs Anne Graham, Depute Head Teacher and Head of Moray House, retires on 27th January. She joined us in August 1996 from Beeslack Community High School, where she had been PT Guidance. She is a highly respected colleague who handled the Guidance part of her remit with particular skill and care. The praise offered by HMIe on the work of the Guidance staff is in no small part due to her leadership and commitment. We all wish her well in her retirement.
She is about to become involved with the children’s mental health charity Penumbra and we have had a speaker from this organisation talking at assemblies this week. I have agreed that the last day of her time here, 27th January, can be a Non-Uniform Day, with pupils donating money to this worthwhile charity. She is also organizing a “Bring and Buy” activity in that final week
The S5/6 reports were issued just before the Christmas holiday to pupils. I cannot stress enough how important it is to digest teacher comments and advice at this stage of the year: Preliminary examinations will soon be upon the senior school and good results provide an important safety net for the national examinations in May. Act now on advice and do not leave it until after the preliminary examinations.
The S4 reports are imminent also. Much of the report will be about a pupil’s performance at the preliminary examinations in November, but it is important to refer to the target which has been set for the national examinations in May and to the comments which have been made. These targets are achievable by hard work and perseverance for the remainder of the year: at this stage, nothing can be taken for granted. If a pupil wishes to sit a Higher course next year, they must achieve Grade 1 or 2.
Many S4 pupils have worked hard and done well in these preliminary examinations – well done. Some others have discovered that gaps in their knowledge have led to disappointing results. They can improve if they learn lessons from this and prepare better next time. For all S4 pupils, the next target is to ensure the submission of all internal coursework to the best standard they can reach. Good internal coursework can help them reach their target grade if they have a bad day in their examinations in May.
Our normal supplier of school uniform – Thomson’s – has closed down in Musselburgh and now operates from Dalkeith. Should you wish to purchase school uniform then you will see from the attached price list, that this can be done by contacting the shop or the school. We are keen to assist parents in any way possible in the purchase of correct school uniform.
Important dates this term
Wednesday 25th January
S3 Parents’ Evening at 7pm
Wednesday 1st February
S4/5 Course Choice Information Evening at 7.30pm
Tuesday 7th February
Queen Margaret University Roadshow 5.30 pm to 7pm
S4 Parents Tree of Knowledge Study Support Evening
Wednesday 8th February
S2 Course Choice Information Evening at 7.30 pm
Thursday 9th February
Monday 13th – Wednesday 15th February inclusive
Holiday for pupils
Thursday 16th February
Start of S5/6 Preliminary Examinations
Wednesday 1st March
S2 Parents’ Evening at 7pm
Thursday 16th March
S3 examinations start
Friday 31st March
Final day of term, close at 12.30
Tuesday 18th April
School restarts for staff and pupils at 8.45 am