Glasgow City Council Welcome to Holyrood Secondary School

Head Teacher's Blog

 

HT Blog

Friday 10th October 2014

“Never was faithful prayer lost. Some prayers have a longer voyage than others, but then they return with their richer lading at last, so that the praying soul is a gainer by waiting for an answer.”                      William Gurnall.

Thank you so much to all those staff who rose from their slumber at 3 am last week to head for Alton Towers with our 300 Senior Phase students. Our young people had a fantastic day and their conduct was exemplary. Their conduct even prompted a phone call from the coach company to congratulate our pupils on their behaviour and on how careful they were in keeping the coach tidy and clean.

Congratulations to our SFA footballers in S1. They played in the national tournament with the other 7 schools and were undefeated in all games. Coach Brian McLaughlin was delighted with their skill and application.

Thanks to all those staff who are running Sports Teams and lunchtime and after school activities. Music and Drama are offering a host of lunchtime and after school activities and we have thriving Junior and Senior Public Speaking Groups. Young people in Holyrood are receiving fantastic opportunities to develop their skills in a host of areas. Our Netball clubs go from strength to strength with a foreign tour planned for June 2015 to Malta. Our Rugby teams have performed very creditably over the past 2 weeks in Glasgow mini tournaments, continuing to get results against schools with a far longer rugby tradition than ourselves. Well done to all our football coaches for girls and boys with a host of games taking place over the past 3 weeks as the season gets in to full swing. U/18s had an impressive 5-0 win against last year’s Scottish Cup finalists Springburn in the Cameronian Cup. Congratulations to Abby Callaghan of S2 for her involvement in the Scotland squad. Congratulations also to Lewis Mayo and Stephen Kelly on their selection once again for the Scotland U/15 squad from which next year’s Victory Shield squad will be chosen. Stephen and Lewis already featured against Switzerland U/15s in September.

Thanks to Mrs O’Shea and to Home Economics staff and students for their wonderful work in preparing for and delivering World Porridge Day. Pupils raised some funds for Mary’s Meals but staff and students worked really hard to ensure excellent awareness of the wonderful work of the Mary’s Meals Charity. Special thanks to S6 student Alisha Medford for her inspirational reflection.

Well done to Miss Leyden and her supporting team who organised a Wacky Wig Day on Friday to try to raise money for the new Glasgow Children’s Hospice.

Work starts on the roof of the building on the Albert Road side after the October break. This will continue until after Christmas. We have been in discussion with City Council representatives and with involved contractors to ensure we have a clear picture of the programme of work and have been involved in plans to minimise disruption and ensure health and safety.

Today I had the privilege of visiting one of our S3 Biology classes as part of a Dragon’s Den judging team looking at an educational and enterprise initiative around “DNA bracelets”. Mrs Gibson’s class had some fantastic ideas and the Dragons, including me, have agreed to fund their project.

In the 2 weeks after the October break we shall be working with the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow organisation to engage our S5 and S6 in a better understanding of their work and to ask students to consider being a future donor.

Have a great weekend and, for those managing a longer break at this time of year, enjoy that.

 

 

Friday 12th September 2014

The true calling of a Christian is not to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.

A. P. Stanley

It’s been another busy week at Holyrood, especially for senior students. Students attended the Independence Debate at the Hydro, broadcast on BBC on Thursday evening. In addition, we had two days of interviews designed to choose the Holyrood Malawi Team 2015. We had over 100 applications in the end, interviewed 55 students and will take a party of 36. All those who applied were called together to receive written notice of whether they have been successful in the selection process. I am so sorry for those who were not successful but the quality of candidates was exceptional.

Elections took place this week for our pupil leadership team from S6. Candidates nominated by fellow pupils were interviewed by a panel of staff and a short leet of candidates was identified. These students then made a speech to S6 Assembly and all senior students as well as staff voted. After this ballot, the following appointments were made. Head Girl is Ciara Heath. Head Boy is Ryan McSorley. Vice Captains are Lauren Livingstone, Amy Baxter, Calum Scott and Michael O’Donnell.

I hope as many parents and staff as possible can support our Holyrood Feast Week over these 3 days of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Mass takes place on each of those 3 days in the morning at 8.25 in the Oratory. We would be especially happy to see parents and carers bringing their children to mass. In addition, on Monday evening at 7 pm we have our S1 Mass of Welcome. All first years and their parents are invited. Thanks to all staff who accompanied pupils to the UCAS day, the Hydro debate and who will accompany pupils to the Celtic game on Saturday.

Have a great weekend

Friday 5th September, Feast of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Preparations are well under way for our Alton Towers trip in October. Thanks to colleagues who have volunteered to help by accompanying S4/5/6 students on Friday 3rd October 2014, setting off at 4 am. All coaches are now full and I have a small number of pupils on our reserve list.

Interviews take place this week to decide which students will be offered places for the 2015 Malawi Team. As always we received over 90 high calibre applications and we are interviewing 49 students. I feel so sorry for many excellent students who were not selected for interview. We hope to take from 30 to 36 students to Malawi. We have to make the selection as early as this in order to get the best deals on flights and so that the Team members have the maximum amount of time to fundraise.

I’m grateful to Celtic Football Club once again for offering us tickets for the MaestRio Charity game on Sunday. A number of senior pupils and staff have been able to use the tickets.

S4 had a vibrant extended Assembly today, led by Ruth Scott of Yozilla, to help students get an early focus on their career plans and allow them to begin to plan pathways over the next few years.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 29th August 2014

“Fighting for one's freedom, struggling towards being free, is like struggling to be a poet or a good Christian or a good Jew or a good Muslim or good Zen Buddhist. You work all day long and achieve some kind of level of success by nightfall, go to sleep and wake up the next morning with the job still to be done. So you start all over again.”                                    Maya Angelou

Great to see so many clubs and activities for young people already started with clubs running at lunchtime and after school. These clubs and activities can only run with the extraordinary commitment of staff who give so freely of their own time.

Thanks also to all those who have volunteered to accompany pupils on the trip to Alton Towers in October. Deposits will be collected from S4, 5 and 6 students in the Assembly Hall from 8.15 to 8.45 on Monday.

We have had some extended assemblies in the first couple of weeks of the new timetable in order to ensure that the big messages are getting out to our young people. These exceptional assemblies should settle down by the middle of next week. Assemblies then will be the normal shorter ones and we’ll try to use PSE time for extended assemblies where necessary. Alisha Medford of S6, and former student Eoghan McFadden did brilliantly last week in giving a report on the work of the 2014 Malawi Team.

We had an inspirational visit on Friday from 2 former pupils;

Derek McManus , Chief Operating Officer for Telefonica in the UK, voted among the top ten business people of the year in the UK and Christine McGrory, Entrepreneur and top business woman, voted among the 5 most influential women in Scotland.

They spoke warmly of their time at Holyrood Secondary and gave a great flavour of their own business and employment journey, taking the rough with the smooth. They brought young colleagues and associates with them who spoke about the determination and commitment required to succeed and who also made it clear that different young people will have different routes to finding successful employment, including the fact that for many people this does not have to include going to University. We are indebted to Derek, Christine and their associates for taking the team out of a hectic schedule to share their stories and talents with us.

Thanks to staff who accompanied students to the Celtic game on Tuesday. I feel I should apologise for getting the tickets!

Congratulations to Stephen Kelly and Lewis Mayo of S3 who join the Scotland U/15 squad next weekend to prepare for an international match against Switzerland.

I’d better get home in reasonable time tonight. It’s my daughter’s birthday!

Have a great weekend.

 

Friday 22nd August

 “You may depend  upon it that he is a good man whose intimate friends are all good, and whose enemies are decidedly bad.”

Johann Kaspar Lavater

Thanks to all Senior students and to parents for your forbearance as we have sought to resolve timetable issues for students in S5 and S6 in particular. Thanks also to staff in the school who continue to work hard, including liaising with other Southside schools, to try to resolve any remaining issues.

At S5 Assembly today, and in assemblies next week, students from this year’s Malawi Team, Alisha Medford and Eoghan McFadden, delivered an informative and moving presentation on the work of the 2014 Malawi Team. They will continue presentations to all year groups next week.

Application forms for Team Malawi 2015 will be distributed at S6 Assembly on Monday, having been given to interested S5 students today. Arrangements are also beginning for a trip to Alton Towers for S4, 5 and 6 in October.

The term began with a huge turnover of staff in Holyrood. Almost 30 new teachers have joined us, including new Principal Teacher of Modern Languages Ms MacInnes and new Principal Teacher of PE Ms Fleming. We are delighted to welcome this influx of energetic new talent to join the equally energetic but slightly more experienced talent already here. We especially hope that all those coming in to the teaching profession for the first time can enjoy a long, fulfilling career in Education. New teachers in the school have commented very positively on their experience of working with our pupils of all ages and stages.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 15th August 2014

“That which is striking and beautiful is not always good; but that which is good is always beautiful.”

Anne de I’Enclos

Thanks to all parents and carers for sending pupils to school this week looking so smart in their full school uniform including the blazer. Some blazer orders have still to arrive and I know we received many more orders this week. As always, if finance is the only reason a child does not have a blazer, parents and carers should make contact with Pastoral Care staff or year heads to let us know and we’ll do everything we can to assist and support you. Thanks to all staff for all their hard work in making this a productive start to the new term. Thanks especially for all their efforts in monitoring pupil movement between classes and for their support of school uniform.

All S1 students have made a very positive impression in the school.

Many thanks also to staff for their help and support in ensuring that our Masses for the Feast of the Assumption went so smoothly. I am especially grateful to Father Carroll and Father Bathgate for their enormous commitment in ensuring that we were able to offer Mass to over 2,000 pupils, S1 to S6, on the Feast Day. A huge thank you to the RE Department and our Pastoral Team for all their preparations.

We are still gathering statistics on this year’s SQA results but results are generally positive. In the new Nationals our re

We are still working to sort out some difficulties with senior school timetables and options

I have asked teachers to remind pupils that they need to move away from the school front entrance as soon as they walk out the door. They should arrange to meet friends 20 or 30 feet along the road so that we don’t have a dangerous human blockage at the end of the school day. S1 pupils should be aware that they can exit on Albert Road as well as on Dixon Road. It would be helpful if parents and carers could arrange to meet pupils [especially our new S1] a wee bit along the road rather than blocking up the main exit point on Dixon Road at the end of the day.

One S3 pupil I saw this week still looks like he is struggling to recover from the sight of his Head Teacher shouting hello to him as he cycled past in shorts and a t-shirt in Mallorca during the summer. Not a pretty sight! We may need to seek counselling for the young man.

Have a great weekend.

 

Friday 20th June 2014. Grace Bandawe Centre, Blantyre, Malawi.

It’s hard to believe it’s our last full day here in Blantyre. The last few days have passed in a whirlwind. We have had long working days to ensure all projects have been completed on time. Our contribution to the building works at Stella Maris and Chitsime has been completed and our builders are today putting on the roof at both sites. All decorative work and painting is completed at all sites, fully supporting the teaching and learning going on in those classrooms. Given that Chitsime Primary School is in the worst condition of all the partner schools, we focused on that site for the last day and a half and managed to paint a further 2 classrooms which had previously been in desperate condition.

All work on sites was completed yesterday, Thursday, and we went out of GBC for dinner last night. The barbecued food was very well received as being different from normal GBC food, which as been good but a bit “samey”. We all feel a bit carbed out!

We had a Karaoke night courtesy of Ms Dornan on Monday night and a quiz night set and led by Terry Strain on Wednesday. Both were great fun and a welcome evening diversion. Yesterday afternoon we had a meeting of teachers from Holyrood to discuss the learning project around health, nutrition and agriculture. This was very successful and we hope to see the fruition of this preparatory work over the next year.

Today the group split in to two so that we could attend, first thing this morning, a farewell tribute for the group at both Matinde Primary School and Stella Maris Secondary School. There was much dancing, singing and Waza Waza’ing as both groups experienced emotional farewells. The whole group then left for Catholic Institute Primary School where there was a formal opening by Mr Kaladzu, Head of Administration for the Dept of Education, Science and Technology, of the new Library and ASN Support Centre, built by Holyrood Secondary. Mr Kaladzu thanked the 2014 Team and the Holyrood Teams of the past 6 years, for the extraordinary work done by Holyrood RC Secondary School, Glasgow. He was fulsome in his praise of the project, its values and its obvious impact on the children of Blantyre. The group sat through 2 hours of speeches, dancing and singing to celebrate the formal opening with the most oft heard phrase being “all protocols observed” as all those speaking worried about causing offence by not mentioning someone.

We are just about to leave to visit the market in Blantyre. Tonight will be dedicated to packing and, I suspect, to an early to bed. We have loved our time here in Malawi. This has been an extraordinary group of young people who have done so much fantastic work. All family, friends and relatives would be so proud to see the way they have engaged with and charmed local children especially. The group all say they are looking forward to coming home but acknowledge that they will always carry a special place in their hearts for Malawi, truly the warm heart of Africa. The nicest tribute to our young people came from Grace, the Headteacher of Chitsime Primary School. She said, “When you came here, our children were frightened and shy to see so many white faces but you have changed all that. We say in Malawi that white people do not touch the soil .... but your group has worked with spades and shovels and worked side by side with our Malawi building workers. You have played and laughed with our children and you have left a beautiful legacy for our learners.” What a fantastic tribute to our young people.

Slightly later breakfast at 8 tomorrow [where every other day has been breakfast at 7 am]. We have mass at 10 am [and have been assured by Father John that, given that we are travelling, this will fulfil our Sunday obligation], then depart immediately afterwards for Blantyre Airport. Have a great weekend.

HT Blog

 

 

HT Blog

Blantyre, Malawi. Tuesday 17th June 2014

We had a wonderful couple of days at the Makokolo Retreat on Lake Malawi. It was great to have a chance to recharge batteries although there was so much going on. We had early morning rises to watch the sunrise, Ms Dastey’s intense fitness regime which so many of the group have taken part in and the games of 5-a-side football and beach volleyball and tennis. Highlight of the weekend was a beautiful mass celebrated by Father Andrew on the beach at the Lake. The sun was dropping in the background as we had our mass by candle light in such a stunning setting. On Sunday it was a lengthy trek back to Blantyre and the Grace Bandawe Centre by minibus. We had a light meal and all had a fairly early to bed on Sunday night.

Yesterday, Monday, saw a full-blown assault at all our work sites to ensure that we can complete all our projects by the end of this week. All groups report excellent progress. We hope that the roof can go on the projects at the Chitsime classroom and Library site and at the Stella Maris Chicken “coral” site by the end of this week. All the painting being done at 3 sites to support teaching and learning is almost complete.

Today we had an astonishing and moving experience as we helped deliver Mary’s Meals backpacks at a primary school in a township on the outskirts of Blantyre. It was an absolute privilege to deliver these rucksacks generated by Scottish schools, to see the love and care with which our team offered them to primary pupils and to see the overwhelming joy and happiness generated by these backpacks in the faces of the recipients. We all agreed that it was a very moving experience and we felt very fortunate to be involved.

 

 

Lake Malawi, Saturday 14th June 2014

Apologies for the lack of posts in the HT Blog. I have been working each day in Stella Maris Girls’ Secondary School with a group of our students and it has been impossible to do this during the day. Each evening we return to the Grace Bandawe Centre and, before we get there, another group has wiped out the Centre’s air time by using Face Time etc.

Anyway, it has been a wonderful week with our team of 45 students and staff here in Malawi. Apart from the initial 2 hour delay in Glasgow, all travel arrangements went well and we arrived to a wonderful Malawian welcome at the airport. All of the group have quickly settled in to the Grace Bandawe Centre where accommodation is clean and pleasant, if not at standards students expect back home. Everyone knows this before we sign up so there have been no complaints from anyone. The group bonded really well together and we’ve had lots of fun and laughter alongside the serious business of the work we’re here to do. All projects are going well and, before we left on Friday for a weekend here at Lake Malawi [where I’m writing this], all groups reported that they now feel we can complete all projects before we leave the sites next Friday 20th June.

The group at Matinde are painting the classrooms built last year, ensuring that the work teachers are doing is supported by language and pictures on learning walls. The group at Catholic Institute are doing likewise. At Chitsime we are building a new classroom and Library. At Stella Maris we are erecting a brick building to house Chickens as the first part of an agriculture project and we are also painting their Assembly Hall and entrance area, including educational art and art reflecting our special partnership. We have had outstanding whole group welcomes and visits to the 3 sites and have also had groups of students working with children with varied Additional Support Needs at Zingwangwa with the legendary John Chikane.

On Tuesday and Wednesday half the group visited Mary’s Meals Blantyre Centre and also visited a pre 5 Nursery. Our students, as they have done throughout the past week, were inspirational in the ways they immediately engage with youngsters, many of whom are orphans, playing games, singing and just loving them. Parents, family and friends would be so proud of them for their hard work but also for their sound values and caring concern they show for others. Some of these experiences have been very emotional.

At present the group is enjoying a well earned break from work to the beauty of Lake Malawi. We were on a land and boat safari yesterday and saw, at close hand, elephants, crocodiles, Hippos, monkeys, baboons, wart hogs and a variety of antelopes. It was truly wonderful. I’m just heading outside for Mass on the beach in the stunning surroundings of Lake Malawi. I hope to get another update posted during the week. Greetings from Lake Malawi. 29th May 2014

"The greatest leaders in God's tribe have been those men who have left room for doubt."

Pope Francis

We approach the end of the 2014 exam diet and, by Monday 2nd June, we hope almost all of the present S4 will have returned to school and be attending S4 classes to finish up S4 work.

All year groups except the new S6 make the switch to their new year group with their new timetable on Monday 9th June. Pupils will go to their old registration classes for one last time on Monday morning 9th June, will receive their new timetables and will follow their timetable from Period 2 on. The changes to the timings of the school week start from Monday 9th.

The new S6 are to report in full school uniform to St Francis Hall in Gorbals for 9.30 am on Tuesday 10th June. There they will have their 6th Year Induction Day, finishing at 3 pm. New Sixth Year blazers will be delivered to students on Tuesday afternoon at St Francis Hall.

The Sixth Year Prom takes place on Thursday. Our Team Malawi 2014 leaves from Holyrood on Friday. We wish all Team members a safe and successful Project Visit.

22nd May 2014

Thankfully, the school has returned to a sense of normality this week. Pupils have gone about their busines as usual and SQA exams have run smoothly.

We have also had another Miss Leyden 2 day extravaganza where our International Festival has run in school. All Departments in the school delivered lessons in an International context, particularly with the Commonwealth Games in mind. Young people I saw in workshops over the two days had a fabulous experience very much in keeping with Curriculum for Excellence. In addition to the daytime frolics, we had an evening festival on Wednesday with contributions from a whole host of local companies and organisations. We were delighted that legendary footballer Jim McAlliog, former pupil of Holyrood, opened our Festival. Jim's playing career tracked through some of England's greatest clubs; Chelsea, Man Utd, Southampton, Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday. JIm won a FA Cup medal with Southampton and scored the winning goal to make Scotland unofficial world champions [1st team to beat England after their World Cup win] in a splendid 3-2 win at Wembley in 1967. We are very proud of Jim McAlliog's association with Holyrood and delighted that he gave up his time to attend on Wednesday.

Our U/18s did brilliantly to make the final of the Glasgow Cup last Saturday. Mr Soares U/18 team faced tough opponents in Scottish Shield finalists Springburn. Holyrood were in the game right to the end and arguably played the better football but frustratingly lost 1-0 in the end. Have a great weekend.

16th May 2014

Dear Parent or Carer,

I am writing to give you an update on some recent events in the community and around Holyrood Secondary School.

As you will be aware, we have had two recent events which have caused concern but can I please confirm that neither of the events took place in the school.

In the first, a fracas took place outside the school at the Sports Centre end of Dixon Road then individuals entered the building allegedly to avoid the bother outside.

These individuals were quickly removed from the entrance area once the outside threat had disappeared. Those involved in that threat appear not to be nor to ever have been Holyrood pupils. The 2nd incident took place in the local community around Cathcart Rd. where it is alleged some pupils from Holyrood were injured in incidents involving other youths.

The school has fully cooperated with Police in investigating these incidents. Young people in the school have done everything they can to give Police information about those alleged to be involved in incidents. As you will understand, as a Police investigation is now ongoing , we are unable to comment in any way which would be prejudicial to their investigations and might impede their ability to take action.

We have sought to allay parental concerns by offering to keep young people in the school at lunchtime as a temporary arrangement. Parents have had the option of sending in a note to indicate that they wish their child to go out of school for lunch rather than be looked after in school. Young people have been extremely cooperative and have dealt with this temporary situation with understanding and good humour, fully appreciating that this arrangement is temporary and comes out of love and concern for them.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

I have spoken at assemblies to all our young people present in school to help them understand what is happening and to give information without impeding the police investigation.

Police will take action where they find it necessary. However, can I please reassure parents that I have taken action, including exclusion of some pupils where we have felt it necessary. We continue to work with Police and they are giving advice on the security of our campus along with our colleagues in the council.

I should emphasise that no child has been injured inside Holyrood and there has been no disturbance to classwork. Again I commend our young people for simply getting on with the job of being very good students and of going through their school day positively and with purpose.

I also thank those parents who have taken the time to confirm to us that Holyrood is an excellent school, that their children are very happy here and that they have confidence in this school and the staff.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter and we will continue to work together to maintain the reputation of Holyrood Secondary school.

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Byrne, Head Teacher

Friday 9th May 2014

Thought for the Week

“The men whom I have seen succeed best in life have always been cheerful and hopeful men, who went about their business with a smile on their faces, and took the changes and chances of this mortal life like men, facing rough and smooth alike as it came.”

Charles Kingsley

This has been a busy week yet again. A quick note on some events. I understand that there has been unrest among rival groups in local communities in recent weeks. There appears to be continued bad feeling associated with this which resulted in an incident at the front entrance to the school last Wednesday at lunchtime. The matter is being fully investigated. Once again we are very fortunate to have our Campus Police Officer here to support us. She is working with us and with colleagues in the Police to try to ensure that Police can deal with issues in the community and endeavour to ensure that we keep our beloved Holyrood as a safe, calm environment for young people. We have contacted a number of parents of pupils who were involved in unrest this week.

I ask all parents and carers to pass on to Depute Heads, to Pastoral Care staff and to Constable Campbell any rumblings they hear about in the community which might impact on our school. All information is welcome.

On more mundane matters, our U/16 football team, who won the Scottish Shield last Friday, are playing tomorrow morning [Saturday 10 am] at Glasgow Green in the Glasgow Cup Final against All Saints Secondary. Good luck to the boys.

Preparations are steaming ahead for our International Festival, in anticipation of the Commonwealth Games, organised by Miss Leyden and a supporting cast, to take place on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st May.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 2nd May 2014

Thought for the Week

“Three men are my friends~~~he that loves me, he that hates me, he that is indifferent to me. He who loves me teaches me tenderness; who hates me teaches me caution; who is indifferent to me, teaches me self-reliance.”

J. E. Dinger

This week has seen a calm and purposeful atmosphere around the school as SQA exams have begun. S5 and 6 continue on Study Leave although I know many teachers continue to meet and support senior students where necessary. S4 pupils will return to school this week but those sitting Nat 5 exams have the day before and the day of an exam off for exam preparation.

Congratulations to Anne Abraitis and the Holyrood netball teams on their outstanding performance in the Glasgow Cups. Our S1 and S3/S4 Teams were Champions and our S2 Team were narrowly defeated runners up.

Congratulations to Fr Bathgate’s U/13 Team who qualified for the final of the Glasgow Cup with an excellent victory last week.

Special congratulations to John Wilson and the U/16 Football Team who, on Friday evening at Airdrie FC’s Stadium, became Scottish Champions. They showed grit and determination as well as great skill to cope with St Margaret’s Academy scoring a last minute equaliser and then kept their nerve to win 3-2 on penalties. See match report on

www.youthfootballscotland.co.uk

Friday 25th April 2014

Thought for the Week

“Every generation needs the ones before it and owes those who follow. And this, in great measure, is what it means to be a community: to understand ourselves as continuing the work of other men and women who have done their part.”

Pope Francis

Thanks to all staff for their hard work in what was a particularly difficult first week back after the holidays. I am hoping for and looking forward to a quieter week next week.

S4 have this coming week as Exam Preparation Leave other than when they have an exam. From Tuesday 6th May S4 pupils are entitled to one day off before an exam for preparation plus the day of the exam. S5 and S6 have traditional Study Leave from Monday 28th April on.

On those occasions when they don’t have exams, S4 students should be in school as normal. I expect there will be some teething problems in the new S4 Preparation Leave arrangements but I know all staff will do their very best to make these arrangements work.

Thanks to Ms Dastey and Mrs Margo Brady in particular for all their work to make Thursday’s S6 Leavers’ Mass such a success. It was lovely to have Father Martin Kane there to celebrate mass. Thanks also to all staff who helped prepare for and supported the mass. A very special thanks to Mrs Forrest, Mrs Cosgrove and the Home Economics Department for all their wonderful work in catering for the event.

A reminder that our U/16 football team plays next Friday in the Scottish Cup Final at Airdrie’s stadium at 7 pm. Good luck to the boys. Congratulations to the U/18s who reached the semis of the Glasgow Cup last Wednesday.

Have a great weekend

Friday 28th March 2014

"The most obvious lesson in Christ's teaching is that there is no happiness in having or getting anything, but only in giving."

Henry Drummond

There is no sense at present of things slowing down as we approach the Easter break. On Monday evening we had a Parent Consultation/ Focus Group representing parents and carers of children from all stages at Holyrood Secondary School. We particularly focused on the Parent Voice regarding Homework Policy, Configuration of the school week, proposed changes to the delivery of Pastoral Care, SQA “Study leave” and parent views of future areas where they would welcome consultation. We worked in a Cooperative Learning style and had excellent levels of participation and feedback from all parents there. This meeting matched up well to the excellent Pupil Voice exercise we had the previous week with over 50 members of the Whole School Council.

Congratulations to Ms MacInnes for the success of our Comenius Partnership visit, culminating in Friday night’s ceilidh. It has been a real meeting of the nations this week with our visitors from Turkey, Germany and Spain. Our EAL Department made Tuesday a special “Respect in Our Community” day with representatives from many voluntary and community as well as educational organisations making a great contribution. The whole of S3 joined with our Comenius guests to celebrate the rich diversity of our and their cultures. A special thanks to all those parents and families who have hosted our Comenius guests as well as to all staff in Holyrood for their welcome and for their flexibility this week.

Miss O’Reilly has also had a really busy week in the lead up to Friday’s SCIAF 24 hour fast. As well as the large number of students, staff and family supporters taking part in this and raising sponsor money, we took the opportunity to make Friday a non uniform day and raised over £1500 from staff and student donations alone. We look forward to hearing Miss O’Reilly’s final figure for SCIAF donations next week.

Our U/13 team sadly lost in the quarter final of the Scottish Shield this week after a great Scottish run. Congratulations to all the boys and to coach Father Bathgate for a fantastic season so far with more to come. The U/16s play in the Scottish semi final at Neilston Juniors at 5.30 on Wednesday v Saint Ninian’s, Giffnock. Good luck to the Holyrood boys.

Have a great weekend

Friday 21st March 2014

“It is from pain and our own limits where we best learn to grow, and from our own flaws surges the deep question: haven’t we suffered enough to decide to break old patterns?”

Pope Francis while still Cardinal Bergoglio [25th May 2002].

Thanks to all parents and staff for encouraging excellent attendance at Mass over the past week. Please continue to do so. I also highlight the SCIAF 24 hour fast this Friday 28th.

This past week has been a big Sports’ Week. It saw a great win for our junior Netballers. Our Girls’ Football Team won the Glasgow 7s tournament and qualify for the West of Scotland finals. Our 2 boys’ 7 a side teams came first and second in the Glasgow tournament.

Congratulations to Holyrood’s former chaplain on his ordination to become Bishop John Keenan [great things still to come for Fathers John and Ian????]. John Wilson and I took 3 students to the Ordination as Holyrood representatives. Although we were there for three and a half hours, it was a beautiful and moving ceremony and didn’t feel anything like as long. Even the students agreed.

Well done to Miss Leyden for the organisation of the Mothers and Daughters evening on Thursday. Lots of great feedback from that as usual, and Miss Leyden has made more contacts to call on to the benefit of Holyrood pupils.

We had an excellent Pupil Council Meeting last Wednesday, done Cooperative Learning style with excellent participation from over 50 students S1 to S5. It has allowed us to hear “The Pupil Voice” regarding a number of areas such as Homework, Pastoral Care and the School Week. We also have a series of areas of interest for future discussion.

We have a Parent Consultation Evening on Monday 24th March at 7 pm in the Assembly Hall. Invites have gone out to those parents who signed up to be involved at the S2 and S3 Information Evening and have also gone out via pupil post to all S1, S4 and S5 parents. Even if you haven’t signed up in advance, you’re welcome to come along on the night. We’ll look at the same subjects as at the Pupil Council mentioned above.

On Monday we welcome Exchange Students from Spain, Turkey and Germany who will stay with Holyrood S2, S3 and S4 pupils next week. Well done to Ms MacInnes and her team of organisers for bringing this programme together.

And finally an acknowledgement that today is Down’s Syndrome Awareness Day. We noted this in our Reflection on the Tannoy today as our pupils read out “Today is Down’s Syndrome Awareness Day. Today let us pray for all those special children in our communities who bring such joy to families and communities by their difference.We thank God for the gift of all children who are special, whether through Down’s Syndrome or in other ways.We ask God today to give us the gifts of love, understanding and caring so we always respect and appreciate special children.”

Have a great weekend.

Friday 14th March 2014

“Tears are often the telescope through which men see far into heaven.”

Henry Ward Beecher

We had a visit from Education Scotland Inspectors on Monday as part of a national sampling exercise on approaches to English and Literacy. They indicated that they saw lots of good practice and gave some useful advice as to ways in which we might move forward with some of the challenges teachers are faced with at present. Their visit was part of a national sample being done, bit by bit, across all curricular areas.

Thanks to all staff, students and family members, including Mums and Grandmas and Grandads, for the excellent attendances at mass over the past week. I ask all parents, carers and staff to keep reminding pupils about mass, to speak about the fact that we are in Lent whenever you get the chance and to encourage young people in giving, self-sacrifice and prayer.

Congratulations to our Junior and Senior Netball teams for their success in winning their respective Glasgow Netball Tournaments on Friday. Congratulations also to Coaches Mrs Abraitis and Ms Limond.

Well done to Mrs. Bonner and her landscaping team for their excellent work at the Patio and in front of the school. It’s great to see the beauty around us as plants and flowers prepare for spring [not knowing that another dose of winter will no doubt hit us soon].

Assembly topics this week – Litter and the community, SCIAF our Lenten charity.

Friday 7th March 2014

“Some people would grumble at the accommodation in heaven if ever they got there.”

Anonymous

A busy week just gone by.

A successful S2 Parents’ Evening on Monday with very positive feedback from parents.

Thanks to all those, especially Father John, Father Ian and our Pastoral Group for making last Tuesday’s Holyrood Community Mass such a wonderful experience. Photos were taken by Mr. James Birrell of our Art Department and they look great.

Well done to Father Ian and the U/13 boys for reaching the last 8 of the Scottish Cup with a last minute 1-0 win versus Lasswade. Well done to Mr. Wilson and the U/16 boys for reaching the semi finals of the Scottish Cup with an excellent 3-1 win against Cardinal Newman HS.

Thursday was the usual extravaganza for the Holyrood Fashion Show, produced as always by Margaret Leyden with great support from staff across the school and a cast of thousands! Miss Leyden manages to rope in people from all across the West of Scotland to support the show. We hope to have raised almost £2,000 for local charities.

We welcome visiting Inspectors from Education Scotland on Monday 10th March, as part of a national sample of schools to look at practice in English and Literacy. Most of the focus will be on English, EAL and Support for Learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday 25th September 2014

Thought for the week

"All our discontents about what we want appear to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have."

Daniel Defoe

It’s been another busy week at Holyrood. It’s great to see so many lunchtime and after school activities going on. Wonderful to see our re-formed Junior and Senior Choirs in rehearsal and also to see the start of our school Samba band. I know there is so much going on in PE at lunch and after school. Our sports teams are also getting up to full speed. Congratulations to our S2 team who kicked off their season with a 7-1 cup win against St Paul’s. Our newly formed U/16s lost on penalties in the Glasgow Cup. We have public speaking and debating, prayer and faith groups, groups in Languages, our S1 lunchtime activities’ yard. In all of this our Senior Pupils are doing a fantastic job as “Buddies”, Peer Mentors, Peer Tutors and Sports Leaders.

Well done to all colleagues in Social Subjects who, while having to tread very carefully in presenting the issues associated with the recent referendum, did so much to involve our young people in the political debate and the events surrounding it. Even as late as today a Guardian journalist interviewed a group of our senior students regarding their views on the referendum result, the campaign, and on how society can sustain and develop this level of political engagement among young people. This interview is likely to go on the Guardian website. Watch for it as I understand that our students showed real engagement with current Scottish politics.

Thanks to our Home Economics Department where Senior students involved in Hospitality presented a wonderful welcome meal to our new staff on Friday. The food looked great, the work of staff and young people was outstanding and it was a great idea to combine a welcome for new staff with great practical experience for our Hospitality students.

Preparations are almost completed for our S4, 5 and 6 Alton Towers trip on Friday 3rd October.  Coaches will leave the Asda Toryglen Car Park at 4 am and will return at 11 pm on Friday night.

If you have some time off work this September weekend, I hope you have a great long weekend. If you don’t have any extra time, I hope you enjoy the weekend anyway.

Friday 19th September

Thought for the week

“Christians are like the several flowers in a garden that have each of them the dew of Heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other's roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other.” John Bunyan

Thanks to all staff who assisted in the planning and in the celebration of our S1 Welcome Mass. It was a beautiful service. I am very grateful to all members of the Music Department and the excellent student musicians and singers for their wonderful contribution. It was great to see a number of staff present to support this event.

Our first Parent Council meeting of the year takes place on Tuesday 24th September and is, in fact, the Parent Forum / Parent Council AGM. 7pm in the school library.

Have a great weekend.

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