Christmas Fair 2015


The Christmas Fair takes place in The Zone on Saturday 28th November from 10 am – 12 pm. Entry will include a free cup of tea or coffee to relax you after perusing all of our stalls, including

  • tombola
  • lucky dip
  • Christmas Kindness Corner
  • bouncy castle
  • Santa’s Grotto
  • Candle Lite
  • Terry Hill Jewellery
  • Christmas Cakes
  • gingerbread houses
  • raffle
  • Christmas card stall
  • OLHS scarves
  • face painting
  • treasure Hunt
  • soft toy tombola.

Hope to see you there!

Literacy across the curriculum

Literacy is an integral part of the Curriculum for Excellence and one of the responsibilities of all staff in schools along with Numeracy and Health and Well-being. Our Literacy Group, involving staff from departments across the school, met on the in-service day to discuss ways to help pupils learn commonly misspelt words.

Over the coming months we will highlight common spelling mistakes and grammar issues through posters, the bulletin, and a variety of memorable activities. We aim to have a school full of experts by the summer!

St Andrew’s Day

Report from Mrs Connor

Friday 27th November will be Tartan Day, a whole school non-uniform day with participating pupils asked to wear tartan or Scottish-themed clothing. Pupils are being asked to donate £1 and a donation for our Christmas Fair raffle. No tins please!

Monday 30th November is St Andrew’s Day, and former pupil, Michael Clark will returning to pipe for the staff coffee morning. A Scots Corner stall will be set up in The Zone at lunchtime for pupils to purchase tartan ribbons, cupcakes and receive tattoos and face painting. All money raised will be donated to St Andrew’s Hospice.

Memorial assembly

Report from Mr Smith

S6 pupils who had been on the Battlefields trip to Belgium and France in 2014 led a Remembrance assembly for S1 pupils last week.

The pupils shared their experiences of visiting the Western Front and showed a moving slideshow of photos as well as playing music inspired by the Great War in an effort to try to explain the huge loss of life and why we remember the fallen every November.

Duke of Edinburgh presentations

The Duke of Edinburgh group completed their bronze assessed walks in Auchingillan near Strathblane in beautiful October sunshine. The young people had to navigate their way to the campsite, set up camp, cook dinner and stay overnight.

As part of their assessment, each group has to present the story of their walk, discussing what they learned about themselves, how they would change if attempting the same challenge in future, and what the highlights of the walk were for them. The groups chose different aspects of their experiences to focus on from historic buildings to geocaching. The audience of Partnership Officer, Deborah King, Librarian, Jennifer Macfadyen, and Gillian McCairn and Franny Aitken from Community Learning and Development thoroughly enjoyed the groups’ work.

Outward Bound Trust

18 Years Supporting 18,000 young Scots

13 November 2015

Since 1997 The Outward Bound Trust has worked in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) to raise the levels of confidence, aspiration and resilience of over 18,000 young people in the area.

Launched by the council with the aim of improving the prospects of young people, the social impact of the programme on North Lanarkshire schools has been significant. Eighteen years ago opportunities for underprivileged young people in the area were limited, with widespread apathy among many.

Working together with the council The Trust designed a residential programme for pupils in S4 (now S3) forming a vital link in the pupils’ preparation for the workplace or further education. The target group was the “forgotten middle”, those pupils identified as having unrealised potential, who need to move forward so they may find a way to do their best and improve their performance at school.

Every year in the winter months of November to January, all 23 secondary schools and 4 SEN Schools send 25% of these targeted pupils on a 5 day residential to the Trust’s Loch Eil centre in the Scottish Highlands. With around 850 pupils per year participating, the numbers of young people that have benefitted to date are considerable.

The course gives participants an opportunity to meet new people and experience exciting new environments. Working as individuals and in groups the course is demanding, but highly satisfying for both the young people and their teachers. Participants leave with increased confidence and self-esteem, having also experienced a high level of adventure; hill-walking, rock climbing/scrambling and canoeing. Not to mention, the course enables participants to complete the Adventure & Challenge Award (credit rated on the SCQF Framework at Level 5) and the John Muir Award.

This nationally significant partnership between a Council and a third sector organisation is one we are justifiably proud of and one we place great financial commitment to. 55% of the necessary funds have been provided by NLC with Outward Bound® providing the remaining 45%, bringing over £1.5 million of third party funding to benefit the young people of North Lanarkshire.

To ensure the relevance of the programme in today’s educational setting, the proposed new programme for the 2016/17 cohort is being designed to address two current key areas for Scotland; the Attainment Challenge and Developing Scotland’s Young workforce. With both of these in mind the programme has even greater benefit to the young people of North Lanarkshire today.

As it was in 2012 the programme is now under consultation as part of NLC’s budgetary review. A campaign is therefore underway to ensure that this programme continues to benefit the young people of North Lanarkshire and their local communities in the future.

We know that this programme has a hugely positive impact on the families, communities and individual participants involved, not just through formal research but anecdotal feedback too. So, if you have direct experience of this programme either as a participant, parent, teacher or otherwise please show your support before the end of November by contacting NLC here.

Martin Davidson, Scottish Director, The Outward Bound Trust

Sports Ambassadors and Council Reps

Report from Ms McCrory

The following pupils have been appointed to the following posts.

  • Lauren Whitehead – Young Ambassador
  • Adam Boyle – Vice Young Ambassador
  • Joey Leach – S1 Sports Council Rep
  • Joe Chambers – S1 Sports Council Rep
  • Daniel Grew – S1 Sports Council Rep
  • Rachel Donnelly – S2 Sports Council Rep
  • Lucy McQuaid – S3 Sports Council Rep
  • Megan Grew – S3 Sports Council Rep

Congratulations go to them all on their successes.

Ghosts of War – Armistice Day Poetry 2

After lunch, Ken and Lorna introduced two collections for the second part of our poems: things sent back from soldiers at the front or sent to soldiers at front.

The items returned from the front included items made by soldiers in the spare time, sometimes sent as presents, as well as items returned to the family after a soldier’s death. Pupils could choose to investigate:

  1. ID tags. 
  2. a spoon with a secret
  3. biplane model
  4. brooch
  5. lucky charm of baby
  6. photo of soldier, in a frame
  7. silk postcard
  8. souvenir salt cellar
  9. cuddly toy from Arthur to Millie
  10. death plaque

Meanwhile at the other end of the room, pupils could explore

  1. a brass Mary tin
  2. a carved bullet
  3. a brass button stick
  4. a gaming piece
  5. ID disc
  6. French phrase book
  7. a harmonica
  8. postcards
  9. hard tack
  10. Lord’s prayer token

Pupils were asked to consider their chosen objects, answer questions about them and use their thoughts for their second verses.

Finally, we all moved round to the Scottish National War Museum where Ken and Lorna showed us some items dating from the First World War, and explained some more details about them. Pupils were asked to identify the person connected with the artifacts, how they had been used and what happened to the person afterwards.

Lorna showed us a nurse’s uniform and pointed out that the red cross had turned pink. This was probably because the uniform had been washed and rewashed until the colour had faded, but there was another possibility. Some new nurses, with bright red crosses on their tunics would deliberately bleach the colour from the red crosses so that they looked older. This may have been to fit in, but perhaps also to calm the injured: an experienced nurse may have been more comforting to a wounded soldier as she would have known what she was doing.

Returning to the dungeon, sorry, Education Room, pupils wrote their third and final verses based on the objects in the museum. Ken read our original first verse, and pupils read their own second and third verses.

Finally we had to head home, clutching the beginnings of our poems and promising to share the final versions with the lovely Ken and Lorna.

Our thanks to the National Museums of Scotland, to the staff of Edinburgh Castle and especially to Ken and Lorna for a fascinating, creative, moving and extremely enjoyable day.

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Ghosts of War – Armistice Day Poetry 1

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On Monday 9th, S3 pupils and staff headed for Edinburgh Castle for a workshop entitled “Ghosts of War: Armistice Day Poetry

Our workshop leaders, Lorna and Ken, met us on the Esplanade to introduce themselves and explain the plan for today, before leading us round to the Scottish National War Memorial. Photography is not allowed in the memorial so no pictures.

The frieze in the Memorial is by Gertrude Alice Meredith Williams and was based on drawings by her husband in the trenches. Pupils noticed bagpipes, kilts, bunnets, snowshoes, animals, rope, shovel, boots, weapons and different uniforms. Lorna read a poem leading into in a minute’s silence, with pupils standing shoulder to shoulder. 

During our silence, a clock chimed 11 o’clock; according to Lorna and Ken, that hadn’t happened before. Very moving, and a little eerie.

We move through to the Education Room, formerly known as the Devil’s Elbow, previously used as a dungeon and barracks (not at the same time though). Most appropriate. This takes us out onto a wee walkway very high above Edinburgh

Ken and Lorna explain that we’re going to be writing poems in three parts, and the first stanza is based on the Memorial, so pupils are asked to write down who and what they saw in the frieze. After a little shyness, suggestions include cavalry; cold weather soldier with fur collar; someone with a camel; a pilot with a biplane; animals including dogs, camels, horses, pigeons; weapons including rifles, pistols, machine guns and shells; and the words on the memorial itself: their name liveth; God holds their souls in their hands. 

The first verse is based around pupils’ own experience of being in the memorial, sharing ideas and moving lines about to make the best impact.  

Now Lorna asks for some helpers, but everyone is feeling a bit shy so staff try to volunteer one or two bodies, and then some brave souls step up. Lorna asks why they volunteered and their answers are fascinating:

  • because I was being made to
  • because I thought it might be fun
  • because no-one else was.

Lorna points out that these three responses can sum up most soldiers’ reasons for enlisting. She also explains that there was a tradition for Scots to volunteer, and far larger ratios of Scots volunteered than other countries of the UK. Soldiers had to be at least 5’3″, with 34″ chest, and 18 years old, or 19 for moving out to France. However, the records show many, many recruits who did not match these criteria.  

Mark volunteers to get dressed in typical soldier gear including a jacket, greatcoat, goatskin, webbing pack with pockets, balaclava, helmet, gas mask. It was believed the helmet could stop bullets, but it didn’t. The goatskin smelled as it was smoked for preservation.

Day of the Dead – Quiz, Prizewinners and Thanks

The penultimate task of our Day of the Dead event was a multiple choice quiz covering Dia de los Muertos and Hallowe’en. The teams had learned about Day of the Dead over the previous weeks through the departments involved.

The prizewinners were announced by DHT, Mr McQuillan, before Fr Martin closed the afternoon by reminding everyone that this afternoon had been a way of remembering family and friends who had died.

Congratulations to all of S2 whose behaviour was excellent, and thanks to all of the departments involved for another successful Day of the Dead.

Here’s to 2016!

Our grateful thanks to:

all the staff of the Departments involvedArt and Design, Library Resource Centre, Modern Languages, Religious Education;

our Caritas helpersMonica Allan, Louise Black, Rebecca Cairney, Nicole Cassidy, Beth Cunningham, Emma Graham, Megan Green, Gary Harbinson, James Kelly, Sherri Lonie, Sophie Lloyd, Lisa Mackie, Olivia McMahon, Emily Tougher Mitchell, Sophie Tougher Mitchell, Rachael Moore, Roseanne Plunkett, Claire Ross, Keryn Shearer, Beth Knight Townsley;

our Mariachi Band: Mrs Glover, Mr Kerr, Konner Miller-Brookbanks, Paul Hawthorne;

our judges: Father Martin, Mr McQuillan and volunteer, Scott Price;

everyone who helped out the event go aheadSMT, janitors, admin, all the staff who covered classes, and all the staff who popped in to help.

Day of the Dead 2015 – Hats

While the cakes were being judged, Mr Pegard introduced our second activity of the afternoon: designing hats for La Calavera Catrina. Pupils had brought in a variety of decorating materials as part of their homework over the past couple of weeks.

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Day of the Dead 2015 – Cakes!

Our Mariachi Band played Mexican classics as pupils arrived and were welcomed to their tables by S6 Caritas pupils. Mr Pégard welcomed pupils to the Día de los Muertos celebrations and Fr Martin Delaney opened with prayers before our first activity which was cake decorating.

Each table was provided with bowls full of fairy cakes, decorations, icing, food colourings and squares of fondant icing. Their task was to shape and decorate fondant skulls to sit on top of their cakes with the help of our 6th year helpers.

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Day of the Dead 2015 – Altar

An important part of Day of the Dead celebrations is the altar containing memories dedicated to loved ones.

Our altar was filled with skulls created by Art and Design classes and memories of family and friends and well loved famous people created by Religious Education classes as well as a statue of Our Lady.

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Day of the Dead 2015 – Decorating

Our Day of the Dead celebrations took place on the afternoon of Friday 6th November, a fabulous interdisciplinary project involving Art and Design, Modern Languages, RE and the Library Resource Centre.

Art and Design worked with S2 to create posters and decorations to liven up our Kamwokya Room. The posters showed traditional Day of the Dead skulls on illustrated black paper backgrounds, with more skulls appeared on top of tissue paper, strung together and hung across the room.

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Finally, we also had some living skeletons as the Caritas class painted their faces as Calavera Catrina, or Elegant Skull.

XL3 news

Report by Mrs McNeish

XL3 classes have attended the NLC Arts and Employabilities event at Coatbridge college.

They had the chance to sample two different arts projects which they can choose to work on in school between January to March. The groups chose to try Bonkers Art and Shadow Play which everyone enjoyed.

The group will be making up their minds which project they will continue with.

Fire Reach 2015

Report from Mrs McNeish

Some of our S3 pupils have been involved in NLC Firereach programme over the last two weeks.

Five girls (Rebecca Gibbons, Kerri McLeod, Ebony Goodfellow, Erin Queen and Leah Super) attended week beginning 26th October and the boys the following week. Jack Carroll, Mateusz Cymerman, Elise Kitzube, Christopher McNally, Tommy Brierton and Robbie Henderson were the representatives from the boys.

The feedback has been very positive from all, and the pupils have left the week with a first aid certificate, some fire fighting experience, and lots of memories. The groups were a credit to themselves and the school.