Glasgow City Council Welcome to Holyrood Secondary School

Head Teacher's Blog

 

 

HT Blog 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.

 

Friday 28th February 2014

 

“There is a wealth of unexpressed love in the world. It is one of the chief causes of sorrow evoked by death: what might have been said or might have been done that never can be said or done.

Arthur Hopkins

 

Many thanks to colleagues in the Maths Department for running the Enterprise Trading Challenge for S3 on Monday 24th Feb and Tuesday 25th Feb.

 

Thanks also to colleagues, especially Ms McLellan, for organising the World of Work Morning for S5 and some S6 pupils on Thursday 27th February. With outside speakers talking to pupils about Modern Apprenticeship opportunities, it was another chance for pupils to hear that the messages we give as teachers are the same messages they hear in the World of Work.

In keeping with Curriculum for Excellence, this contextualisation of learning has recently been a feature in our S3 Enrichment programme where Ms Madden, Mrs Boussouara, Mrs Farrell and other Pastoral Care colleagues have done so much. Business Subjects also organised a recent visit from Tesco management where some students were surprised to hear about the complexity of the retail trade.

Thanks to all members of the Holyrood Community for your fantastic support of the Holyrood Malawi Ball. Support from the wider community has been wonderful but the work and support of the families and friends of those students going to Malawi in Team 2014 has been extraordinary. We  still have some expenses to deal with but we hope to be very close to making £20,000 from the Ball. In Malawi this can do truly incredible things. Special congratulations to Terry Strain for all his work in organising the Ball. His hard work and charisma [don’t tell him I said that] brought fantastic results. Thank you.

 

A huge thank you to Mrs O’Shea and colleagues from RE for their organisation of P7 retreats. Feedback from P7 colleagues, as well as the children, was very positive.

Congratulations to Mrs. Abraitis and our junior Netball Girls on reaching the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup this week with a victory over Hermitage Academy.

Congratulations also to Mr. Cullen as the U/14s reached the final stages of the Glasgow Cup with a great victory over St. Peter the Apostle 8-2.

Well done to the U/16s and U/18s for excellent league victories over Stonelaw and King's Park respectively.

Commiserations to our U/15s who were narrowly beaten by a late goal in Friday's Scottish Cup quarter final tie.

 

Thanks to all members of the Pastoral Committee for all of their work in relation to Catholic Education Week. Thanks especially to Father Ian and Father John for all of their extra commitment and thanks to Mr Wilson of the RE Department for his presentation and input at assemblies.

All systems go now for our special Holyrood Community Mass on Tuesday 4th March at 7 pm. All are welcome.

Enjoy your weekend.

 

 

 

Friday 21st February 2014

“When you are really searching for the truth, you are searching for the truth in order to do good. You don’t look for the truth to divide, confront, attack, belittle or dissolve.”              Pope Francis, while still Cardinal Bergoglio, in 2006.

We were delighted at the very good attendance at our S2 and S3 Information Evenings on Monday 17th. Parents I spoke to enjoyed the engagement with staff and the advice they received from teachers. Thanks to Miss Crearie for her organisation of the Study Support Sessions for S4 from Tree of Knowledge on Tuesday. Students really appreciated this input. Thanks also to Miss Crearie for her organisation of the visit by Lithuanian educationalists on Thursday. Some of our Polish students did fantastic work in translating for these visitors and helping the visit be such a success. It was another example of the very special skills and talents our EAL students have. It’s a reminder that these pupils have such great communication skills in Russian and Polish as well as the English through which we encounter them.

Congratulations to Mr Martin Brady, Mrs Quinn, Ms Maxwell and all staff involved in the S1 Holyrood Challenge initiative. Pupils are clearly enthused. Friday’s presentation of the levels all S1 pupils have reached, and the presentation of the first medals today, had S1 buzzing.

This week is Catholic Education Week. Holyrood Catholic Education Week newsletters have been delivered to all associated parishes, we have presentations ready for all assemblies next week and we are preparing for our special Holyrood Mass just after Catholic Education Week and to kick start Lent, on Tuesday 4th March.

Special Holyrood Mass – Be part of Holyrood History

All members and friends of our school community are invited to a very special Mass at Holyrood on Tuesday 4th March at 7 pm. We would especially welcome participation of past and present pupils and all families associated with this school community.Father John Carroll will celebrate mass and, afterwards, we shall take what we believe can become a truly iconic photograph for posterity to celebrate the true meaning of Holyrood, Christ’s Holy Cross. We shall have a candle for every person there that night and we shall process into the central school yard where we shall form the shape of a cross in the yard. A photo will be taken from high up in the building and we shall have a large picture made of this to stand for always as a representation of our roots and a powerful message of community. Hoc Vince.

It’s the Holyrood Malawi Ball tomorrow night in Glasgow. We hope it’s as great a success and fundraiser as the event has traditionally been.

Have a great weekend.

 

Friday 14th February 2014

 “False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us when we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade.”

Nevell Bovee

It was a mercifully short week this week but felt like more than 3 days [only 2 for pupils]. A busy week coming up now starting with S2 and S3 Information Sessions on Monday and the Parent Council on Tuesday [in the Library at 7 pm, a bit earlier than usual].  Tree of Knowledge visit also on Tuesday to provide S4 with study skills and strategies for coping with exams.

Thanks to all 6th Year Students and staff for your support of the Blood Donor programme on Friday. Thanks to Margaret Leyden for all her work and organisation for the visit. As I write this we are anticipating coverage on TV and in newspapers.

Much evidence of loving cards and red roses in Holyrood today. I'm now heading home to receive mine!!!

Assembly Topics this week – “We are Holyrood” anti-prejudice video and presentation / Litter .

Next Saturday is the social event of the year with the sell-out Holyrood Malawi Ball. Thanks to all members of the Holyrood community for your fabulous support of this event.

Any last minute offers of business services or gifts for auction or raffle will be most welcome.

Great news on the football front. Last Friday our Holyrood U/16 football team joined the U/13s and U/15s in the last 8 of the Scottish Cup, where they will play Cardinal Newman High School of Bellshill. The U/16s also beat Stonelaw 4-2 and U/13s beat St. Peter the Apostle 8-2 last night, both teams qualifying for the semis of the Glasgow Cup.

At least some of my favourite Glasgow teams can win Scottish Cup ties!

Have a great weekend.

Friday 7th February

Thought for the week. Today, it’s a prayer I found, suitable for parents as well as teachers.

Dear Lord, Please help us to transform our anger and frustration into loving care for any child who has gone astray. Help us begin to mend broken fences and heal broken hearts. Bless this child and also help him/her to mend the error of his/her ways. Help and bless us all to do right in Your name and restore peace and tranquility. Amen

Thanks to all staff for their efforts in making last week’s S4 Parents’ Evening such a success. We have already shared the flavour of evaluations with staff and these were overwhelmingly positive.

I look forward to opportunities over the next few weeks to meet parents and speak about curricular choices for next year. As we look at the opportunities as well as challenges of new qualifications, we are thinking about ways in which we can be creative in future in our own subjects but also working in combination with other subjects. We are not just thinking about full qualifications such as National 6s, 5s or 4s but, for those in S5 and 6 who may find these challenging, either combinations of Units or different qualifications may well be more appropriate.

Congratulations to Mr Soares and U/18s and Mr Kirk and U/15s for outstanding football results this week. The U/15s have reached the last 8 of the Scottish Cup and now face Braidhurst. As we go to press, I hope the U/ 16s do well in their Scottish Cup tie tonight.

If you receive this before the holiday weekend [and you’re getting a break; apologies to those staff working], I hope you have a great break. Enjoy the weekend

Friday 31stJanuary 2014

“He who has a little more power has to serve a little more”.

Cardinal Bergoglio [now Pope Francis] in 2005

We look forward to finishing all prelim exams and allowing normal movement around the school once again. Thanks to all staff for their work in monitoring pupil movement while the street area is being used.

I understand that all tickets are now sold for the social event of the year [if you don’t include the Holyrood Fashion Show], the Malawi Ball on Saturday 22nd February.

Thanks to all those who have recently helped supervise our pupils’ visits to Celtic Park. I know the young people have very much enjoyed the experience, especially many of our EAL students for whom these Holyrood trips have been their first experience of a football match – and Celtic haven’t lost yet …. 

Assembly Topics – Curricular Choice Programme where appropriate then, at the first opportunity for all assemblies, to focus on Holyrood as a community which does not tolerate prejudice, especially racism. Part of this will involve using the excellent “We are Holyrood” short film, starring our students S1 to S6 with a number of staff.  It has a strong anti-prejudice message, produced and directed by Stephen Dolan of our EAL Department.

 

HT Blog

Friday 24th January 2014

"Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn."

Charles Wesley

An enormous thank you today to Mrs. Elaine Coyle for the outstanding job she has done as Depute Head over the past year. Thanks also to Mr. James Birrell for the terrific job he has done as Acting PT Pastoral Care. A big welcome back to Gillian Mimnagh who rejoins us on Monday as Depute Head for S5, leaving the twins behind to come to work for the first time. I know many mothers reading this will sympathise and empathise with Ms. Mimnagh

Thanks very much to all those staff who helped supervise our pupils at the Celtic v Motherwell game last Saturday. It was an enjoyable spectacle and, as always, our pupils’ behaviour was outstanding. Interestingly, Celtic gave us tickets to help fill the gap left by the Green Brigade!

It seems likely that we may have tickets for other games in the very near future and pupils who are interested should listen carefully for the Tannoy announcement regarding being part of the group who receive free tickets.

Thanks to all staff for their help in ensuring that Prelim exams have gone so smoothly this week and thanks especially to our highly experienced team of Invigilators under Mrs. Dougherty.

Thanks to Parents and Carers who have returned the consultation on the Configuration of the School Week. As requested by a number of parents and carers, I’m running a Question and Answer session in the school library on Monday evening 27th January at 6pm to clear up any areas where people feel they are not clear on the options available.

Have a great weekend

 

Friday 17th January 2014

 "Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us."

Samuel Smiles

It has been a very worthwhile week in Holyrood. Last Tuesday was a particularly busy day and evening in preparation for the Curriculum Information events for S4 and S5 and, especially, for the Careers Fair.

Congratulations to Mrs. Brady and Ms Litster for their fabulous organisation of the Careers Fair. Participants and Exhibitors, students and parents all sang the praises of the event. It was a pleasure to see so many people so impressed with our young people of Holyrood Secondary.

A big thank you to Miss Crearie, to Mrs. Coyle and to Pastoral Care Staff for all their organisation and delivery of the Curriculum Information Evenings.

Tuesday continued with a Parent Council Meeting which was vibrant and well attended.

All staff have received consultation sheets on the configuration of the school week. This was also discussed at the Parent Council on Tuesday evening. Details have gone in to the Parent area of the school website and consultation questionnaires for parents went out by pupil post on Friday.

Celtic Football Club have kindly offered Holyrood tickets for this weekend’s home game v Motherwell. A group of 50 from Holyrood are delighted to have the opportunity to attend what promises to be one of the top games on the Scottish football calendar.

All preparations are now completed for the start of our Senior School prelims on Monday. Our highly professional invigilation team under the stewardship of Mrs. Dougherty, will swing in to action on Monday.

Good luck to all students sitting exams next week.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 10th January 2014

Thought for the week

“A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just”

Pope Francis, 17th March 2013.

It has been a hectic first week back to school with no time for young people, or staff, to feel sorry for themselves before we all get up to full speed again.

Well done to Ms Maxwell for organising the visit of a selection of live owls on Thursday for S4 Biology. I know the young people I spoke to had a brilliant experience in studying and handling them and in hearing details of how they live.

We have a Parent Council Meeting this coming Tuesday at 7.15 pm in the school. As usual, all parents are welcome.

S4 to S6 Careers’ Information Evening and S4 and S5 Curriculum and Options Info Evening on Tuesday 14th January 5-7 pm. A multitude of volunteers will be there to advise on their own careers and we shall have College and University representatives. It will be a fantastic opportunity for young people to firm up their ideas and be best informed.

The Parent Information Sessions on options and the S5 and S6 Curriculum next year will take place as follows;

5 pm for S5 parents and carers. 6pm for S4 parents and carers.

This will allow parents, carers and students to attend the information sessions but also to visit the Careers Fair at either side of the Curriculum and Options’ Information Sessions.

Assembly Topics this coming week – 1. Zero Tolerance of vandalism and graffiti and how it wastes valuable resources. 2. Timekeeping in the morning. 3. Pupil behaviour in corridors etc during prelims. 4. Prelim preparation and info for S4, 5, 6.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us."

Samuel Smiles

It has been a very worthwhile week in Holyrood. Last Tuesday was a particularly busy day and evening in preparation for the Curriculum Information events for S4 and S5 and, especially, for the Careers Fair.

Congratulations to Mrs. Brady and Ms Litster for their fabulous organisation of the Careers Fair. Participants and Exhibitors, students and parents all sang the praises of the event. It was a pleasure to see so many people so impressed with our young people of Holyrood Secondary.

A big thank you to Miss Crearie, to Mrs. Coyle and to Pastoral Care Staff for all their organisation and delivery of the Curriculum Information Evenings.

Tuesday continued with a Parent Council Meeting which was vibrant and well attended.

All staff have received consultation sheets on the configuration of the school week. This was also discussed at the Parent Council on Tuesday evening. Details have gone in to the Parent area of the school website and consultation questionnaires for parents went out by pupil post on Friday.

Celtic Football Club have kindly offered Holyrood tickets for this weekend’s home game v Motherwell. A group of 50 from Holyrood are delighted to have the opportunity to attend what promises to be one of the top games on the Scottish football calendar.

All preparations are now completed for the start of our Senior School prelims on Monday. Our highly professional invigilation team under the stewardship of Mrs. Dougherty, will swing in to action on Monday.

Good luck to all students sitting exams next week.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

Friday 20th December 2013

"He doesn't promise riches or power, but what he does promise is his care and the greatest security you can find:refuge in the name of God. He promises his intimacy, the warmth of the Father, his embrace, full of tenderness and understanding."

Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, now Pope Francis [30/01/2005]

It has been a very busy final week of term. Staff have worked very well with young people with meaningful learning experiences continuing all week, including the opportunity to build teacher/pupil relationships over the last couple of days.

I visited City Halls on Monday night to see Glasgow Schools' musical talent in all its glory performing in the Schools'Christmas Concert. It was fantastic to see so many Holyrood pupils involved in such a fabulous event.

There has been a real variety of experiences for young people this week. We've had our S1 Talent Show, "Holyrood's Got Talent", this week. We saw some fantastic performances from singers, magicians, yo yo performers, gymnasts, drummers. How great to see a sensational winning gymnastic performance.

We had a parent event with our "English as an Additional Language" [EAL] students and families on Wednesday which was very successful.

I also had the pleasure, as did Mrs. O'Shea, of visiting the St. Bridgid's Primary Nativity on Wednesday. It was wonderful to see how St. Bridgid's, like all of our partner Primary Schools, works so hard to ensure our young people see Christ appropriately placed at the centre of Christmas. Great entertainment and hardly a dry eye in the house.

S2, S3 and S4 had a visit to the Bowling at Atlantic Quay. All groups involved had a fabulous time and were praised by accompanying teachers and by staff there for their excellent conduct.

Today, Friday, was a non uniform Day. Pupils and staff were asked to amke a donation for being able to wear informal clothing for the day. Pupils and staff responded magnificently. We raised over £500 which was split between 2 fantastic causes at this time of year. £255 has been set aside to fund the wondeful work of staff and pupils who man our work with the homeless at St. Simon's Church in Partick. Through Mr. Wilson we have delivered the other £255 to help the Ozanam Centre feed the homeless at Christmas.

This is very much in the true spirit of the season. Also helping keep Christ in Christmas has been the work of our St. Vincent de Paul group in collecting hats, scarves and gloves for the homeless as well as basic toiletry sets. Thanks to all pupils and their families for their wonderful generosity which allows us to support such wonderful work at Christmas.

Today was a beautiful day with our Christmas service led by Father Bathgate, followed by Christmas fun, singing and music. Santa and his elves may have shown a striking resemblance to a number of our staff. Special congratulations to Performing Arts for their fabulous work in recent weeks in helping us celebrate and prepare for the great feast of Christmas.

I wish you a happy, holy, peaceful and joyous Christmas.

Friday 13th December 2013

Albert Einstein once said,

“There are two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as if everything is.”

Christmas is a time when we are open to the miracle of Jesus’ birth in the manger.  It is a time when we can see the wonder of the season in the eyes of young children in our own and neighbours’ families. I saw this Christmas prayer recently.

“Lord, in this holy season of prayer, song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel’s song, for the holy infant’s cry in the manger. We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We reflect on his glory, and are bathed in its radiance.

Be with us as we sing the songs and carols of Christmas, the mystery of this special season, the poetry made hard fact, the helpless Babe who shakes the world. We kneel before the Shepherds, the Innkeeper, the Wise Men. Help us to become better people. Amen”

Thanks to all staff involved in our Christmas Concert on Tuesday. Thanks especially to Ms Watkins and all Music staff for their wonderful work with young musicians and singers.  Thanks to Mrs. Quinn for all her work in organising the event. Congratulations especially to our young performers including our school orchestra, Ceilidh Band, Choir and all musicians for their wonderful performances.

Thanks also to all staff, pupils and parents involved in last week's Ceilidh to raise funds for Holyrood's Malawi Project work. Congratulations especially to Ms Dornan for all her organisation. The event raised just short of £1,000.

Our 2014 Malawi Team spent Monday and Tuesday at Craig Lodge, Mary's Meals HQ at Dalmally, for 2 days Retreat and Team Building. All involved felt it was a great 2 days and has helped the group members develop even more focus for the project they will complete in June 2014.

Some notable sporting performances recently; especially the U/16 football team’s  3-0 victory in the Scottish Cup v All Saints and their 9-0 win against King’s Park. Congratulations also to Fr. Bathgate’s U/13 squad who travelled to Campbeltown and delivered a sound defeat to the local team in the Scottish Cup.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 6th December 2013

 “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Nelson Mandela

Congratulations to the Art Department for the outstanding success of the Art Exhibition on Thursday and Friday. All the exhibition visitors I have spoken to, from inside and outside our school community, have been astounded at both the technical ability and the quality of critical thinking which is clearly on display. MP Tom Harris, who visited on Friday, commented that he would be happy to buy and display everything he saw.

Our  S5/6 Parents’ Evening went very well with overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents in the Evaluations handed to Mrs. Coyle and Ms DasteyAs you see from the events noted elsewhere, we have a busy finish to term as always, especially for Performing Arts and its supporters.

A reminder to parents and carers that we finish at 2.30 on last day of term. Have a great weekend.

Friday 29th November 2013

"We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart."    Blaise Pascal

We’ve seen an improvement in pupil timekeeping this week so thanks to parents for your support. The first bell goes at 8.40 am and this is a signal to be in school and start moving to your registration class. The 2nd bell goes at 8.45 am and by this point pupils should be in their class. A lot of students, especially many who live locally or are dropped off by car, are habitually late. I hope we can work together to effect a change.

I’ve been able to visit St. Bridgid’s and St. Francis of Assisi Primary Schools this week, completing a lot of interesting meetings with our next S1. Best question of the year was at St. Bridgid’s this week when a girl asked was it true that, when you were called to the Head Teacher’s Office, you were given an ice cream! I’ll need to order a new Fridge Freezer and get my order in to Walls before the next S1 arrives.

 Very good attendances continue at morning mass, welcoming large numbers of students as well as parents and grandparents at 8.25 am Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. The first event of our Christmas season took place on Thursday evening with our fabulous Christmas Fair, organised by Margaret Leyden. Thanks so much to Margaret for a fabulous event with lots of school, family and community participation. Thanks to all those who worked in advance and on the night to raise funds for our Christmas event for the Dixon Community.

Wear it Tartan today for St. Andrew's Day. Greece, Russia and Scotland celebrate together with the same Patron Saint. In our reflection today we prayed for the  Lord's guidance for Scotland to make the right choice regarding independence.

Forthcoming events.

Monday 2nd December -  Parents’ Evening S5/6

Thursday 5th December           -  Talk on Owls [with live creatures] 9-11 am, S4 Biology

Thursday 5th December           -  Advanced Higher Art Exhibition, Assembly Hall, 7-9 pm

Friday 6th December                -  Advanced Higher Art Exhibition, Assembly Hall, 9.30 – 2.30

Tuesday 10th December           -  Christmas Concert in the Assembly Hall in evening

Tues 17th December                 -  School Talent Show during school day.

Friday 20th                               -  Christmas Service and Christmas Fun. School closes at 2.30

Please note especially our Art Exhibition. Some pieces were on display last night at the Christmas Fair and they brought an enormously positive response so Thursday and Friday should be great. More celebration of our fabulous pupil talents.

In Sport, both the Junior and Senior netball teams won their Scottish Cup Ties on Wednesday. This coming week, the U/16s Football Team on Tuesday then U/14s on Wednesday play Scottish Cup Ties. Good luck to both.

Have a great weekend.

 

Friday 22nd November 2013

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear~~~not absence of fear.”

Mark Twain

Monday evening and our Senior School Awards’ Ceremony was a magnificent occasion, well attended and much appreciated by families, teaching staff and the students themselves. It was fabulous to see the support given by so many teachers and other staff in making it such a great event. Special thanks to Ms Dastey for her organisation.

We were delighted to welcome Lord Willie Haughey there as our special guest and to present awards. He spoke brilliantly to our successful students, talking about some of his own experiences in business and in life. He reminded students that there are many different routes to success, not all of which pass through university, but that all of them involve hard work and a desire to do your very best and to give value in what we do. Lord Haughey was enormously impressed by the work of our Music Department and especially moved by the Music Award made in tribute to our former Music teacher Mr. Nelson. He made a very generous donation to support the work of the Music Department. Ms Watkins is still in a state of shock. We can’t thank Lord Haughey enough for taking the time to support our Awards’ Ceremony.

I’m aware that we have a variety of events coming up over the next month. I hope to list many of these in next week’s blog.Please note in particular the Christmas Festival and Craft Fayre in Holyrood this

Please encourage pupils to get to school on time. The first bell goes at 8.40 am and this is a signal to be in school and start moving to your registration class. The 2nd bell goes at 8.45 am and by this point pupils should be in their class. A lot of students, especially many who live locally, are habitually late. I hope we can work together to effect a change.

I’ve been able to visit St. Fillan’s and St. Mirin’s Primary Schools this week and I have been so impressed by the quality of the young people in both.

Great attendances at morning mass over the past 2 weeks, welcoming large numbers of students as well as parents and grandparents at 8.25 am Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. We had a lovely visit on Tuesday from Bishop Mone, former pupil and Emeritus Bishop of Paisley Diocese. He celebrated a beautiful mass with Fr. Bathgate [and Fr. Carroll leading the musical liturgy] and presented us with a stunning chalice for use in our oratory.

Have a great weekend.

 

15th November 2013

"Whatever you did for one of the least of My brethren, you did it for me."

Matthew 25:40

Thanks to all staff and pupils for the magnificent response to our bucket appeal on Friday to contribute to SCIAF’s Philippines Typhoon Appeal.

We raised the incredible sum of £1,370. It is Friday at 4.30 as I write this and, as soon as I finish this, I’m driving to the SCIAF office in Glasgow to deliver the cheque. Well done Holyrood.

Thanks to all staff for their work at the P7 Information Evening on Monday. I spoke to a lot of parents on their way out the door or as they had a cup of tea. They were all enormously impressed with our young people as guides, with the quality of our Senior Students as tour guides but also in the way they answered questions about their school experience in Holyrood.

Parents and carers spoke about the Ethos they experienced and about the courtesy and openness of those staff present. Thank you.

Huge congratulations to Mrs. Abraitis, Ms Limond and other colleagues who work to develop Netball in Holyrood. Mrs. Abraitis in particular has flown the flag for Netball in Holyrood for many years so it was wonderful that, at the Netball Scotland dinner last Saturday night, Holyrood RC Secondary was named as Netball Scotland’s School of the Year. Well done Mrs. Abraitis. Megan McNair of S6 and former pupil and assistant coach Fay Graham were there to pick up the award.

I’m looking forward to Monday evening’s Awards Ceremony and I am delighted that so many staff are able to be present. We celebrate the achievements of all our young people during the year in Holyrood, whether in Sport, Music, Art or contribution to Ethos. It’s wonderful also, on this evening, to celebrate wonderful academic achievements as well as some students who make an extraordinary contribution to our school community.

 

Friday 8th November 2013

HT Blog

 

"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others."

Winston Churchill

Thanks to teachers and clerical staff also for the work being done in tracking student progress, especially with our National 4 and National 5 candidates. We want to try to keep parents informed of progress and to highlight any concerns.

We are looking forward to welcoming parents and carers of our prospective first year pupils for next year to our P7 Information Evening on Monday. Parents always especially enjoy the opportunity to have a tour of the school guided by existing pupils.

We are already looking forward to the visit of a Theatre Company on Wednesday 13th to deliver a French play.

I’ve been enjoying my visits to associated primary schools and have already been to OLA, St. Conval’s and Holy Cross where I have met some fabulous young people. I’m already looking forward to welcoming them as members of the Holyrood Community.

Have a great weekend.

1st November 2013 

 “The true joy which we experience in the family is not superficial; it does not come from material objects, from the fact that everything seems to be going well... True joy comes from a profound harmony between persons, something which we all feel in our hearts and which makes us experience the beauty of togetherness, of mutual support along life’s journey. But the basis of this feeling of deep joy is the presence of God”

Pope Francis in his Homily, 27th October 2013.

Sister Catherine had an excellent experience in Holyrood on Monday and Tuesday of last week. Thanks so much for the welcome you gave her. I know she feels she has lots of ideas from her discussions with staff in Holyrood.

Sister Catherine will visit us again for the last time from 12.30 on Tuesday until the end of the day.

Congratulations to our U/18 footballers for some recent notable successes under Mr. Soares, especially their excellent Scottish Cup victory last week. Mr. O’Neill’s rugby squads have been doing well, with our S1/2 squad winning against some apparently much more experienced and “rugby-oriented” schools.

Thanks to all staff for your support in making our All Saints Day masses such a success. I said to Father Ian and Father John that some of us old timers panic when they start to do innovative things at mass but, as usual, they judged it perfectly and a number of pupils spoke to me at lunchtime on Friday to say that they had enjoyed the mass but also that it had made them think.

I hope to organise distribution of lockers in the early part of next week. All pupils are asked to empty their lockers and return their keys by first thing on Tuesday morning.

We wish Stuart MacMorris all the best as he starts his new post at St. Andrew’s Secondary School in Glasgow today. I’d like to thank Stuart for his years of excellent service here in Holyrood and for the huge commitment he has given to this community.

Friday 25th October 2013

“The future starts today, not tomorrow.”
Blessed John Paul II

As part of the Church’s Mission Focus at present, the RE Department has involved lower school pupils in a Mission Week event taking place in the Fuel Zone. The remaining group of S1 pupils will take part in this event on Monday 28th October.

Our “Aim High” Conference for S1 took place on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. It was an outstanding success with excellent contributions from a variety of community and youth groups, as well as very important input from the Fire Service in the lead up guy Fawkes night. Our young people responded brilliantly. Thanks especially to Miss Leyden for her coordination and leadership.

On Monday Holyrood S6 students gave excellent support to the Aid to the Church in Need. 15 of our S6 students, led by Miss O’Reilly and Mrs. McCoy, took part by reading scripture, welcoming those attending and distributing programmes. All those present heard an inspirational and thought provoking input from His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of Antioch and of Jerusalem, reflecting on the enormous challenges associated with being Christian in the Middle East and seeking to remain faithful to the teachings and the practice of the Faith.

We are very much looking forward to the visit of Sister Catherine, Head Teacher of Stella Maris Secondary School, our partner  Secondary School in Malawi, next week. Sister Catherine will be arriving as part of Glasgow City’s Malawi Leaders of Learning Programme. Sister has been Head at Stella Maris for only a year but has made a significant difference, I understand, in focusing on teaching and learning in ways which allow Holyrood to engage even better with the school. S6 students will welcome her at Assembly first thing on Monday morning and she will be entertained by a musical ensemble.  I know children and staff across the school will do everything possible to make her feel a warm welcome to Holyrood. Mr. Justin Kamwendo, long time friend of Holyrood, and link Education Officer in Blantyre Malawi for the Leaders of Learning programme, will lead the Malawian group arriving in Glasgow on Sunday. We hope Justin will also be able to visit Holyrood later in the Malawi Group’s visit.

On Monday Sister Catherine will be with me until the end of Period 2. At either P3 or P4 she will visit our Mission Event in the Fuel Zone. I hope she may have the opportunity to tour the school before interval. I hope she will be with us in the cafeteria at interval before heading to the City Chambers for about 12. She will spend Tuesday with us also, visiting classes in RE and Social Subjects as well as other areas where she may have a particular interest.

Thanks very much to Father Ian, Mrs. McCoy and colleagues in RE for organising our Mission Event.

I can confirm that this year's Malawi Ball will take place at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Saturday 22nd February 2014. More information to follow.

Friday 11th October

"The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the way we make use of them."

 Michel de Montaigne

 Monday 7th saw a very well received Information Evening for S4 and S3 to help parents appreciate the road young people have been on regarding Curriculum for Excellence and to be clear about what’s happening now. Thanks especially to Miss Crearie, Miss Leyden, Mrs. Brady and the support of Pastoral Care staff.

It’s great to see our football teams so heavily involved recently. Apart from The Special One, Mr. Culleninho and his all conquering U/14 team, there have been highly creditable performances for all age groups under their respective coaches.

There was a great trip to Dynamic Earth on Thursday 10th organised by Miss Douglas. We had World Porridge Day, with all proceeds to Mary’s Meals, on Thursday 10th also, organised by Mrs. O’Shea. The event saw Home Economics staff and students making and serving the kind of porridge students might have in Malawi, watching the stunning Mary’s Meals Film, Child 31, and we were well entertained by our piper and excellent Senior School musical ensemble led by Ms Watkins and Ms MacFarlane.

Friday 4th October

 

 

 

"We have to find God's presence, first of all, in our own brokenness. Then we have to find it in service. We grow in service."

[Actor] Martin Sheen
This week has seen a fantastic trip to Paris organised by our Modern Languages Department, led by Mrs. Foley. Reports from Paris suggest that it has been a fantastic trip and that our young people, as always, have been winning even more friends for Holyrood RC Secondary School by their excellent and respectful behaviour and their charm.
This week saw the first meeting of our Malawi Project Team 2014. It was the first meeting of this year's student and staff project team and we watched together a presentation detailing the history of the Project and indicating what we hope to achieve this year.We are once again delighted to have the knowledge and expertise of Mr. Tom McDonald with the team.
This evening 4th October sees a fundraiser for our S6 team going to Mexico this year as part of Operation Wallacea. The project sees groups of young people from Scotland, including our Holyrood team, visit Mexico to work on environmental projects there. The evening's theme is around James Bond. No doubt the dancing will involve lots of shaking if not stirring.
I am writing this from Alton Towers on Friday afternoon. We left Glasgow at 4 am today [big thanks to Asda Toryglen for allowing us to use their car park so our young people could gather in a well lit area and avoid disturbing residents on Dixon Rd.] and we have had a fantastic day. Students have behaved impeccably and have had a ball.
Monday evening sees an Information Evening on Curriculum for Excellence and new qualifications for S4 at 6 pm and S3 at 7pm. We hope for a good turnout.
Thursday 26th September 2013
 “The goodness of God knows how to use our disordered wishes and actions, often lovingly turning them to our advantage while always preserving the beauty of his order.”
Saint Bernard de Clairvaux
Staff had a busy In-Service day today while our students had a day of rest, although I’m sure many seniors took the opportunity to study!
Our  Social Committee organised a beautiful lunch today as we welcomed back Mrs. Dorward [Home Economics] and Mrs. McKay [Drama] who have both retired early to enjoy their ongoing youth. We also said a fond farewell to Principal Teacher of Performing Arts, Mrs. McIntosh, who had until recently been seconded to Education Scotland. She joins the Education Management Service of North Ayrshire Council. We wish her well. We learned this week also that Mr. MacMorris will shortly be leaving us as he has received a well deserved promotion to a Principal Teacher post at St. Andrew’s Secondary in Glasgow.
Well done and thanks to Ms Wilson for her fantastic work in organising the Geo Bus visits on Tuesday and Wednesday last week. It was clear that our S2 young people really enjoyed them.
Lockers. All pupils should have received the message to empty their locker if it was in the area between the boys’ and girls’ toilets in the fuel zone. New lockers will be fitted there next week and in the area to the side of the Assembly Hall. Any material left in the lockers can be collected from the janitors on Tuesday morning. Anything left will be binned by end Tuesday. New lockers will be allocated as soon as possible and details will be announced on the Tannoy.
Enormous thanks to Celtic Football Club for their generosity, under the umbrella of the the Celtic Learning Programme, of providing us with a number of tickets for our students to attend the Celtic v Barcelona Champions League match. What a wonderful experience for our young people.
I hope many of you may have an extended break this weekend. Of whatever length, enjoy your weekend.
 
Friday 20th September 2013
“We should work to become, not to acquire”
Author unknown 
On Monday and Tuesday we interviewed for places on the Malawi 2014 Project. We interviewed almost 60 young people and their performances at interview were both stunning and inspirational. All those interviewed reflected very well on their experiences in Holyrood RC Secondary and spoke passionately about the opportunities given to them here. It was moving also to hear so many of them speak of the opportunities given to them to enrich their faith here. There were no bad performances but it was so difficult to select just over 30 students from these interviews which varied from outstanding to even more exceptional. The candidates were informed of the outcome on Thursday.
Many thanks to Margaret Leyden for her organisation of Thursday’s Information Evening, drawing together community agencies to support and inform parents attending on the night. Parents were so appreciative of all our visiting contributors and also of the school staff who turned out with Pastoral Care, Education Liaison [Attendance] Officers, Support for Learning and our English as an Additional Language staff especially well represented. It was great to see an excellent representation of Holyrood parents.
Our coach lists for Alton Towers for our Senior School trip on 4th October are almost finalised. Full payment should be made this coming week and all consent forms must be returned as soon as possible. A further information letter will be issued this coming week.
I have visited some classes in S3 and S4 this week and have seen our students very well engaged in their learning with excellent standards of behaviour and very positive attitudes.
School sport is well under way with our Junior and Senior Girls winning the first Glasgow netball tournaments of the year. Our S2 team won 14-0 the other night and our new S1 team pool is just about finalised.
Our Senior boys played in a South Side select team at Biggar and lost very narrowly by 2 points with only 13 men on the park at the end due to injury.
 
Enjoy your weekend.

Friday 13th September 2013

"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."

Corrie Ten Boom

I have asked all teaching staff to make homework a special focus for all classes at present. I ask all parents to keep an eye on homework planners/ diaries so we can work together to build good habits in our young people.

As many of you will know by now, we received the news this week that Father Martin Kane will be moving from his position as chaplain to Holyrood to take up a new parish position which will involve him being chaplain to St. Paul’s. We shall miss Father Martin very much when the time comes. We thank Father Martin for his wonderful service to this community over the past 2 years and we wish him all the very best in his new position. I know that for the time being he will continue to live at Christ the King Parish and we shall enjoy his strong contribution to Holyrood life and to faith formation.

We know that our new chaplain will be Father John Carroll, who has already made his presence felt in advance visits to Holyrood, and we look forward to his formal arrival here.

Thanks to all parents and staff who attended our First Year Welcome Mass on Monday. They helped give a strong sense of welcome to our S1 pupils. Special thanks to Fr. Kane, Fr. Carroll, Fr. Bathgate and Fr. Noel Burke for concelebrating the Mass.

Lists are up on the 6th year notice board indicating those students who will be interviewed for the Malawi Team of 2014. The standard of applications was very high. Out of over 90 applicants we are interviewing 11 S5 students and 40 S6 students. Interviews take place on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th in the Head Teacher’s Office.

Lists have also gone up for the Senior School trip to Alton Towers on Friday 4th October. Pupils should ensure that all lists are correct. Most students have now paid the £20 deposit and the remaining money is due by Wednesday 25th September. Consent forms to be signed and returned will come out this week and payment cards are also available.

Work is now completed on the Holyrood roof on the Dixon Road side. Roof work will now switch to the Albert Road side to replace only part of the roof so we hope this will bring minimum disruption.

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday 6th September 2013

"Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting...Don't only give your care, but give your heart as well."
Blessed Mother Teresa, whose feast day was Thursday 5th September.
A reminder to all parents and carers of S1 pupils that Monday 9th September is our  First Year Welcome Mass. This first formal event of our S1 pupils’ school career is Mass and the final formal event in S6 will be Mass, which is as it should be for a Catholic school. We hope children, parents and carers of all faiths will feel very welcome on Monday evening.
There will be light refreshments available after mass and a chance for families to meet other families and to get to know staff a little better.
Holyrood’s sports’ teams are starting to get into gear once again. Our junior and senior netball teams will be taking part in their first tournament of the year this coming Friday. Our rugby teams have begun their training and serious preparation for the new season with coach Mr. O’Neil. I saw the boys play some 7s rugby with pupils from Shawlands at Cartha/ Queens Park on Wednesday and was hugely impressed by their commitment and skill, all a great credit to coach O’Neil. The school’s football teams, both girls and boys, should play their first games within the next fortnight [although our S1s have still to take part in trials].
S6 students have a day’s retreat on Monday at Christ the King, starting with Mass at Christ the King Parish at 9.30 am. Students are allowed to wear casual clothes but we have asked them to ensure all dress is modest.
I had stated that Monday was the deadline for all applications from students to be part of Team Malawi 2014 but, given that Monday is a retreat day, I am happy to accept applications first thing on Tuesday morning.
Assemblies this week - Monday 9th – S4, Tues – S5, Wed – S6, Thurs – S1, Fri – S2. Assembly Topics – Homework and Homework Diaries again / Behaviour in corridors and areas not to go / Malawi 2013 presentations from S6 students.   Have a good weekend.

Friday 30th August 2013

 A reminder to all parents and carers that Fr. Martin Kane, our Chaplain, celebrates mass on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 8.20 and on Friday lunchtimes at 1.25.

Members of the RE Department spoke to our S5 and 6 at assemblies this week regarding the various opportunities available through the Department for Faith Development. We want our Senior pupils to be examples to younger pupils in the public practice of their faith as they seek to be in all areas of school life.

We had a well attended Parent Council meeting on Tuesday evening where I gave details of Holyrood students' exam success this year and answered questions about Curriculum for Excellence and about the SQA's new qualifications. Please see the Parent Council section of the Holyrood website to find details of the work of the Parent Council and of future meetings including September's Parent Forum AGM.

Preparations are well under way for the First Year Welcome Mass on Monday 9th September, for which all S1 parents have received a letter of invitation. We have a visit by John Pridmore on Friday of this week to speak to our S4 students. John's inspirational story of how his life was turned around by re-finding his Catholic faith and accepting God's love in his life has had a tremendous impact on the life of others. We look forward to this visit.

S5 and S6 students have been asked to pay their deposit of £20 on Monday 2nd if they wish to go to Alton Towers on Friday 4th October with our Senior School Group.

Friday 23rd August

Another busy week at Holyrood. Given the complexities of a timetable for over 2,000+ pupils and 140+ teachers, we continue to try to match up to the variety of options' choices of our young people. This is especially the case where our senior students, based on results, are changing options they had considered in June.

Given that more young people have returned in S5 and S6 than in previous years, we are working hard with the Council's Human Resources Department to ensure the school is fully staffed to try to meet the needs of young people. S5 and S6 Depute Heads have been working especially hard with Pastoral care staff to do so.

Assemblies this week will focus on reminding pupils about making healthy choices in food and drink, especially in what they bring to school. We would be very grateful if parents who supply food and drinks for our young people in packed lunches would avoid fizzy drinks etc when they send pupils to school.

We are speaking this week to pupils in S5 and S6 about a proposed trip to Alton Towers in early October. This trip is designed to acknowledge excellent cooperation by senior students in attendance, timekeeping, attitude, effort and uniform including the school blazer. The vast majority of our senior students look fantastic in their new braided blazers. Thanks to all parents for your wonderful support of uniform policy. We continue to advise all young people that if, at any time, the reason for them not wearing a blazer is to do with any financial issues, they should have a quiet word with their Pastoral Care Teacher, their Year Group Depute Head or me as Head Teacher and I'm sure we can find a solution.

A group of 50 staff and students will attend the Celtic v Inverness Caley game tomorrow as guests of Glasgow Celtic Football Club. We are very grateful to the club for their ongoing commitment to Holyrood and all Glasgow schools as part of the Celtic Learning in the Community programme.

Have a great weekend.

 

Friday 16th August 2013

The end of a first full week for teachers and a 3-day week for pupils. It is always exciting as well as daunting to return to school [even though few staff admit it!] and to see our new S1. It is especially interesting to see well kent faces attached to bodies which have grown 6 inches in height during the summer. It's great that it has been a much better summer in Scotland and our young people have returned to school looking as if they have enjoyed the fresh air.

I'd like to thank all parents and carers for sending students back to Holyrood looking so smart. I'm especially pleased to see the level of support we have received from parents in purchasing school blazers. Our young people looked fabulous on their return. Holyrood with Style!

We have had assemblies today for all year groups where Miss Crearie, Depute Head, has organised a fire assembly drill to ensure all students know the required routines. We have also been attending to the present allocation of lockers and are looking at reviewing present arrangements to ensure that allocation covers all year groups.

Lockers are targeted first at young people who have mobility issues or additional needs and then are available as a reward for students who fully cooperate with all aspects of school guidelines on conduct and uniform.

Celtic Football Club's Community Learning initiative leaders have been in touch to make a very generous offer of over 40 tickets for pupils for next week's home game v Inverness Caledonian Thistle. I have distributed letters to interested pupils today and have asked for responses by Monday. We are delighted at the continued support given by Celtic FC to Holyrood and all schools in the city of Glasgow.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday 7th August

SQA results have been generally very positive and we had many outstanding performances for students in S4, S5 and S6.

Congratulations to all pupils for their hard work in this past year. I hope that all students now have a clearer picture of their route to the next stage of their lives, whether that means returning to school, moving to employment or moving to a new institution of learning.

Holyrood has built a tremendous reputation for preparing students for future employment and, in recent years, Glasgow City Council's statistical evidence shows Holyrood as one of the most successful schools in the city in directing students to a positive destination in employment or post school education.

Staff return to Holyrood on Monday 12th August and have 2 In-Service days to prepare for pupils' return, in full school uniform, on Wednesday 14th August at 8.45 am.

Wednesday 26th June

Attendance was very good up to the start of this week when we had a drop off. While it is a great opportunity for pupils and staff to work in preparation for the new term, it is also an opportunity for staff and pupils to work together and build positive relationships in our school community.

I wish all members of the Holyrood Community a happy summer break.

HT and Malawi Blog

Saturday 22nd June
Great fun last night with a Malawi Karaoke and sing song. A mixture of emotions this morning as we prepare for the flight home. The team has been fantastic and very special together . We have fallen in love with Malawi and the wonderful people here but we are so so looking forward to being with our family and friends back home. It's 7 am and it's final packing then breakfast.we then say farewell to  the GBC and go to our farewell mass at St. Monfort. A very tearful farewell. Goodbye Malawi and thank you.
Friday 21st June
A final visit to all our work sites this morning to complete final bits of work and to tidy up. On every site we completed all the work annex and achieved a bit more. At zingwangwa the Special needs unit and toilet and shower block, at CI the Special Needs room and Library, at Matindi village the double classroom block are almost fully  built with the money raised by the team and with the support of family and friends. We have fully refurbished 10 classrooms across 3 sites leaving stimulating classroom with lots of colours and shapes. At 11am all groups converged on Matindi for the official  opening of the classroom block funded by Langside Primary and partly built and decorated by Holyrood. The block was officially opened by the Malawi govt's Di rector of Primary Education. We had much singing and dancing and fun in the farewell at Matindi. It was a very emotional farewell as thebusesed away from Matindi for the last time
Matindi
Thursday 20th.
The day started as usual with teams at all sites by 8.15. We worked through to 2pm then all headed for Catholic Institute for their sports afternoon. Our 2nd last full day in Malawi and another really busy one. The girls had learned from yesterday's experience and, after going 5 down, stormed back to win the netball 10-9 with Laura shooting 5. Great performance for boys drawing nil nil away from home. Like playing in San Siro with thousands lining football and netball pitches. We had a very entertaining and emotional send off  at CI. Great night last night as we ate out At an Italian restaurant in town.
 
Wednesday 19th
Usual start time and on the road by 7.15. We were on site and work by , completing a good shift by 2.45. At that point all groups headed to Stella Maris girls secondary for the traditional sports afternoon. There is nothing girly about their approach to sport. It's full on as our girls found in netball. We were soundly beaten I netball but, with mixed staff and student teams on both sides,  we won the football 5-1 with 2 from Ciara and Andy and one from Tony. All great fun. A quiet night I tonight then out for dinner tomorrow.
Tuesday 18th
 
Rose at 6.15 for another busy day. All at work sites by 8. Lunch was delivered to sites and we worked till 5 pm. Everyone was tired but very happy with day's work. All sites now look on target for completion by Friday. Great night for the group when we decided to eat out at a local restaurant. Brief celebration of Alyssia's birthday as the clock passed 12 with more to come.
 
Monday 17th
We rose at 6.15 to find heavy rain which persisted most of the day. Despite this all the sites managed a full day’s work and all returned to GBC this evening tired but happy with what they achieved. As usual we had our team meeting and spiritual reflection at 7 then dinner at 8. There was some conversation at the dinner table tonight about which favourite meal team members looked forward to this weekend at home. If my wife’s reading this, either chicken fajitas or blue cheese pasta will do nicely!
Sunday 16th
We chilled out today in the knowledge that we’re going back to Blantyre this afternoon to prepare to complete our work targets in construction, painting and decorating and teaching and learning. We have ambitious targets but are determined to meet them. The trip back was long and bumpy but we finally arrived back at 6.30 pm, having left Lake Malawi at 2. Tired but a wonderful weekend behind us.
Saturday 15th
It was great to be there with some of the Malawian teachers and colleagues we are working with. Sister Diana arranged a very memorable mass in the local village on Saturday night. We had a great meal and sing song and some of the group managed to get up early to see the sunrise over the Lake. Tom McDonald has posted a memorable picture on the Holyrood Malawi Facebook page.
Friday 14th June 2013
Early departure as promised. We were on minibuses and on the road by 7am for the 3 and a half hour trip to Mvuu Nature Reserve. Mvuu is Chichewa for hippo and the reserve didn’t disappoint. One group did the land safari in a vehicle in the morning then water safari pm and vice versa for the 2nd group.. We were so lucky to get within 30 feet of elephants, 10 feet of crocs and 20 feet of hippos. In addition the park was teaming with wildlife from monkeys and baboons to impala, water bucks and warthogs. We had a fantastic time and got a real sense of the richness of African wildlife.
We drove for a further 2 hours for our 2 nights of rest and relaxation mid trip and enjoyed a very restful 2 days in the beauty of the Club Makokola Retreat on Lake Malawi.
 

 

 

Thursday 13th June
Early rise and breakfast in the knowledge that we had a big work day ahead after some time off site on the last 2 days. All the groups went at the task with great relish and all reported very significant progress in the construction and painting side of things. Ms. Wilson is also working with a girls' group at Stella Maris, accompanied by senior students from Holyrood, looking at basic womens' rights and the expectations young girls should have. Ms Dornan and Mrs. Quinn are working with staff at Stella Maris on IT training. We leave GBC tomorrow for a couple of days seeing Lake Malawi before resuming full work duties.
All are tired this evening and most are settling for an earl to bed in anticipation of a 6am breakfast tomorrow.
Wednesday 12th June
Another brilliant day. The team visits were reversed re working on sites or visiting Mary’s Meals. We met back at GBC at 1.30 and had a fabulous confirmed surprise that we had managed to secure tickets for the whole group to go to the Malawi v Kenya World Cup qualifying game at Kimuzu Stadium, just down the road. It was a very exciting game with “The Flames” twice going ahead before Kenya equalised in the 90th minute to make it 2-2. One of the Mary’s Meal staff today commented on the love we showed towards one another within the group, the love she saw directed at children by our students and the love she felt in being involved with the group. What a lovely thing to say.
Tuesday 11th June
Early rise, breakfast at 7 [cereal, toast, eggs and sausage, fruit juice, tea, coffee, hot chocolate available] then an early start at our work sites for half the group while other half went to Mary’s Meals HQ and distribution centre followed by a visit to an under 6 centre. The group had a wonderful but very moving experience, especially realising that some
children had lost 1 or both parents, often to AIDs. The group managed an early evening visit to Shop-Rite to pick up some necessary provisions. Dinner at GBC was along the usual lines [salad, spag bol, chicken, vegetables, chips and maybe some ice cream]. The day finished with a quiz in the meeting room with 7 pupil teams and a staff team. The staff team won a tie break to keep honour intact, much to the chagrin of students.
.Monday 10th June
We woke at 6.15 [standard early morning call], breakfasted at 7 and were on the road by 7.30 to visit Matindi Village. Holyrood made a massive impact there last year, building 3 classrooms partly thanks to very generous donations from Langside Primary School, from Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill of Simple Minds and from Willie Haughey of City Refrigeration. We had a stunning welcome from the whole school community, including parent groups and the local chiefs. There was fabulous entertainment from the young people and a huge acknowledgement of the impact thios building programme has had on this village school. We left there at 11.30 am to work at our allocated sites. We worked till darkness began falling at 5 pm. Back to GBC, shower and change then the whole group out for dinner to a local restaurant. We had a wonderful meal then returned to GBC for some group socialising. A great day. Each day, before dinner, we have a discussion of the impact of the experiences of the day and we have a spiritual reflection.
Sunday 9th June
Tom McDonald referred to this as a long lie [up at 7 am] then a visit to Zingwangwa Primary School. We saw the area we’ll work in to complete a toilet block for special needs children and a Vocational Workshop for children with additional needs to train them to have a chance of making a living. Our young people played with the children of Zingwangwa, organising a large scale hokey cokey as well as other children’s games. They already show a willingness to put in to practice what they’ve prepared to do. We left Zingwangwa to attend Mass at our partner school Stella Maris. It was a beautiful service, conducted in English and with much singing and dancing. Ciara Rodgers did a reading, Mr. Clifford accidentally ended up in the middle of the Malawian choir, swaying to the rhythm, and we finished with a chance for pupils and staff to mingle outside Mass and get to know each other. We headed back to GBC for lunch. Some friends of Holyrood had made arrangements for groups to visit their own native villages in the afternoon so we had very interesting experiences in 4 different villages. Once again our students showed a willingness to be friendly and open to new experiences. All groups returned to GBC in time for dinner and a fairly early night.Malawi but I have had big problems in downloading it from Malawi onto the school website. It’ll get there eventually
Saturday 8th June
The journey was, as always, long, with incredible responses and numbers of hits on our Holyrood Malawi 2013 Facebook page, updated regularly by Tom McDonald. A delay at Jo’burg then all fatigue washed away with the stunning welcome at Blantyre Airport as children from Catholic Institute, Zingwangwa and Stella Maris lined the airport road to greet us. It was just fantastic, as all previous groups can testify. We visited Catholic Institute and saw foundations of the building project we are to continue and saw other areas we are to paint and renovate. A meal at our accommodation [Grace Bandawe Centre, referred to as GBC] then early to bed.
Malawi Log
Friday 7th June
A beautiful mass attended by over 140 people, celebrated by Fr. Martin in the Holyrood oratory. Great to see so many former Malawi Team members as well as family and friends of thepresent team
Friday 7th June 2013
It’s been a very busy 2 weeks at Holyrood. We’ve had the final days of the exam diet taking place; once again we have to pay tribute to the fabulous work and support to our students by Mrs. Patricia Dougherty and her band of invigilators who went out of their way to try and reduce exam stress. I thank also Mrs. Elaine Coyle, Acting Depute Head, who has done sterling work as SQA coordinator, working with Mrs. Dougherty.
The final rehearsals for our school show “Hairspray” built to a crescendo and this week we have had a set of performances which have improved, night on night, to what I understand was an absolute “tour de force” on Friday night. Every member of the cast was outstanding in the 3 shows I saw and our staff involved in production and direction, including musical direction, did a stunning job.
I missed the Thursday night because of the 6th year prom at the Marriot Hotel, which was a great success, especially with the spectacular arrival of Hairspray cast star Andrew Brown. I then missed the final night because the Malawi Team 2013 left for Malawi on Friday morning.
I’m updating this by the day in Malawi.
 
 "When a man has quietly made up his mind that there is nothing he cannot endure, his fears leave him."
Grove Patterson
 
I am gradually coming to experience, bit by bit, some of Holyrood’s more idiosyncratic traditions. Thanks to all those staff who were here last night [Wednesday 22nd May] to help with the Bouncy Castle Disco. Is there no end to Miss Leyden’s entrepreneurial talent?
Congratulations to Mr. Cullen’s S1 footballers who won 2-0 in the Glasgow “Castle Cup” last Saturday 18th May, beating off a strong challenge from Bearsden Academy.
As I write this I wish good luck to Mrs. Kelly’s U/15 and Mr. Kirk’s U/14 team who play this evening 23rd May with 4.00 and 4.45 kick offs, at Loretto Playing Fields, Bishopbriggs [entrance is via the golf range road, which is why I drove about for half hour last week before finding it!]. I hope that, by the time you read this, we may have more news of victories.
Tickets are going extremely well for all performances of “Hairspray” in week beginning 3rd June and are close to sell out for Thursday and Friday already. Please buy tickets as early as possible or you may be disappointed. Tickets are available from Mrs. Quinn [in Pastoral Care Base or Computing] and from Ms. Wilson in Social Subjects.
Most pupils, other than those with SQA exams, will be off school until Wednesday 29th May [given that Tuesday is an In-Service for staff].
I hope many parents and careers may have some time off for an extended weekend.   I hope you have a fantastic weekend and I hope, whatever you’re doing, that you may experience restorative sun and heat. We could do with some heat.
 
Stop press - Under 14s narrowly lost 3-2 after being 2-0 up, with some controversial refereeing decisions thrown in to the mix! The under 15's ran out excellent winners in a close fought final, beating John Paul Academy 2-1.
 
Friday 17th May 2013
 
 “To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.”
William H. Walton
 
I know a lot of parents of students in the present S3 are starting to fret a little about how Universities and Colleges view the new National Qualifications and what they are thinking as young people move to the new arrangements at Higher. Glasgow and Edinburgh universities have recently made statements suggesting how they view the place of new National Qualifications and their equivalences with other qualifications. It’s worth a read.
Statement by University of Glasgow, March 2013
Statement by University of Edinburgh, April 2013
Tickets for our school show, “Hairspray”, are already available and are for sale every day from Miss Wilson in Social Subjects or from Mrs. Quinn in Computing or the Pastoral Care Office. I have had the privilege of watching some rehearsals and it looks like an outstanding, talented, energetic cast.
I have seen some of the work being done in Social Subjects at present with S1 in Global Citizenship, highlighting the work of Mary’s Meals with the astonishing short film, Child 31. It’s very impressive to see young people’s response and I hope, as they move to the practical expression of concern through involvement in the Mary’s Meals backpack appeal, that they show the same commitment.
Congratulations to Mr. MacMorris as Assistant Coach of the Glasgow U/18 Schools squad on their becoming Scottish Champions on Tuesday night at Fir Park against Lanarkshire. Mark McKenna and Andrew McLaughlin of S6, Chris Martin of S5 and Ryan Smith of S4 all played. Glasgow goals were scored by Holyrood boys McKenna, Smith and McLaughlin as they drew 3-3 then won on penalties. Good luck to Mr. Cullen’s U/13 team in the Glasgow Cup Final tomorrow at Loretto.
 
Friday 10th May 2013
 
“If you are humble, nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are”
Mother Teresa
 
I hope everyone enjoyed last weekend’s elongated break although it very quickly disappears.
Thanks to all staff for their help in monitoring movement around the school during SQA exams and to our outstanding group of invigilators for the way they support our young people.
Plans are going ahead at present to prepare for next session 2013-14. This is a chance to prepare our Improvement Plan after consultation with parents and for departments to plan all aspects of next year’s curriculum.
A group of pupils from our EAL Department will attend tomorrow’s Celtic game where the Championship trophy will be presented. This group of students has also attended Celtic FC’s Learning Centre at Celtic Park where students have followed a Literacy programme. We hope they have a great time tomorrow. I’m sure I shall.
Have a great weekend.
 
Friday 3rd May 2013
“The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”
Benjamin Mays
We had a beautiful and very moving Leavers’ Mass on Monday 29th April. Thanks to all those involved in its organisation, especially Mr. Parkins and Mrs. Quinn, to Fr. Kane and Father Bathgate for concelebrating mass and to our valedictory speakers Head Boy David McLauchlan and Head Girl Ciara Rodgers. Special awards were as follows: Head Teacher’s Award went to Ben Procter for his outstanding contribution to the life of the school and the Lumen Award for contribution to the Faith life of the school went to Julie Boyle.
 
We had a lively and interesting Parent Council on Tuesday evening, looking at traffic arrangements, the Curriculum and parent advice regarding our Improvement Plan for 2013-14. Exam arrangements are going well and we wish S5/6 well as they move to their exam programme.
Friday 26th April 2013 
“Lord Jesus,
As I now prepare for my exams, I ask you to grant me strength of mind and constant hope. Banish from my mind all fear, anxiety, regret and nervous distraction. May your gift of the Holy Spirit guide and enlighten my fragile mind. At this difficult time, give me the gift of self-confidence and an assurance that you will hear my prayer, answer my need and continue to guide me as I pursue life’s journey. I ask this prayer through Christ Our Lord.
Amen.”
It was great that so many parents, carers and staff were able to attend the “Bridging the Gap” celebration evening on Monday in Holyrood. Bridging the Gap do such fantastic work in building bridges in our communities across all divides. It was wonderful also to see so many of this year’s P7s, soon to be Holyrood’s finest. It was also great to see our students from S4, 5 and 6 [as well as some now left] who do so much work in delivering the Bridging the Gap transition programme, working with full time BTG leaders Terry Strain and Collette Gallanan.
S4 have now started their exams with Computing today. Good luck to all students in S4, and to S5 and S6 when they go on study leave after Friday 3rd May.
I hope as many staff as possible can make our S6 Leavers’ Mass on Monday 29th April. From my experience in the past, it tends to be a very emotional affair [much to the surprise of many of our young people] with a sense that this is the last time they will be together formally as a year group with you, their parents and family and with the teachers who have seen them through 6 years at Holyrood RC Secondary; and so fitting that it should be a mass that we finish with. It would be wonderful if as many parents, carers and families as possible can be there.
For the 36 S5 and S6 students going to Malawi, almost all their fundraising is done and their flight tickets paid for. They need a temporary rest from thoughts of Malawi to completely focus on their SQA exams but Malawi is coming soon [7th June – 42 more sleeps!].
Have a good weekend.
 
Friday 19th April 2013
 
"God sees us for what we are."
5 Corinthians 11
 
As normally happens, the weather improves as the school term restarts and our S4, 5 and 6 prepare to be locked in exam rooms. It was ever thus!
We've made a real focus in S4, 5 and 6 assemblies this week of talking to students about their final preparations for SQA exams. It is important by this stage that young people who want to find success in national exams have their own study plan well under way. Exams will shortly begin and we'll send written advice home of arrangements for study leave.
Preparations are well under way for our 6th year leavers' mass on Monday 29th April. We hope all 6th years and parent and carers will attend.
This last week has been a busy sporting week. Our U/13 team in the Scottish Cup and our U/15s in the Glasgow Cup were both unfortunate to suffer narrow losses. On Thursday, however, both the U14 and U/13 boys' football teams had excellent victories in their Glasgow Cup semi-finals so both have finals to look forward to.
The highlight of the week came with our Senior Netball team, under the guidance of Coaches Abraitis and Limond. They won the Scottish Senior Plate final 64-30 against Madras College at the Ravenscraig Sports Complex. Congratulations to the girls and their coaches on this outstanding achievement.
 
Thursday 28th March
“We invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that she may accompany us during Holy Week. May she, who followed her Son with faith all the way to Calvary, help us to walk behind him, carrying his Cross with serenity and love, so as to attain the joy of Easter. May Our Lady of Sorrows support especially those who are experiencing difficult situations.” Pope Francis, 28th March 2013
This has been a very busy 4 days leading up to the start of our Easter break. On Monday evening we had a Principal Teachers’ Meeting after school where we worked in groups to consider what we felt should be the main targets for our Improvement Plan for 2013-14. Immediately after this, Mrs. O’Shea, Depute Head for S1, myself and our SFA Coach Brian McLaughlin met with young people who have made it to the final part of the selection process for our SFA Performance school. Mrs. O’Shea and I tried to give a flavour of what would be expected of these young people as Holyrood pupils while Brian’s particular focus was to give a flavour of the football and personal development opportunities for them. All of these boys and girls have been identified for their football talents but not all will be offered places. The SFA will send out letters to the successful candidates over the next couple of weeks.
On Tuesday evening we had our latest Parent Council meeting with Mr. Paul Toland in the Chair. The Council discussed issues relating to the road works now started around Holyrood and sought information on the supply teacher situation, which has been much better recently. I gave the Head Teacher report and sought feedback from parent members on what parents felt should be areas for concentration for 2013-14. Homework was identified as a particular concern for parents and I was able to say that we recognise that this is an area which needs focus.
On Wednesday evening we had the sensational “Holyrood’s got Talent” extravaganza, organised by Miss Maxwell of our Biology Department. Judges were Terry Strain of Bridging the Gap, Miss McLellan, Miss Dastey and myself. I have worked as a teacher for 33 years and have seen many talent shows but what was on offer on Wednesday was simply extraordinary. Every act was a star turn but eventually we had 3rd place for The Tutors, 2nd for Mairi Green and 1st place to Sean McGarvey, who wrote, played guitar to and sang his own song.
Attendance was excellent today for the last day of term, which was very pleasing. We had a beautiful Easter service prepared by Mrs. McCoy in a very respectful and prayerful atmosphere..I hope all of you manage some extra time off over the Easter break. I know many parents and carers are working hard to support our young people as they prepare for SQA exams. Well done especially to our S4 to S6 students who have signed up for Easter School classes.
I wish a Happy and Holy Easter to you all.
 
Friday 22nd March
 
"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."
G. K. Chesterton
 
I had an interesting start to the week, attending the Dinner at Edinburgh Castle on Monday evening, hosted by the First Minister and with President Joyce Banda of Malawi present, to celebrate the Bi-Centenial of David Livingstone. Apart from driving through a blizzard there and back, I had the privilege of sitting at a table with 3 people who mentioned the work of Holyrood. Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of Mary’s Meals, spoke to me about the outstanding work of Holyrood Secondary in Malawi. Mr. David Payne, accompanied by daughter Martha who famously has raised over £100,000 for Mary’s Meals through her school dinner blog, spoke about the impact of the artwork done by Holyrood pupils which they saw at some of our partner schools in Malawi.
Thanks to staff across the school for all the extra work going in to supporting our SQA candidates in class and at lunchtime and after school support sessions. I hope that all this effort bears fruit in final SQA exams.
I’m delighted at the excellent feedback we’ve had from visiting SQA examiners, most recently in PE and Music, on the performance of our pupils but also on the quality of work staff are doing with our young people.
Congratulations to Art and PE on their fantastic interdisciplinary work with Artists from Wales which involved a group of our young people doing artwork based on Welsh International footballers. Our students also had the opportunity to meet Welsh internationals such as Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale, Joe Ledley and Aaron Ramsey at their Hampden training session on Thursday evening. As I write this, and based on their wonderful work with Holyrood Secondary pupils, we hope for a good Welsh performance tonight but a Scotland victory.
Preparations continue for our School Talent Show, “Holyrood’s Got Talent”. Well done already to Biology production team but big thanks also to Music for their help and support. The takes place this Wednesday 27th March in our Assembly Hall.
I saw some of the rehearsal for our school show, “Hairspray” this evening after school in the Assembly Hall. Boy do we have talent in Holyrood Secondary. It’s shaping up to be a “belter” of a show. Order your tickets early!!!!
Congratulations to Ms. O’Reilly and to colleagues and S6 students who did so much to support and champion SCIAF’s 24 Hour Fast on Friday. We hope to have an indication of funds raised on Monday. Our senior students, under the supervision of Mrs. MacFarlane, created a fantastic atmosphere in the Fuel Zone with their music and singing.
Interesting times on the Football front with our U/13s, 14s and 15s all in the semi-finals of the Glasgow Cups and the 13s and 16s still in the Scottish Cup. Some games had to be postponed this week because of the weather.
In assemblies this week we shall look particularly at the fact that it is Holy Week with a focus on the sacrifice of Our Lord and Saviour.
Parent Council Meeting Tuesday 26th March at 7.15 in the Library. [See Parent Council Section of the Website].
Have a great weekend.
 
 
 
Friday 15th March 2013
“My wish is that all of us, after these days of grace, will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward.”
Pope Francis I to the College of Cardinals, 14th March 2013
At assemblies and in RE over the past couple of weeks we have tried to help young people follow the significance of this papal election, to understand the way the election progressed and to celebrate together the choice of a new Holy Father, Pope Francis I.
On Monday of this week we brought in learning leaders from “Tree of Knowledge “ for motivational and exam focus sessions. These were a big success with very positive feedback from young people.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we took the opportunity to ensure all pupils were measured for school blazers as we seek to encourage all young people to show pride in their school by wearing jackets which make them instantly recognisable as Holyrood students. Information on ordering blazers was sent home to parents. As always, parents are welcome to use other suppliers provided garments fit the agreed school code.
A huge thank you to all those involved in the preparation and organisation of today’s “Wear it Green” day in anticipation of Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day. It was a great way to raise funds for SCIAF but it also helps ensure that we don’t forget the heritage and the importance of the Irish community to Scotland and to Glasgow in particular. Young people all tried to wear something green. We had music, a coffee morning, wonderful decorations which were especially creative in Business Subjects, Support for Learning and EAL.
Congratulations to Mrs. Laura Farrell of our Music Department on her successful appointment to the permanent post of PT Pastoral Care. Laura had previously been Acting PT but is now confirmed in her post.
Welcome back on Monday 18th to Principal Teacher of Religious Education Mrs. McCoy and huge thanks to Mr. Wilson for his excellent work and commitment as Acting PT of RE during Mrs. McCoy's absence.
Coming soon will be updated reports on progress in Scottish Cup tournaments. Our S1 team play Monifieth in the Scottish Cup and our S4 team play the Nicholson Institute from Stornoway [thankfully at home or the School Budget would be sunk!!!!].
 
Have a great weekend, especially if you’re of Irish descent, as I am. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day when it comes.
 
Friday March 8th 2013

"Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence."

Pope John Paul II

 Monday this week saw an excellent attendance at our S2 Curriculum Information Evening. Depute Head Miss Leyden was delighted at the opportunity to meet so many parents. Parents and carers I spoke to felt the evening had been very helpful in supporting their young people in making curricular choices now and in the future.
Thanks to staff across the school and senior pupils for the support of so many fundraising events on the go at present, especially in relation to SCIAF. I hope all staff and pupils can help support next Friday’s “Wear it Green” day, to raise funds for SCIAF. This is of course the Friday closest to St. Patrick’s Day, a very special day for many who, like me, are of Irish descent. It tends also to be a great day for anyone who enjoys a celebration and has traditionally been seen by the men in my family as a “laetare” day when Lenten self denial could be set aside.
Highlight of the week and, some would say, the year was Thursday night’s Holyrood Fashion Show. Wow! I’ve seen other schools’ efforts but never anything like that. Thanks to S5 student Aidan McIsaac for his IT skills. Congratulations and thanks to all staff involved but particularly Mr. Cargill for his outstanding technical skills, to Mr. Clifford as Master of Ceremonies and to Miss Cecil B de Leyden as the entrepreneurial inspiration behind this extravaganza. Our students all looked fantastic on the catwalk wearing everything from the latest styles, to wedding dresses, to a spectacular East meets West slot where our students wore traditional dress and all looked simply fantastic. Miss Leyden also managed to persuade a variety of staff to make star appearances under the umbrella theme of Eurovision including The Russian Grannies, Cliff Richard, Brotherhood of Man, Jedward and Abba. Some of the sights were truly terrifying!
On Monday we have S4 Tree of Knowledge Workshops to help prepare our young people for SQA exams. From Tuesday to Thursday our students will be fitted at assemblies for blazers. Once sizes are established students will be able to come home with an order form to allow parents to order new blazers with ease.
With the support of parents we continue to improve uniform standards and to work to restrict the use of mobile phones in school. It’s not a perfect situation yet but your support has really made a difference. Thank you.
Interviews for the post of PT Pastoral Care take place on Tuesday 12th March. Mrs. Cairns, our link Quality Improvement Officer, will visit classes around the school on Thursday to complete the Quality Visit begun a couple of weeks ago.
This a very significant wek for Catholics across the world as the Church begins the process to select a new Pope. We pray for divine inspiration for the College of Cardinals as they select a new Pontiff.
Have a great weekend.
 
1st March 2013
  
"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else."
Charles Dickens
 
We are now well in to the Holy Season of Lent and we have made this a particular focus of this week's assemblies. Senior students, especially those from our Caritas group, have been delivering a presentation on SCIAF, our main Lenten charity.
This week we have morning mass at 8.25 am and at lunchtime on Friday. On Thursday and Friday at 8.25 we shall have Stations of the Cross in the Oratory. It has been wonderful to see so many of our young people making the effort to be at mass during Lent.
Thanks to Mrs. Farrell, Acting Principal Teacher of Pastoral Care, for her arrangements this week regarding Health and Wellbeing for S2, with a special focus on Young Carers.
Ms Madden is also doing some excellent work at present in arranging for a number of volunteer teachers to mentor members of our Holyrood Roma community in order to ensure that they settle well as New Scots in Holyrood.
We still have football and netball teams involved in excellent runs in the Scottish Cup, as witnessed by the Coach Company invoices I am signing for the Ayrshires and Dundee at present. Here’s hoping for more Holyrood sporting success.
The Holyrood Malawi Ball last Saturday 23rd was an outstanding success. The organisation of Mr. McDonald, Mrs. Quinn and Ms. Wilson was 2nd to none and the commitment, energy and conduct of our Malawi Team 2013 students was simply outstanding. We don’t have an absolute final figure yet but we know already that from that one night, including raffle, auction and silent auction, we have raised in excess of £13,500. Enormous thanks to all supporters of Holyrood and of this wonderful Malawi Project. I know that my wife, son and daughter felt that Saturday night was the first time they had a proper appreciation of the achievements of this very special partnership with our brothers and sisters in Malawi. It is, in the true sense of the word, an awesome achievement.
Interviews took place this week to fill the position of Acting Depute Head during Ms. Mimnagh’s maternity leave. I can confirm that Mrs. Elaine Coyle will act as Depute Head to cover this post during Ms Mimnagh’s leave.
Today we had a visit from Mr. Tony McKinney and Ms Mary Weeple to interview S3 and S6 pupils as part of the Catholic Education Commission’s Pupil Voice exercise. They spoke in glowing terms of the way our young people were able to reflect the Faith life of the school and the very positive experiences they have of our faith in action.
Have a great weekend.
Laurie Byrne
Friday 22nd February 2013
 
"Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting...Don't only give your care, but give your heart as well."
 
Mother Teresa
 
On Monday 18th we had very successful S2 and S3 Curriculum Information Sessions. Parents were generally very positive about the events on the evening and in subsequent e-mail communication, highlighting the quality of information they received and the warmth of the welcome from staff. Parents had the opportunity to hear presentations on Curriculum for Excellence from me and on Curricular Plans from the year group Depute Heads.
During the day we had a big media focus in Holyrood to give an interim report on the SFA Performance school and how it’s developing.
 
We received a “Quality Visit” from our link Quality Improvement Officer, Mrs. Jean Cairns, on Thursday. She has already reflected to me how much she enjoyed speaking to our young people and how positively they spoke about the experience of being a learner here in Holyrood RC Secondary.
Jean was welcomed into a number of learning settings to speak to young people. I have advised our Support for Learning and English as an Additional Language staff how Mrs. Cairns indicated that she had seen very good practice and leadership of learning yesterday.
Congratulations to Mr. O’Neill’s S1/2 rugby squad who won 3 of their 4 games in Wednesday’s mini tournament.
PE took a large group of competitors for Glasgow’s Cross Country Championship today. I don’t have all the details but they returned mucky and tired. Ideal cross country weather.
Some football games tonight I hope to be able to report on next week.
Next week is S2 Health Week so there should be plenty food for thought there! Prepare yourself to be bombarded with new and interesting facts when your son or daughter comes home.
Tuesday night at 7.15 is our next Parent Council meeting in the School Library at 7.15. All are welcome.
On Friday we shall be visited by Mr. Tony McKinney and Ms Mary Weeple who will interview S3 and S6 pupils as part of the Catholic Education Commission’s Pupil Voice exercise.
In Assemblies this week and next focus is on the Season of Lent, with SCIAF presentations done by Senior School pupils. We shall also speak to young people over the next couple of weeks about what many Scots youngsters drink in the form of high sugar and so called energy drinks, highlighting the dangers of excessive consumption.
I note below a link to some NHS advice on Fizzy drinks.
 
I need to go home and make sure I get plenty rest tonight in preparation for Holyroood’s Big Night of the Year, the Malawi Ball, in Glasgow tomorrow night. Only 1 sleep to go!!!!
 
Friday 15th February 2013
“An Adult faith does not follow the waves of fashion and the latest novelties. “
Pope Benedict XVI
 
Perhaps appropriate to use this Pope Benedict quote because, despite his coming resignation as Pope, he has left us with extraordinarily powerful words about faith and how it should impact on our daily lives. His writing will be thought provoking for many years.
This has been a short but very busy week.
We were delighted to welcome our St. Oswald’s colleagues on the In-Service day to work together on sessions for Learning Conversations and Higher Order Thinking Skills. We feel we took from it some helpful ideas and it is useful to have the HOTS materials on the Glasgow Connect website.
On Monday we have our Information Evening for parents of children going from S2 to S3 and S3 into S4 and the start of the Senior Phase. Parent reps on the Parent Council had encouraged us to provide a Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications update so we have tried to combine an Information session for S3 on the same evening as our S2 Options Information Evening. We felt this would mean that staff on Monday would be able to speak to both S2 and S3 parents. Letters have gone out to all parents.
Big congratulations to Daniel Scally of S2 for making it the next stage of the selection process for the Scotland National Squad. We wish Daniel continued success.
 
Assembly Topics in the coming week
Options for S2 and S3.
Healthy food and drink around the school.
Dangers of road at Crosshill Station. Use pedestrian crossing.
 
I have had concerns expressed by motorists regarding young people walking out of Crosshill station and straight across the road, with no care for busy traffic. I appeal to all parents to speak to young people [from S1 to S6] about the dangers of failing to use the easily accessible pedestrian crossing.
Malawi Ball on Saturday 23rd February at Glasgow Hilton [get your tickets urgently by speaking to Mrs. Barron of our office staff].
 
Friday 8th February 2013
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."
Corrie Ten Boom
 
This continues to be an interesting time of year. This last week’s presentations at Assembly have had a focus on Catholic Education week and also on ensuring that the messages re mobile phone and use of other electronic devices were received by all pupils. [Letter went home with all pupils today.]
We were also able to report on the success of one of the Modern Languages contributions to Literacy with the success of their “Spelling Bee”.
A group of a dozen students attended the Russian Club at Shawlands. We had the S5 and 6 Health presentations on Friday also.
S3 had a cinema visit on Thursday to the Glasgow Film Theatre. Many thanks to Miss Crearie for organising this.
S1 and S2 had a chance on  Friday to come to the cafeteria to see the dance performance by “Mini Moves”. This is an excellent local dance group which is at present appearing on Sky 1’s “Got to Dance” [and would love your votes on Sunday 17th February].
 
Thanks to all those involved in the S4 Parents’ Evening and especially to Mrs. Coyle for all her hard work and organisation.
Parental feedback was generally very positive but the main complaint, as in every school I’ve ever worked where 5 minute appointments are the norm, is that some parents and staff struggle to keep to 5 minutes and so you inevitably get a backlog at some point. This is something we need to revisit.
Malawi Ball on Saturday 23rd February at Glasgow Hilton [get your tickets quickly by speaking to Mrs. Barron of our office staff]. The 2013 team has decided on its Mission statement.
“We aim to be part of a big change in breaking the cycle of poverty and helping the young people of Malawi to build a better future, by improving educational opportunities.”
Congratulations to Abi Harrison S4 on her selection for the Scottish Football squad and her trip to Portugal to train and play this week.
Well done to our U/15s and coach Mrs. Kelly in the Glasgow Cup [4-0 v Smithycroft] and to our U/16s and coaches Mr. Brady and Mr. Cahill for their Scottish Cup victory.
Good luck to our Staff and pupils off to Paris on Sunday for a fantastic week. Bon voyage et bonnes vacances!
I bought tickets for my wife at Christmas for her and a friend to see Ronan Keating tonight in Glasgow, only to discover that I am now the friend who is going. Oh well. Life is a Rollercoaster! I’m then away for a few days and flying back into Glasgow early Tuesday evening. I have an important engagement in the East end of Glasgow on Tuesday night and am praying there are no delays! Otherwise, there’s a ticket going spare …..
I hope our young people enjoy the extended break. Wednesday 13th is an In-Service Day with staff in school but pupils at home.
 
Friday 1st February 2013
“Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness: “
Pope Benedict XVI in the Porta Fidei document.
 
The words of Pope Benedict are entirely appropriate as we move in to Catholic Education Week, 3rd to 9th February 2013.
We should take every opportunity in this coming week to reflect on Catholic Education Week and its theme of “Opening hearts and minds to God” with particular reference to this being the Year of Faith. This week isn’t just about schools, as the first educators of every child are the child’s parents. I always think of the importance also of extended family, especially aunts, uncles and grandparents as well as brothers and sisters. They are so important in educating and giving example to young people. Of course as Catholics we often refer to the importance of the triangle of Home, Church and School. In the best circumstances children hear the same life enhancing messages from all three and are truly educated to face the challenges life throws at them.
This week, in many local parishes and alongside our primary school colleagues, we shall distribute Catholic Education Week Newsletters, reflecting the strength of Catholic Education across Scotland but also the very specific activities and experiences  of our own young people in our own schools. I am delighted at the numbers of young people who have volunteered to speak at masses where parishes wish that, or who are helping with the distribution of newsletters.
After consultation with pupil representatives on our School Council, parent reps on the Parent Council and school staff, we have started sharing our Mobile Phone and iPod etc policy with pupils at assemblies. By Thursday we’ll have spoken to all assemblies. A letter to parents will follow at the end of the week in pupil bags.
I reported last week that I was going to watch a Scottish Cup tie at Toryglen as I finished my blog. Sadly, we lost 2-1 in an enthralling game where we missed a late penalty.
On a more positive note, congratulations to Joe Duffy, Mark McKenna and Chris Martin on being selected for the Glasgow U/18 Football Team and also on beating Dundee schools [the present champions] in the National Shield quarter final in Dundee this week.
I had a meeting with our Malawi Team 2013 yesterday as preparations continue for our Malawi Project visit in June and, more pressingly, for the Malawi Ball on Saturday 23rd February at Glasgow Hilton [get your tickets quickly by phoning the school and asking for Mrs. Barron]. We decided on our Mission statement for Team 2013.
We aim to be part of a big change in breaking the cycle of poverty, helping the young people of Malawi to build a better future, by improving educational opportunities.
Ms Watkins tells me auditions for June’s “Hairspray” production were an outstanding success. The big problem is to accommodate all the fabulous talent on display.
S4 Parents’ Evening is on Monday after school. I hope all S4 parents have received reports and Parents’ Evening documentation. I look forward to meeting you.
Enjoy the weekend.
 
Laurie Byrne
 
 
 
Friday 25th January 2013
 
 
''The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft agley;
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!''
Rabbie Burns
 
Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city
George Burns
 
“The best place to defend is in the other team’s penalty box.” Tommy Burns
 
Take your pick for Burns Day. Our cafeteria staff did us proud today with an excellent haggis, neeps and tatties, including a vegetarian haggis option!
Another busy week gone by.
We had a well attended and lively Parent Council meeting on Tuesday at the same time as another Holyrood group were attending Celtic Park for the Celtic v Dundee United game, including some of our new Scots. They all thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it was great to have a chance for a school community outing with such an inclusive group. Thanks once again to the Celtic Football Club and Glasgow City Council community initiative.
S5/6 prelims have completed their first week and continue until Wednesday with normal senior school timetable resuming on Thursday.
A number of interesting events are happening around now. Earlier this week we had a visit from Rwandan Mr. Jean Paul Samputu, who spoke to a number of classes and groups about his experience of racial/tribal hatred in Rwanda, emphasising that the lessons of the Holocaust have to keep being learned in every part of the world and in every generation. 2 of our S6 students, Celine Murray and Alicia McDonald, are introducing the National Holocaust Memorial Event at City Chambers on Monday. They have done excellent work in their reflection and preparation for this and we wish them well in introducing this prestigious event.
Well done to our U/16 team for their penalties victory on Thursday. We hope there’s good news about U/15s from the Scottish Cup tie tonight, Friday, v St. Ninian’s [I’m heading there as soon as I finish this blog.].
Congratulations to our Business Education and Technical Departments for their excellent Dragon’s Den competition on Friday. Each S2 class put forward a team who developed a product which they designed, developed and marketed to our Dragons. Winners soon to be announced.
A reminder that Holyrood’s Malawi Ball takes place on Saturday 23rd February at the Glasgow Hilton. Tickets are £55 each or £500 for a table for 10. All deposits should be in asap and full tickets should be paid by the start of February. For enquiries, please contact Mrs. Barron at Holyrood school office.
Have a great weekend.
 
Friday 18th January 2013
 
 “Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance, but lost time is gone forever.” Samuel Smiles
 
I’m delighted at the attendance we had at and the feedback we received from Tuesday’s Careers Fair and Senior School Options Information event.
Thanks to all those involved in the organisation of events, especially Mrs. Brady and Pastoral Care colleagues for the Careers Fair, and to Mrs. Coyle, Mrs. Quinn and all those teachers who organised and manned "stalls" to help explain about the curricular content of subjects available. Thanks also to our exhibitors from Colleges and Universities and from a number of training groups and vocational agencies.
Almost 300 parents and carers attended and other students came on their own and spent time speaking to Careers contributors.
It was an overwhelming success with very positive feedback from parents, carers and students.
Monday starts another important period in the school year as our S5 and 6 students start their prelims. Prelims will continue until Wednesday 30th January with normal timetable recommencing on Thursday 31st.
Prelim exam timetables and all SQA prelim seat numbers etc can be found elsewhere in this Holyrood website.
Our new Depute Head, Ms. Adele Dastey, will start on Monday 21st January. She will pick up formal responsibility for S5 although Mrs. Quinn and Mr. Pollock will continue to provide valuable support.
Our Sports Ambassadors, S6 students Kieran Lalley and Ciara Rodgers, have delivered a presentation this week to S1 to S3 assemblies regarding the sports taster afternoon they have planned at the Holyrood Sports Centre from 1 to 3 pm on Tuesday 12th February during the February break. It will be a fantastic opportunity to get taster intros to sports like Volleyball, Table Tennis, Gaelic Football, Basketball, Boxing and a number of others. It promises to be a great afternoon with coaches and established players from a variety of clubs there to support our young people. Well done once again Ciara and Kieran.
Congratulations to our Senior Netball Team for their excellent victory in the Scottish Cup at Blairgowrie on Thursday. Mrs. Abraitis advises that all our girls were excellent.
Congratulations once again to Abi Harrison of S4 who has been selected for the Scotland Under 17 squad for this season, a fabulous achievement.
Good luck to S5 and S6 for this week’s prelims.
A reminder that Holyrood’s Malawi Ball takes place on Saturday 23rd February at the Glasgow Hilton. Tickets are £55 each or £500 for a table for 10. All deposits should be in asap and full tickets should be paid by the start of February. For enquiries, please contact Mrs. Barron at Holyrood school office.
Holyrood Parent Council meets on Tuesday evening at 7.15 pm in the school library.
 Friday 11th January 2013

Friday 9th November 2012

 

 

 

"Hope is like the sun which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” Samuel Smiles
 I think we’re all glad, staff and pupils, to have completed a first week back at school. The thought of returning to work is always worse than the reality, in my experience.
We’ve had assemblies this week for S1 to S4 and have particularly emphasised the need to get back into the rhythm of work, study and good habits.
Particularly with S4 today, and with S5 and S6 next Monday and Tuesday, we’re emphasising the importance of hitting the ground running as we move towards SQA exams in May and June.
Next Tuesday evening we have a Careers Fair in school, particularly targeted at S4 to S6. For S4 and S5 parents I’ll also be giving a presentation on options for next year’s S5 and S6. The Career’s Fair runs from 5 to 7 pm in the main Street Area. I’ll do presentations at 5.30 and 6.15 in the Assembly Hall. Subject staff will be present in the street area at the side of the Assembly Hall to answer questions about individual subjects.
S5/6 prelims are fast approaching, starting on Monday 21st January. During this coming week we’ll speak to S4 and 5 students about options for next year in a special assembly and try to ensure they are focusing on preparing for their next steps on their career path, whether in employment or further study.
All S5 and S6 students should be showing signs of putting in extra hours and doing extra study for their prelims. 

  

 
First of all, a Happy New Year to all blog readers.
 
Friday 21st December
 

"In all the frenzy and noise of the season, O God, help us to find our way home; and, having found it, let us never lose it. Through Christ, who was born to show us the way. Amen."
 
John Killinger

It's been a frenetic final week of term. Big thanks to Mrs. Dougherty, our Chief Invigilator, and her superb team who marshalled SQA S4 Prelims until Wednesday.

 

 

We've had trips out of school with S2 at Ice Skating at Braehead, the Dynamic Earth Geography trip, S1 visit to see "The Hobbit" led by Mrs. Brady and Mrs. Nicol. In addition we had an overnight residential retreat for our Caritas Award students at Skelmorlie, led by Miss O'Reilly and supported by Fr. Martin and Mr. Wilson, Acting PT RE.

 

 

On Thursday, once we had the Assembly Hall operational again after Prelims, Mrs. Farrell had our S1 to S3 Talent Show organised. We had a fantastic array of talent and an incredibly difficult job for our panel of judges. Some of our acts were then able to entertain almost 100 guests from the Dixon Community, who also received a buffet Christmas lunch on their visit to Holyrood Secondary.

Today, last day of term, we had a non uniform day and our students brought donations in to help Glasgow's homeless. Half of the almost £350 raised will be used to fund food for our school soup run to work with the homeless and the other half  is being given directly to Glasgow's Ozanam Centre to help feed the Homeless in Glasgow this Christmas; so appropriate that we should help those with no home as we think also of the birth in a stable in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago of our Saviour.

Father Martin led our Christmas Service late this morning, with memorable singing and a short Drama piece, as well as readings, to highlight the Christmas message. This was followed by a more frivolous celebration of Christmas fun, compered by Mr. Clifford in his Santa Suit and accompanied by some spectacular elves who bore a striking resemblance to teaching staff. We had great fun with fantastic accompaniment from staff and pupils of the Music Department, with special highlights in White Christmas, The 12 Days of Christmas and Must be Santa.

Merry Christmas to all members and friends of the Holyrood RC Secondary Community.

 

 

 

Friday 14th December 2012
 
"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journey."  Charles Dickens
 
That sense of preparation is here when we need to control the frenzy of Christmas and keep thinking of the true message and its possibilities. That is what Charles Dickens is referring to here. My friends [and a Headteacher does have some] keep saying to me, "Oh well, you'll be winding down then...". Not really.
S4 prelims continue until the middle of next week. Big thanks to Mrs. Quinn for all her organisation and to Mrs. Coyle for her support of pupils and helping ensure all goes smoothly. Enormous credit goes also to Mrs. Bonner for her organisation of all special arrangements for pupils who need scribes or separate space to complete SQA prelims. This is an increasingly complex area.
Alongside that, staff have organised for events outside school. We've had a Panto Trip to the King's on Wednesday for senior pupils, ice skating at Braehead organised by Ms Leyden and S2 Pastoral Care staff, a cinema trip to the Hobbit coming up and a group of 30 going to the Celtic v St. Mirren game on Saturday. Thanks so much once again to Celtic FC for their generosity in supplying tickets.
A notable victory this week came for our U/13 football team with an excellent victory over one of the Scottish Cup favourites, St. Peter the Apostle HS, Clydebank, recent winners of Scottish trophies on 2 occasions. I watched the boys at Toryglen, playing on the indoor pitch, and they were outstanding.
Once prelim exams finish we have our Christmas Holyrood's got Talent show on Thursday morning ...... and there may even be some staff "talent" on display. Watch this space!
On Friday we'll have our Christmas service led by Father Martin, with Drama students offering a short Nativity scene, readings, carols and spiritual reflection. This will be followed by some less spiritual festive fun. I hope I can manage a HT blog next Friday before I finish.
 
Laurie Byrne
 
Friday 7th December 2012
“Advent is the spiritual season of hope par excellence, and in this season the whole Church is called to be hope, for itself and for the world. The whole spiritual form of the mystical body assumes, as it were, the ‘colour’ of hope.” [Pope Benedict XVI]
It has been wonderful to begin to have a sense of the approach of Christmas as we have begun the season of Advent. Thanks to Father Martin, Father Ian and John Wilson for their thought-provoking reflections at assemblies this week. Pupils have been spoken to about our project to collect brand new warm gloves, scarves, hats, socks [max £3 per item] to distribute to the homeless at Christmas.
We hope to continue our preparations for the great feast of Christmas over the next 2 weeks by ensuring that our tannoy prayers and reflections lead us along the path to Christmas.
Congratulations to all of our S5 and S6 students, as well as those pupils just left, who received Awards at our Ceremony on Tuesday evening. Thanks so much to the small band of staff who worked to make the event such a success. Particular thanks to Mrs. Quinn, Ms Leyden and Mrs. O’Shea for their organisation and also to Mrs. Onorati and Mrs. Bonner who made a tremendous contribution in organising awards on the night. The students and staff of our Music Department did so much to set the tone, adding particular gravitas with the choir’s interpretation of the Ave Verum, conducted by Mrs. Farrell. The final contribution was a real surprise with Patrick Blake’s playing of Silent Night on a saw. How’s that for “different”? It was great to see present and former staff there with a sense that the whole community was celebrating our students’ success.
4th Year Prelim exams take place starting Monday 10th December. The exam timetable and other advice re Prelims are available elsewhere in website.
Please check out the Art Department area with brilliant examples of students’ work.
Interviews took place on Wednesday for the post of Depute Head, replacing  Mr. Tony Flynn. The successful candidate was Ms Adele Dastey, at present Principal Teacher of Pastoral Care at St. Ninian’s HS, East Renfrewshire. We look forward to Adele starting at Holyrood, probably some time in January 2013.
4 Holyrood 6th year students [Fay Graham, Mark McKenna, David McLauchlan and Connor Harrison], are speaking at a National Conference on Malawi at the National Museum in Edinburgh on Monday; yet another example of the esteem in which Holyrood’s Malawi Project is held and of the recognition of its impact.
Many thanks to Ms. McDonald and Ms. Wilson for their organisation of our Malawi Project collection at Celtic Park on Wednesday night before the Celtic v Spartak Moscow game. Mr. Clifford and our Malawi students did so much to support Ms Wilson and Ms McDonald’s organisation on Wednesday. The collection raised £2,150. An all round positive evening for much of the City of Glasgow!
Laurie Byrne

 

 

 

 
 
Friday 30th November 2012
 
 
 

 

 

 
Happy Saint Andrew’s Day. We also reach the start of Advent this weekend. A thought….
“Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place.”
Edward Hays. [A Pilgrim’s Almanac].
Advent begins and it can feel that, with it, the mad dash towards Christmas comes along.
It has perhaps felt a bit that way this past week.
Congratulations to Mrs. Wallace on her outstanding ideas for Scottish Book Week. Each day pupils have read excerpts from their favourite book on the school tannoy. All staff have had notices on their door saying what they’re reading at present and why. We’ve had quizzes based on this information. On Wednesday we had a 20 minute slot, “Drop everything and Read”, all to help keep the focus on Literacy and to show that Reading is fun in Secondary as well as Primary schools.
Congratulations to Mrs. Leyden and the team responsible for our Christmas Craft Fair. Not only did it make a significant sum for charity but it also provided a brilliant community focus for the school. I understand that our strolling troubadour and sometime Fr. Christmas Mr. Clifford was much in evidence.
Well done to Mrs. Boyle, Mrs. Bonner and the team for the superb events associated with St. Andrew’s Day today. I’m so sorry I missed it [being in Dalmally with S5/6 students] but I understand there was a terrific buzz around the school.
It’s great to see such fantastic ideas which are all “Curriculum for Excellence” in Holyrood.
The 36 students going to Malawi were at Craig Lodge, Mary’s Meals HQ at Dalmally, on Thursday and Friday as part of their preparations. All the young people there were a great credit to their families and to the work staff in Holyrood have put in to their growth and development. It was a pleasure and a privilege to spend time with them.
I had a meeting with pupil reps this week in a whole school Pupil Council. We talked about a variety of topics including seated provision in the cafeteria, how we can work together to eradicate periodic vandalism, litter issues, uniform and Mobile Phone Policy. Pupils had some great ideas and I’m preparing draft guidelines on mobile phone use which I shall discuss with a meeting of the Pupil Council in the near future.
6.15 and time for home. My wife hasn’t seen me since Wednesday night due to the Dalmally visit. Time I showed face! Enjoy the weekend. Tomorrow I'm at the Year of Faith "St. Andrew's Conference" in Glasgow.
 
 
Friday 23rd November 2012
 
I’d like to pay tribute here to so many staff at Holyrood who give such encouragement to young people in the practice of their faith by finding time to attend mass at various points during the week [pre-school and lunchtimes]. We really are so lucky to have daily mass because of the wonderful commitment of Fr. Kane and the regular help we have from Fr. Piotr.
Another busy week gone by and, by next Saturday, we hit December!
We have now established a regular routine of daily assemblies which allow us to put over important messages to all year groups.
During this past week we have focused on our Positive Behaviour Policy known at Holyrood as PAR [Prepare, Attend, Respect]. In this coming set of assemblies we shall focus on Saint Andrew [Feast Day next Friday] and on “Being the best you can be” , touching on Holyrood Challenge and our upcoming Awards Ceremony on Tuesday 4th December.
Interviews took place this week for Acting Principal Teacher of PE. Congratulations to Mrs. Anne Abraitis on her appointment as Acting PT PE.
Next week is Scottish Book Week and Mrs. Wallace has a series of events planned focusing on books and on the value of reading. We shall have a “Drop everything and Read” session on Wednesday morning to help this focus.
Our Christmas Craft Fair takes place this Thursday 29th November. Craft items, Music, Drama, Dance, an Art Exhibition and Santa’s Grotto. How exciting is that!
Unfortunately I’ll be out of school on a Retreat/Team Building session with the Malawi Team 2013. Great to be with them but so sorry to miss the Christmas Fair.
We have a whole series of events planned for St. Andrew’s Day on Friday so plenty to report on next week.
6.45 pm. Time to go home.
Parent Council Meeting this Tuesday 27th November at 7.15 in the Library. See Parent Council section of Website for more details.
 
Friday 16th November 2012
 
The P7 Parents’ Evening went exceptionally well on Monday evening. Parents and carers were very positive about the experience. Our S6 and S1 pupils who helped greet, escort and inform parents and carers were exceptional. Special thanks to Bernadette O’SheaDepute Head for S1, for all her organisation.
It was great to receive e-mailed comments from parents saying how reassured they felt after the visit.
Modern Languages staff organised for colleagues and pupils to attend the Italian mass, celebrated by Archbishop Tartaglia, in the Cathedral this week. In a separate event, the Department took a group of students to visit the Cathedral and they were guided on a tour of the stunning Italian Memorial Garden.
Supported Study classes are well established in most subjects. Any pupil who was late in applying for particular subjects and didn’t have a place at first should now approach Subject PTs to see if there is now space available.
Congratulations to Kerryl Galang of S2 who has been chosen to represent Scotland in the Girls National Under 15s Squad, a fantastic achievement. This follows on from the continuing success of Abi Harrison, S5, a stalwart of the National Squad.
Congratulations also to Connor McCorry and Conan Shields who were selected to represent Glasgow U/15s Schools Football in the National Shield against Forth Valley.
We had an Information Evening on Tuesday for our Malawi Team 2013. We had an excellent turnout of team members and parents to see an informative and inspiring presentation delivered by Tom McDonald, former HT. There was an opportunity for a question and answer session at the end.
All Team members stayed behind this evening after school to see and hear an informative presentation by Malawi Team 2012 members, particularly Andrew Brown and Fay Graham. This was organised by Ms Wilson of our Social Subjects Department, with Mrs. M. Coyle, Modern Languages,also there. Present to hear their presentation was Siobhan McMahon MSP, who then spoke movingly and inspiringly about her own experience of visiting Malawi. It is a tribute to the sense of service and commitment of Siobhan McMahon, MSP, and to the 40 Senior Students who waited behind, that all were prepared to extend a Friday evening to make this happen. Thanks to all.
If you find information here helpful, please tell other parents.
Enjoy the weekend. I think I’m paying a visit to Aberdeen tomorrow to sample the sea air!
Laurie Byrne.
 

 Friday 9th November 2012

Here we are well in to November already. Only a month to S4 prelims!

On Monday Mr. Flynn and I took a group of Higher Politics students to recording of BBC's "The Big Debate", which was broadcast later on Monday evening, and which targeted the Scottish Independence question for a group of Scots 16-18 year olds. Our students were engrossed by the cut and thrust of the debate, even though they weren't chosen to ask any questions.

On Tuesday Mr. Clifford Took a group of 25 Drama pupils from across our year groups to perform at a Shakespeare festival at John Wheatley College. The pupils presented a performance of a version of Romeo and Juliet whch chose the Glasgow sectarian divide, rather than a dispute between 2 Italian families, as the context for the play. Mr. Clifford was adamant that, had there been a trophy for the best performance, Holyrood would have won it "out of the park". No bias there then!

This week we had a staff professional development session where Social Work staff and community workers informed staff about the culture and context of our Roma community pupils at Holyrood.

On Wednesday the winners of our Celtic v Barcelona tickets were guests of Glasgow Celtic FC. The S1 to S4 pupil winners, who were entered in the draw for tickets because of their commitment to school uniform including the blazer, had a wonderful evening. One pupil did ask me in advance if she had to wear a Celtic top or scarf and was relieved when I answered "no". She then explained that she was a Rangers supporter! After Wednesday, she may have been converted.

I had to apologise on Thursday morning at the S4 assembly that I appeared to be a little hoarse myself ....... but couldn't understand why.

On Thursday Danny Boyle from the Irish Heritage Foundation, accompanied by Dublin artist Michael McLaughlin, visited the school to discuss a proposed Art and Music project. They met with PT Art Mr. Coyle, PT Music Ms Watkins and myself to look at this project which would run from November 2012 to March 2013. We are all excited at this and hope the work can be targeted at S3 students. More info to follow.

This week we've emphasised the month of the Holy Souls in our liturgical celebration. In masses on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we have particularly remembered the faithful departed of pupils in S1, 2 and 3. This coming week, the focus is S4, 5 and 6 and their deceased friends and relatives.

We've run assemblies every day this week for S1 to S5, with S6 assembly coming on Monday 12th. Main topics have been the Year of Faith, policy on mobile phones, concern at litter in school and in the local community and our emphasis on excellent school uniform including the school blazer.

 

Friday 2nd November 2012

 Monday was an exciting day for Holyrood. We had a visit from Education Officer Justin Chemwonga and Special Needs teacher John Chekani [who featured in the "High School" documentary]. They visited classrooms in Holyrood, as well as St. Bridgid's  Primary School and answered a load of questions from pupils. We organised a lunch for staff who have visited or will soon visit Malawi along with S6 pupils from Project Teams Malawi 2012 and 2013 to properly welcome John and Justin to Holyrood.

Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education, also visited Holyrood to speak to Justin and John and to discuss Holyrood RC Secondary's commitment to our Malawi partners as well as Glasgow City Council's work in Malawi.

On the same day Glasgow's Youth Olympic Games bid team came to Holyrood and ran very informative sessions explaining about the bid and about why the support of Glasgow's school children is critical if the city is to win the bid against stiff opposition including Rotterdam, Buenos Aires [Argentina] and Medellin [Colombia]. The afternoon session with S1 was especially successful when Comedian, Radio presenter and writer, former Holyrood pupil Des Clark, came in to school. Des is a great friend to Holyrood and spoke inspirationally to our S1 about his experience of running with the Olympic torch through Glasgow this year. He encouraged all our young people to reach for goals that may sometimes seem too much for them but which, with self belief and hard work, they can achieve. Des also did the draw for the tickets for the Celtic v Barcelona game next Wednesday. The lucky winners have been announced and will enjoy a fabulous football experience, I'm sure. I'm hoping for home team success but I understand the Catalan opposition can be quite good!

A great week for our Rugby teams, who both played in Glasgow and District Finals. Our Seniors, despite an excellent performance, narrowly lost. Our Junior team gave a fantastic performance with some notable "hits" received and delivered and won their final. Congratulations to the boys and to coach and inspiration Mr. Pat O'Neill.

Thanks to Mrs. O'Shea, Miss Leyden, Patoral Care and other staff and to Senior pupils for all their organisation of S1 to S3 Halloween discos. They were great fun and it was frightening to see such impressively dressed witches. If the pointy hats fit!!!!!

Miss O'Reilly and Mrs. Bonner will lead a number of our Caritas Award pupils to the "Year of Faith" launch at Motherwell Cathedral, accompanied by a number of staff on Sunday.

Friday 26th October 2012
We had an excellent In-Service Day on Monday which included a session for teachers to develop cross curricular links with colleagues across the school. Some great ideas have come out of this, which we hope to see developed in future.
Mrs. Gail Reid of our Support for Learning Department leaves us today. We wish her well as PT Support for Learning in Hillpark. Mrs. Downs, at present at Hillpark, joins us on Monday 29th October in S f L. Mr. John Purcell joins our Modern Studies Department on Monday.
Mr. Tony Flynn, Depute Head, will finish at Holyrood next Friday 2nd November and commence as Head Teacher of Queen Margaret Academy Ayr on Monday 5th November [an interesting day historically for Catholic leadership]. He is a huge loss to the Holyrood community but we wish Tony every success in his new post.
Mrs. Boyle of our PE Department has been appointed as Acting PT Pastoral Care and takes over pastoral care for Mrs. Quinn’s 5th year students from Monday.
Thanks to all those involved in the Aim High sessions with first year. Thanks especially to Miss Leyden for her organisation. Thanks again to Miss Leyden and Mr. O’Neill for facilitating the Celtic FC “Football in the Community Programme”. I was at the celebration event last night [which would have been more celebratory if that last minute goal hadn’t gone in on Tuesday!]. Our pupils were fantastic and looked so smart in school uniform including blazer. They were delighted to receive their awards from Celtic striker Tony Watt.
We had a highly successful visit from a group of Catalan teachers and pupils on Thursday. Well done to Ms Wilson and Miss Crearie for their organisation under the Connecting Classrooms initiative.
The Parent Council has organised for Viridor, the company selected to progress the proposed new Recycling Plant at Polmadie, to set up information sessions for interested parents and carers in Holyrood Secondary next week. Viridor staff will be on hand to answer any questions on Wednesday 31st October and on Thursday 1st November, in the school, between the hours of 10 am and 8 pm. A letter from the Parent Council will be sent home by pupil post on Monday 29th to confirm details.
A reminder that the next Parent Council meeting takes place on Tuesday evening, 30th October, at 7.15 pm in the School Library.
All parents and carers are welcome.
S1 to S4 students who are in full school uniform, including the blazer, early next week will be entered in the draw to select 2 pupils from each year group to attend the Celtic v Barcelona game on 7th November as part of a Holyrood group.
Monday sees the launch at Holyrood of Glasgow’s bid for the International Youth Games. We hope also to have former pupil Des Clark, writer and comedian, visiting the school on Monday with the Olympic torch.
Well done to Holyrood U/14 boys’ football team who beat Notre Dame, Greenock, 5-4 last night in a Scottish Cup penalty shoot out.
 

Friday 12th October

 

I've reached the October break and my first break of the year as Holyrood Head Teacher. It's been a very busy 9 weeks and I'm glad to draw breath, a feeling shared by most pupils and staff I've spoken to this week.

I've watched 2 terrific boys' football matches this week at Holyrood, both of which were highly competitive. I'm keen to see some of the girls' matches as I know the girls are just as skilful and competitive, with an excellent result this week against Eastwood.

First year classes have been visiting the Fire Station one at a time all week and have had a fabulous experience.

We've had our Numeracy Week this week, including S1 World of Work Day on Tuesday where we had over 20 contributors from the world of work engaging with our young people and sharing their knowledge and expertise. Well done to Mr. Cahill for his excellent organisation.

Wednesday was World Porridge Day with a superb event organised by Mrs. O'Shea and her team. All proceeds of the event, which featured music with an African flavour performed by pupils and staff of our Music Department, will go to Mary's Meals. Thanks to all pupils, and to parents who sent donations to school, for your generosity. A final total will soon be available. As usual a feature of this event was the witness statements of senior students Fay and Andrew who visited Malawi in June 2012 with our Holyrood Team.

We had other exciting visitors on Wednesday when ex pupil Paddy Crerand, accompanied by former Celtic players Mike Jackson and Billy McNeill, visited Holyrood. They were there with Manchester United TV to film some outdoor shots of the school and to be interviewed about Paddy's life, with our SFA Performance School pupils playing in the background. It was great to have 2 European Cup Winners in Holyrood, especially 2 who were so gracious in accommodating photos and autographs with the many young people who appreciated what these outstanding players of the past have achieved. I rather enjoyed their visit myself!

The Parent Council met on Tuesday to see a presentation and speak to those involved in the proposed Recycling Plant at Polmadie. The Parent Council hopes to arrange for parents and carers to have the opportunity to be informed about the proposed development shortly after the break.

It's 5.30 and I'm going home. A visit to the gym then the Scotland game beckons and a few days in Mallorca to follow!

 

Friday 5th October
 
Election results have been announced for our School Captains and Vice Captains. They are Ciara Rodgers and David McLauchlan. The standard of applicants was so strong that we have chosen the other 5 students as Vice Captains. We therefore feel we have a strong Captaincy Team.
It’s been another interesting and varied week. On Monday and Tuesday I was involved in interviewing 45 of the 90 S5 and S6 students who had applied to be part of the Team Malawi 2013 Project Team.
Mr. McDonald, who assisted with interviews, as did Mrs. Quinn and Mr. Parkins, had warned me it would be a very difficult task to reduce this number. In the end, having initially planned to take a group of 30, we selected 36. All the candidates were very good and those selected were outstanding. It was a very difficult job to tell those who had not been selected but an absolute pleasure to tell successful team members.
Mr. Parkins has also produced lists indicating the students selected as prefects. We are delighted also at the numbers of pupils who have volunteered to be Peer Tutors, Peer Reading Scheme leaders, Sports Leaders and so forth and who, in this, show a spirit of Servant Leadership.
One of our strongest community partners is the Bridging the Gap organisation. On Thursday evening Mrs. O’Shea and I, along with a group of senior students, attended the Bridging the Gap AGM at Gorbals Parish Church. It was wonderful to see the breadth of work, with huge impact, that Bridging the Gap does, in addition to the fabulous work they do with Holyrood and our partner primary schools.
It's now 5.30 on Friday. I feel as if I should now go home and lie down as not only am I a Grandad twice over, but yesterday my son turned 30. How the years pass!

 

Friday 28th September
Although pupils were off on Tuesday, teachers had an In-Service day designated by the Scottish Government for focus on Curriculum for Excellence and new national qualifications. Staff also made good use of break time by organising a Macmillan Cancer Relief coffee morning. European Languages week saw our Modern Languages Department organise a variety of activities with S2 a special focus. We had tannoy announcements each day in European Languages from French to Polish. On Wednesday we had a visit from Polish staff and students as part of the “Connecting Classrooms” programme. The Holyrood Community very much enjoyed this and our Polish guests spoke very positively of the experience though they were taken aback by the size of the school.
Today saw elections take place for our Head Boy and Head Girl. Results will be known on Monday morning.
From 90 applicants for the Team Malawi Project in 2013, we have now come down to 45, who will all be interviewed between Monday and Tuesday of next week. We hope to have the final team selection done by end Thursday 4th October.
Finally, a mention about 2 staff who will soon be leaving Holyrood. Mr. Jackson from Biology retires [early] next week after many years of outstanding service. We wish him many happy years of retirement.
We congratulate Mr. Tony Flynn, who will soon be leaving Holyrood to take up the post of Head Teacher of Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr. No date has yet been agreed for his departure. He will leave big boots to be filled here but we are delighted at Mr. Flynn’s well deserved appointment.

 

Friday 21 st September

Another busy week at Holyrood, even though it's only been 4 days. Mrs. Coyle and Mr. Brady have done excellent work in tracking S4 performance with Ms. Mimnagh and, this week, we've held assemblies for groups of S4 students. Ms. Mimnagh and I have both spoken to them to highlight what we believe to be the route to a successful S4, culminating in what we hope will be excellent SQA results. We've focused on the supports which are in place in school, the need to look for and accept family support in organising the best conditions for home study and the importance of early and ongoing preparation. We emphasised to our young people that they are a very able group. They also need to understand that intelligence is not fixed and that, even in some subjects where they may not be doing so well at present, they can absolutely improve. The route to improvement is through commitment in class and in home study and for students to work in partnership and cooperation with teachers. We all want the same result, for young people to achieve to their full potential.

Even on today's holiday, Mrs. Brady had a group of Modern Studies students at Radio Scotland 's "Brian Taylor's Big Debate" at Hampden, where some students asked questions on live radio about hot political topics.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Celtic Football Club has been been good enough to offer us tickets for the Celtic v Dundee game at Celtic Park. We are delighted to be able to take a large group to the game and thank Celtic for their generosity and community support.

Monday is a holiday for staff and pupils and Tuesday is a holiday for pupils but an In-Service day for staff, with a special focus on Curriculum for Excellence and New Qualifications.

The Parent Council AGM, including the appointment of office bearers, takes place on Tuesday evening [25th September] at 7.15 pm in the Holyrood School Library. There will be reports on the work of the Parent Council in 2011-12, and a report from me as Head Teacher. The Parent Council has also asked me to do a short presentation on Curriculum for Excellence and New Qualifications. All parents and carers are welcome.

Thgis coming week, we hope to finalise candidates for Head Boy and Girl and to advise S5 and S6 students [almost 100 of them] whether they have been successful in reaching the interview stage of selection for Team Malawi 2013.

 

 

Friday 14th September 2012

As promised last week, I have started my visits to classes but, as usual, so many things crop up that I haven't been to as many as I'd have liked. I've seen strong signs of pupils very well engaged in their learning with good pace of learning and excellent pupil attitudes. In one or two cases I've spoken to small groups of pupils to express duisappointment at their attitude or effort. One thing I'm picking up is that quite a few pupils aren't using their homework diaries as they should. I hope parents will check use and I'll certainly be reminding pupils as I go round classes.

We've had assemblies this week for S5 and S6, with a particular focus on opportunities for senior students to take responsibility and show leadership in school. Some students and staff presented a DVD of this year's Malawi Project Team's work and experience. This was at once moving and inspiring. Applications are to be in by next Tuesday for next year's Team Malawi.

Seniors have also been signing up for a variety of opportunities as Prefects, Head Boy and Head Girl, Peer Mentors etc. Again it's wonderful to see the numbers of young people prepared to give freely of their time to commit to others.

Great to see the numbers of parents present at our S1 welcome mass and to see the support of our school community, including Senior Pupils and teachers, in welcoming our new S1.

Great news this evening as our netball girls came back from the Glasgow Tournament. I am now in possession of 2 winners' trophies. A fantastic success for the girls. I absolutely believe in the importance of participation and playing the game properly ....... but I love it when we win!!!

 

 Friday 7th September 2012

I am so impressed with our young people who, day after day, broadcast our prayer and reflection over the tannoy. Mainly S2 and S3 at present, these students show tremendous confidence as they broadcast on the tannoy system. It is incredible to see how calm they are as they deliver the prayers to over 2,200 people each day with such assurance. It's wonderful to see that the old stereotype of Scots children being unwilling or lacking in confidence to speak out in public is well and truly debunked in Holyrood Secondary in this as in so many otehr ways.

I'd be grateful if any parents reading this who have children who use Crosshill Station in the morning or at lunchtime would speak to our young people about road safety. If children exit Crosshill Station and walk 30 feet, they can cross Cathcart Road safely via the official pedestrian crossing. After expressions of concern from a number of motorists, I stood outside Crosshill Station from 8.20 am this morning. A small number of our students headed straight for the pedestrian crossing but, unfortunately, most were ready to take a chance by crossing through moving traffic. Please emphasise to your children that their safety is the most important thing here and they should use the pedestrian crossing.

I went out yesterday afternoon with our Eco Group, accompanied by Mrs. Bonner and Constable Campbell to do some litter picking in the area, especially where Holyrood pupils might have been responsible for much of it. I have emphasised at recent assemblies that it's important for us to be good neighbours to the local community as well as taking positive action to help our environment.

I've indicated to staff that, from Tuesday of next week, I hope to begin a programme of classroom visits to get a proper flavour of teaching and learning at Holyrood. I'm very much looking forward to seeing our young people "in action".

I'm very much looking forward to meeting S1 parents at the S1 Welcome mass on Monday.

 

Friday 31st August 2012

It's wonderful that, as a community, we have had mass in the school every day this week. Fr. Martin, as always, celebrated mass on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8.25 am and also 1.20 on Friday. Fr. Piotr celebrated mass on Thursday at 1.25 and hopes to be able to do so regularly. It's been great to see parents and grandparents bringing children to school and coming in to attend mass with them.

The weather continues to be difficult in preventing young people fully enjoying fresh air at interval and lunchtime. On good days our S1 have been enjoying playground games, supervised by Mrs. O'Shea, DHT and other staff and also supported by some of our senior pupils.

One concern at present is taht some young people who visit local fast food outlets are not properly disposing of rubbish. I'd be grateful if parents could speak to young people about this and we'll also follow this up at Assemblies over the coming weeks.

Football trials have been going on this week and will continue next. I hope to get down to the pitch to watch the next S1 trial on Tuesday.

Home Economics has been an especially busy place this week where, in addition to the normal curricular commitment, staff have organised 2 Hopitality events. On Wednesday Senior School Hospitality students provided a 3-course meal for invited staff. Staff had to complete an evaluation form so the quality of service and food can benchmarked at this point. Later in the year, a 2nd event will take place and the same staff will be asked to evaluate that experience, using this as a means to gauge improvement in performance. I can only say that our Hospitality team have already set a very high standard for future comparison.

On Thursday S4 pupils held a coffee morning on a "Mad Hatter" theme. The event was superbly organised and an enormous success.

John Pridmore and the St. Patrick's Community visited on Wednesday and John addressed S4 and S5 pupils during the morning. He spoke movingly to an attentive audience, describing a former life of crime and violence but tracking his salvation through his fully embracing the Catholic faith. If you "google" John Pridmore and have a look at his website, you will understand why he had such an impact on our young people.

S 3 pupils sat a Cognitive Ability Test on Monday and Tuesday which will be of enormous importance in helping us gauge likely subject performance and assist us in tracking pupil's success.

On Monday I attended my first Parent Council meeting. I felt very welcome and very much enjoyed tthe oppoortunity to meet parent representatives. I am already looking forward to the Parent Forum / Parent Council AGM on Tuesday 25th September. There were a number of questions about Curriculum for Excellence. Please see the link to the latest update from our Curriculum for Excellence Heading on the left of the page.

Best wishes to Mr. Stephen Reilly of our Maths Department who leaves us today to take up a post teaching in Barcelona. We wish him all the very best and know that, in light of the Champions League Draw, it will not be long until he finds himself swamped by Scottish visitors.

Ms. Watkins, Acting PT Music and I met today with representatives of the local music project, funded by the Irish Heritage Foundation, which has run at Holy Cross Primary School over the past couple of years. We are eager to work together to continue the musical training in S1 to follow on from the youngsters' P6 and P7 experience.

I'd better get out of school now as it's my daughter Colette's 21st birthday party. If I don't get home soon, ........

Laurie Byrne, Head Teacher

 

Friday 24th August 2012 and the end of my 2nd week at Holyrood

I am now getting more used to the building and have tried each morning to visit particular areas of the school to familiarise myself with its layout. I'm really getting quite good at going from my office to particular departments. The problem comes when I try to get from one area to another without passing by my office! First year pupils and myself are supporting each other in finding our way!

Clubs and activities are starting up again or have already started. Football [girls and boys], netball, Skiing and Snowboarding Club and many more.

Congratulations to Abi Harrison of S4 on her selection for the Scotland International squad and also on her debut last week for the Celtic womens' first team. She flew off today to Ireland with the squad.

The new SFA Performance School at Holyrood has started in excellent form. Coach Brian McLaughlin has already formed an excellent team spirit and all the boys have made an excellent start to both their sporting and academic careers at Holyrood. I visited the boys during a training session at Toryglen today, led by Coaches Brian and Peter. I was delighted to see the boys' commitment, attitude and skill and I look forward to watching their ongoing development.

Reminder to parents and carers.

1. The Catholic Education Commission invites parent members of Parent Councils of Catholic schools - as well as parents in parishes where there are no Catholic schools -  to gather at the first Catholic Assembly of Parent Councils so that they can learn from each other, encourage each other and build support for the future. 

 
The Assembly is scheduled to take place on the afternoon of Saturday 25th August at the Xavier Centre, 100 Newarthill Road, Carfin, North Lanarkshire ML1 5AL, beginning at 2pm and finishing with vigil Mass celebrated by Bishop Devine at 5pm. 
 
2. The first meeting of the Parent Council for this session takes place on Tuesday 28th August at 7.15 pm in Holyrood RC SEcondary. I look forward to meeting parents there.

Laurie Byrne

 

HT Blog, Friday 17th August 2012

Here is my chance as the new Head Teacher to introduce myself to fans of Mr. McDonald's HT blog.

It seems to me to be a great idea so I am keen to continue this established tradition.

I am Mr. Laurie Byrne, Previously Head Teacher at St. Maurice's High School in Cumbernauld for the past 8 and a half years.

I want to say first of all how proud I am to be the new HT at Holyrood RC Secondary, even though it was a real wrench to leave my previous school community.

I want to thank staff at Holyrood, the parents I have met, and especially the young people of Holyrood for making this such a great experience in my first week here.

I have been enormously impressed by the courtesy, good manners and warmth of our pupils. They are a fantastic credit to all parents and carers.

How fitting, in a Catholic Christian Community, that the first day of the pupils' return should be the feast of the Assumption, despite the fact that the wording of the text alert to parents about masses seemed to cause confusion. The mention of a Holiday of Obligation had a number of pupils trying to persuade their folks that this was an extra day's holiday! Nice try.

I'm very thankful to our Chaplain Fr. Martin Kane for his wonderful commitment on Wednesday, celebrating 5 masses, including lunchtime mass for S5/S6. His presence in the school and his engagement with staff and pupils is such a positive influence on our school community.

I've had the chance to speak to every year group this week. The standard of uniform has been generally very good with 100% appropriate trousers, skirts, school tie. I have asked young people to ensure that, if they're going to wear a jumper or cardigan, it should be a grey v-neck [and certainly not some of the hooded sweatshirts one or two have tried!].

I've also indicated how pleased I am to see the numbers of pupils wearing our school blazer. I hope we can work to persuade more young people to show this extra pride in Holyrood by wearing the blazer - especially when so many have one hanging in a wardrobe at home.

Thank you to all parents and carers for your support in school uniform. It shows pride in the community of Holyrood RC Secondary School and it helps avoid a fashion parade and competition to see who can wear the most expensive gear.

It also helps make Holyrood a safer place as we can see who has a right to be in the school and to easily recognise anyone, by the way they dress, who has no business being in this building. 

Best wishes. Laurie Byrne, Head Teacher.

 

 

Friday 8th November 2013 

  HT Blog

 

"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others."

Winston Churchill

Thanks to teachers and clerical staff also for the work being done in tracking student progress, especially with our National 4 and National 5 candidates. We want to try to keep parents informed of progress and to highlight any concerns.

We are looking forward to welcoming parents and carers of our prospective first year pupils for next year to our P7 Information Evening on Monday. Parents always especially enjoy the opportunity to have a tour of the school guided by existing pupils.

We are already looking forward to the visit of a Theatre Company on Wednesday 13th to deliver a French play.

I’ve been enjoying my visits to associated primary schools and have already been to OLA, St. Conval’s and Holy Cross where I have met some fabulous young people. I’m already looking forward to welcoming them as members of the Holyrood Community.

Have a great weekend.

 

15th November 2013

"Whatever you did for one of the least of My brethren, you did it for me."

Matthew 25:40

 Thanks to all staff and pupils for the magnificent response to our bucket appeal on Friday to contribute to SCIAF’s Philippines Typhoon Appeal.

We raised the incredible sum of £1,370. It is Friday at 4.30 as I write this and, as soon as I finish this, I’m driving to the SCIAF office in Glasgow to deliver the cheque. Well done Holyrood.

Thanks to all staff for their work at the P7 Information Evening on Monday. I spoke to a lot of parents on their way out the door or as they had a cup of tea. They were all enormously impressed with our young people as guides, with the quality of our Senior Students as tour guides but also in the way they answered questions about their school experience in Holyrood.

Parents and carers spoke about the Ethos they experienced and about the courtesy and openness of those staff present. Thank you.

Huge congratulations to Mrs. Abraitis, Ms Limond and other colleagues who work to develop Netball in Holyrood. Mrs. Abraitis in particular has flown the flag for Netball in Holyrood for many years so it was wonderful that, at the Netball Scotland dinner last Saturday night, Holyrood RC Secondary was named as Netball Scotland’s School of the Year. Well done Mrs. Abraitis. Megan McNair of S6 and former pupil and assistant coach Fay Graham were there to pick up the award.

I’m looking forward to Monday evening’s Awards Ceremony and I am delighted that so many staff are able to be present. We celebrate the achievements of all our young people during the year in Holyrood, whether in Sport, Music, Art or contribution to Ethos. It’s wonderful also, on this evening, to celebrate wonderful academic achievements as well as some students who make an extraordinary contribution to our school community.

 

 

 

 

Friday 8th November 2013

 

 "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others."

Winston Churchill

 

Thanks to teachers and clerical staff also for the work being done in tracking student progress, especially with our National 4 and National 5 candidates. We want to try to keep parents informed of progress and to highlight any concerns.

We are looking forward to welcoming parents and carers of our prospective first year pupils for next year to our P7 Information Evening on Monday. Parents always especially enjoy the opportunity to have a tour of the school guided by existing pupils.

We are already looking forward to the visit of a Theatre Company on Wednesday 13th to deliver a French play.

I’ve been enjoying my visits to associated primary schools and have already been to OLA, St. Conval’s and Holy Cross where I have met some fabulous young people. I’m already looking forward to welcoming them as members of the Holyrood Community.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

HT Blog

Friday 24th January 2014

"Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn."

Charles Wesley

An enormous thank you today to Mrs. Elaine Coyle for the outstanding job she has done as Depute Head over the past year. Thanks also to Mr. James Birrell for the terrific job he has done as Acting PT Pastoral Care. A big welcome back to Gillian Mimnagh who rejoins us on Monday as Depute Head for S5, leaving the twins behind to come to work for the first time. I know many mothers reading this will sympathise and empathise with Ms. Mimnagh

Thanks very much to all those staff who helped supervise our pupils at the Celtic v Motherwell game last Saturday. It was an enjoyable spectacle and, as always, our pupils’ behaviour was outstanding. Interestingly, Celtic gave us tickets to help fill the gap left by the Green Brigade!

It seems likely that we may have tickets for other games in the very near future and pupils who are interested should listen carefully for the Tannoy announcement regarding being part of the group who receive free tickets.

Thanks to all staff for their help in ensuring that Prelim exams have gone so smoothly this week and thanks especially to our highly experienced team of Invigilators under Mrs. Dougherty.

Thanks to Parents and Carers who have returned the consultation on the Configuration of the School Week. As requested by a number of parents and carers, I’m running a Question and Answer session in the school library on Monday evening 27th January at 6pm to clear up any areas where people feel they are not clear on the options available.

Have a great weekend

 

HT Blog

Friday 7th February

Thought for the week. Today, it’s a prayer I found, suitable for parents as well as teachers.

Dear Lord, Please help us to transform our anger and frustration into loving care for any child who has gone astray. Help us begin to mend broken fences and heal broken hearts. Bless this child and also help him/her to mend the error of his/her ways. Help and bless us all to do right in Your name and restore peace and tranquility. Amen

Thanks to all staff for their efforts in making last week’s S4 Parents’ Evening such a success. We have already shared the flavour of evaluations with staff and these were overwhelmingly positive.

I look forward to opportunities over the next few weeks to meet parents and speak about curricular choices for next year. As we look at the opportunities as well as challenges of new qualifications, we are thinking about ways in which we can be creative in future in our own subjects but also working in combination with other subjects. We are not just thinking about full qualifications such as National 6s, 5s or 4s but, for those in S5 and 6 who may find these challenging, either combinations of Units or different qualifications may well be more appropriate.

Congratulations to Mr Soares and U/18s and Mr Kirk and U/15s for outstanding football results this week. The U/15s have reached the last 8 of the Scottish Cup and now face Braidhurst. As we go to press, I hope the U/ 16s do well in their Scottish Cup tie tonight.

If you receive this before the holiday weekend [and you’re getting a break; apologies to those staff working], I hope you have a great break. Enjoy the weekend

Friday 31stJanuary 2014

“He who has a little more power has to serve a little more”.

Cardinal Bergoglio [now Pope Francis] in 2005

We look forward to finishing all prelim exams and allowing normal movement around the school once again. Thanks to all staff for their work in monitoring pupil movement while the street area is being used.

I understand that all tickets are now sold for the social event of the year [if you don’t include the Holyrood Fashion Show], the Malawi Ball on Saturday 22nd February.

Thanks to all those who have recently helped supervise our pupils’ visits to Celtic Park. I know the young people have very much enjoyed the experience, especially many of our EAL students for whom these Holyrood trips have been their first experience of a football match – and Celtic haven’t lost yet …. 

Assembly Topics – Curricular Choice Programme where appropriate then, at the first opportunity for all assemblies, to focus on Holyrood as a community which does not tolerate prejudice, especially racism. Part of this will involve using the excellent “We are Holyrood” short film, starring our students S1 to S6 with a number of staff.  It has a strong anti-prejudice message, produced and directed by Stephen Dolan of our EAL Department.

 

HT Blog 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

Welcome to - Head Teacher's Blog
Our Bloggers