End of Year Message from Head Teacher
I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very relaxing and enjoyable summer holiday.
This year has been an incredibly busy and very successful year. The Celebration of Achievement event on Friday 17th June was a fabulous way to celebrate the successes of our young people and to reflect on the past year. A full list of award winners was published in the Ileach and I just want to again congratulate every single one of the students who gained awards. We also gave our S6 leavers a good send off at the Ballygrant Inn the following evening and we would like to wish them all the very best for the future. We were fortunate to have two inspiring speakers at the Celebration of Achievement: Catriona Brodie, a former pupil and owner of the Pharmacy in Bowmore, and David Hayman, well known actor, presenter and director and founder of the Spirit Aid Charity. Both visitors gave emotive and passionate speeches, encouraging our youngsters to be bold, to follow their dreams and not let other things get in the way but also to be responsible, David set down a challenge about achieving a sustainable planet. We have put the speeches on our website so please take time to read these, especially if you were not able to make the event itself.
Each year at the Celebration of Achievement, we put together a slide presentation of “A Year in the Life of Islay High School” and it always amazes us just how much has happened over the year and we are never able to include everything in the presentation. Hopefully, you have been able to keep up with many of the events as they have appeared on our Facebook page but I thought I would give you a flavour of what has been going on the last couple of months:
2 days of P7 induction and Parents’ Information Evening
Mediated Learning Workshops (two x 2 hours) for staff
Morning of Highland Games for S1
S2 presented their Personal Health Plans
Had a visit from staff at a school in Donegal and hope to build regular links with them
Students competing at the MAKI Softball Tournament in Tarbert
Three-day Learning Adventure programme for S1
All of the new S3 students spent an afternoon of induction into the senior phase of the curriculum
Caroline Gorman from TESSA delivered workshops to S1 and S2
25 pupils were involved for three days in the Youth Enquiry Process devising projects that could be funded through Fourteen.
Visit from the Royal Marines and Royal Navy ‘Fit for Life’ delivering workshops on nutrition, exercise and careers to S3-S6.
Visit by Sky Ambassador Theo Spalding (Judo Olympic gold medallist) with Sports Leaders
Very successful weekend Rugby Trip to Mull
Very successful 3-day trip for 16 pupils to the Royal Highland Show
Inter-house competitions in rowing and in softball
Learning Support department had a fantastic day out to Jura
As you know, the authority continues to struggle with financial constraints and obviously this has a knock on effect to education with cuts to our budgets. Next year will be much of the same but despite this I feel optimistic and confident that we can continue to offer the best possible opportunities and experiences for our students and as always we will strive to ensure that the learning and teaching will be of the highest standard. My optimism and confidence is founded on the tremendously supportive community and parents as well as a dedicated and enthusiastic staff team.
At the end of each year, there is always one or two members of staff leaving us but this year we have eight: Ellie MacGregor (French and Spanish teacher), Neil Galligan (Art and Design teacher), Efrem Jones (Maths teacher), Hannah Newton (History probationer teacher), Laura Callan (English probationer teacher), Connor Campbell (ICT technician), Erin Quigley (Librarian) and Fraser Barker (temporary ICT technician). This is a big loss and each of them have made important contributions to the school and we would like to thank them for all their hard work and commitment and wish them all the very best for the future.
We are busily trying to recruit new staff and have already appointed Heather Priestly (History teacher) and Niall Anderson (Maths teacher). There were no applicants or suitable candidates for Modern languages or the Art and Design posts and these will have to be re-advertised. However, we are confident that we will have specialist teachers in on a supply basis at the start of the new term. Another Maths teacher is likely to be appointed any day now (negotiations are still ongoing) and interviews for an ICT technician will take place over the summer holidays. In the meantime we are delighted to have two returning members of staff who have been off on maternity leave, Nicola Moran (PT Student Support) who started back last week and Norma Broad (English teacher) who will start back in August.
Students will be waiting nervously for their exam results on the 9th of August. Hopefully all students will achieve what they were hoping for but should a pupil’s results be disappointing there is no need to contact the school requesting a marker review as the school will automatically put in a marker review request to the SQA should there be enough evidence to support this. The only exception is if a candidate’s result has an impact on university or college entrance in autumn. In this instance the school should be contacted so an emergency marker review can be submitted if there is sufficient evidence. Although the school is officially closed, there will be members of staff in the building on the 9th and 10th of August to answer any questions or concerns.
The school will open on Monday 15th of August for staff only as there will be two staff inset days. The start of the new term for pupils is Wednesday 17th August. So I hope you all have a wonderful relaxing Summer holiday wherever that may be and here’s hoping for more of the sunshine we had in May!
We are a small school with big ambitions and there will be many opportunities coming up to get our students, parents and community involved in the developments we have planned.The Head Teacher’s blog will give you a flavour of what is happening in school on a regular basis. We also have a parent’s forum where our Parent Council can pass on information and the school can answer Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs). If you are interested in working with the school, have any suggestions of items you would like included on this website or have a general enquiry please Contact Us using the details from the sidebar on the left. We will also keep you up to date with any issues we have and any important messages.