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Friday 2nd June 2017

A huge thank you to all those involved in planning and delivering our Health and Sports Festival on Friday. It was a fantastic day with a tremendous contribution from community contributors, including the Police. Thanks to all staff who helped supervise and support but a very special thanks to Ms Fleming, Mrs Forrest and Ms Dastey for all their planning and preparations. Mrs Watson, new Head of School for Holyrood, walked around the activities and festivities and was highly impressed at the range of pupil and staff talents on display.  We even avoided the worse of the weather. Result!

Thanks to Mrs Carroll, SQA coordinator, and to Mr John Duffy, our chief invigilator, and all his team for all of their hard work in ensuring that our SQA exams ran smoothly. We are so lucky to have such a dedicated and supportive team of invigilators. We hope all our young people get the results their work and commitment merit.

Good luck to our S2 Football squad who have reached the finals of the Lisbon Lions Tournament for schools. Finals take place at Lennoxtown on Monday morning.

Our Holyrood Malawi Team 2017 departs next Friday 9th June. Because of an earlier than usual flight departure, the group meets at 7.30 am and we’ll have Mass at 8.15, hoping to be on the coach and away at 9 am. Thanks to all parents, members of the community and Holyrood staff who have supported this group in their fundraising and their preparations.

The group had an afternoon’s training in Risk Assessment and some basic construction skills at Clyde College, Cardonald. A huge thank you to construction staff at the Skills Centre at Cardonald. We also have a final team-building session on Wednesday of next week, followed by a City Council reception at the City Chambers in the afternoon.

Please check out our Holyrood Malawi Facebook page, which will be updated during our project visit to Malawi. I shall also try and update the HT Blog while I am away.

Have a great weekend

Laurie Byrne

Friday 19th May 2017

 “For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Nelson Mandela

Congratulations to Mrs Sharon Watson on her appointment as Head of School for Holyrood. Mrs Watson, at present Depute Head in St Andrew’s Secondary School, will officially start her post on 11th August but will increasingly be present in the school as we move towards the end of this term.

Mr Gerry Lyons, Executive Head Teacher for both Holyrood RC Secondary and St Andrew’s RC Secondary, has begun meetings with Principal Teachers. He will be in school at times over the next few weeks and hopes to meet with all PTs over that period. He has already spoke to a staff meeting in Holyrood.

Congratulations to our S2 pupils in the “Brilliant Club” who attend a graduation ceremony at Strathclyde University this week. They have been mentored through their programme by University staff and students, have attended sessions in school and at the University and had to produce an extensive essay in order to graduate. Well done to all the team.

Well done to Mrs McMahon and our Prince’s Trust Mosaic Enterprise Team who were Scotland’s representatives in London last week. They didn’t win but made a very positive impression and have interest from a prospective investor and mentor for their enterprise idea.

Congratulations to both our U/14 and U/13 teams on their recent success in the Glasgow Cup. Our U’13s [coached by Mr Kincaid and Mr O’Neill] did brilliantly in beating the Scottish champions Lourdes by 2-1 with both goals scored by Paul McLaren.


Friday 5th May 2017

"True contentment is a real, even an active, virtue---not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it."

G K Chesterton

The first week of our SQA exams has gone very well, especially with the first of the big exams [Mathematics] on today. Thanks especially to Mrs Carroll, SQA Coordinator, John Duffy, Chief Invigilator and all our invigilators and scribes. In a school the size of Holyrood, it is a military operation.

Good luck to our U/14 Football Team and Coach Rhys Donaldson for their Glasgow Cup Final on Saturday morning. Like many staff, and family members, I’ll be there to cheer them on.

Our U/18s lost narrowly in their Glasgow Cup semi-final on Tuesday, losing to a last-minute goal.

Can I remind parents, as well as our students, that we ask that if S4, 5 and 6 pupils are coming in for exams, or even to seek some additional tuition from or contact with a teacher, they must wear full school uniform. We had an incident this week of a boy from another school coming in to the school building. If we can ensure all pupils in the building are wearing uniform, it allows us to easily spot such a child at the school entrance as someone who does not belong here. Letters regarding exam preparation leave make it clear that all pupils coming in to see teachers must be in uniform.

Interviews take place next Thursday for the post of Head of School at Holyrood RC Secondary for session 2017-18.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 28th April 2017

“To change the world we must be good to those who cannot repay us.”

Pope Francis

Congratulations to Kelly Limond and Anne Abraitis for their excellent work in promoting Netball in Holyrood Secondary. In the recent Glasgow tournaments our S2 and S3 teams were runners up in their competitions. Pride of place, however, goes to our S1 team for their fantastic performance in winning a cup and league double.

Congratulations also to our Chemistry Department and to Azaan Bhatti and Tony Wright from S3 who won third place in the Young Chemical Ambassador programme, each receiving a USB microscope.  They have been working with Strathclyde University to learn about Chemical Engineering and, as part of the competition, they had to teach a lesson to their class and successfully lead them through an experiment.  Well done to both boys.

All parents and carers of S4, 5 and 6 should have received a letter by pupil post confirming details of exam preparation leave. If not, check the bags!

Our big 80th Anniversary Exhibition opened at Scotland Street Museum on Thursday with special guest former Head Teacher Mr Peter Mullen doing the formalities.  Congratulations to Margaret Leyden on bringing this to fruition. This exhibition is not just for Holyrood FPs but will give a wonderful flavour of the last 80 years of Education in Scotland’s schools, especially Catholic Education. Please try to visit.

We have groups collecting for school funds in Asda and Tesco this evening. Please give generously if you can.

Have a great weekend.


Friday 31st March 2017

 “Handle them carefully for words have more power than atom bombs…”

Pearl Strachan

Another busy week at Holyrood as we move forward towards what is often now referred to as the “Spring Break” but which I can never think of as other than the Easter holidays. In this case the school closes at 2.30 on Friday and re-opens on Tuesday 18th March, given that Monday 17th is Easter Monday.

Congratulations to Mrs McMahon’s team who won the Prince’s Trust Mosaic Enterprise competition. A great job by Team Holyrood. The team of Hassan Ahmad, Asad Khan and Iman Khan now qualify for the UK final in London. A great job well done by the boys.

Our Holyrood Dance Team, “Team Anghelz”, looking super smart in their new self-designed street hoodies, did a great job in representing Holyrood at the southside heat of the Glasgow dance competition. They didn’t win but they represented us brilliantly. Well done to Mrs Wilson and the team.

Last night saw our Annual “Holyrood’s Got Talent” competition. It was a fantastic standard of performance on the evening with everything from Irish dancing to magicians to top quality playing and singing. Our winner was Ciaran Heggarty of S1 with an incredible vocal performance, and I mean “PERFORMANCE”. A huge thank you to Mrs McCann and Miss Smith for all their organisation of the night.

Our Senior Netball team played on Friday in the final of the Scottish Plate at Ravenscraig Sports Centre. They played really well and at times got to within 4 points but, in the end, couldn’t quite close the gap. Congratulations to winners Anderson High School of Shetland. Special congratulations to all the girls and to coaches Mrs Abraitis and Ms Limond on their achievements this year. They always represent the school brilliantly.

Monday sees our Young Musician of the Year Competition where another array of Holyrood talent will be on display. It is always a real highlight of the school year. If you are free, please come along on Monday evening.

Have a great weekend

Friday 10th March

This week has been a busy week for Holyrood pupils.

On Tuesday a group of our S2 pupils visited Strathclyde university to get a flavour of whether University life might be for them in the future. On the same day 2 bus-loads of our Senior Phase pupils visited the City Chambers for the “Glasgow Guarantee Jobs Fair”.

Music practical exams have taken place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week and will continue next week. SQA Modern Languages speaking assessments have also been happening for the 3 languages we teach.

Our “Brilliant Club” students met with their Strathclyde University mentors this week to help support them both in their studies at Holyrood but also to help guide them towards life beyond school.

Congratulations to our U/13s on their 9-0 defeat of St Andrew’s.

On Thursday evening we had the latest in our Annual Fashion Shows. It was, as usual, a huge success, mostly thanks to the organisational and entrepreneurial skills of Miss Margaret Leyden, very ably supported by staff from across the school. Our students were fantastic as always, and incredibly good-looking on that catwalk.

A wee reminder that the Holyrood Art Exhibition is on at Scotland Street School and displays exceptional work by pupils for Nat 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.


Friday 3rd March 2017

 “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Martin Luther King

We have had a lot of interest in the past week in our Holyrood Diner in the main yard. It was officially opened with press present but I understand STV will be out some time this week.

If you couldn’t make the opening of the Holyrood  Art Exhibition at Scotland Street [and over a hundred people did] please do everything you can to drop by it at some point. The work of our young people is just fantastic. Congratulations to all our Art staff for preparing our young people so well and for all their work in setting up the exhibition. Thanks to Margaret Leyden for making it all happen and to our Pupil Support Assistants for supporting preparations and for being there on the night. Please try to visit Scotland Street over the next few weeks while the Art Exhibition is on.

Big preparations are ongoing for one of the biggest nights of the year, our Holyrood Fashion Show, next Thursday in the Assembly Hall. Make sure you have this hottest of hot tickets. As usual, apart from the fashion, there will be some guest appearances. Another Miss Leyden extravaganza!

All parents and carers should have received a letter from Executive Director Maureen McKenna this week which indicated the arrangements to be put in to place for leadership of the school when I finish at Holyrood at the end of this academic year.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 24th February

 “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”

Dorothy Day, Catholic Social Activist

We had a very successful training day last Friday for our Mentors in Violence Prevention programme. Thanks to all those teachers involved as well as to our Senior School of next year for volunteering and training so enthusiastically.

Congratulations to all those young people from schools across Glasgow who won awards in Holyrood on Wednesday evening as Police Scotland Youth Volunteers. Congratulations especially to all our Holyrood volunteers and particularly to Ryan Caldwell of S4 who received a special award for the quality and quantity of his service.

Last week’s Holyrood Malawi Ball was a brilliant success. The event was attended by over 500 people who were incredibly generous in their contributions. We hope to have raised a significant sum of money to pay for the projects. All students and staff do everything possible to pay the £2,000 costs for each individual so that all money raised goes to the projects. We hope that when all money is in, the ball will have raised £20,000 for our work on projects in 2017.

A reminder that we have a special Malawi Project 10th anniversary t-shirt available in small, medium and large, and in grey or white, for £12. These t-shirts are available from the main office, from Mrs Kenny at the Head Teacher office or from me as HT.

Thanks to Geoff Nolan and staff in the Drama department for organising last week’s theatre trip to Edinburgh to see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night”. I understand that all staff and students enjoyed the performance despite the late return to school on Wednesday night.

We all look forward to the opening of the Art Department’s Art Exhibition at Scotland Street School. The official opening is at 6 pm next Tuesday 28th for what will be a fabulous collection of pupils’ work from our award-winning Art department.

Thursday 9th February

Thought for the week

“God teaches us to love by putting some unlovely people around us. It takes no character to love people who are lovely and loving to you.”

Rick Warren

It is nice to have an abbreviated week this week and next week, with a chance to re-charge the batteries in the depth of winter. I hope many of you also have some opportunity to do this over the weekend. This is our February mid-term. School is closed tomorrow Friday and re-opens for pupils on Thursday 16th February. Staff are in school on Wednesday for an In-Service day.

Congratulations to Mrs McCoy and all staff in our RE Department for all the work done in making our Faith in Holyrood exhibition such a success at Scotland Street Museum. Art Department teachers already played a major part in this exhibition and we now look forward to our pupils’ Art Exhibition in the coming weeks at Scotland Street. What a great idea of Miss Leyden’s to set up public exhibitions there.

Our U/18s went out of the Scottish Shield at the last 16 stage last week, losing to a strong Wallace High School team.

Thanks to everyone who helped with our non-uniform day last week as we raised the £1500 necessary to support the variety of 80th Anniversary activities already completed or planned for the near future.

Have a great weekend when it comes

Friday 3rd February 2017

 “The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Congratulations to Ms Hood and her public speaking team on their victory in the heat of the Procurator Fiscal’s Public Speaking Contest on Wednesday of this week. The motion was 'Social Media is the Enemy of Equality', and four teams took part - one from Holyrood, one from St Thomas Aquinas and two from Craigholme.

Special congratulations to S2’s Martin Mullaney and S3’s  Melissa Chikaya on their win.

Our Youth St Vincent de Paul group met on Thursday under the guidance of Mr Soares. We had Mr Dominic Sutherland visit from SVDP to speak about the work of Youth SVDP from his wide experience. The session was very informative.

Wednesday was a special day as part of our 80th Anniversary celebrations when Archbishop Tartaglia opened our Holyrood’s Faith History exhibition at Scotland Street School. The exhibition will be open to the public there until the middle of February and will be taken down on Wednesday 15th February, to be replaced by a Holyrood pupil art exhibition.

All S5 and S6 return to normal timetable on Monday 6thFebruary so the school can return to normal for all pupils and staff.

Have a great weekend

Friday 27th January 2017

We are half way through our S5/6 prelims. Things have generally run very smoothly and I am very grateful for the excellent organisation of SQA coordinator Mrs Carroll. We are, as always, blessed to have Chief Invigilator Mrs John Duffy and his team of volunteers who do such an outstanding job in supervising and supporting our young people through the prelims and through the final SQA exams.

A reminder that we have our S4 Parents’ Evening on Monday 6th February with Reports sent home next week.

Congratulations to our U/14 football team on their 8-1 victory during the week and to our U/18s on reaching the last 16 of the Scottish Senior Shield with a 4-2 victory against Girvan Academy. They play Wallace HS, Stirling, probably on 8th February at Toryglen.

4 of our S6 Malawi Team will do a presentation tomorrow to the Southside Central Community Funding event at Gorbals Parish Church [10-12.30] in the hopes of gaining a grant. Good luck to Jack, Flynn, Jayeanne and Paton for their presentation.

Congratulations to Indie rock band Static Union on the release of their new single with its launch tonight.

I understand that the band are starting to get airplay and a lot of interest.

James Harker, Sean McGarvey and present pupil S6’s Liam Adams are 3 of the 4 members with 4th band member Cameron Angus.

Holyrood FPs’ next big musical thing????

Have a great weekend.

Friday 13th January

“We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope”.

Martin Luther King Jr

We have had a full and busy week in Holyrood. We had our Parent Council meeting on Tuesday, which was very well attended and was lively as always. Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education, will attend our next meeting on 7th February.

S5 and S6 have been working hard in preparation for their prelim exams which start next Monday 23rd January and conclude on Friday 3rd February.

S4 have begun receiving prelim marks from before Christmas and are reflecting on this and discussing what has to be done between now and final SQA exams to help them achieve to the maximum. S4 reports will go out in week beginning 30th January and the S4 Parents’ Evening takes place on Monday 6th February.

This weekend we have a group travelling to Manchester early on Saturday morning and having the full Man Utd experience, staying overnight on Saturday in Manchester and attending the Man Utd v Liverpool game on Sunday. Many thanks to Mr Gault for all his work in organising this.

Have a great weekend.


Friday 6th Jan 2017

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy’. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:43-44). Jesus asks those who would follow him to love those who do not deserve it, without expecting anything in return, and in this way to fill the emptiness present in human hearts, relationships, families, communities and in the entire world. “

Pope Francis speaking to the College of Cardinals in 2014.

It was good to come back to only two days this week rather than a full 5! It was an eventful two days where, due to a temporary water supply absence, I was concerned we would have to close the school just after re-opening it. Fortunately water was quickly restored. .

Thanks to all parents and carers, staff and pupils who contributed so generously to our non-uniform collection on the last day of term. We were able to put £180 in the school fund in an account to support our Friday night soup run. We were also able to deliver £180 to the Glasgow City Mission to help fund Christmas dinner for the homeless of Glasgow [a letter of thanks was received from the Glasgow City Mission and is displayed on the noticeboard].

I wish all Holyrood parents and carers, staff and pupils a happy and success-filled 2017.

Have a good weekend


Friday 16th December 2016

“Christmas is joy, religious joy, God’s joy, an inner joy of light and peace.”

Pope Francis

I have thanked staff and pupils for their participation in the recent Christmas Jumper Fest which has raised sufficient money for the Dixon Community to allow us to make a small gift to all its members. Well done to Miss Leyden and all her little elves who have helped so much in collecting money.

Thanks to all staff for their work in ensuring that prelims went so smoothly.

Mrs O’Shea and I had the pleasure of attending today’s Nativity and Concert at St Brigid’s PS. The next generation of Holyrood choristers and musicians appears to be developing nicely at St Brigid’s as the children were fantastic. We look forward now to Monday evening’s Christmas Concert. It is unfortunate that it is on the same evening as our S3 Parents’ Meeting but the concert had to be switched from its earlier planned date in the school calendar to accommodate availability of instructors etc. It is, however, lovely to have this concert much closer to Christmas.

School finishes for the holidays on Wednesday, closing at 2.30 pm. As usual, we shall have our Christmas service and reflection shortly after interval, followed by some Christmas festivities, carol singing etc.

Wednesday will be a non-uniform day for staff and pupils when, as usual, we shall ask for a small donation from all those present. Any money we raise will be split between supporting our work with the homeless, money going in to the School Fund Soup Run account, and the other half going directly to Glasgow City Mission to provide a Christmas dinner for the homeless on Christmas Day. Please encourage our young people, in the true spirit of Christmas, to make a £1 donation if that is at all possible.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas when it comes. Peace and Joy to all.

“Most of us have been lost in the business of our existence, trying to cope from day to day, and have quite forgotten who we are or whose we are.…And then we, who thought we had everything, realise we have nothing, and, realising we have nothing, stand ready to receive everything. For He is our joy and peace.

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

Friday 9th December 2016

“And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…. God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

Thanks to all staff for their help in preparing for and organising S4 prelims this week. The prelims have gone very smoothly, organised by SQA Coordinator Mrs Carroll and ably supported by our Chief Invigilator Mr John Duffy.

In case you haer that our teachers have gone mad today, please note that we have had a Christmas Jumper Day where colleagues have paid a minimum of £5 for the privilege, with all proceeds going to the senior citizens of the Dixon Community.

A reminder that, from Monday, S4 pupils should be back in classes except when they are sitting exams.

I have asked all staff to make sure that meaningful work continues to take place in all classes next week. This coming week there will be increased time for Choir and Music rehearsals in the lead-up to the School Christmas Concert on Monday 19th December. If you don’t yet have a ticket, please get one very soon. In each of the past 2 years we have had complete sell-outs and have had to turn people away from the door on the evening, much to their disappointment. If you haven’t been to a Holyrood Christmas Concert before, it is a rare treat! Don’t miss it. You will see the same fabulous quality you find any time our students perform.

A reminder that school finishes at 2.30 on Wednesday 21st December.

Have a great weekend

 Friday 29th November

"As in the candle I know there is both light and heat, but put out the candle, and they are both gone."

John Selden

Another busy week at Holyrood.  Congratulations to our S1 and S3 Netball Teams on their performances in beating teams from the Glasgow Gaelic School.

Well done recently to our U/16s who travelled to Oban for a Scottish Cup tie and won well. This takes them to the last 32 of the competition. Well done also to our U/18s who this week had victories over Hyndland Sec [9-0] and Bannerman High [5-3 in the Scottish Cup after being down 3-2 with 10 minutes to go]. It was a great team effort but a marvellous feat from Przemyslav Dachnowicz in scoring 9 goals over the 2 games.

A group of students, accompanied by Mr Donaldson, Mr Kinnaird and Fr Bathgate, trained at the Man Utd Academy then watched the man Utd v Feyenoord game on Thursday evening. Thanks to Rhys Donaldson for his organisation of this.

Well done to Margaret Leyden and her army of supporters for their organisation of our Christmas Craft Fair. This is the main fundraiser for helping Holyrood Secondary support the Dixon Community.

We are delighted today to welcome Margaret Ferrier, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, to Holyrood Secondary. Margaret wanted to visit Holyrood to see her old school. We are delighted to see yet another Holyrood FP who retains a tremendous affection for this school community. We are proud of Margaret as a former pupil of Holyrood who works in the service of our communities.

Huge Congratulations to S5 pupil Matthew Gibb, who won at the Jim Diamond Music Award on Tuesday evening. Matthew received excellent reward for this, sponsored by the Hunter Foundation, and will now play at the Radio Clyde Cash for Kids Lunch [provided he can negotiate time out with his Head Teacher!]. I wish it to be noted that Matthew’s talent was picked up on  early at Holyrood as, when in S1, he was voted “Most promising newcomer” in our school talent show. See the link below to get a flavour of Matthew’s enormous talent.

Laurie Byrne


Friday 18th November

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

Saint [Mother] Teresa of Calcutta

Thanks to all staff who made Monday’s Awards’ Ceremony such a success. Particular thanks to the team supporting Ms Dastey in all the organisation of the event and very special congratulations and thanks to Adele. Special thanks also to our Home Economics’ teachers and students for their beautiful buffet for guests and to our Music Department and guest musicians and vocalists for our musical interludes. It was a very special evening.

Again many congratulations to Ms Keely Smith for setting up and running our Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award initiative this year. On Tuesday night we saw almost 30 students receive their Bronze Award in a ceremony at the Royal Concert Hall. Thanks also to Ms Callan for her support of award winners throughout the year. It was fabulous to see so many of our students receive their awards.

We have been asked by Viridor at Polmadie to be involved in the creation of a statue of a horse to stand in the foyer of the new admin building for the Polmadie Recycling Plant. Colleagues in Art are exploring how best work with a commissioned artist to have our pupils deliver this. It is an exciting idea.

Great to see our senior pupils, with such encouragement from Ms McCann, offer tuition to S4 pupils at lunchtimes to help prepare for S4 prelims. Not long to go for S4.

Good luck to Mrs Porter, our Personal Support Assistant, who leaves us now to move to a new career. Mr Tony Gray, Teacher of History for some years at Holyrood, finishes his teaching career next Friday. We wish Tony all the very best as he moves to what we hope will be a more relaxing pace of life.

Have a great weekend

Friday 4th November 2016

 “For me, sin is not a stain that I have to clean. What I should do is ask forgiveness and make reconciliation, not stop by the cleaners on my way home.”

Pope Francis

We have been able to advertise new Principal Teacher posts due to the Scottish Government’s Attainment Challenge Funding. 3 of these posts will be for internal applicants only. A 4th post, PT Numeracy, will be advertised on Talentlink and will be a permanent post. We hope also to advertise for a Primary-qualified teacher to work at Transition and in our Broad General Education to support attainment and equity.

Thanks to Mrs McCann for taking a group of our senior pupils to the Medics against Violence seminar on Thursday. I know she and our students were enthused about what we can do to promote the anti-violence message in our communities and to make a difference. We see very clear links with our Mentors in Violence Prevention [MVP] programme.

We are delighted that Abby Callaghan of S4 has been selected once again for the Scotland squad for their forthcoming games. Congratulations again to Jamie Walker, Ethan Ethahon, Nathan Patterson and Marc Leonard for their selection for and performances in the Victory Shield for Scotland U/16s. As I write this, the final game is about to be played which will decide where the championship goes.

Have a lovely weekend

Friday 28th October 2016

“Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.”

Pope Francis

Congratulations and good luck to our 4 boys who have been selected for the prestigious Victory Shield squad, playing against Northern Ireland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland; Nathan Patterson, Ethan Erhahon and Marc Leonard of S4 and Jamie Walker of S5.

We have some residential experiences over the next few weeks. Our Malawi Team go to Craig Lodge, Dalmally on 10th and 11th November for a retreat and team-building residential visit.

Mrs McMahon is in the final stages of planning for what looks like a really exciting trip to London in December with a whole variety of cultural and entertainment experiences.

Today, Friday, was a fantastic day in our PE Department where we had Active Girls Day. A tremendous amount of planning went in to this day so special thanks to the teachers of our PE Department, to our Active Schools Coordinator and to all our Young Ambassadors who delivered such a great set of activities on the day. We are indebted to coaches from community clubs in a variety of sports who gave of their time today.

Today was the last day in Holyrood for Ms Teresa Falconer of our Maths Department. She takes up a new post as Faculty Head in Biggar High School. Good luck with that M74 journey Ms Falconer!

Have a great weekend.

Friday 16th September 2016

This has been an extraordinary week in the life of our school. With the Feast of the Holy Cross or Holy Rood this past week, we began our celebrations of our 80th Anniversary Year last Monday. We started in the most appropriate way for a Catholic School with a beautiful Mass celebrated by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and co-celebrated by Fr John and Fr Ian from within our school community as well as local parish priests. We are especially thankful to Monsignor Bradley and the community of Holy Cross Parish for welcoming us on that evening.

The Mass was a wonderful celebration of Catholic Education and of the contribution to Catholic Education of Holyrood Secondary as the largest and most notable Catholic Secondary School in the city. It was also a lovely spiritual experience, much enhanced by the fabulous music from our Music Department and its pupils. It was a very special evening to be a “Holyrooder”. After the Mass, all were invited back to the school to continue our celebration. Senior pupils conducted tours of the school, old photos were displayed on the large screen in the Assembly Hall [with great partnership work with our friends in Hollybrook Academy to produce the display] and our Home Economics Department provided a wonderful spread enjoyed by visitors, staff and pupils alike. Thanks to all those staff who were involved in the evening. Thanks especially to our Home Economics Department, our Music Department and, very particularly, to Depute Head Margaret Leyden for her vision and entrepreneurial talent in making this planned event a reality.

Netball, swimming and rugby clubs have all started their season’s activities. Our football teams have all begun their season with a 7-1 victory for our U/18s in their first game and a 4-1 victory for our U/14s.

Congratulations to 4 of our S4 pupils on their selection for the Scotland squad of 19 players to play an international against France at Heriot Watt on 27th September; Nathan Patterson, Jamie Walker, Marc Leonard and Ethan Erhahon.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 9thSeptember 2016

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

 Mother Teresa

I mentioned last week that we had 3 teaching posts to which we hope to appoint over this week. We have had interviews for a Teacher of Business Education, a Teacher of RE and a Teacher of Art. We have had made recommendations to the authority for the successful candidates and hope these appointments can shortly be confirmed.

Interviews also took place with senior school students to try to select a team for the Holyrood Malawi Project 2017. As always we have had an outstanding calibre of applicants from which to select the team. I shall arrange on Monday to bring all those interviewed together so that we can advise them of who has been fortunate and successful and who has not on this occasion.

Our Drama Department visit to London returns this weekend. It sounds as though it has been a storming success and I look forward to hearing more details next week.

Trials took place this week for our U/18 football team. If we can put our best players on the park despite the boys’ other commitments [part-time work, other club commitments, women, hair-washing] we could have a very good side!

Our Netball clubs have started also and I hear great reports about our existing players and some very good new S1 netball talent.

Our Music groups are already in full swing and many of them have been preparing for our 80th Anniversary Mass at 7 pm at Holy Cross Church on Monday. We are delighted that Archbishop Tartaglia is able to be principle celebrant. We look forward to a wonderful Holyrood occasion. If you intend to take part in the procession, the group will leave Holyrood at 6.20 pm, arriving at Holy Cross well in time for 7 pm Mass.

Have a great weekend

Friday 2nd September 2016

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

We have 3 teaching posts to which we hope to appoint over the next week. On Tuesday we have interviews for Teacher of Business Education and Teacher of RE and on Friday we interview for Teacher of Art.

Interviews will take place across parts of Monday, Wednesday and Thursday as we try to select a team for the Holyrood Malawi Project 2017. As always we have lots of quality applicants from which to select the team and the biggest problem will be in deciding who we leave out and how we tell them.

Our Drama Department visit to London departs on Wednesday. We wish a safe journey and a great visit to the group.

Thanks to all parents and carers for your support in helping students settle in to the new academic year. I ask for you to continue to support our uniform policy, including your encouragement of the wearing of the school blazer.

School sport is beginning to awake from its slumber with final trials tonight for the new S1 football team. Other teams should start playing their first games over the next 2 weeks. Good luck to all our Holyrood coaches and teams for another great year of success in all sports.

Have a great weekend

Friday 26th August 2016

"To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee."

William H Walton

Thanks to Mrs McCann [formerly Miss Kesson] for organising the Biology trip to Culzean Castle, and for ensuring excellent weather for the day. Pupils I spoke to had an excellent day.

The first Parent Council Meeting of the year took place on Tuesday and was very well attended, despite the competition of a Champions League qualifier on the telly! Parent Council members have asked me to highlight that the AGM of the Parent Council [Parent Forum] takes place on Tuesday 20th September. All parents are invited to that meeting at 7 pm in the school Library.

Preparations are well under way for the trip to Alton Towers on Friday 30th September. This trip is designed as a reward for pupils who have started the year cooperating with all aspects of positive behaviour that we look for; attendance, timekeeping, conduct, respectful relationships, full school uniform including the blazer. The total cost is £55 and a deposit of £30 is to be made on Tuesday morning.

Applications are due by Monday from those S5 and S6 students interested in being members of the 2017 Malawi Project Team. We hope to have studied all applications and to have chosen those successful in achieving an interview for the final team by Friday 2nd September.

Have a great weekend

Friday 19th August 2016

Thought for the week

"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

Henry Drummond

A warm welcome to the Head Teacher Blog for 2016-17,and welcome back to those who have visited the blog before.

It has been a very busy first week with our new S1 pupils settling very well. Thank you to parents and carers in all year groups for ensuring that the standard of uniform is outstanding, especially the numbers of pupils who are looking so smart in their new blazers.

As always we have some continuing issues with individual pupil timetables, particularly in S5 and S6, where young people may have done better or worse than they anticipated so we have to adjust to different subject choices. We are almost there in making these adjustments.

Our first Parent Council meeting of the year is on Tuesday at 7 pm in the school library. We have formal parent representatives on the Council but the Parent Council is always happy to see any parent or carer attend.

Have a great weekend.


Friday 3rd June 2016

“When a person or people sells its dignity or bargains it …. Everything else loses consistency and no longer has worth.”

Pope Francis

Thanks to Mrs Carroll, Mr John Duffy and our team of invigilators for their excellent and very pupil-centred organisation of SQA exams. Thanks to all staff for their work and support during the exam diet in ensuring that the organisation all went so smoothly.

We had great feedback from our students who attended the Mentors in Violence Prevention [MVP] Training on Thursday. Many thanks to Miss Leyden and Mrs McCance for all their work on this. I know we have a busy programme of events next week with the timetable changing for the new S2, 3 and 4 on Monday and for S5 on Wednesday. Miss Leyden has a full programme of events organised for S6 next week.

Congratulations to our Netballers and coaches Mrs Abraitis and Miss Limond. The S2 team and S5/6 were Glasgow champions. The S1 and S3 teams were runners-up. Congratulations to our U/15 football team on winning the Glasgow Cup on Tuesday. The U/14 team were Glasgow League and Cup double winners. Our U/13s appeared in the 2 Glasgow and a Scottish final. Our cricket team defeated Hutchesons’ Grammar in a hard fought match on Wednesday, having recently also defeated Lomond School.  Well done to all our sports’ teams … and we still have athletics to come.

We are looking forward to some important events next week. On Monday we have the Caritas Awards’ Ceremony during the day, with our school choir performing to over 3,000 of an audience at the Armadillo. We have our prom on Monday evening. On Tuesday we have our Health and Wellbeing and Sports Day. On Wednesday evening we have our S1 Holyrood Challenge event. On Thursday our Holyrood Malawi Team depart from the school at 10 am. Mass is at 9 am for anyone free to attend. Our group of 36 students and 7 teachers and adult helpers leave from Edinburgh to fly to Malawi via Johannesburg.

Have a wonderful weekend with, we hope, continuing good weather.


Friday 20th May

"Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough."

Earl Wilson

Mrs O’Shea and I were part of the Holyrood Learning Community group of Head Teachers who met together today. We are very fortunate to be part of this Learning Community with all our primary colleagues and are very much looking forward to the 3 days of visits from our new S1s in June, although we understand how difficult it will be for their primary school Head Teachers to lose them.

The heartache continued for Mr Donaldson’s excellent S1 football team. They lost a 2nd Glasgow final last Saturday, after extra time, by 2-1. They played on Thursday in the Scottish Cup Final and were always in the game until the very last. Braes High School just shaded it with a goal in the last minute to win 2-0. Congratulations to Braes and to our boys for an excellent final.

On the more positive, Mr Soares U/14s took the Glasgow League trophy on Wednesday night beating All Saints 4-1 in the final after an outstanding 2nd half performance.

Well done to Mrs McCance’s girls’ team who played in the Glasgow tournament on Thursday and performed very creditably. As I write this, Mrs O’Shea and I will be at Hampden tomorrow for the graduation of our S4 Performance School boys after 4 years of work with SFA coach Brian McLaughlin. He, Mrs O’Shea and I will be very proud to see the boys graduate. I understand there will be a football match on after the graduation ceremony. Not sure who I’ll support but I’ve always liked the sound of Sunshine on Leith. I suspect that my heart may be broken by the end!

Friday 13th May

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

  1. P. Stanley

It’s been a busy week for exams with a number of the exams with large numbers sitting them now passed. We have had an atmosphere of calm around the school, for the most part, with so many pupils either sitting exams or preparing for their next one. Thanks to staff across the school for helping with the flow of pupils and with keeping an appropriate atmosphere for exams.

It has not however been so quiet for our football teams. Our U/13s played in the Glasgow Cup Final last Saturday, drawing 1-1 after extra time then losing on penalties against a Bearsden Academy team who appeared all to be 3-Weetabix men!

The U/13s play their Glasgow League final tomorrow at Loreto playing fields in Bishopbriggs, again v Bearsden Academy. We hope for and expect a better result tomorrow.

Mr Donaldson’s boys also play in the Scottish Cup Final next Thursday at Ochilview.

On Tuesday the U/14s played their Crookston Cup Final at Murray Park v St Andrew’s. Mr Soares’ team were losing 3-0 at half time but came storming back to win 5-3 and take the cup. They won their Glasgow League semi on Wednesday and now play in the final at Loreto next Wednesday after school.

Our Malawi Team will be doing a bucket collection in the area around Celtic Park on Sunday so, if you’re going to the game, think about throwing something in the bucket.

Have a great weekend

Friday 6th May

“I have never found, in a long experience of politics, that criticism is ever inhibited by ignorance.”

Harold Macmillan

That was a strange stop/start week just passed. Holiday on Monday, in-service at election day on Thursday.

SQA exams have now started and pupils and invigilators are already in the swing of it. Most students are glad to have a first exam out of the way while others still wait to get started … but it’s coming soon.

Our footballers had a mixed week last week as the season reaches a climax. Our U/14s, with coach Mr Soares, lost on penalties in the Glasgow semi-final while our U/13s, under Mr Donaldson,  won their Scottish semi v Our Lady and St Patrick’s to reach the final of the Scottish Cup. The under 13s play in the Glasgow final tomorrow morning so we hope for a victory there.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 29th April 2016

“Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

George S. Patton

I hope all those reading this may get a little extra time off at this holiday weekend and enjoy a peaceful and restful one.  As I write this at 5.30 on Friday evening, I feel I need that!

Thanks to all staff for their work last week in ensuring all work was completed pre SQA exams. Thanks also to many staff for their support in ensuring we had a fairly calm final day for our senior students before SQA exams.

Thanks especially to Miss Crearie for ensuring a wonderful end to our 6th year’s time at Holyrood with a beautiful and splendid Leavers’ Mass last Thursday. Thanks to Fr Bathgate for celebrating it, to all staff who helped in any way before or after the event but especially the Home Economics Department for the buffet and the Music Department for the outstanding Music. It was great to see so many parents, carers, staff and family there.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 22nd April 2016

Thought for the week, which could apply to “living together” in our workplace, in our families or in our neighbourhoods.

“Living together is an art. It's a patient art, it's a beautiful art, it's fascinating.”

Pope Francis

It has been a busy week, returning from the so-called “spring break” to completing final preparations for SQA presentations. We had a very successful Easter School with almost all subject areas delivering additional support to young people and over 230 students attending. Thanks to Mrs Carroll for all her work in this and to teachers for making themselves available during holiday time.

Teachers have been working hard with young people this week to ensure that all internal assessment work is completed for SQA qualifications. The exam diet starts on Wednesday 4th May. All S4 students should have come home with a letter giving details of school arrangements during exams and of any exam preparation leave allocated for students.

Congratulations to our S2 and S3 football teams on good victories this week. In PE we are now moving into the athletics season with training and preparations picking up in anticipation of our big Health Fun Day and Sports Competition on Tuesday 7th June. We can start to see a real competitive edge developing in PE classes as pupils do everything they can to beat their personal bests.

Congratulations to Ryan Thorne who, competing in the UK final of the Sir Win Bischoff Career Ready programme, won the whole competition. An extraordinary achievement for S6 pupil Ryan who hails from Toryglen and is a former pupil of St Brigid’s Primary School. Glasgow winner, Scottish winner and now UK winner. He wins £500 and an all-expense paid trip to New York.

Have a great weekend.

4th April 2016

“The smallest thing, when done for the love of God, is priceless.”

St Teresa of Avila

It has been good to get to the Easter break and feel that, with the so-called “spring break” coming quickly thereafter, there is some breathing space as we reach the end of a hectic term.

Great this week to see our S3 pupils experiencing life in the First World War trenches in Pollok Park. Many thanks to Mr Gault and colleagues in Social Subjects for their organisation of this visit. Staff and pupils alike felt it gave a powerful understanding of the experience of many men and women only a little older than themselves when they perished in “The Great War”.

Congratulations to our Netballers this week who had a clean sweep of trophies in the Glasgow competition. Thanks especially to Mrs Abraitis and Ms Limond for all of their work throughout the year with our netball teams.

We’ve had very good attendance at our Supported Study sessions for S4,5 and 6 in recent weeks. We look forward to excellent attendance at our Holyrood holiday Supported Study School in the week beginning 4th April. Thanks to all staff who run and support these sessions at lunchtimes, after school and during the holiday period.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 18th March


"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."

Author unknown

This week has seen us continue practical SQA exams in Business, in Music and in Drama. It is clear that pupils are taking this very seriously [in one or two cases surprisingly so] and I know they are getting great support from staff.

Congratulations to Mr Donaldson and our U/13 football team who beat Harlaw Academy on Monday to qualify for the next stage of the Scottish Shield. The boys fell 3-1 down in the first half but came back strongly to win 5-3.

Congratulations to Ryan Thorne who, on Thursday, picked up both his Glasgow and Scottish Awards as the top student in the Career Ready Academy initiative. Over 300 students nationally competed for the highly prestigious Scottish Award. Ryan now represents Scotland in the UK National Final. Enormous thanks to Robert Hamilton, our Employability Officer, for all his work with Ryan. Very well done also to Ryan’s twin brother Conor who gained a special mention at the National Award and has also received a 12 week paid internship with Standard Life; a fabulous achievement for the family Thorne.

Next week sees our parent information evening to complete the final part of the selection process for the SFA Performance School 2016 intake. Coach Brian McLaughlin, Depute Head Bernadette O’Shea and I will speak to parents. We have an intake of 10 for 2016-17.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 11th March 2016


“It is for those who have the means, to contribute to the efforts to repair the damage wrought by the past. It is for those who have suffered losses of different kinds and magnitudes to be afforded reparation, proceeding from the premise that freedom and dignity are the real prize that our sacrifices were meant to attain.”

Nelson Mandela, responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Report.

These are very busy times in school at present, I know, with the pressure on staff and pupils of trying to ensure all coursework and necessary assessments are completed within the timescale required by SQA.

Within all of this, we have had a difficult week as a school community where we have worried about our S4 pupil Alistair after the road incident on Tuesday. Thank you to all who have helped get this community through this difficult week. Perhaps we owe special thanks to Father John and Father Ian for their work in supporting young people, staff and families. The mass they celebrated, to pray for Alistair’s recovery, with over 250 pupils and staff on Wednesday morning, spilling out into the corridor from the oratory, was a sign of the goodwill of so many in our community and was a reminder to us of the importance of faith in this school. It manifests itself at different times, in different ways, with different people but the sense of common purpose in our prayer was palpable. We continue to pray for Alistair’s full recovery although we know he has a long road ahead. Thanks also to our Pastoral Care Team for the support they have offered young people.

Well done to our U/18 Football Team for the win against King’s Park on Thursday. Good Luck to our U/13s for their Scottish Cup tie on Monday afternoon.

Mr John Wilson of our RE Department leaves us this coming Friday 18th March. We thank John for his wonderful service to this school community and for his contribution to school ethos as well as his contribution to teaching and learning. We wish John all the best for his new post at St Columba’s High School in Gourock. The drive from the Esplanade to Gourock will clearly be more to his liking.

Have a great weekend


Friday 4th March

 “So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, … if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

Pope Francis

Thanks to all staff for the work they are doing in highlighting the importance of the season of Lent and our preparations for the great feast of Easter. Thanks for the encouragement they are giving to young people to attend Mass in the morning. Please remind your young people that Mass is celebrated every morning during Lent at 8.20 am.

A huge thank you once again to Father John and Father Ian for all the commitment they give in ensuring we have Mass every morning during Lent. Mass attendance from staff and pupils has been very encouraging.

We look forward to our S2 Parents’ Evening on Monday at 4 pm. S2 Reports were distributed today. If you are a S2 parent and did not receive one by pupil post, check the bag!

We had yet another memorable Holyrood Fashion Show on Thursday night in what I understand to be a tradition stretching to 2002. Thanks to those who strutted the catwalk and all those who helped behind the scenes and in technical support. It was, as always, a highly entertaining evening and was, once again, a celebration of the diversity as well as the talent of this school community [staff as well as pupils]. Miss Crearie was the undoubted scene-stealer with her rendition of “It shoulda been me” as a scene played out before her involving Fr John, Mr Malik and Mrs Bennett [if you weren’t there, find someone who was to hear about it].

Congratulations especially to Margaret Leyden for her entrepreneurial, scavenging, directorial and production talents … with a cast of thousands. She even managed to get me to become Meat Loaf for the night! 10 years ago I would have needed padding but now …

Have a great weekend

Friday 26th February 2016


“Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members.” Pope Francis from “The Church of Mercy”.

The latest meeting of the Parent Council took place on Tuesday. Parents dealt with business then took the time to visit the exhibition of artwork by last year’s Senior Phase Art students. The variety of exhibits and the quality of work was outstanding. Congratulations to the Art Department and to our students on this wonderful exhibition of work. Parent Council members were enormously impressed.

On Wednesday evening our Holyrood Liturgy Group and Choir were responsible for the beautiful music liturgy at the Archdiocesan Secondary Schools’ Mass. Thanks to our singers for their wonderful performance, to Music staff for their tuition and support on the night, and to the other staff and young people who attended.

Thanks to all Pastoral Care staff, Robert Hamilton and Mary Crearie and Margaret Leyden for their tremendous support for young people in S5 and S6 in preparing for College and University or in finding a positive destination beyond school.

A group of our senior students involved in Top Up attended their latest day’s support session at University today. I spoke to them as they returned and all were enthused by the quality of support they are receiving as they prepare for courses at University next year.

I met our Cross Country runners returning from an exhausting competition at Pollok Country Park. All our pupils did well, performing very creditably in their age groups. Special mention must go to our S2 boys’ team who won the silver medal. I’m quite happy for them to win silver at S2 level. That gives us something to aim for next year and the following years.

Our S6 student Ryan Thorne was entered for the Glasgow heat of the Sir Win Bischoff Student of the Year Award and won that. He then went on to beat all comers in the Scottsh Competition and now moves to the National Final of the UK Career Academy Sir Win Bischoff Award. We are already enormously proud of Ryan and wish him all the best in the UK Final next week.

Final preparations are being made for another of the nights of the Glasgow social season; THE HOLYROOD 2016 FASHION SHOW. It takes place next Thursday 3rd March at 7 pm. It promises to be the usual sensational extravaganza organized, managed, led and fashioned by Miss Leyden with lots of beautiful people and a few surprises. Tickets are on sale for £7 and it is normally an early sellout.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 12th February


The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'

John F Kennedy

Like most people, I was glad to get to the end of last week and reach the February break, a chance to have some breathing space in what is a very busy term. By the time you read this, I hope you have had a very relaxing break.

Our extended curriculum continues to give great opportunities for our young people, from our lunchtime chess club to the extensive music opportunities, to sport, swimming club etc. Thanks to all staff who run and support these initiatives.

We are now moving to a period where we can have our Senior Pupils trained as Mentors in Violence Prevention. Thank you so much to staff acting as MVP leaders and I am delighted to see so many pupils involved as peer leaders. This training is critical for this programme and for our long term goals as a school. It is also a great development and leadership opportunity for staff and pupils.

Many thanks to the English department for running two trips this week as part of the Glasgow Youth Film Festival.

On Tuesday 40 S1 pupils took part in a BAFTA masterclass. They loved the experience and, I’m pleased to say, brought back a chocolate BAFTA as my final piece of chocolate before Lent. On Wednesday 12 S2 pupils took part in a film-making workshop and thoroughly enjoyed it.


Friday 5th February 2016

“Our problem is not that we are sinners. The problem comes when we don't let ourselves be transformed in love by the encounter with Christ.”

Pope Francis

Thanks to Margaret Leyden for her organisation of the “Live and Learn” workshops for S4,  which aid self reflection and evaluation for our SQA candidates and help them focus on targets between now and exam time.

A reminder that the Holyrood Malawi Ball takes place on Saturday 20th February at Glasgow Hilton. I am delighted that we already have over 470 attending this event. It is the social event of the year but is also the major fundraiser to support the project work we do in Malawi. We are grateful to all those who have made a booking and to those who are sponsoring a table. We thank also those who have made a significant financial and service contribution to our project: VIRIDOR, WILD CABARET bar, restaurant and entertainment venue [Candleriggs], SOUTHERN COACHES, KEEPMOAT.

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday this week. Opportunities will be available for all pupils to take part in an Ash Wednesday service.

Have a great weekend.



Friday 22nd January 2016

Thought for the Week

“See everything; turn a blind eye to much; correct a little.”

Pope Francis

Thanks to all staff for their support in ensuring the smooth running of S5/6 prelims in this past week. Another week to go but our S5/6 pupils are coping admirably. A huge factor in ensuring the smooth running of our prelims and final SQA exams is that we are so fortunate to have Mr John Duffy, Chief Invigilator, and his excellent team here in Holyrood to ensure that all goes well and that stressed students are managed and supported so well.

Many thanks to Mrs Ford and colleagues in Social Subjects for arrangements for the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to have a Question Time session today with S3 Modern Studies pupils and with members of our Pupil Voice group. The First Minister was very open and positive in her engagement with our young people. Students were, in turn, a credit to the school. Their questions were searching and challenging and all were met with full responses from the First Minister. She took the time at the end to engage with all our young people and accepted “selfie” opportunities with old and young alike. We are very grateful to the First Minister for taking the time to visit us in Holyrood.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 8th January 2016

“I ask you… to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking

you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately

believes that you are incapable of responsibility, incapable of true love. I

have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage ‘to swim against the tide.’ Have the courage to be happy.”

Pope Francis


Belated Happy New Year.

I hope all those connected to our Holyrood Community managed to find some peace and rest during what can be a frenetic holiday period.

As I stood at our front door on Wednesday morning, I laughed to see the number of young people who had clearly had to surface from their slumber about 5 hours earlier than they had become accustomed to.

It has been good for all in the school [staff as well as pupils] to be “broken in” by a 3 day week.

S5 and 6 are in mid preparation for their forthcoming prelim exams [starting Monday 18th January].

S4 reports, based on recent prelims, are being prepared and parents will soon receive a text alert to confirm date of issue.

Preparations are well under way for the social event of the year, the Holyrood Malawi Ball, at the Glasgow Hilton on Saturday 20th February 2015. Tickets cost £55 each, or £50 each for a table of at least 10. Over 350 places have now been booked so space is running out fast. Contact us quickly to book your place.

Bookings can be made by contacting  or by phoning the school and asking for Mrs Donna Kenny in our office.

Have a great weekend.


Friday 18th December 2015

“A Christmas without light is not Christmas. Let there be light in the soul, in the heart; let there be forgiveness to others; let there be no hostilities, which are dark. Let there be the beautiful light of Jesus. This is my wish for all of you, when you turn on the light of the crib.”

Pope Francis

Any parent who has tried to contact the school by e-mail over the past 4 days will have been unable to do so. Unfortunately, after what has been reported as a serious failure of the main server, the whole Glasgow e-mail system has ground to a halt. We hope it will be up and running again next week but I have no official notification of this.

Good luck to the colleagues we mentioned as leaving last week [Mrs Trehearn in Business, Mr Delaney in Physics and Mr Morris, Music Instructor]. We wish them all the very best when retirement comes, with health and happiness to enjoy the next stage of their lives. Best wishes also to Catriona Thomas in Music who leaves us to take up a permanent post elsewhere.

On the first day back in January we welcome Mr Hugh Gallagher as the new PT Physics.

Many thanks to Mrs Brady, Mrs McCoy and all those involved in organising the Staff Children’s Christmas Party on Thursday. It was another reminder of the joy of this season, even without frost and snow. Thanks to our S5 and S6 students who did so much to make it a successful event. Many thanks also to Santa for his special appearance.

On Tuesday, the school is dismissed at 2.30 pm. Periods 1 – 3 will happen as usual. Pupils will be registered then brought to the Assembly Hall for our Christmas Service and then for some Christmas songs. Lunch will be at its usual time [1.10 to 2 pm].

Period 6 will take place as normal but pupils will be dismissed at 2.30 pm.

Tuesday will be a non-uniform day. We ask for a suggested donation of £1. Any money raised will be split between supporting the purchase of food for the Friday night soup run and support of one of the Homeless feeding centres in Glasgow.

Have a great Christmas when it comes.


HT Blog


Friday 11th December 2015

 “It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas... And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…"

Fr Andrew Greeley

S4 Prelims have been a major focus over this past week. Many thanks to Mrs Carroll, Depute Head, for her organisation of prelims and to Mr John Duffy and our team of invigilators for their efficient, caring and considerate approach to working with our young people.

The term finishes on Tuesday 22nd December at 2.30 pm. Staff and pupils are on holiday until Tuesday 5 January 2016, returning to school on Wednesday 6th at 8.45 am.

We have several colleagues choosing to retire at Christmas; Mrs Trehearn in Business, Mr Delaney in Physics and Mr Andy Morris, Music Instructor. We wish them all the very best when retirement comes, with health and happiness to enjoy the next stage of their lives.

The new Principal Teacher of Physics is Mr Hugh Gallagher, at present working in Trinity High School, Cambuslang. Mr Gallagher takes up his post on Wednesday 6th January.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 4th December 2015

"If we love God and our brothers and sisters, we walk in the light; but if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us,"

Pope Francis

On Tuesday we had our last Parent Council meeting of 2015. It was very well attended with the main focus being the work Holyrood is doing around the heading of “World of Work”. Thanks to Ms MacLellan for her presentation on this.

Thanks to all staff who help supervise our corridors and stairwells between periods and who volunteer to help at intervals and lunchtimes. We all benefit if we have pupils move around the building in a calm and orderly fashion, which is generally the case in Holyrood.

S1 had a Geography Department outing to Our Dynamic Earth on Wednsday and had a great day, despite the traffic congestion on the journey there and back.

Thanks to all those staff who helped out at last night’s outstanding Christmas Concert; Music teachers and Instructors, Technicians, Support Assistants, Office Staff, all Staff and Senior Students working front of house and backstage. It was a fantastic team effort and brilliant family entertainment. What a talented group of young people [and staff] we have here in Holyrood. I had a great time watching and listening to our extraordinary performers; Samba Band, Choirs, Male Vocal Groups, Female Vocal Groups, Junior and Senior Orchestras. It was brilliant!

Apart from those occasions when they are actually sitting an exam, S4 have study leave on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. From Thursday on, S4 pupils should be in their normal classes except when they have an exam.

Have a great weekend



Friday 27th November 2015


“Whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something new about God.”
Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium

Another busy week at Holyrood.

On Monday afternoon a group from our Malawi Team 2016 attended the Scotland Malawi Partnership Youth Congress at Strathclyde University. It was a very informative conference, detailing the history of links between Scotland and Malawi and giving a strong flavour of the number of more recent links across Scotland, with workshops on Malawian culture and International Development. Monday evening also saw our S5/6 Parents’ Evening. Thanks to parents and carers for the positive feedback and for helpful suggestions as to how we might improve the experience of Parents’ Evenings.

This week saw the last of our S1 Fire Station visits. We are indebted to the Fire Service for all their work in helping our young people appreciate the work of the service.

Advanced Higher Biology students experienced an extensive field visit at Loch Lomond on Tuesday and felt it was an outstanding day, despite Mrs McGarvey’s complaints about the inclement weather.

I have had the pleasure of visiting P7 at our partner primary schools, St Conval’s and St Fillan’s this week. I was so impressed by the young people at both schools and we look forward to having them as Holyrood pupils next year.

On Wednesday I attended a meeting of all 7 SFA Performance Schools across Scotland. Mr Brian McClair, SFA Performance Director, was there and confirmed that the SFA Performance programme will continue, with the selection process for the 2015-16 cohort starting in December 2015 and concluding in April 2016 and with offers of places being made at that stage. The group starting in August 2016 will continue to be guaranteed 4 years of coaching as part of the SFA Performance School.

Holyrood Secondary School Information Evening for the SFA Performance School, 6 pm at Holyrood Secondary school on Monday 7th December. Brian McLaughlin, SFA Performance Coach at Holyrood, will present an overview of the Holyrood SFA Performance School experience alongside Depute Head Mrs O’Shea and me as Head Teacher.

On Wednesday evening our Holyrood Christmas Fair took place with side attractions of our school music performance group, a short panto from our junior Drama Club [with special thanks to S6 student Scott Miller for his coaching], as well as a plethora of stalls selling all manner of Christmas goods. Santa and his little helpers were there and all round it was a great night to raise funds for us to support the Dixon Community under the leadership of Depute Head Margaret Leyden.

Next Thursday is the Christmas event of the year with the Holyrood Christmas Concert on Thursday 3rd December. Everyone who attended last year’s Christmas Concert was overwhelmed by the entertainment on show. Music, Drama, singing and the best of Christmas cheer.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 20th November 2015

 “Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be grateful. Conceit is self-given; be careful.”

Eric Liddell, Olympic gold medal winner, athlete, rugby international and missionary.

I have had the good fortune to visit our partner primary schools, St Bride’s and St Brigid’s, this week. I have enjoyed these visits to schools where the positive, caring purposeful atmosphere is tangible… of course it is here in Holyrood.

On Tuesday after school we celebrated a memorial mass here in our Oratory to pray for the repose of the soul of Holyrood’s former Head Teacher Mr Finbarr Moynihan and to give thanks for his life and his contribution to this school community. We were blessed to share this Eucharist with Mrs Moynihan and some of her children and grandchildren. Our Liturgy Group of singers sang beautifully throughout and did so much to enhance the Mass. Thanks to staff, present and past, who attended the Mass and to parents who came also. Thanks also to former Depute Tony Flynn for his tribute to Mr Moynihan.

Thanks to Mrs Boyle for accompanying our S5 and S6 pupils to the Allan Glen lecture at Strathclyde University on Friday. She reported that it was an outstanding presentation by Professor Henry Dargie, Consultant Cardiologist, who spoke about

 “Pumping iron - the science and engineering of the heart”. Students were inspired by the presentation.

Our 2016 Malawi Team met on Friday as one of our regular team meetings. We discussed preparations for our Malawi Ball on Saturday 20th February 2016, as well as our physical and spiritual preparation for our project.

Malawi Ball, Glasgow Hilton, Saturday 20th February 2016. Cost £55 or £50 for a table of 10. Contact Mrs Kenny at the school office  

This coming week we have our S5/6 Parents’ Evening on Monday from 4.15 to 6.15.

We also have one of the highlights of the early Festive Season with the Holyrood Christmas Fayre on Wednesday from 7 pm to 9 pm.

A cornucopia of Christmas gifts and ideas from the stalls and presenters, Choirs, Carolers, Musicians, Scrooge Drama production, Santa and his little and not so little helpers! All Christmas life is here in Holyrood. Don’t miss it …..Another Miss Leyden extravaganza!



Friday 13th November 2015


 “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.”
Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium

We had a visit from Education Department colleagues on Monday and Tuesday of last week to look at how our Broad General Education was working from S1 to S3. The visit was very positive but with some clear areas we want to work on to continue improvement. We also have an indication that Education Scotland staff will visit us soon to look at how Curriculum for Excellence is embedded in Holyrood Secondary.

A huge thank you also to Miss Leyden and to all our community contributors who made our Aim High Conference such a success, involving every S1 pupil over 2 days this week.

Thanks to Ms Dastey for her wonderful organisation of our Awards’ Ceremony last Monday and thanks also to her large team of helpers who made it such a successful night. Our Music Department helped so much to create the very special atmosphere. It was a beautiful, dignified celebration of this school community and of the successes of our young people. We were very grateful to Mr David Heneghan , a Leader of Business Services and Transformation with the Council, who gave the keynote address to our students.

Preparations are well under way for this year’s Malawi Team. We had a Parent Information Evening on Wednesday which was very well attended. A reminder that the Holyrood Malawi Ball takes place on Saturday 20th February 2016. Tickets are £55 per person or £50 for a table of 10.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 6th November 2015




Holyrood is awash with extended learning activities at present. Our Drama clubs and Cinema Club [the largest in any Glasgow school] are going really well. Our Music groups are in full swing. Most of them have gone through a period of intense practice in preparation for our Awards’ Ceremony on Monday. We shall be delighted to welcome our special invited guests, our present and former pupils who are award winners, and parents, carers and families there to support them.

Our netball teams had a busy 2 days this week with successes on Tuesday and Wednesday night in all games at both junior and senior level.

Our S1 football team knocked St Ninian’s High School out of the Scottish Cup last week. Unfortunately our S2 squad went out of the national competition. U/13s, 15s, 16s and 18s are still in the national shield competitions.

Modern Languages are taking a group of students to see a French film at the GFT on Monday morning. That sounds like a pretty intense start to the week!

We have a team from the Education Department in Holyrood on Monday and Tuesday to review our work in the Broad General Education in S1-3 with pupils on Monday and Tuesday so we are looking forward to showcasing the work of our excellent pupils and staff.

Have a great weekend.



Friday 30th October 2015

 “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Mother Teresa

I have begun visiting our partner primary schools this week and enjoyed a visit to P7 at Holy Cross. Many thanks to Mr Carr and staff at Holy Cross for their welcome.

Mrs O’Shea, Ms Hood and I enjoyed an excellent Learning Community Public Speaking Competition on Wednesday at St Fillan’s where we had a really togh job judging it. A very appreciative audience enjoyed the excellent work of teams from all our partner primaries with St Francis winning out in the end and St Fillan’s second. Congratulations to all the speakers. It augurs well for Holyrood Secondary to see this future talent heading in our direction.

On Friday we had our Mission Masses in Holyrood. Many thanks to the RE Department for their organisation of these and to Fathers Carroll and Bathgate. Pupils enjoyed the creative liturgy and participated enthusiastically.

Our Malawi Team for 2016 had their 2-day residential visit to Craig Lodge, Dalmally, home to Mary’s Meals and to the House of Family Prayer on Thursday and Friday this week. The group enjoyed a wonderful visit with every minute used up in sessions of preparation and team-building activities for their project work in June 2016. This looks like another exceptional team, ready to do great work in Malawi. The only downside was that I was involved in a road accident on my way home in my car. The bad news for pupils is that I’m okay and will be fighting fit for Monday!

Have a great weekend.


Friday 23rd October 2015

 “The media only writes about the sinners and the scandals, he said, but that's normal, because 'a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows.”
Pope Francis

So much for a short week with pupils last week! It didn’t feel like it. We had an excellent morning’s professional development on Monday when all members of the Learning Community came together to hear a presentation by David Wells, RE Adviser for Plymouth Diocese. Thanks to Mrs Scott of St Brigid’s PS, in particular, for the organisation of this. Staff across the Learning Community [all Primary Schools and Holyrood Secondary] seem to have felt that the David Wells presentation was a very positive experience. I have to say that the Mass, celebrated by Bishop John Keenan with Fr Byrne, Fr Carroll, Fr Bathgate and Fr Lappin, was also a beautiful experience, enhanced by the quality of music and singing from our Music Department and our students of the Liturgy Group. Many thanks to Mrs McFarlane and colleagues. Thanks also to our Technicians for their terrific support.

On Tuesday we had our S2 Vocations event, organised by the RE Department. Again, this was very positively received  by pupils, and pupils’ participation and demeanour was praised by presenters. Thanks to RE. On Tuesday evening we had the Parent Council AGM. It was good to see a number of new parents coming along as part of the Parent Forum and being prepared to consider membership of the Parent Council. Parents are very supportive of the work of staff in the school, and are especially supportive of the number and quality of extended learning opportunities in Holyrood RC Secondary School.

On Wednesday it was great to see Career Ready start its second year at Holyrood where Robert Hamilton, our Employability Officer, has arranged this programme to match up employers as mentors to some of our senior students who have real talent but may need a helping hand to blossom.

Our Malawi Team will be on a residential visit to Craig Lodge House of Prayer at Dalmally, home of Mary’s Meals, next Thursday and Friday. They are already hosting some tremendous fundraising events in the community with family support and are gathering names and support for the Malawi Ball on Saturday 20th February, for what is always the social event of the year. A huge thank you to Keepmoat who have sponsored our hoodies and t-shirts for Team Malawi 2016.

Have a great weekend.














Friday 9th October 2015
 “The place of charity, like that of God, is everywhere.”
The week before the break was another busy week for us in Holyrood.
The Fire Station visits continued for S1. We had S1’s World Porridge Day organised by Mrs O’Shea where we combine a celebration of a Scottish national dish with an understanding of the importance of the work of Mary’s Meals, and an appreciation that the bowl or cup of porridge served to children by Mary’s Meals both brings children to school to be educated and gives them the nourishment to survive. Many thanks to the Home Economics Department and to S6 pupils for preparing and serving the porridge.  S1 also watched 2 Mary’s Meals DVDs.  
We had a fantastic Careers’ Evening on Tuesday 6th October thanks to the outstanding organisation and endeavour of Mrs Margo Brady in particular, ably assisted by Ms Smith from Technical and by other colleagues from the extended Pastoral Care team. Feedback from our young people, from parents and carers and from exhibitors was entirely positive.
Huge thanks to Mrs Boyle for her planning and organisation to deliver CPR training to all of S6. It was a huge undertaking but one our young people enjoyed and which, more importantly, might help save a life in future. This stands alongside this school’s other Pro-Life initiatives; Blood Transfusion donations; Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow sign-up; supporting pro-life initiatives such as the Cardinal Winning initiative; helping the homeless including the Friday night Soup Run; Justice and Peace group.
If you are managing some time off at the same time as the school break,  enjoy the break. I look forward to our In-Service Day on Monday 19th October.
A reminder to parents that Monday 19th October is a holiday for pupils.
Have a great weekend.

Friday 2nd October 2015

"Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity."

Please pray this week for the repose of the soul of Holyrood’s former Head Teacher Mr Finbarr Moynihan. I know that many staff have fond memories as colleagues and, in some cases, as pupils of Mr Moynihan’s leadership in Holyrood RC Secondary School. His funeral takes place on Tuesday at 10.30 in St Margaret’s Church in Johnstone.

Thanks to all staff who accompanied our group to Alton Towers on Friday and to all those who assisted in covering classes while colleagues were supervising there.

Thanks also to the Geography Department and to staff who organised the visit last Wednesday to Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. I know our young people were enthused at the experience. Staff seem to have enjoyed it too!

Enjoy the weekend



Thursday 24th September 2015

“The loss of a friend is like that of a limb; time may heal the anguish of the wound, but the loss cannot be repaired.”

Robert Southey

It seems to have been an especially exciting time for S1 in recent weeks. They have experienced the BAE Engineering / RAF Roadshow, they provided the audience for a French theatre production last week and, this week, the S1 class visits to the Fire Station have continued. In all cases those providing these wonderful learning experiences have commented on our outstanding young people and how much they have enjoyed working with our pupils. I know how much our S1 pupils have enjoyed the experience. Thanks to Ms Smith for organising the recent BAE Engineering workshop, to Ms Macinnes and Modern Languages for the French play and to all staff who have supported these events by bringing pupils to the Hall and supervising them and by taking pupils to the Fire Station.

Thanks to Robert Hamilton, Employability Officer, Mrs Brady and Pastoral Care staff and to Miss Crearie and Miss Leyden for organising the Higher Education Careers visit to the Science Centre. Students were enthused by the experience and also managed to come back with some very nice “goodie bags”.

Congratulations to our S1 football team who played their first competitive match on Wednesday and beat Stonelaw 9-0. Coach Mr Donaldson was delighted at the quality of the boys’ play but also by their attitude, work rate and strong team ethic.

I hope that many of you may enjoy a longer weekend than usual. It would be nice if the weather was good.




 Friday 18th September 2015  

“Money has to serve, not to rule.”
Pope Francis
Thanks to all who attended our S1 Welcome Mass on Monday evening.  All who attended experienced a beautiful liturgy, with Mass concelebrated by Fr Noel Burke of Holy Name parish, Fr Ian Bathgate of our RE Department and Fr John Carroll, our school chaplain. The contribution from our Music Department was as usual excellent, with outstanding musical and vocal performances.
Thanks to all those who contributed to the bucket collection to support senior students going  on a pilgrimage to Poland with Mr Wilson, and who also supported the group’s tuck shop.
Holyrood residential experiences already planned this year include Residential Outdoor Activity Weeks at Kilbowie, a Water Sports week with PE in France, a Netball week with PE in Spain, a visit to New York and Washington with our Social Subjects Department, Miss Leyden’s legendary Italian trip and our project visit to Malawi.
Final money for Alton Towers is to be paid this coming week, by Wednesday 23rd September.
Our Home School Partnership Officer Mrs McCue organised a Macmillan Coffee Morning with support from school colleagues and senior pupils. The magnificent sum of over £300 was raised. Congratulations to Margaret, her helpers and guests.
Have a great weekend
11th September 2015
I am grateful to all those staff who are voluntarily assisting with interval and lunchtime supervision of pupils, including those helping Mrs O’Shea in the first year yard. It is of benefit to everyone for pupils to be in a controlled environment at these times. With this assistance, pupils return to class more settled and ready to work after breaks.
We continue to run pupil assemblies for different year groups each day. Pupils receive important information and we also use this opportunity to deliver big messages about community values.  Teachers are also present so it helps all staff know the big messages which are being shared with pupils and to be able to refer to these messages in their dealings with pupils.
I spent most of the school day on Monday and Tuesday, with the help of Ms MacLellan and Mrs Carroll, interviewing students for the Malawi Team 2016. The quality of candidate was again exceptional. The ways in which these young people reflected their outstanding experience of Holyrood, and of the leadership and development opportunities, was inspiring. It was a very difficult job to select this group and to miss out some excellent candidates.
Thanks to Miss Crearie for all her work in organising our Head Boy and Head Girl teams and in selecting prefects.
Thanks also to Miss O’Reilly for her ongoing exceptional work in developing and delivering the Caritas Award programme in Holyrood. It is really gratifying to see a cohort of 30 sixth year pupils this year. Some of our local parish priests attended last night to help with these students’ formal entrance in to the Caritas programme. We are very grateful to Fr Woodford [St Gabriel’s], Fr Donnachie [Holy Cross], Fr Hennessy [St Columbkille’s] and Fr Highton [Blessed John Duns Scotus], as well as our chaplain Fr Carroll, for meeting with our Caritas candidates and presenting our candidates with a badge of dedication for their Caritas year.
A number of our staff attended the Archdiocesan Teachers’ Mass at St Andrew’s Cathedral on Thursday. It was well attended by teachers from across the Archdiocese and was a wonderful opportunity to feel solidarity in our vocation.
Consent forms for Alton Towers will be issued by the end of next week.
Have a great weekend.
Friday 4th September 2015
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”
Blessed Mother Teresa [Feast Day 5th September]
Following on from last week’s S6 Information Evening, we had a very successful S5 evening on Wednesday. Parents and carers who attended were enthused at the opportunities and support offered through the school to help set young people on the next stage of their vocational and educational life journey. Thanks to Mrs Boyle and Ms MacLellan, to Robert Hamilton [our employability officer] and to Miss Leyden for all their work.
We had a great meeting between pupils from our British Gas Energy competition winning team, British Gas consultants and representatives from the Council and from Amey. Our pupil team, in June 2015, won Holyrood a national competition to bring £100,000 of improvements to our school building to save on energy consumption. We hope shortly to receive proposals which will improve the school environment and save the council money in energy costs. Thanks to Ms Wilson and Ms Leyden for their contributions also.
I wish all the very best to Mr Frank Sweeney of our Maths Department who leaves Holyrood today to begin his retirement. On behalf of staff, parents and pupils past and present, I am sure that I wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.
Monday evening is the first Parent Council meeting of the term at 7 pm in the school Library. Parking should be interesting given the Scotland game at Hampden.
Interviews to select the 2016 Malawi Team take place on Monday and Tuesday. An e-mail sent to staff advises them of who is being interviewed and at what day and time. As always the standard of application form is extremely high and I am sure that the quality of interviews will also be as high as last year. I have warned our students that we have 43 students being interviewed for only 30 places so they should come ready for a competitive interview but ready also to accept possible failure to be selected as well as success. I know it is important to them but it will not be the only opportunity of their lives to be part of a charitable project.
Have a great weekend.
Friday 28th August 2015
Thought for the Week
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
Mother Teresa
Thanks to all those staff who are already offering clubs and activities which enhance pupils’ experience of school and education from our variety of Choirs, Music Groups and Orchestra, Drama Groups, ICT Club,  to our Rugby, Netball and Football activities.
For our senior school there has already been a number of events to help orientate them towards the world of work or of continuing education. University open days are now beginning and we have a senior school visit to the Science Centre soon for a Careers and Education Fair.
Congratulations to our cricket team, and to coach Mr Stephen Dolan, on their recent successes. For the first time both our junior and our senior cricket teams won their respective Glasgow Shields.
On Wednesday of this week we shall be visited by Mr Stephen Hinsley, an energy consultant with British Gas. He will work with our pupil team, which won the British Gas national energy challenge in June of this year, to decide on a number of projects at Holyrood designed to reduce energy consumption and to reduce our eco footprint.
I wish all the best to Ms Korin Litster of our Tech Department who starts on Monday 31st August as PT Technology at Blairgowrie High School. We welcome Mr Mark Reilly as her replacement.
A reminder that pupils in S4, 5 and 6 should hand in Alton Towers deposits on Tuesday morning between 8.15 and 8.45 in the Assembly Hall.
Applications for Team Malawi 2016 must be handed to Mr Byrne by end of the school day on Monday 31st August.
Have a great weekend.
Friday 21st August 2015
Thanks to all staff for their hard work in settling in to the new term. Congratulations to all our students who did really well in national examinations at all levels. We had excellent performances at National Examinations, including those sitting the new Highers. As always there have been some difficulties in accommodating pupils who wish to change the timetable they and we presumed appropriate in June. In some cases pupils have chosen a combination of subjects which is proving difficult to fit in. In others students wish to follow a course and level which their prior attainment does not support. In other circumstances, due to success at Highers, we are having to try and accommodate 2 large Advanced Higher sections.
In all of this SMT and teachers want the same thing, and that is to deliver the most appropriate curriculum for our young people. I am sorry it can take longer than we would wish due to logistical and staffing difficulties.
I, with Depute Ms Dastey, Employability Officer Robert Hamilton and PT Pastoral Nikki Maclellan, met with staff from City of Glasgow College on Friday to discuss a business partnership with City of Glasgow College. The meeting was facilitated by Education Department and Chamber of Commerce staff. We had a very good meeting which, I am confident, will lead to even more positive outcomes for our young people here in Holyrood.
A variety of school clubs and activities are starting up this week, from the various Music groups to Drama and to PE activities. Rugby already started last week with a good number at the first session. This coming week netball starts and some of the boys’ and girls’ football teams will start organising trials. Holyrood is getting in to full swing!
Have a great weekend.
Friday 14th August 2015
Thanks to all parents for ensuring that our young people turned up at school looking so smart for the start of the new term. Over 90% of students were already in full school uniform including the fantastic Holyrood school blazer with most others having already ordered or being about to order. Boys in the senior school are already expressing concern that the braided senior blazer seems to have the same effect as Lynx deodorant. One boy’s description of it as a “babe magnet” seems a bit non-pc.
We have been especially impressed by the appearance, attitude and conduct of our new S1 pupils.
Thanks to all staff for their hard work in ensuring our young people settled to a very productive 2 days, ensuring that this coming week can be even more business-like.
I have spoken, with the year group Depute Heads, at all Assemblies over the first 2 days. We want to get our senior school, in particular, into their stride very quickly. Mr Hamilton, our Employability Officer, spoke to both S5 and S6 assemblies to ensure students have an early focus on their ongoing education and career targets.
I have already spoken to our senior school about some of the privileges we offer, in particular regarding the October day trip to Alton Towers and also regarding the Holyrood 2016 Project Team for Malawi. Applications for this have to be in by Monday 31st August.
Have a great weekend.

 HT Malawi Blog

Saturday 20th June 2015
At 11am we attended Mass and St. Monfort’s. Then we came straight to the airport. As I write this we have passed through check in and are awaiting our first flight. We have all loved this time together on our project but team Malawi 2015 is now looking forward to being with our families and friends. As always a little part of us will remain in the warm heart of Africa but it’s time to come home.
Friday 19
We made a final visit to our worksites for a farewell ceremony from the school communities we have been serving. They were all uplifting and emotional experiences as local people and staff paid tribute to the hard work of our team, to their warmth and friendliness and thanked them for the love they have shown to children. Everyone of them has done everything they can to engage with local people, to show love and caring concern for everybody they meet and to charm hearts and minds. They have been such a credit to their families and to the Holyrood school community. I am so proud of them.
Wednesday 17 June and Thursday 18 June.
2 fantastic days work at all sites. All project work has been completed. The building extension work at Zingwangwa primary which allows a new library and the classrooms at Chitsime and Ngumbe which allow more classes to be taught indoors and not under trees has been completed. In addition, a team painted inside and out at the Mary’s Meals under six centre at Mkwanda. The educational materials painted on the walls, designed to support the curriculum, look fantastic and Head Teachers and Teachers have been excited at this. On Wednesday afternoon we had a sports event at Stella Maris in both netball and football. Holyrood were victorious in both matches. We had a final evening out of the GBC on Thursday night. It was a great evening where we talked of the satisfaction of completing all planned projects. In addition the team at Ngumbe painted the nursery class and we painted additional rooms at Chitzime and Zingwangwa.

ednesday 17th. We had a lovely meal out last night then usual early rise this morning to be on sites by 8 am. great day's work with all sites' original intended projects nearing completion and We are trying to do a bit extra where possible; painting an extra class at Chitsime and Matindi and a nursery at Ngumbe. Great afternoon of sport from 3 pm at Stella Maris with both football and netball victories. Now heading down to our reflection then meal then a karaoke team session

Tuesday 16th June. A great day's work at all sites. Please see Holyrood Malawi 2015 Facebook. All sites doing fantastic work and nearing completion of project plans. Our Zingwangwa group presented the gift packs from Croftcoighn School and Garthamlock Parish to the special needs pupils at Zingwangwa. They were overjoyed.
Monday 15th. Hard to get back in to the swing of things after a relaxing weeken at Lake Malawi but the team are determined to do what they came here for. A quiet evening at GBC with reflection, meal and early bed.
Saturday 13th and Sun 14th. Wonderful couple of days at Lake Malawi. Relaxing, tennis and fitness sessions courtesy of our PE staff, some team members chose to sleep in! Who could believe it! highlights were a boat cruise on Lake Malawi and a beautiful Mass on the beach as the sun set.

HT Blog Friday 5th June 2015

What a busy week this past week was in the Holyrood year. On Monday we had our S1 Parents' Evening which was very well attended. Thanks to Mrs O'Shea for all her organisation. On Tuesday and Wednesday we had our S2 then S1 Holyrood Challenge Awards' ceremonies. They were fantastic celebrations of all the great achievements of our S1s and S2s. Great to celebrate all the things pupils have done in and out of school. Our WAW [Wider Achievement] awards are dovetailing very nicely with the main Holyrood Challenge awards. Congratulations to Mr Martin Brady for all his leadership in this awards programme and his outstanding organisation of the events. He was very well supported by Mrs Quinn in preparing the IT based record of achievements and by a hardworking group of S6 pupils who supported the awards all year but also helped backstage and front of house on the evenings. Our Music Department organised wonderful musical and vocal performances by pupils. The video presentations and technical set up were organised by our Technicians on the night and prepared by Mr Cargill.

On Wednesday afternoon our S6 Caritas Award winners received their awards at the ceremony at the Clyde Auditorium. Congratulations to those who earned this prestigious award and thanks to our S5 students who, for the third year running, distributed programmes at the event. I left there and attended our S1 Holyrood Challenge ceremony; a lot of toing and froing but well worth it for such uplifting experiences. On Thursday evening we had our S6 Prom, which was a huge success. Once againg it was at Celtic Park, an excellent venue for such a large gathering. Our students and staff scrubbed up very well as they celebrated long into the night.

It was an early rise for 36 of our senior students as they met at Holyrood for the start of the journey to Malawi for Holyrood Malawi Project Team 2015. A huge thank you to Fr Carroll for celebrating a beautiful Mass for Team, friends and family to bless this project.

Malawi Blog

All travel arrangements went according to plan as the Team left Glasgow at 12.15 for Heathrow, left Heathrow at 9 pm for Addis Abbaba, then from Addis to Blantyre, Malawi, arriving at 2.30 pm. It was a long journey but made easier by the vitality and good humour of our students. They were already showing a willingness to help and support people and to get to know everyone on the Team, including the staff. Acciompanying the students are Terry Strain from Bridging the Gap, David Heneghan of Glasgow City Council, former HT Mr McDonald, Ms Fleming, Ms Macinnes, Miss Maclellan, Ms Litster, Ms Dastey and myself. Card playing, word games and general good humour helped pass the time.

As always, all fatigue disappeared with the wonderful welcome at the airport. Our Team showed straight away their willingness to engage with the young people they meet, to sing, dance and talk to them and to make every minute count here in Malawi. We were taken immediately to Ngumbe where we are building classrooms for the first time. We had a great welcome there from teh Headteacher, PTA, village chiefs and local dignitaries, as well as hundreds of schoolchildren who are excited to see the improvements to tehir school. We visited Matindi, Zingwangwa and Catholic Institute Primary Schools from Saturday afternoon to Monday morning. On Monday morning we also visited the Mary's Meals under 6 centre at Mkwanda. the 2014 team will remember the beautiful visit we made there last year. Our young peoplesurpassed themselves in their display of love, fun and caring concern for these young people who are fed and cared for in a very positive atmosphere created by Mary's Meals. We are working this year at Mkwanda to decorate and create a more stimulating learning environment. On Tuesday morning we had the wonderful experience of helping to deliver Mary's Meals backpacks to a very rural primary school at Cholo. It was a real privilege to see the work of Mary's Meals at close hand and to witness the delight on children's faces as they received a bag crammed with goodies from Scotland. They were so excited.

On Monday and Tuesday afternoon and all day today our Team has worked tirelessly on our 5 projects. Terry Strain reports that the team at Ngumbe already see the walls of our new classrooms rising out of the ground. The teams at Mkwanda, Zingwangwa, Chitsime and Matindi are all storming ahead with building and painting.

Another special feature of this group is their fantastic musical talent. Every evening has the pattern of team reflection sesssion at 6.45, dinner at 7.30 then singing sessions led by this year's human jukebox , Sean McGarvey, following on from last year's Mairi McLean.

HT Blog

Friday 29th May 2015

Thought for the Week

“What world are we leaving our children? Maybe it would be better to ask: ‘What children are we giving this world?’”

Pope Francis

We are almost at the end of the exam season. It was Spanish and Art and Design today. Next week we see Higher PE, Hospitality, Sociology and Politics. Thanks to all those who have supported some very different learning initiatives this week. We had Geography field trips on Thursday. WE also had our fabulous Sports and Health and Wellbeing Day on Thursday. Thanks to organisers Ms Fleming, Principal Teacher of PE, Mrs Forrest, PT of Home Economics and Ms Dastey, Depute Head and to all staff from across the school, but especially in PE and Home Economics, who made the morning so successful; sports competitions with medals galore, healthy home baked bread, smoothie making, fruit kebabs, musical contributions from our samba band, orchestras, soloists, choirs. It was a morning of all the talents.

Commiserations to our S1 Football team. They did brilliantly to reach the Scottish Shield final with Coach Martin Soares but were just pipped at the final hurdle. They gave a creditable [though not their best performance], losing an unfortunate goal just before half time. They were the better team in the 2nd half and pressed to the end, but were caught with a 2nd goal on the break with 2 minutes to go to finally lose 2-0. A disappointing end to a sensational season. Maybe it’s good to have a target for next year!

The U/14s play in the Scottish Plate final at Cambuslang Rangers on Tuesday 2nd June at 7 pm.

A busy week next week. Holyrood Challenge for S2 on Tuesday, for S1 on Wednesday and our S6 Prom on Thursday. Our Malawi Team depart on Friday after a 9 am Mass in school. We wish them a safe journey and a very successful Project Visit to Malawi.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday 26th May 2015

"The loss of a friend is like that of a limb; time may heal the anguish of the wound, but the loss cannot be repaired."

Robert Southey

Congratulations to our U/13 boys football team on wining the Glasgow Cup to go with their Glasgow League title. We wish them good luck for Wednesday’s Scottish Shield Final at Airdrie FC where they play Broughton from Edinburgh.

Fr Bathgate’s U/14 Team lost narrowly last Saturday in the Glasgow League play-off final. However, they had a marvellous success in winning the Glasgow U/14 Shield on Tuesday at Cambuslang Rangers. Congratulations to Fr Bathgate and the boys, winning 3-2 after extra time.

We look forward to Thursday’s School Sports and Fun Day. Thanks to Ms Fleming, Mrs Forrest, Ms Dastey and all involved in the planning. We pray for fair weather.


Friday 15th May 2015

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

Mark Twain

Our S3 Biology students went to Culzean Castle over 2 days this week to complete Biology fieldwork. Students were very positive about the experience so well done to all staff who organised and accompanied them.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit some S3 in classes this week, in order to support staff and get a flavour of the work being done, and hope to make this a focus next week again. I have seen most pupils working very well and have had the chance to speak to a small number of our less engaged students.

Huge congratulations this week to Mrs Abraitis and Ms Limond and their S1, S2 and S3/4 Netball teams. All 3 groups won their Glasgow League Cups on Thursday evening, a truly fantastic achievement. The girls all played with verve, enthusiasm and skill.

Congratulations also to Mr Soares and his U/13 team, winning the Glasgow League Final play-off last Saturday [beating Hermitage Academy], and to Mr Cullen’s U/15 Team for winning their Glasgow Cup on Thursday evening [beating St Peter the Apostle despite finishing with 9 men!]. Congratulations also to Fr Bathgate’s U/14 team on beating Stonelaw to reach the Scottish Plate Final.

I had an exciting early Thursday evening. I first of all watched Mrs Wilson’s Bollywood Dance Group rehearsing for their participation in Glasgow’s Mela celebration. I then went to the Emirates to catch some of our netball action and I finished the evening catching the 2nd half of the U/15s’ success at Glasgow Green. Sometimes it’s a real pleasure and privilege to be a Head Teacher and have the chance to see and celebrate our young people’s talent and success and the fantastic commitment of teachers at Holyrood..

Tomorrow morning the U/13s and 14s play in their respective Glasgow Cup Finals at Loreto Playing Fields in Bishopbriggs [near Low Moss Prison] with 10 am kick offs. Good luck to both teams.

Have a great weekend.


Friday 8th May 2015

"Contentment makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor."

Benjamin Franklin

It has been a strange, fragmented school week. We returned from the long weekend on Tuesday and into the full flow of the exam season. Next week we have another busy week including Biology and English. Thursday was an in-service day for teachers as well as a day of national focus for our General Election. Interesting times indeed.

Our Netball teams play in Finals next Thursday and we await the fate of our S2 football team to see if they can make a Scottish Plate final. S1 and S2 teams are doing especially well and our U/15s have a chance of reaching a Glasgow Cup Final also. As I write this I am about to leave to catch the last half hour at Toryglen. Tomorrow morning, I shall be at Loretto playing fields in Bishopbriggs for the U/13 Glasgow Cup Final.

All pupils sitting only Nat 4 exams or with 3 or less Nat 5s should have returned to school by now. This is an opportunity for more personal tuition to help them move to the next stage of their learning.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 24th April 2015

“Don't run from a challenge. Instead run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet. “-Nadia Comaneci, Olympic Gold Medal gymnast

I think both staff and students are glad to get the first week back over with, after our Easter break. It has been nice to have more pleasant weather allowing pupils out in the yards and the patio area at break time and leaving more staff and pupils willing to go for a walk at lunchtime.

It has of course been a bit frenetic as final coursework and, in some cases, exam practice, is completed. The stresses and strains have shown at times.

S4 and S5 separately had a Mass celebrated on Wednesday of last week to pray for the success of our students in their exams. The week then saw significant preparation for one of the events of the year in Holyrood, the 6th Year Leavers’ Mass. Like the other two masses in the week, we owe enormous gratitude to Fr John Carroll for beautiful and perfectly judged liturgies. We also celebrated the fabulous contribution of our Music Department for both their instrumental and vocal input. We had outstanding speeches from Head Boy Ryan McSorley and Head Girl Ciara Heath, moving tributes to the year group from Mrs Elaine Coyle, Principal Teacher of Pastoral Care and Gillian Mimnagh, Depute Head for S6.The finale prepared by Ms Mimnagh and Mrs Coyle, in true High School Musical/ Glee Club style, accompanied by a tribute to our Simple Minds former pupils with “Don’t you forget about me” then with some “Uptown Funk”, was absolutely brilliant. Students, parents and staff declared it a very special night for what was repeatedly described as a very special group of young people.

The group said their less formal farewells in the school today with high spirits but excellent behaviour. SQA exams begin this coming week for S4, 5 and 6 students. Text alerts and a letter for S4 have gone home giving details of exam preparation leave [copy on website]. Students focus is on these exams but S6 are already looking forward to their Prom on Thursday 4th June with 36 S6 students then leaving for Malawi the next morning.

Thanks to all staff for their hard work with our students this week, including the provision of TLC for those students more stressed at the thought of exams. Thanks especially to organisers Ms Mimnagh and Mrs Coyle, to other staff who helped with preparations especially Mrs Quinn, and to all staff who supported and attended the 6th Year Mass.


Good luck to all our pupils sitting exams. Have a great weekend.

Thursday 2nd April 2015

Thought for the Week

“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”

G K Chesterton

Staff and students are glad to get to the end of another term. We had very good attendance on the last day and finished the term in an appropriate way with a thought provoking Easter Service.

Our various choirs and our musical groups contributed very substantially to our spiritual reflection with high quality singing to enhance the spoken and visual reflections prepared by Principal Teacher of RE Mrs McCoy. Thanks also to Drama for their Easter play.

The U/13 Scottish Cup game was postponed due to horrendous weather. This semi final v St Ninian’s now takes place on 28th April with, I presume, a 6.15 ko at Newlandsfied, Pollok Juniors’ ground.

Our U/14 team has reached the play-offs for the Glasgow league where they will face All Saints at home.

Our Malawi Team will be bagpacking at Asda on Saturday. Please offer them a smiling face and, preferably, a generous donation.

I look forward to a break myself. I hope you and your families may find the time to have an Easter break. At this great feast of Easter I wish you all a happy and holy festival.

Friday 27th March 2015

Well done to Ms O’Reilly and all those involved in supporting SCIAF during Lent. Congratulations especially on the 24-hour fast on Friday.

I look forward to hearing how much has been raised this year.

Well done and thanks to all those involved in our Young Musician of the Year extravaganza on Thursday evening. I have worked in a variety of schools since 1980 and I have never seen such an array of musical talent as I saw on Thursday. As I commented at the time, the variety of musical styles took us from the Hydro to the Albert Hall then to La Scala Milan via a Donegal hostelry. Congratulations to the Music Department and to all staff who worked front and rear of house. It was a brilliant evening.

By the time you read this I hope to have heard that Holyrood won the Scottish Netball silver plate. I remind you also that our U/13 football team plat at Newlandsfield [Pollok FC’s ground] on Tuesday evening at 6.15 pm v St Ninian’s, Giffnock, in the semi-final of the Scottish Shield. Good luck to them.

Friday 20th March 2015

“When a man guards his gift and doesn’t do his work, he does not fulfil his duty and remains primitive; when he is overly enthusiastic about what he is able to do, he forgets his gift and creates a self-serving ethic: he believes everything is the fruit of his own hands and that there is no gift.”

Pope Francis

Congratulations to our Senior Netballers in qualifying for the final of the Scottish Silver Plate, to be played next Friday. This is a fabulous achievement for the girls and also for coaches Abraitis and Limond.

Our U/13 footballers play St Ninian’s in the Scottish Shield semi-final on Tuesday 31st March at Pollok’s Newlandsfield Park with a 6.15pm kick off. All parents, carers and staff would be very welcome to come along and cheer on the boys. If pupils are coming along to watch, I would expect them to be in the company of an adult.

Congratulations to James Docherty of S3 on his selection for the Scottish Rugby Union's BT Skills Camp at Easter time.

Congratulations to our U/18 football team on posting 2 league wins last week.

I look forward to our Young Musician of the Year competition this Thursday 26th March, starting at 7 pm and I hope many parents and carers will be able to come along for what I’m sure will be a fabulous evening’s entertainment.

I watched some of the rehearsals for “Grease” this evening after school, hiding at the back of the Assembly Hall. It looks like being a fantastic show. Watch for tickets going on sale in May. This is a certain sell-out!

Friday 13th March 2015

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else."

Charles Dickens

Thanks to all staff who supported Miss Leyden in the organisation and running of Thursday night’s Fashion Event of the Year, the Holyrood Fashion Show. It was another Margaret Leyden extravaganza with support from a production team and cast of thousands, or so it seemed.

Our young people were fantastic, looking great and seeming to ooze confidence with the wonderful clothes they modelled.

Thanks to all clothes’ suppliers who did so much to support this charity event; Marks and Spencer, Spencer Railton, Moss Bros, Lypsy, Rafia, Kinnies of Motherwell, Coast, Remus Uomo, Phase Eight. Most suppliers can be found on the South Side of Glasgow or at Miss Leyden’s favourite place of pilgrimage, Silverburn!

Our U/13 boys’ football team now know who their opponents are in the Scottish Shield semi-final. Holyrood will play St Ninian’s, Giffnock at Pollok FC’s Newlandsfield Park on Tuesday 31st March 2015.

A number of our boys’ teams will have Glasgow Cup semi-finals over the next few weeks. Fingers crossed for more sporting success for Holyrood.

Our Netballers have just qualified for the semi-final of the Scottish Silver Plate. As I write this, I find that our S1 girls are runners up in the Glasgow Cup and, in the Intermediate Glasgow Cup Competition Holyrood S3s beat Holyrood S2s in the final. Congratulations to all 3 teams and congratulations to Ms Limond and Mrs Abraitis on leading our teams to success.

Thanks to all staff involved in running sports’ teams , music, drama and all manner of activities and studies beyond the normal class time. It all adds to the richness of “The Holyrood Experience”.

Have a great weekend.


Friday 6th March 2015

“Strength is gathered on the journey, not granted at the outset.”

Jared Brock

This has been a difficult week in the life of our school community. An incident on Monday close to our school was much reported and commented on, often by people who know nothing about this Holyrood community.

We have love, faith, respect, tolerance and commitment at the heart of our school and these are our values. Every so often in life we are faced with especially tough challenges. This week has brought one of those occasions.

Thanks to all members of this school community, including parents and friends of the school, for pulling together to support our young people and to support this school.

Thanks to all our staff who have gone about their business with an extra care for our pupils.

We pray that all concerned with our community may grow in love, respect, tolerance and forgiveness through the events of this week.

The strength and resilience of our community has been shown in the quality of teaching and learning which has continued throughout the week. Young people have attended at sports clubs, after school supported study and all manner of activities throughout the school.

Have a safe and peaceful weekend.

Friday 27th February 2015


“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”

Gail Sheehy

Another busy week just passed. Well done to Ms MacLellan, Mr Hamilton, Employability Officer, Skills Development Scotland colleagues and all involved for the outstanding success of our World of Work Day for S5, highlighting some of the outstanding chances available as Modern Apprenticeships. An evening repeat is planned so parents can hear about these opportunities in the near future.

3 football games last week where our U/16 s lost, U/15s drew and, as I write, I await news of the U/14s in the Scottish Plate trophy.

Friday last was another “Top Up” day for senior students with University aspirations. These young people, by following this programme, receive additional consideration when it comes to university entry. It is heartening to hear so many of our students reporting that they have either unconditional university offers or very reasonable conditional offers. This is a reflection surely of the academic success they are achieving , the quality of their applications with the support of Pastoral Care staff and families, and the unrivalled opportunities for personal and leadership development offered here in Holyrood RC Secondary School.

Last week’s Malawi Ball was a fabulous success as always. Thanks to all those involved in its organisation, especially Terry Strain, and to all our Malawi Team members who worked hard to bring in auction and raffle prizes and to sell raffle tickets etc on the night. We do not yet have a final total but we hope that the Ball will generate in the region of £17,000 for our project work in Malawi this year. Thanks to parents, carers and the extended support network in the community, especially friends of Holyrood, for all their support for the Ball and for this wonderful project.

On Sunday, for the lunchtime kick off, we have a Malawi Project bucket collection at Celtic Park. If you are going there, watch for our Holyrood Malawi Team with their buckets and please give generously.

I had a wander round the school after classes finished today. What I saw confirms that our school curriculum continues after hours as well as at lunchtime, even on a Friday. I found a busy Sports Centre, our String Orchestra in full swing and rehearsals ongoing with our show cast for the fabulous musical “Grease”, coming to our school Assembly Hall in June this year. Watch this space.

Have a great weekend.



Friday 20th February 2015

“True contentment is a real, even an active, virtue---not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it.”

GK Chesterton

Thanks to all those who attended and helped make our S2 Information Evening such a success on Monday 16th February. It was an extremely busy evening and the feedback from parents was very positive. Thanks also to all staff who assisted with arrangements for Ash Wednesday and our visit to Holy Cross Church. We are especially grateful to Father Donnachie for his support in making the Church available for these services. It is wonderful to have a proper setting for this and not just our Assembly Hall.

We have had a big week for sport at Holyrood. Mr Soares U/13 footballers did outstandingly well to reach the Scottish Shield semi finals where they face a tie against either St Ninian’s Giffnock or Fraserburgh. Our U/18s and U/15s fell at this week’s Scottish Shield hurdles, losing at Portlethen and Beath respectively.

Congratulations to the students of our PE Department who, competing against all Glasgow schools, had some outstanding individual performances in the Giant Heptathlon [Ciara Paton and Alan Yie winning individual events] as well as winning the overall team event.

Thanks to the Blood Donor Service for the visit to Holyrood on Friday and special thanks to all our donors, staff and senior pupils, who took part.  The event was, as usual, beautifully coordinated by Misst Leyden.

As I write this, tomorrow night is the social event of the year, the 8th Holyrood Annual Malawi Ball at the Glasgow Hilton. We hope it will be a tremendous success and, with 460 guests, it promises to be a great celebration and great fundraiser.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 13th February 2015

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

Samuel Smiles

Thanks to Father Bathgate and colleagues in RE for their delivery of faith transition sessions to our next year’s S1 as these P7s visited Holyrood this week. I visited sessions where young people were clearly involved in looking at the world we live in and considering our role in making the world a better place.

I’ve had a number of contacts to the school to say how impressed so many people were at Holyrood senior students’ participation in and contribution to SCIAF’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at St Columbkille’s on Sunday 8th February. It was a wonderful celebration and a beautiful Mass. Thanks to Miss O’Reilly for her organisation of the students on this occasion.

We’ve had a busy week in sport. Holyrood’s S2 Netball team just failed to reach the semi-final of the Scottish Cup on Thursday, taking the game to extra time before narrowly losing.

U/13 footballers played at Cults Academy, Aberdeen, winning 3-1 and reaching the last 8 of the Scottish Cup. The U/15 team play Beath in Fife next week in the last 16. The U/18s travel to Portlethan in Aberdeen in the last 16. The U/14s beat St Margaret Mary’s to make the semi final of the Glasgow Cup. The U/15s and U/18s did likewise, making the Glasgow Cup semis.

Our S1 classes are almost finished their Fire Service visits. Thanks so much to the Scottish Fire Service for the experience they have given our students.

We look forward to this Monday’s S2 Curricular Choice Information Evening. Thanks to all those staff who are coming along to speak to parents about courses on offer in their Department, as well as those who are speaking at the Information session.

Have a great weekend.


Thought for the Week

“Let us give with wisdom to the youth: like good wine that improves with age, let us give the youth the wisdom of our lives.”        Pope Francis

Congratulations to Lewis Mayo and Stephen Kelly of S3 on their selection for the Scotland U/15 squad which is playing in a tournament in Qatar this week! What was wrong with Largs?

By the time of our In-Service day Mrs Foley should be in Merida, Spain with a group of our Holyrood exchange students. We wish them a safe and successful visit.

I, Mrs O’Shea and a group of our pupils who are former pupils of St Bride’s Primary School, attended an Anniversary Mass at Holy Cross Church last week. We experienced a beautiful service led by Father Donnachie. We wish St Bride’s Primary School a very Happy 40th Birthday.

Congratulations to our U/15 and U/18 football teams on their qualification for the last 16 of the Scottish Cup. Our U/13s are already there. U/18s travel to Portlethen Academy and U/13s to Cults Academy, both in Aberdeenshire.

I am off now, 6pm on Friday, to enjoy a long weekend. Pupils are off school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday [Staff In-Service]. Classes resume at 8.45 am on Thursday 12th February.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 30th January 2015

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

Pope Francis

In feedback from the S5/6 Parents’ Evening, parents highlighted a number of things which parents especially valued in our organisation of Parents’ Evenings. Our S4 Parents’ Evening takes place on Monday 2nd February. Teachers will do everything they can to keep to the timings set by appointments. We ask parents to understand that it is not possible to have an extended conversation during these Parents’ Evening appointments. Where more detailed information is required by parents, please contact your child’s Pastoral Care teacher after the Parents’ Evening to request additional information. Thanks to parents for your patience and consideration.

And now some updated sports news …In the Scottish Cups, commiserations to Mr Donaldson’s U/16 team who finished the match with 9 men, due to injury, losing a last minute equaliser then lost on penalties. Mr Cullen’s U/15s beat Dumbarton Ac on penalties to reach the last 16. Ms Limond and Mrs Abraitis have had a successful couple of weeks.  S3/S4 Netballers play St Ninian’s in Holyrood on 12th February in the Scottish ¼ final. They also beat St Thomas Aquinas 40-2 in Glasgow League with S2 team winning 32-2.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 23rd January 2015

"When a man has quietly made up his mind that there is nothing he cannot endure, his fears leave him." Grove Patterson

Thanks to all staff for their help in ensuring that Prelim Exams have gone smoothly this week. Thanks especially to colleagues who have helped supervise in corridors where we have had to divert pupil movement.

First auditions have taken place for our school show “Grease” so our cast is taking shape, with a lot of work to do between now and June. Performances will take place Monday 8th June to Thursday 11th June inclusive. If recent Music and Drama extravaganzas are anything to go by, this will be a hot ticket!

Arrangements are almost there for Holyrood’s Malawi Ball, at Glasgow Hilton on Saturday 21st February. Thanks to all those who will be supporting this event by their attendance. Thanks also to those who have offered prizes or auction items for the evening. Other items always welcome. A reminder that the S4 Parents’ Evening is Monday 2nd February.

We have had limited sporting action for our school teams at present due to the weather. Hopefully we can get matches back on track in the coming week. Best of luck to our S5 and S6 students in their prelims this week.

Have a great weekend


Friday 16th January 2015

"A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company." Gian Gravina

Thanks to Ms Litster and Mrs  Brady, and all colleagues who assisted, for the outstanding organisation of our Careers Fair on Tuesday evening. Contributors and students all praised the organisation and the welcome given to all. Enormous thanks also to Miss Crearie for delivering the S4 as well as the S5 talk on Curricular Choice.

The event of the year, The Holyrood Malawi Ball, takes place on Saturday 21st February. Tickets are £55 each or £500 if you have a table of 10 together. For bookings [and there are only a few places left as we have a limit of 400 people] please contact Mrs Donna Kenny at our school office or e-mail me as Head Teacher.

Congratulations to Lewis Mayo and Stephen Kelly of S3 on their selection for the Scotland squad which travels to Ireland for an international fixture next week. This U/15 squad is likely to form the basis for the Victory Shield squad competing against all Home International teams next year so we are hoping for Holyrood involvement in the squad. We have a number of other excellent S3 footballers who are knocking on the international door. Congratulations to Ryan Smith of S6 on his selection again for the Scotland U/18 squad this week.

Well done to Mr Soares U/13 football team who reached the Scottish Shield 5th round with victory against Mearns Castle. Congratulations also to Mrs Abraitis and Ms Limond’s netballers. The Senior squad beat St Luke’s on Thursday and the team travels to Edinburgh for a Scottish tie next Thursday. Good luck to them.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 9th January 2015

Thought for the Week

“I like sunrises, Mondays, and new seasons. God seems to be saying, “With me you can always start afresh.”

Ada Lum

I thought the above was a useful thought for the first blog of the New Year. Happy New Year. I’m sure everyone, having had a break at Christmas and New Year, is glad to get the first week’s work over with, especially given how horrible the weather has been.

Glasgow did not have its sorrows to seek at the end of December where we had the bin lorry tragedy affecting so many people. Congratulations to Matthew Gibb of S3, who featured in newspaper, radio and tv articles recently, for raising over £2,000 for the victims’ fund by busking at Silverburn. We are very proud of Matthew for his musical talent but especially for his values.

Congratulations to Ms Wilson in particular on the political debate organised on Friday in our school Assembly Hall. Social Subjects students from S5 and S6, especially those studying Modern Studies, Politics and Sociology, formed a group of over 100 to pose questions around the heading of “Scotland, the Way Forward”.

We were privileged to have a panel of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, former Labour Leader Johann Lamont, former Scottish Conservative Leader Annabelle Goldie and former Liberal Democrat MSP Robert Brown.

The panel was very ably chaired by Glasgow Caledonian University’s John McTaggart. Students posed a series of searching questions to the panel and all our guests gave straight and insightful responses which helped students appreciate common ground between the political parties as well as better understanding areas and shades of difference. It seems clear that, subsequent to the Independence Referendum and senior students being given the right to vote, we have a larger engaged and politically aware group of students than for many years.

Thanks to all staff who helped in any way to set up and run this outstanding event. Have a great weekend.




Friday 19th December 2014

In this Christmas season, when we are asked to behave in a way which particularly celebrates Peace and Love, we should remember the words of Pope John Paul II.


“In love we find the key to all hope, for true love has its roots in God himself”.


The last week of term has been a very busy week as usual. Our S4 Prelims finished on Tuesday. On Wednesday we had our Christmas Event for the Dixon Community organised by Miss Leyden. Thanks to Miss Leyden for her wonderful organisation and for all the work she does in linking this Holyrood school community with the wider South Side community. Thanks especially to the Music Department for their work in entertaining senior citizens at this event with performances from our singing and instrumental groups, including Mrs Grant’s ceilidh band.

Huge thanks to Mr Baker, Mrs Laura Farrell, Ms Barrowman and other staff helpers for all their work in organising the S1 X Factor competition. It was a brilliant morning with incredible audience participation. Our winner was Megan Carbury of 1K.

Thanks to Mrs Brady and the Social Committee for the great idea of and brilliant running of the Staff children’s Christmas party. It was a lovely event. I know my grandchildren were thrilled at the event and my granddaughter Alyssia immediately asked if she could come back next year. In addition, they went to bed early, puffed oot! Special thanks to Father Christmas, who was a huge hit with all the children [you know who you are!] and to our pupils who gave of their time to help in different ways including providing tattoos [temporary I hope].

Thanks to RE, Music and Drama Departments for their wonderful contribution to the true spirit of Christmas in our Christmas Service and Christmas Fun on the last day of term. Our final items included a performance of the Christmas number "Must be Santa", surprisingly of Bob Dylan origin, the "Twelve Days of Christmas" and Abby McCann of S1 leading the hall in "Let it go" from "Frozen".

A massive thanks to all pupils and staff who helped support our Advent ‘Giving Tree Project’. We donated over 500 food items to various parishes. Over 200 items were also presented to the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative along with presents for kids. The Missionaries of Charity will also distribute over fifty gifts on our behalf to local families. As part of our drive to keep Christ in Christmas, in addition to a beautiful service with nativity scenes this morning, we used donations from our non-uniform day to support two very worthy causes. We raised £420 in donations. £210 of this goes to support our Friday night soup run at St Simon’s in Partick. The other £210 is being given to the Ozanam Centre to support their work with the homeless at this Christmas season.


Thanks to all staff for their hard work this term.

I wish all members of our school community, all families with Holyrood connections and all friends of Holyrood Secondary a joyous and peaceful Christmas.

Friday 12th December 2014

Thought for the week

"It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialisation, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time. Then we would have a holy Christmas. But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God—the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it. It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptised the Christmas tree. And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…"

Fr Andrew Greeley

Our S4 prelims have run smoothly over the past week. Now staff have the difficult job of marking all the papers, soon to be followed by writing S4 reports in January.

I know S1 are looking forward to their cinema outing on Monday to see a film which, I understand, has a strong theme regarding the nutritional benefits of marmalade sandwiches! Our prelims finish on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon we have our Dixon Community Event.

On Friday we have the opportunity to finish the term with a strong message about the true meaning of this season. Friday will be a non-uniform day. We ask for donations of at least £1 from all. Any money raised will be split between funding the Holyrood Soup Run [serving the homeless in Glasgow on Friday evenings] and the Ozanam Centre for the homeless in Glasgow. It is entirely appropriate, as a Catholic Christian Community, that we think of those less fortunate than ourselves at this time of year, especially those homeless, as the Holy Family was at the nativity.

Normal timetable will run until interval.  We shall then have our Christmas Service led by Fr John, with both drama and musical contributions. After the spiritual we shall move to the more fun side of proceedings. We hope to have some of the star performers from our Christmas Concert present, as well as some less talented entertainers who may be in it for a laugh! This will lead us to lunch at 1.10, as usual. After lunch all pupils will be brought to the Assembly Hall until school formally closes at 2.30 pm.

Friday 5th December 2014

 “This prophecy of Isaiah never ceases to touch us, especially when we hear it proclaimed in the liturgy of Christmas night. This is not simply an emotional or sentimental matter. It moves us because it states the deep reality of what we are: a people who walk, and all around us – and within us as well – there is darkness and light. In this night, as the spirit of darkness enfolds the world, there takes place anew the event which always amazes and surprises us: the people who walk see a great light. A light which makes us reflect on this mystery: the mystery of walking and seeing.”

Pope Francis’ homily at Midnight Mass, December 2013

Another busy week past. Our S5/6 Parents’ Evening generally went very well with overwhelmingly positive evaluations, although with one or two parental observations that we may look to act on before our next Parents’ Evening. We had a very well attended Parent Council on Tuesday which included discussion of Health Promotion and Vocational Education, the school building and traffic and parking around the school.

On Wednesday we had our outstandingly successful Christmas Concert. Thanks to all those involved in its organization and production. Thanks especially to staff and students of our Music Department, under the leadership of Mrs Park, for offering such brilliant entertainment. I have received a number of e-mails, letters and calls to say what a great night it was.  Thanks also to Father Carroll for compering the evening. As one parent said, he used every corny joke in the book as he introduced our acts. We had everything from our Samba Band to Ceilidh Band to St Fillan’s Woodwind Band; we had pupils from Holy Cross working with our Junior Band, our orchestra, Junior and Senior Choirs and our Male Voice Choir. It was top notch entertainment from beginning to end.

We now look forward to SQA Prelim Exams [although perhaps S4 don’t]. S4 are on preparation leave on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday except for the time when they are sitting an exam. Thereafter S4 students will be in school and in normal classes except when they are sitting an exam.

This week I have visited St Conval’s and St Fillan’s primary schools and enjoyed seeing next year’s S1. Question of the week was at St Conval’s where I was asked, “Do you cover a variety of gendres of music in Holyrood?” This week the answer was most avowedly “Yes”!

Have a great weekend.

“Curiously we have more information than ever, and yet, we don’t know what’s going on.”

Pope Francis

It’s been a busy week just past. I visited the P7s in St Francis and Holy Cross Primary Schools, accompanied by 2 of our current S1s keen to answer questions from P7 and eager to tell them what it feels like to move to Holyrood. We showed a DVD presented by groups of S1 pupils then answered questions. All my visits to our partner primary schools have been lovely experiences where the love and care shown to children by staff in their communities is very evident. I and Mrs O’Shea also visited the Celebration of 100 years of the Holy Cross PS building although the institution of Holy Cross is, of course, much older. It was great to see all the active learning done by the pupils and to see strong examples of leadership and great presentation skills from the pupils. This coming week I look forward to visiting St Brigid’s and St Fillan’s Primary Schools.

The RE Department has organised for the Archdiocese’s multinational Net Team to come in and deliver a Retreat experience for S3. This has gone very well with great response from our young people.

A busy week lies ahead for all of us. Monday we have our S5/6 Parents’ Evening. Tuesday is the Parent Council at 7 pm in the School Library. Wednesday is our Christmas Concert. We have a tremendous variety of music this year, suitable for everyone from the youngest to the more senior, with choirs, soloists, bands and orchestra. Although tickets have been selling very well, some tickets will be available on the door on the night. We’ll do our very best to accommodate everyone who turns up.

Congratulations to Miss Leyden for her organisation of the Holyrood Christmas Festival with stalls and activities on Thursday evening. It was a great success and was well attended. Thanks to the Music Department and our musicians for their tremendous contribution.

Have a great weekend


Friday 14th November 2014

Our P7 Information Evening was very well attended this year by parents and prospective students. I am indebted to teachers who came along on Monday night to represent their Departments and give a flavour of our caring and welcoming school. Almost every Department was represented. Thanks especially to Bernadette O’Shea and to Pastoral Care colleagues for their work in organising the event.

Posters will go up around the school on Monday for our School Christmas Concert. Tickets are £3 and can be bought by pupils at lunchtimes from the Music Department, costing £3. This is the bargain of the century for what promises to be a fabulous Christmas celebration. There will be lots of popular Christmas songs and music and a cast of thousands. You can also e-mail

to let us know you wish to reserve tickets. Please give a pupils name and class if you wish ticket purchase and delivery to be made through a pupil.

I met with parents of Malawi Team members on Wednesday evening for a very well attended information session and the group had an overnight stay at Dalmally Thursday into Friday for spiritual reflection and team-building. The conduct and quality of participation and contribution by students was exemplary. My thanks to staff who accompanied the students and especially to Fr Carroll who led a session on Catholic Social Teaching yesterday and who celebrated mass at Dalmally today.

I look forward to our Senior Awards’ Ceremony on Monday evening.

Have a great weekend.


Friday 7th November 2014

Many thanks to Departments and staff who are helping with the P7 Information Evening on Monday 10th November. I know this is a major event in helping parents and young people feel reassured about their transition from primary to secondary school. Parents and P7 pupils always tell us that the most reassuring aspect is when they have the chance to be guided by and ask questions of our S1 and S6 guides.

Congratulations to our Senior netballers for their excellent victory this week and to our U/18 and U/14 footballers for their victories in the Glasgow Cups.

Thanks to all staff for cooperation in the smooth running of our Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow sign up events. Thanks especially to our young people in S5 and S6 who have responded to the information sessions the Fire Service delivered on behalf of the Anthony Nolan organisation by volunteering to become prospective donors. The sign-up by Holyrood pupils is the largest response by far from any Scottish secondary school. Other young people, after discussion with parents, have indicated that they will be interested in committing in future but do not feel quite ready just now.

Our S3 pupils had a Careers’ Talk on Wednesday designed to help their target setting and decision making.

I look forward to meeting P7 parents at our Information Evening in the Assembly Hall on Monday 10th November at 7 pm.

Have a great weekend when it arrives.

Friday 31stOctober 2014

We’ve had some fantastic events in the past week. S1 continue their Fire Station visits where the feedback from pupils and the Fire Service has been really positive. Our “Aim High” events for S1 have gone brilliantly. Thanks to all our community contributors who helped give our young people a wonderful experience.

We have had talks for S5 and S6 about the Anthony Nolan Trust regarding bone marrow donation. These made a huge impression on all our students who were very attentive and asked great questions. Students are now discussing with parents whether they wish to give a saliva sample and go on the donor list. Those who wish to do so will give their sample on Thursday 6th November in Holyrood. This initiative is entirely in keeping with our pro-life stance as a Roman Catholic secondary school [for human life in supporting the homeless, in our Malawi Project, in supporting SCIAF, in our support of cancer charities, in our stance against abortion, in our emphasis on the dignity of human beings and our respect for life in all its forms].

Congratulations to our S1 football team on their success in the Glasgow Cup last week. Well done also to our netballers for their matches against Hillhead HS. S1 won 26-0, S2 won 26-14, S3 won 18-12.

A reminder that our Christmas Concert will be on Wednesday 3rd December at 7 pm. It promises to be a real extravaganza this year. Lots of fun and loads of popular Christmas songs and carols. There might even be something for fans of “Frozen”!

Have a great weekend

Friday 24th October

The following is a prayer from a Jesuit priest, Father Donal Neary

“I pray for the gift of compassion, Lord.

I ask for the ability to enter into the feelings of another

With love, and for the generosity to make no judgement on another’s life,

Even if this tries my patience.

And in all this I experience the joy of knowing that, in compassion, I am like You,

The God of compassion.”

As often when we return from holiday, it has felt like a longer week than usual, and I know this is a term which can feel difficult for all of us; staff, pupils and parents. A lot of work to get through, dark mornings and evenings and uncertain weather …. But there are lots of shining lights in the gloom of approaching winter.

Just before the break we had a reminder of the wonderful quality in talented young people when we had the Art Exhibition by last year’s senior school, especially Advanced Higher. Congratulations to Kevin Coyle and all staff in the Art Department for the outstanding work they encouraged from those students. It was lovely to see so many staff and former pupils at the exhibition to enjoy the work.

I visited our Junior and Senior Choir rehearsals this week and again was amazed at the talent we have in Holyrood. I look forward to some of the public performances coming up over the next couple of months.

This week we have our Aiming High Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday for S1 and, on Wednesday, have special assemblies for S5 and S6 to brief them on the work of the Anthony Nolan Organisation. Students will hear about their work and about what it means to be a bone marrow donor.

Enjoy the weekend …and remember about the clock change. Not sure our chocolate Labrador will understand the extra time in bed!


Friday 10th October 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Friday 12th September 2014

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

A. P. Stanley

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

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

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

Have a great weekend

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

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

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend.

Friday 29th August 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend.


Friday 22nd August

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

Johann Kaspar Lavater

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend.

Friday 15th August 2014

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

Anne de I’Enclos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HT Blog



HT Blog

Blantyre, Malawi. Tuesday 17th June 2014

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

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

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



Lake Malawi, Saturday 14th June 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis

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

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

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

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

22nd May 2014

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

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

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

16th May 2014

Dear Parent or Carer,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

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

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

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

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

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

Yours sincerely,

Laurie Byrne, Head Teacher

Friday 9th May 2014

Thought for the Week

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

Charles Kingsley

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend.

Friday 2nd May 2014

Thought for the Week

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

J. E. Dinger

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

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

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

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

Friday 25th April 2014

Thought for the Week

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

Pope Francis

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend

Friday 28th March 2014

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

Henry Drummond

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend

Friday 21st March 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend.

Friday 14th March 2014

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

Henry Ward Beecher

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 7th March 2014

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


A busy week just gone by.

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

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

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

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

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








Thursday 25th September 2014

Thought for the week

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

Daniel Defoe

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 19th September

Thought for the week

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

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

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

Have a great weekend.


Friday 7th November 2014

Many thanks to Departments and staff who are helping with the P7 Information Evening on Monday 10th November. I know this is a major event in helping parents and young people feel reassured about their transition from primary to secondary school. Parents and P7 pupils always tell us that the most reassuring aspect is when they have the chance to be guided by and ask questions of our S1 and S6 guides.

Congratulations to our Senior netballers for their excellent victory this week and to our U/18 and U/14 footballers for their victories in the Glasgow Cups.

Thanks to all staff for cooperation in the smooth running of our Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow sign up events. Thanks especially to our young people in S5 and S6 who have responded to the information sessions the Fire Service delivered on behalf of the Anthony Nolan organisation by volunteering to become prospective donors. The sign-up by Holyrood pupils is the largest response by far from any Scottish secondary school. Other young people, after discussion with parents, have indicated that they will be interested in committing in future but do not feel quite ready just now.

Our S3 pupils had a Careers’ Talk on Wednesday designed to help their target setting and decision making.

I look forward to meeting P7 parents at our Information Evening in the Assembly Hall on Monday 10th November at 7 pm.

Have a great weekend when it arrives.






Friday 12th.
Marvellous day on safari. Saw all the animals we hoped to. Team loved it.


 HT Malawi Blog
Saturday 20th JUne 2015
At 11am we attended Mass and St. Monfort’s. Then we came straight to the airport. As I write this we have passed through check in and are awaiting our first flight. We have all loved this time together on our project but team Malawi 2015 is now looking forward to being with our families and friends. As always a little part of us will remain in the warm heart of Africa but it’s time to come home.
Friday 19
We made a final visit to our worksites for a farewell ceremony from the school communities we have been serving. They were all uplifting and emotional experiences as local people and staff paid tribute to the hard work of our team, to their warmth and friendliness and thanked them for the love they have shown to children. Everyone of them has done everything they can to engage with local people, to show love and caring concern for everybody they meet and to charm hearts and minds. They have been such a credit to their families and to the Holyrood school community. I am so proud of them.


“Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all, to the good of all.
Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity.
It is right and it is duty.”

Archbishop Oscar A. Romero



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