Christmas Toy Giveaway – Parliamentary Motion

Before Christmas, staff and pupils of OLHS were invited to donate toys to the Forgewood Toy Giveaway. The Scottish Parliament has officially recognised and congratulated the organisers with Motion S5M-03152 and Motion S5M-02894; the former includes our involvement in OLHS.

Motion S5M-03152: Richard Leonard, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/12/2016


That the Parliament congratulates Martine Nolan on organising a free toy giveaway at the Forgewood Community Centre to support families in the area; understands that the 350 children and 160 adults who attended the event left with a gift; thanks the local councillors and volunteers involved, including councillors Paul Kelly, Kaye Harmon, Michael Ross and volunteers, Louise Roarty and Kenneth Duffy; notes the generosity of the local community who donated to the toy giveaway and volunteered to ensure that the event was a success; recognises the efforts of the school communities of Fir Park Secondary and Our Lady’s High, which both held toy drives for the event; thanks Unison and the Forgewood Housing Cooperative for facilitating the event, and commends local businesses and organisations, including Scotmid and the Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation, on their generosity.

Supported by: James Dornan, David Torrance, Bill Kidd, Kenneth Gibson, Sandra White, Colin Beattie, Gillian Martin, Ivan McKee

British Sign Language class

A number of S6 pupils and two members of staff have been learning BSL now for three weeks, under the eagle eyes of Ian, Rachel and Helen from the Lanarkshire Deaf Club. We are becoming much more confident with our finger spelling, colours, animals, greetings, family groups and common signs. We can’t wait to start working in pairs on our conversational skills, beginning next week.

The ten week course, organised by Mrs Donnachie and Mrs Zambonini, is a chance for everyone to become more deaf aware, and to add to our communication skills.

Christmas Big Free Toy Giveaway Sunday 11th December 2016, Forgewood

To all parents and carers,

Please see the letter below regarding the  toy give away at Forgwood, 11th December 2016.


Dear Sir/Madam,

Christmas Big Free Toy Giveaway Sunday 11th December 2016, Forgewood Community Centre, Motherwell

Please would you be able to inform families in your school who may require support this festive period, that there will be a FREE TOY giveaway on  Sunday the 11th of December.  The event is being held at the Forgewood Community Centre, 2 Dinmont Crescent, Motherwell ML1 3TT. Doors open at midday and close at two pm.

We are a group of friends who want to help those families who find Christmas difficult.  No child should be without something on Christmas morning and no parent should be in debt to bring a smile to their child’s face. Although there are groups that help those in need, they do not always reach every child and family that need their help.  That is why the toy giveaway is open to ALL. That is why we would encourage you to take the time to notify your school community. Councillors Michael Ross and Paul Kelly are both supporting this event.

A Toy Giveaway has already been held in Wishaw this year. An article about the event is available in this week’s Wishaw Press. Many people generously supplied, toys, games, books and even children’s clothes. So with your support, we hope to give more children a Merry Christmas.

In the anticipation of helping more children in Motherwell, we will need to gather more toys, games and books.  Therefore, would you be able to collect used toys etc? We can organize a collection on the 9th of December. The hall is also open for donations between 4-7pm on the 10th. This would be a great event to have your more senior students who are working towards awards (e.g. Caritas) to participate in. If they want to take part or run a toy drive please let me know.

So please spread the word and help us spread some Christmas cheer in 2016.

Yours sincerely

Martine Nolan

Rachel Clinton visit

Report by Mrs Millar

The Advanced Higher English class had a treat last week when one of our former pupils, Rachel Clinton, visited our class and shared her insights into creative writing. Rachel is currently studying Professional Writing at City of Glasgow College, and has already performed readings of her work in public. We read and heard both her poetry, and a powerful interior monologue. The class – including teacher and Librarian – then took part in a writing exercise to see what we could achieve.

A massive thanks to Rachel for giving up her time; the class was impressed and very grateful!


Google Expeditions

Pupils went exploring today through Google Expeditions, an app that allows classes to visit coral reefs, the Moon, the Grand Canyon, Rio de Janeiro, World War I trenches or the rainforest through Virtual Reality.

Over 200  pupils participated from departments including Social Subjects, English, Modern Languages, Science and Nurture. Staff were equally keen to try out the technology for themselves, so there was a steady stream of adults wandering around with the viewers too.

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OLHS Christmas Fair, 26th November, 10-12 noon

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Our Christmas Fair takes place from 10 am until 12 noon on Saturday 26th November.

We have –

  • Santa’s Grotto
  • Tombola
  • Toy Tombola
  • Teas
  • Face Painting
  • Bouncy Castle
  • Cake
  • Candles
  • Hat stall
  • School scarves
  • Children’s Christmas Quiz
  • Textile stall
  • XL sweets
  • St Andrew’s Hospice
  • Hand painted plates
  • Raffle

Staff in-service day 21st November

The whole staff spent an enjoyable and informative day on Monday sharing good practice across the school with a series of workshops. From Socratic Questioning to Literacy Profiling, from software demonstrations in SFL and Modern Languages to Political Literacy, from team building to Twitter, everyone came away with a really positive picture of all the innovative ways in which we are working to close the attainment gap and get the best out of all of our pupils in Our Lady’s High School.

Thanks to all staff who threw open their doors to others!

Google Expeditions

On Friday the 25th of November the Social Subjects Faculty will have the privilege of hosting a team from Google Expeditions who facilitated Virtual Reality (VR) learning experiences for a number of our pupils. This unbelievable system allows those taking part to actually experience what it was like to be a soldier in the trenches during the First World War.

A number of different subject departments are involved: Social Subjects, English, Modern Languages, Science and Nurture. Over 200 of our young people will get the chance to be involved in a worthwhile and memorable experience. We hope it helps to bring their study of the First World War to life! #pollitolhs

Advanced Higher research

Report by Mrs Millar and Mrs Macfadyen


A group of S6 Advanced Higher pupils from a variety of subjects visited Glasgow University Library yesterday, accompanied by Mrs Macfadyen and Mrs Millar. After a quick guide to facilities on offer students were let loose to explore this fantastic resource area for themselves. Some opted to rummage around on the History floor, others bathed in the beauty of Shakespeare on the English floor, others found out about resources for studying music, politics and even Italian.

Pupils were  impressed not just by the quantity of books available for perusal, but also by the various study and relaxation facilities on offer, and left the Library with lists of books that they wanted to investigate further.

These S6 students now have reference access to the university library for the rest of the academic year – we hope the surroundings will make their studying more enjoyable!

Our thanks to the staff at the Glasgow University Library for making their facilities available to our pupils.

Performing Arts / English London Trip

Report by Mrs Millar and Mrs Jeffrey


The annual Performing Arts/English trip to London was an action packed weekend from start to finish. 29 pupils joined Mrs Smith, Miss McGhee, Mrs Jeffrey and Mr Bryans on Thursday at teatime and the fun didn’t stop until Sunday at midnight!

After collapsing exhausted on Thursday night from their journey, the group leapt into Friday action with visits to the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Covent Garden before enjoying a fantastic performance of Wicked. Saturday saw visits to Madame Tussaud’s, the London Eye and the Christmas market- but nothing compared with the London Dungeon, which was so terrifying the group started saying the school prayer.

Sunday began with mass in Fulham, where the group was made very welcome by the Parish Priest and congregation before they hit the shops, including Harrods and Oxford Street. A tired but happy bunch returned to Motherwell at midnight on Sunday.

Christmas Fair 2016

It’s getting closer!!!!! Our Christmas Fayre will be on Saturday 26th November in The Zone.  10 am – 12 pm.

So far we have:

  • Santa’s Grotto,
  • Bouncy Castle
  • Teas and Coffees
  • Beat the Goalie
  • Home Economics cakes
  • Candle stall
  • Toy tombola
  • Tombola
  • Decorative Plates
  • Sweets
  • Fairy Doors
  • St. Andrew’s Hospice
  • Face Painting
  • Lucky Dip

In advance of the Fair raffle tickets will be on sale.  We are asking each family to purchase a book of tickets (£5.00) to assist with school funds and to win these fantastic prizes!

  • First Prize – large plasma TV
  • Second Prize – latest X Box
  • Third Prize – huge Christmas hamper
  • Fourth Prize – bottle of Champagne

Please contact the school office if you would like to purchase some tickets.

Donald Dewar Debating Competition

Huge congratulations to our debaters Grant Mackin and Christopher Wilson on another outstanding display in this prestigious competition, held in Kilsyth Academy.

The boys were drawn against the first of Kilsyth Academy’s two teams, arguing against the motion: “This House would ban Referendums.” Kilsyth’s second team then debated with St Maurice’s Academy on the same motion. The judges were very impressed with all four teams, making clear that the standard of debating on display was far in excess of that normally seen in a first round heat.

After deliberation, the teams from Our Lady’s and St Maurice’s progressed to the second round of this national competition. Well done boys! #pollitolhs

Politics Week at Summerlee

S3 Modern Studies pupils visited Summerlee on 18th December as part of UK Parliament Week. They were addressed by Phil Boswell MP, Elaine Smith MSP, Councillor Michael McPake and Professor Kirstie Blair from Strathclyde University, as well as exploring the exhibits throughout the museum, and taking part in a mock election for the Scottish Parliament and in the EU Referendum.

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Pupils pointed out to Mrs Macfadyen that cameras were not allowed in polling stations, but graciously agreed to allow shots without faces in view.


Reminiscence Project

Our S6 volunteers with the Motherwell FC Community Trust had their introductory meeting with a representative of Alzheimer’s Scotland. The young people were given an insight into the progress of the condition, how patients and families feel about it, as well as strategies to improve quality of life. They were very moved by some of the stories they heard, but this has made them even more determined to make a difference to the lives of their Buddies and families.

Ladies Night

The P.T.A. held a Ladies Night in St Bernadette’s hall last Friday night with Bingo, a Quiz and some dancing.  All who came along enjoyed a lively and entertaining night, with over £350 raised, money which will benefit our pupils directly.  Thanks to all who attended and those who donated prizes.  Please look out for our next fundraiser and come along to support our school.

Fashion trip to London

The Home Economics and Art Department have a shared topic of fashion design and so they organised a joint trip to the Victoria and Albert museum in London to see two special exhibitions: Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear and You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970.

As part of their time in London pupils also had the opportunity to visit the London Eye and the restaurant Planet Hollywood.

Dyslexia Week Competition Winners

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Dyslexia Week competitions in the Library last week. It was incredibly difficult to choose the winners with so many fantastic entries. All of the money raised will help purchase additional resources for pupils with dyslexia in OLHS.

Colouring Winners
The judges liked these three because of the many additional images and information within the designs.

1st : Lucy Tougher-Mitchell

1st = Lucy Tougher-Mitchell

2nd= Alicja Balanda

2nd= Alicja Balanda

2= Steissy Laaneorg

2= Steissy Laaneorg

The winner is Lucy Tougher-Mitchell, with runners-up Alicja Balanda and Steissy Laaneorg. Lots of other great designs can be seen here.

What’s in the Box Competition

Pupils were asked to think about what could be inside an imaginary box.  The winner is Anna Cocozza, 1A, who won over the judges with her rainbow coloured labradors.

Dyslexia Awareness Week, 7th-12th November 2016

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Pupils in S1-S6 were involved in a variety of activities, all aimed at raising awareness of dyslexia.  The Support for Learning department hosted a coffee morning to mark the start of the week, assisted by S3 ASDAN class.  This was very well attended and £104 was raised, which will be used to purchase equipment that will assist dyslexic pupils across the curriculum.

The ICT group blogged about dyslexia on Wednesday and this information was added to our school website.

Staff and pupils were encouraged to wear Ellie’s Blue Ribbons all week, as these have become a well -recognised symbol of dyslexia awareness.  Staff also took part in a “Wear it Blue Day” on Tuesday.  Our school Twitter account also has a “twibbon” attached to it all week, in order to raise awareness amongst our Twitter followers.

Mrs Macfadyen, the school librarian, organised a colouring competition and “What’s in the Box?” contest for pupils in S1-S6.  The winners of both will have their work displayed on our school website.  Both these activities highlighted the hidden disability that dyslexia can often be, but also showed off the creative side of a dyslexic brain!

Pupils were given access to the Dyslexia Scotland website during PSHE lessons all week where they were shown powerpoints distributed by this organisation. The site’s “Theme for the Day” was also highlighted to pupils in the school bulletin.

This variety of activities all helped to raise awareness amongst staff and pupils of a learning issue that affects 1 in 10 of us.