Senior Phase Information Evening, 21st February 2017

To view the presentations from the Senior Phase Information Evening, please click on the links below.

You will need Powerpoint to view these presentations.

Senior phase information evening 2017

SDS presentation 2017

Developing the Young Workforce

Easter School 2017

Dear Parent/Carer,

This year Our Lady’s High School is again running a comprehensive Easter School programme for S4-6 pupils. Easter school will take place on Monday 3rd April and Tuesday 4th April 2017.

Pupils will be asked to opt for up to a maximum of 6 sessions over the 2 days i.e. a maximum of 3 per day. They can choose different subjects for each of the allocated sessions or choose to do more than one session for particular subjects.   The format of each day will be as follows:-

Session 1         9.00-10.30

Break               10.30-10.45

Session 2         10.45-12.15

Lunch              12.15-12.45

Session 3         12.45-2.15

Please note there will be no transport available during Easter School, however lunch will be provided on both days.

This is a fantastic opportunity for your child to revise with their teachers in preparation for the SQA exams which begin on the 2nd May 2016.

If you wish your child to be involved, please print, complete and sign the accompanying form (copies sent with letter or see links below) and return it to me by Friday 24th February.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs M Donnachie,

S4 Pupil Choice Easter School 2017 (Word)
S4 Pupil Choice Easter School 2017 PDF
S5/6 Pupil Choice Easter School 2017 (Word)
S5/6 Pupil Choice Easter School 2017 PDF

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.

Art and Design News

Report from Ms Steinert

Three S6 girls from Advanced Higher and Higher Art are attending a fashion taster course at Glasgow Clyde College this week. The girls are seeing the fashion department and learning how to develop their fashion ideas in a free three hour workshop. One of our S6 girls has also attended a fashion taster day at Glasgow Caledonian University and has applied to the Fashion Brand and Retailing college link course starting in August.

The Art and Design Department has produced a summer newsletter which is being posted this week to help parental involvement, give some advice about homework and what activities senior phase pupils can work on over the holidays who are studying art and photography.

News from Social Subjects

Report from Mr Smith

S4 Geography pupils visited New Lanark on Thursday 2nd June to find out about how the facilities there are powered exclusively by water power. We hiked up to the Falls of Clyde and admired the view, and we had guided tours of the living and working conditions when New Lanark was a functioning cotton mill.


Pupils are enhancing their political literacy knowledge and skills by learning about the European Union. They are developing their understanding of the arguments for and against EU membership and will take part in a whole school mock referendum next week.

S5/6 are preparing for taking part in the International Conference. Our Lady’s team will represent Syria this year and are very much looking forward to this event.

Final preparations are underway for the battlefields trip on June 20th when Our Lady’s High School’s 5th Pals Battalion will fall in for duty and head off to Belgium and France.

Titanic Project 2016: Rothesay!

The Titanic Project crew headed for Rothesay and the beautiful Mount Stuart on a glorious day bursting with sunshine. For most pupils it was their first time on a ferry and they headed outside right away to watch the ship leaving Wemyss Bay.

After the essential photocalls and exploring the ship, they settled down to watch the scenery go past and ask how this would compare with their upcoming trip to Belfast.

Mount Stuart is a stunning mansion which gives an excellent impression of how opulent the interiors would have been on the Titanic. The group were enthusiastic about the grounds, but the luxury of the house really grabbed their attention, with carvings and beautiful details everywhere. Education Officer, Morven, kindly acted as our guide through the chapel, dining room, drawing room, bedrooms and bathrooms. Despite pupil concerns, Mrs Macfadyen was able to tear herself away from the Library (with its first folio Shakespeare, and its ladder!) and Mrs Zambonini stopped sighing over the chandeliers, so that they were able to see the balcony and the swimming pool! Back in Rothesay we had time for ice-cream and a quick peak at the marina before the ferry returned us to the mainland with a rather sleepy crew.

Our thanks to all at Mount Stuart and to Halls Coaches for a wonderful visit at such short notice.

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Titanic Project Week 1

Our Titanic Project pupils spent a week investigating facts about the ship and ship-building. They worked with storyteller, Allison Galbraith, to learn what makes a decent story, and visited the Titan Crane at Clydebank and the Denny Tank at Dumbarton, part of the Scottish Maritime Museum. The Science Department demonstrated buoyancy and helped pupils investigate floating (see below) and then pupils built a copy of the Titanic with Social Subjects.

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From Mr Law

The Science Department asked pupils to design a ship so that it wouldn’t sink.

The Groups did very well.  There were some excellent designs and some nervous and excited participants during the second phase of the challenge when designers add mass to the boats to see when they sink.

Results :

  • Johann & Harry: 1,200g
  • Nicole & Natalie: 2,000g
  • Gary & Dean: 2,000g
  • Zac, Shannon & Sammi:  2,800g

Forfeit for the others is that they have to refer to the winners as Captain for the rest of the day.

S5/6 Prelim Exams 2016

Upper school prelims begin on Monday 25th January, continuing until Monday 1st February. The exam timetable is as follows:

S5 S6 prelims Jan 16 Pupils

PDF version of timetable: 2016_0111_prelimtimetable

Please note that pupils are not permitted study leave during prelims. Our arrangements are as follows:

During the prelim exams pupils will be marked present on the day of their exam. If pupils do not have an exam on a particular day and do not attend school they will be marked absent. If for any reason your child is unwell or is unable to sit an exam the school should be contacted as soon as possible.


  • Throughout this week class teachers will be available as normal to offer support with revision.
  • Pupils by now should have a study timetable which will help them to thoroughly prepare for their forthcoming exams.
  • SQA past papers 
  • BBC bitesize websites
  • Scholar also provide useful revision materials.
  • Supported study is available in the majority of subjects.

Seat numbers

It is pupils’ responsibility to find out their seat number for each exam in advance and add the information to their timetables.  Seat numbers for all exams are displayed on the noticeboard across from the Support for Learning base. Principal Teachers will also advise pupils where this information is posted in relation to specific subjects.

Pupils should not go into any exam without knowing their seat numbers.

Easter Baskets

The S5/6 Personal Development class are selling Easter baskets complete with eggs of various sizes, little bunnies and chicks. Baskets cost £6 each and can be ordered through the school via Mrs Zambonini.


The money raised from the baskets is being split between charity and to provide starter funds for the Personal Development class’s next project.

Senior PSHE Day 4

On Friday, senior pupils participated in in their fourth PSHE Day. Pupils rotated around six areas:

  • Good Egg Drivers: pupils looked over the Good Egg Driver website and learned about safety for new and learner drivers. 
  • Police Scotland: Pearl ran a quiz to review what had been learned on previous PSHE days, followed by a game focusing on drugs, crime and personal safety.
  • Samaritans: the Samaritans discussed the issue of self harm, with personal account footage on video. The group discussed ’emotional first aid kits’, and everyone was given a stress toy in the shape of a mobile phone. There was a valuable discussion around the idea that self harm was attention seeking, which the Samaritans were quick to dismiss.
  • Study Skills: Mrs Macfadyen discussed how important it was for pupils to recognise their own study preferences – music, silence, mind-maps, relaxation – and asked pupils to pass on their own advice to 4th year pupils sitting exams for the first time. The groups also practised making up stories to help memorise a list in order
  • Mentors in Violence Prevention: the work focused on a video demonstrating how violence could be prevented. The video itself sparked a lot of discussion about what constitutes consent, what constitutes assault, and the role of alcohol in violent situations. Pupils worked with each other to identify ways that violent situations could be diffused or avoided altogether.
  • Learning profiles: pupils reviewed their previous work on strengths and accomplishments and updated their files.

“My sincere thanks to everyone who participated in today’s events.  To everyone who took groups, covered classes, answered phones, escorted visitors, laid out chairs, sorted ICT, gave up rooms, catered, photocopied, registered, Thanks!” Mrs Zambonini, Principal Teacher, PSHE


AH Chemistry at Glasgow University

Report from Miss McGinty

The Advanced Higher Chemistry pupils from Our Lady’s High School and St. Aidan’s attended the Joseph Black Building of the Chemistry department at Glasgow University on Thursday the 5th of February. This was to enable pupils understanding of the practical implications of the chemistry and techniques they are learning in the classroom. It also allowed them to analyse products they had made for their investigation, which is externally assessed by the SQA and worth 20% of their overall grade.

The pupils were also given a tour of the building by Dr. Beth Paschke and some information on attending the university. A great day was had by all!!

“Hannah Jacob, 7/2/43”

January 27th Is Holocaust Memorial Day.

This report from Gemma Greer
was written following a journey to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Educational Trust

Her name is an inescapable sibilation, twisting and roping itself around my neck, choking me since I returned home from the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Oświęcim. It was written on a suitcase, one of over 3000, piled high behind glass. There were plenty of other names written, looped and curved and marked by the unique hand of its owner- but hers stood out to me, and I fixated on it. When I asked about her, I didn’t expect the answer I received: Hannah was barely a year old when she arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944, and that is all that is known about her. There is no paperwork, no evidence of that innocent baby existing besides one single suitcase. It is not hard to guess her fate upon arrival in the camp – all children her age would have suffered the same one.

I don’t really know what I was expecting, to be perfectly honest. Maybe, I had been too idealised by textbooks and memoirs I had read, where victims of the Holocaust were recognised and given the proper respect, with detailed histories and old photographs. Their lives before the camp were documented. However, there was Hannah, nothing more than a name on a suitcase – nothing more than a victim of the camp, and not the bubbling, bouncing baby she must have been beforehand. And I didn’t want to reduce her to that. It made me angry, it really did, that everything had been taken from her: her history, her individuality and most importantly, her future. Reading about the Holocaust makes it seem a million miles away and often it becomes easier to consolidate 11 million deaths – 1.1 million of those in Auschwitz – as simply a number; we fail to remember that those killed were people, just like us.

That realisation is hard to come to unless you’ve stood there and you are faced with the reality.

Auschwitz-Birkenau is definitely not how I imagined it to be. Before going and even as I stood before “Arbeit Macht Frei”, I had all these expectations of a harsh, unforgiving landscape, eerily silent besides the striking whipping of the wind, but it was far from it: it was a sunny Autumn day, with the sun splitting through the trees like a fine-toothed comb. The sky was a soft bubblegum, and met harmoniously with vibrant green grass on the flat land. It was very pretty, which bugged me the entire day. How could the sun shine where so many people had lost their lives and their families? It was beyond reason. However, if you stood very still and silent for a few moments, the air would grow heavy very quickly, despite the bright sunshine all around. And then, maybe, you would be able to smell the deaths that still haunted the grounds.

The sheer scale of the Birkenau camp is also something which hits you hard: the railway line which runs through the middle, running off into the horizon. On the day, we were allowed to ascend the stairs to the watch tower, where the Commandant would stand in order to assess the camp and the prisoners. When you look out the windows, it is easy to understand the discrepancy of power between the SS guards and the prisoners. In that position, everyone below looks insignificant, like a tiny speck of dust.

What most people fail to realise is that Auschwitz-Birkenau is split up into three sections: Auschwitz 1, Auschwitz 2 Birkenau, and Auschwitz 3. While Auschwitz 3 is closed off to the public, we were allowed to visit Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau. Auschwitz is largely a museum with exhibits and displays detailing the camps part in the Holocaust – it is here where I saw Hannah’s suitcase. Birkenau is the more widely recognised image of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the landscape of movies based in the concentration camps – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, for example.

It was when I walked through the stone building used as a gas chamber in the Auschwitz part of the camp, my thoughts returned to Hannah, after several hours. I stood in the room where the prisoners were gassed, the stone walls appearing to push in on me, and tried to imagine what the scene must have been like for a little baby: men screaming, people clambering over one another, children crying, mothers attempting to comfort their babies, once they realised that they were not going for a shower. Even though I’ve stood in the path of all the death that occurred in Auschwitz-Birkenau, it’s still very hard for me to comprehend. Did she know what was going on? Can a baby understand that she’s going to die? I can’t even attempt to answer those questions. The gas chambers were most likely the hardest aspect of the visit for me, and it’s hard to truly explain why. There were also two larger ones in the Birkenau camp, used much more often for mass murder, as Auschwitz 1 was primarily for political prisoners and such. However, all that remains of them are ruins. One, destroyed in an uprising by prisoners, the anniversary of which coincided with our visit. On October 7, 1944, having learned that the SS was going to liquidate much of the camp, the members of the Sonderkommando – Jewish prisoners forced to work in the crematoriums to burn the bodies of those killed in the gas chambers, at Crematorium IV rose in revolt. Although quashed by the Nazis, the uprising was incredibly important in increasing morale for the remaining prisoners in the camp, that something could be done. Although it seems as if I’ve gone on for a long time about the tragedies of the camp, the stories of hope and perseverance are the thing which have stuck in my mind the most. It’s a lot easier to think of the strength of those in the camp than the degradation and humiliation they faced.

The other was destroyed by Nazis, attempting to liquidate the camp before the Allies reached it. The rubble takes on a significance when it’s front of you, and you can see the bricks, the rough edges. broken and chipped, of the victims, and for me personally, it felt like a gravestone. There are no graves, no markers for the victims on the camp, so as our guide read a journal entry beside the ruins – emotive and demanding that we do everything we can to remember what went on the camp, to never forget – I took a silent moment of mourning for them, as if it were.

Towards the end of the day, we arrived in front of a wall of photographs, in the “Sauna”- a room used for processing new arrivals- some of smiling couples, friends, families, and again, I found myself in front of the photos of the babies, and when my eyes fell upon each unidentified infant, I wondered to myself “Is that Hannah?” It was crazy, but I was clinging at straws. In the middle of the wall there was a plaque, and as I read the writing, I could feel my soul crushed:

 The first to perish were the children, abandoned orphans,

The world’s best, the bleak earth’s brightest,

These children from the orphanages might have been our comfort.

From these sad, mute, bleak faces our new dawn might have risen.

In these words, I found Hannah.

Rabbi Marcus spoke to us at the end of the day, and to say the least, he is not a man who minces his words. He shouted and yelled at us, a group of 200 students, about the importance of everything we had seen that day and its relevance to how we live our lives, how we can’t ignore it. His passion was catching, and a wave of enthusiasm slid over us. For the first time in the day, it didn’t feel as if I was experiencing Auschwitz alone. Flowers were placed and we lit candles which we lined up along the railway line. For the second time that day, I noted how strangely beautiful the place looked, with the light from the candles flickering under a full moon and a deep royal blue night sky. This time, however, it felt sombre and appropriate, and I smiled.

Walking back along the railway line that night, the one synonymous with the horrors of the camp, I felt guilty: I hadn’t cried all. I am usually an extremely sentimental person, I cry at almost everything, so why wasn’t I able to cry while hearing of the cruelty, the despair and the desperation? It made me feel inhumane, as if I had no heart. It plagued me the entire journey home too, until I got home, and collapsed into floods of tears when I tried to explain to my parents how my day had been. I had seen so much at the camp that none of it had really registered to me while I was there, I was too shocked to take it in, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed while you are there – the hard part is talking about it. Weeks later, I still find it hard to articulate the experience without a lump forming in my throat. But I push on, because people need to know about what went on there, they need to understand the stories of the victims, not just as victims but as people; they need to understand Hannah, so that there will not be another Hannah.

Drama Production Skills Workshop

Report by Mr Gillespie

Our Lady’s High School’s National 5 Drama classes enjoyed a superb opportunity to gain experience in a professional theatre venue earlier this month. They attended Cumbernauld Theatre for one full day on Thursday  15 January,

Our Lady’s pupils had the theatre all to themselves, with practical workshops on Lighting, Sound, Costume and Make Up. We worked in the theatre itself, in the studio, backstage and in the dressing rooms.  We worked with theatre staff, designers and technical staff, and got the opportunity to use the theatre’s lighting and sound equipment.  We looked at the different kinds of lanterns used in the theatre, and had the opportunity to explore their effect and to create some exciting lighting states.  We designed costume and created our own Soundscape for a piece of text, selecting sound effects choosing appropriate music and creating sound to enhance the production. Using Make Up proved great fun, but we also learnt about how to create the effect which we sought, and got the chance to try out some of our ideas on one another!

This was a great day, where pupils had the chance to use their imagination whilst learning about how to create some of the crucial backstage elements which go towards making a production so effective.  The National 5 Drama Production Skills workshop helped prepare pupils for the forthcoming National 5 examination. It covered important elements of the course, and helped pupils to understand much more about the nature and effect of the creative choices which are made when creating a production. Thanks go to Cumbernauld Theatre, to  the specialist staff who offered invaluable support, and to North Lanarkshire Council for supporting this excellent venture.

S5/6 Prelims

From Mrs Mulholland

Prelims begin on Monday 26th January and run until Tuesday 3rd February inclusive. All S5/6 must return to timetable on Wednesday 4th February.

Any S5/6 who does not have an exam but comes into school to study MUST sign in on the flipchart at the front of the school and delete his/her name when leaving. This is a Health and Safety issue.

The timetables are posted below for reference. Click on a sheet to enlarge it.

2015_prelims_Page_1 2015_prelims_Page_2

PSHE Day – Skills Development Scotland

On Thursday 15th January, OLHS held a very successful Senior PSHE day for all pupils in S5 and S6. Pupils had the whole day out of class for a number of important meetings and training sessions.

Ruth Robertson from Skills Development Scotland delivered The Buzz Personality Test, getting pupils to think about personality traits that they possess, how other people are different to them, and how they could use this information to help with their career decision making.

Part of the training involves pupils being given a four letter code. Each code refers to an animal – easier to remember than a code for most people – which suggests the types of job that a person might wish to investigate. This was very popular with pupils, with deep consideration about whether an owl or a bear really expressed their personality best.

Once they had their code / animal, pupils were asked to think silently for thirty seconds about their dream job, and how they could achieve this goal, before sharing their thoughts with a partner. The point of this exercise was to find out whether quiet, personal, more introverted consideration was easier for them than noisier, shared, more extroverted analysis, or vice versa. However, It became clear very quickly that for some, being silent for thirty seconds was almost painful. Whether this was due to their enthusiasm for their plans or a simple inability to wheesht remains unclear.

Many thanks to Ruth Robertson and her colleague for their time in Our Lady’s today.

OLHS Easter School, 8th-9th April 2015

Easter School will run on Wednesday 8th April and Thursday 9th April. During this time there will be tutorials in each subject which will last for one and a half hours. Each day will start at 9.30 a.m. prompt and finish at 3.00 p.m.

Pupils who attended last year’s Easter School found it extremely useful,  enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere with staff, but noticed that they covered far more than they might have managed studying alone.

Please note there will be no transport or catering facilities available during Easter School, However it is hoped that each day there will be an ‘Upper Crust’ run organised for those who do not wish to bring a packed lunch.

You will be asked to sign up for 3 tutorials per day. Each tutorial will only have space for 20 and not every subject will be represented. You will NOT be allowed to opt for the one subject 3 times in one day.

Easter School 2015 Timetable. Click to enlarge.

Easter School 2015 Timetable. Click to enlarge.

There will also be opportunities for supervised study and/or relaxation sessions.

Pupils who intend to attend Easter School should fill in the form they were given at the S4 assembly last week or at Senior PSHE Day on Thursday 15th January and return it to Mrs Mulholland by Monday 19th January. 

Parents/Carers also need to countersign this form.

A copy of the form is available below.

OLHS Easter School pupil 2015 (PDF version)


Off to CERN!

Report from Mr Law

Congratulations and good wishes to Aidan Coates from Our Lady’s High as he begins final preparations for his trip to CERN. As a winner of the Ogden Trust/Glasgow University,“Elementary”, competition earlier this year he will be fortunate enough to gain experience of areas less accessible to the general public. Trip leader and particle Physics expert, Dr Aidan Robson from Glasgow University will lead the successful students and 2 accompanying teachers (including this extremely happy and grinning educator) on a journey of discovery in the scientific wonder lab that smashes subatomic particles together at speeds approaching the speed of light. Discovering why the universe works the way it does is of course not the only benefit of such scientific endeavours. CERN was also the birthplace of the world wide web … and so our use of the Internet.

A very early start from Glasgow University leads to Edinburgh Airport and a flight to Geneva in Switzerland. A possible bus and tram journey later will help students experience public transport in another country before arrival at the world renowned home of the Large Hadron Collider and its 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets. Accommodation at CERN and eating at the same cafeteria as the cream of the scientific particle physics community should certainly offer opportunities for plenty of questions. An itinerary that also includes visiting some experiments, particle accelerators and exhibitions as well as meeting up with postgraduate students from Glasgow and other British Universities should provide plenty of scope for career related inquiries as well as helping develop an understanding of quantum physics. A possible trip into Geneva will perhaps be the icing on the cake.

So thanks again for the sponsorship and an experience that may very well influence the career choices of our current crop of science students. There appears to be an increasing number of opportunities nowadays for those interested in STEM subjects to gain an understanding of how these subjects are used in the world outside school.

Servant Leadership Programme

2014_0826_leadershipFifteen pupils and two staff took part in the Servant Leadership Programme run by the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge.

Over two days, including an overnight stay, the group worked with Michael Canning to learn more about team building, being organised and the skills and qualities required not only to be a leader, but more importantly, to be a leader that provides a service to others.

All those who attended agreed that it was an outstanding event, with emotional highs and howls of laughter interspersed with silent contemplation and candlelit prayers.

Report from Katie Anne Hunter

Last Monday and Tuesday, 25/26th of August, 15 of us new 6th year joined an overnight retreat to the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge for a Servant Leadership Course which was to try make us the best leaders we can be in our new roles as House Captains and Prefects.

Monday was started off with a few icebreakers which got everyone loosened up for the day’s activities and also made people feel a bit more comfortable. Our day after this was filled with team building activities, personal reflections and also filled with drinking a lot of tea and eating a lot of good food.

After our day we had Night Prayer which was a very different experience for everyone. We were all grouped up in fours and in these fours, in a mini huddle, Fr Paddy came around and blessed us all which was quite an overwhelming experience for us all as well as being different. The best part of it however was the fact we got to do it in our jammies!

The Tuesday began with another good meal and little did we know, it was going to be an incredibly emotional day. Michael showed us some videos about people helping one another which got a few people started but then when he asked us to write a letter to someone who means a lot to us and who also inspire us and tell them why we chose them, everyone had to really dig deep into their feelings which shed a tear or 50 especially for the girls. It was truly emotional but we all felt very uplifted after it as we began to realise how lucky we are to have these people in our lives.

After our emotional day and our short journey of Servant Leadership, we had our final mass which brought us all together for the last time. Before the mass, Fr Tom asked us in our school groups to come up with some ideas which we could take back to our schools and give some of the things we learned at this retreat back to the schools. These lists got read out at mass and this was to conclude our visit.

We all had a fantastic time and when asked what we do to improve it, we all said maybe add another day! None of us expected to enjoy it as much as we did but all of us said that we were so glad to be a part of it.