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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.


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