END OF TERM – MARCH 2018
Dear S4-6 Parent/Carer,
Here we are again – the end of another busy and successful term. As always, I am amazed at just how quickly the time flies by. Hopefully, a sign that we are having fun.
As this term progresses thoughts of our senior pupils naturally turn to SQA examinations and all of the work that goes into that. This term is busy with coursework and unit assignments, supported study sessions and revision. For those moving on at the end of this school year new plans, new opportunities and new horizons start to become more real. Offers from college, employers and university have been received, considered and accepted. Exciting times!
Of course, there is the small matter of the examinations themselves and it is really pleasing to hear from so many pupils in S4, 5 and 6 about their revision schedule and how much solid work has already been done. There is still lots of time available before examinations begin on April 30th and making the best use of the time remaining, especially through the Easter holiday, is vitally important. The revised programme of Easter Revision classes is on the school website.
Like any performance, the key to doing well in the examination is walking into the hall well prepared through a well-planned revision and past-paper programme. I wish every pupil working towards qualifications this year all the very best. Study leave arrangements will be sent to you in a separate message.
As always, the end of one term and the start of another brings some changes of staff. I will write to you early in the new term to summarise those for you.
This term saw our first ‘snow days’ for a number of years. Thank you all for playing your part in making the arrangements for the closures work so well. It is always frustrating to lose school time with pupils and I know that staff and pupils have worked hard to make up for the lost time. As with the closures two years ago, the whole Firrhill team – pupils, parents, non-teaching staff and teachers – pulled together and dealt with the challenges brilliantly.
You will recall a uniform focus week took place immediately after the February break. The House results were as follows: Allermuir – 375 pts, Braidlaw – 411 pts, Caerketton – 498 pts and Darrach – 414 pts. Officially, Caerketton are the ‘smartest’ House. Uniform plays a key role in building the collective ethos that we value so highly so please keep up the good work of ensuring your son/daughter is in full uniform.
Hopefully, with the return of better weather (fingers crossed!), it will be less necessary for pupils to be wearing multiple layers of jackets/tops and boots. Please take a moment over the holiday to check that you have all the correct items of uniform for your son or daughter for the start of the new term.
Parents’ evenings were well attended, as always, with around 80% of children being represented. We continue to ‘tweak’ the booking system to balance the desire of parents to see as many teachers as possible whilst still giving access to as many parents as possible. Parent/teacher meetings are a really important part of how we work together to enable pupils to do their best. Thank you to those parents/carers who have taken the time to feedback to us on the booking system. Your comments are always both welcome and useful. If you are part of the 20% who finds it difficult, for whatever reason, to attend parents’ evenings please make contact with your child’s Guidance teacher to see what we might be able to do to help.
We also had over 100 parents/carers attend an information evening on apprenticeships. Great presentations from our speakers, including Ms Lewis from the School Office, gave parents much to think about in considering future pathways for their children.
Firrhill became the first in the UK to secure the unicef Rights Respecting Schools Silver: Rights Aware Award under the new regulations. A fantastic achievement for the whole school community and in particular for the many pupils and staff who, led by Mrs Kerr, have created a rights-focused and equality-driven agenda that so many across the school have been involved with in many different ways.
We have seen some notable extra-curricular successes this term across a range of activities. The S3 Netball Team won the Scottish Silver Trophy, beating Arbroath 34-18 in the final. Even more impressive when you know that the team won their rescheduled semi-final only two days before!
Firrhill pupils, led by Mrs Watson, made a major contribution to the Holocaust Memorial Day event at the Scottish Parliament. John Swinney took time at a Scottish Education Leaders conference I was attending the following week to single out the very impressive contribution the pupils made. In particular our Lessons from Auschwitz Ambassadors, Amy Downie and Emma Murray. At that same conference S3 pupil, Louis Moore, spoke with great confidence and assurance about starting up and running his own successful business.
Amelie Colvin in S2 has been heavily involved in consultation on the Edinburgh Science Festival. Holly McKey in S3 achieved great success in the World School Ski competition, three pupils Christabel Antwi, Emma Solley (both S4) and Josie McDonald S5 were all selected for the Scottish Schools Athletics Association training day. Helen Southern S5 has been treading the boards at the King’s Theatre in Hello Dolly. Emily Broadwood S1 achieved the Bronze Skills Award from Scottish Curling. Donald Arthur, Callum Brown and Douglas Murray (allS4) were part of the victorious Boroughmuir Rugby Club team who lifted the Scottish U16 Cup by beating Cathcart 80-12 in the final at Murrayfield.
Congratulations to Michael Denvir S5 on becoming the U18 Scottish Junior Champion in Wild Water Racing Kayak and Classic Kayak. I am sure everyone will be cheering on Keanna MacInnes S5 as she competes for Scotland in swimming at the Commonwealth Games starting in just a few days’ time.
A huge number of Firrhill pupils have been participating in the Resonate concerts over the last couple of weeks. I was able to attend the final concert last night and the quality of music on display over nearly two hours was superb. We are very fortunate to have so many hard-working and skilful musicians so ably led by our permanent and peripatetic music teachers.
The hard work, dedication and achievements across such a wide range of endeavours is just one part of what makes the Firrhill community so successful.
As always prior to a holiday, I will take this chance to wish you a good break and I hope that you have an opportunity to spend enjoyable, quality time with family and friends.
School resumes for pupils on Tuesday 17 April 2018 at the normal time of 0835.