Parent Council

Parent Council meeting on 1 February: addressing antiracism

2 February 2023: Many thanks to everyone who was able to attend the JGHS parent council meeting on Wednesday 1 February.

This was a very interesting meeting, which covered a wide range of topics over the course of the evening. The minutes will be available in due course.

Antiracism activities at JGHS

The main focus was on antiracism activities at JGHS with presentations give by teachers Mr Porter, Mr Watt and Mr Cham, and by Grace Dempsey from Intercultural Youth Scotland, and the work she is doing in the school to support pupils and teachers to address racism and discrimination.

Intercultural Youth Scotland

A+ Group

We were also very pleased to hear about the A+ Group, a new project that will be starting in the school later this month, led by Zaki El-Salahi.

The group:

  • is for Parents & Carers of young people who are from the African and Asian diaspora, and go to JGHS
  • is also open to Parents & Carers with ‘Ethnic Minority’ status, who want to listen, learn from, & support Black and Asian families at JGHS
  • will make specific parts of our meetings welcome to White/’Ethnic Majority’ Parents & Carers – to listen, learn from & support us.

You can learn more about the group and its aims below:

A+ Group – slides

A+ Group further information

The group will meet online on the last Wednesday of each month from February to June 2023. For further information and/or join the A+ group, please contact Zaki:

Email Zaki

Next Parent Council meeting on Wednesday 1 February

Update 25 January 2023: The next meeting of the James Gillespies High School Parent Council will be at 7 pm on Wednesday 1 February 2023 in the library at the school. We very much hope that you can join us.


The main presentation at the meeting will be on work on anti-racist approaches at the school.

There will also be the regular updates from Headteacher Neil McCallum, and the Parent Council.

  • Welcome
  • Anti-Racism
    • Presentations and Q&A
  • Minutes of last in-person meeting (12 October 2022)
  • Parent Council Update
  • Finance Update
  • Headteacher’s Report
  • AOCB
  • Dates of next meetings
    • 21 March 2023 (online)
    • 31 May 2023 (in person)

Contact us

If there are other issues that you like to raise at the meeting, please let us know by email:

Email the Parent Council

Previous meetings

Information about our meetings earlier this academic session can be found below:

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Wednesday 12 October 2022 – AGM

Tuesday 29 November 2022

JGHS Parent Council meeting minutes

Christmas fundraising – thank you!

15 December 2022: Many thanks to everyone who came along to the JGHS Christmas concerts this week (Tuesday 13 December) – it was fantastic to see everyone back in the school to celebrate the talents of our young people and to meet one another again.

The Parent Council took in over £400 on the refreshments stall at the fayre that ran between the concerts, and also raised over £100 at the coursing night on 6 December – we are very grateful for all these contributions, which will go towards the Small Funds Fund supporting activities in the school.

There is also still time to make a contribution to the Parent Council’s Festive Fundraiser, which is currently running on Parent Pay. Again, all the funds raised will go to the Small Funds Fund, and will be most appreciated.

Make a donation on ParentPay

Christmas Concerts 2022

8 December 2022: The James Gillespie’s High School Performing Arts Faculty invites you to the Christmas Concerts 2022! 

This year there will be two performances of the Christmas concert on Tuesday 13 December at 5 pm and 7.30 pm, in the Muriel Spark Theatre at James Gillespie’s High School. Tickets can be booked via Parent Pay.

Refreshments and pupil showcase

In the time between the two shows, there will be a mini-fayre in the Forum, Malala Building, with a home baking stall, crafts table and refreshments, in aid of the Parent Council’s Small Sum’s Fund.

Some pupil committees will also be showcasing their work. 

All parents are warmly welcome to attend this part of the evening, even if they do not have a ticket for one of the concerts.  It would be helpful if guests could bring cash to this event if possible please! 


5.00 – 6.15 pm Concert 1 in the Muriel Spark Theatre

6.15 – 7.15 pm Refreshments in the Forum (Malala)

7.30 – 8.45 pm Concert 2 in the Muriel Spark Theatre  

We are delighted that Tony Marsh will be videoing the concert. The recording will be available by the 31 January 2023. 

Festive Fundraiser 2022!

2 December 2022: After a long term, we hope that you are looking forward to the holidays.

Like last year, we are launching a Festive Fundraiser in aid of our successful Small Sums Fund, so that we can continue supporting important educational projects at JGHS, and providing help to our pupils who need it most.

If you can, we’d be very grateful if you could make a donation via Parent Pay. Please click below:

Look out for the “Parent Council Fundraising” button at the bottom of the list of payment items for your JGHS student(s). All funds raised during the Festive Fundraiser go directly to the JGHS Small Sums Fund. 

Supporting equity and attainment

This year the Parent Council has been really pleased to fund projects that support equity and attainment, for example:

  • Basket ball strips for the PE department
  • Subscription to The Week junior for the English department
  • Books and games for the Maths department
  • Active Learn subscriptions for the Modern Languages department
  • Digimaps subscription for Geography department
  • Support for decoration and fitting out of the new Support for Learning classroom in Bruntsfield House
  • Guitar lessons for pupils with Additional Support Needs
  • Materials for the knitting club
  • Plants for reception

Notes from teachers

As you know, we moved into a large, empty room in Bruntsfield House last year. We spent the money on making the room more welcoming for the students who access it and bought soft furnishings, plants, cabinets to display pupils’ work and lots of picture frames. We held a small art exhibition in July of the work of the students who access SfL and invited their parents in to see this. It was a great success and something we plan to replicate this year. Thanks again for the money we received.

Mr Cockcroft: Support for Learning

Thanks so much for your financial support. The money was exceptionally useful. We set up a curricular DofE Silver group for students in the senior school who would benefit from a supported DofE experience. Most of the young people were known to us in SfL. The money was used to help with supporting their expedition with some kit hire, rental of accommodation, paying for the young people to ‘volunteer’ at Gorgie farm and supporting financially two young people for their Edinburgh Leisure passes so they could use the gym facilities regularly. The course has been a real success. All the youngsters who were still in school in June completed the Silver expedition and felt like a real team.

Support for learning: funding for pupils known to SfL to participate in Duke of Edinburgh scheme

Once again my huge thanks to the Parent Council for supporting our work in the English department as we strive to embed reading at the heart of our lessons. The money I received to purchase copies of The Week Junior has been really helpful with junior classes. It means there is always something current on hand to read – most useful when some of our pupils just don’t have a book of their own at home… It has also proved invaluable in helping me to teach skills for RAUE activities, elements of non-fiction work, and discussing key issues affecting our World in an age-appropriate way. Many thanks!

English: The Week Junior subscription

Find out more

You can find out more about the Small Sums Fund, and the initiatives it supports, on the Parent Council website You can find out more about the initiatives supported by this year’s Fund below:

Small Sums Fund

Thank you!

Recording of Parent Council meeting on 29 November

1 December 2022: Many thanks to everyone who was able to attend the meeting of the JGHS Parent Council on Tuesday 29 November 2022.

This was a very full meeting which covered a lot of information about activities within the school, and included a very useful presentation about the SQA results achieved by young people at the school in the 2021/22 exam diet.

A recording of the meeting is now available on YouTube and a brief minute is linked below.

Recording of the Parent Council Meeting on 29 November 2022

Minutes of Parent Council Meeting on 29 November 2022

The slides presented by the Headteacher Mr Neil McCallum on the SQA results can be viewed at the link below:

SQA presentation by Neil MacCallum, 29 November 2022

Next Parent Council Meeting is 29 November

Updated 24 November 2022: The next meeting of the Parent Council will be on Tuesday 29 November 2022 at 7 pm. The main presentation at the meeting will be an analysis of the school’s SQA results in 2022.

The meeting will be held on MS Teams, and the joining link will be sent by the school just before the event, so please look out for the email.  We hope you will be able to join us.

Draft agenda

  • Update from Parent Council
  • Headteacher’s report, including updates (amongst others) on:
    • Mental health work in the school
    • IT in the school
    • School trips
    • Staffing
    • Transition into the Darroch building
    • The S4 prelims
  • SQA results 2021/22

There will be the opportunity on the night to ask questions via the Q&A typed chat facility, but if you want to raise an issue in advance, please email the PC and we will try to include it in the updates.

Email the Parent Council

Dates of future Parent Council meetings

  • Wednesday 1 February 2023 (in the school)
  • Tuesday 21 March 2023 (online)
  • Wednesday 31 May 2023 (in the school)

Connect membership

15 November 2022: The Parent Council is a member of Connect, which is an education charity which provides support for parents, Parent Councils, Parent Teacher/Staff Associations, and other parent bodies in Scotland.

Through Connect through Connect parents can gain access to services like online Information Sessions, regular newsletters, advice and support, Parents’ Voice online surveys, dedicated Facebooks pages and other facilities.

Have a look at the latest Connect newsletter here:

November update from Connect

All parents at JGHS can also register as members – just choose the option ‘The PC/PTA at my child’s school is a member of Connect’.

Register as a member of Connect

Report from Parent Council AGM on 12 October 2022

28 October 2022: The James Gillespies High School Parent Council held its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 12 October, in the school library. We were joined by approx 30 parents, for this first in-person meeting of the PC in over two and a half years.

Meeting business

The meeting addressed a number of issues, and a full minute of the proceedings will be available shortly.

  1. Updates from previous Parent Council meeting
    • Headteacher recruitment
    • Council engagement
    • Donald J. Macdonald prize
    • School events
    • Rising rolls
  2. Arrangements for future PC meetings
  3. Chair’s Report
  4. Finance Report
  5. Election of Parent Council and Office Bearers
  6. Headteacher’s Report

There was considerable discussion about the rising rolls at the School, and this situation has been taken as an action for the Parent Council to pursue in the coming weeks.

The presentation made by PC treasurer Ros Ingle is available at the link below.

JGHS Parent Council Treasurer Presentation, October 2022

Darroch Annex

The PC heard from deputy head teacher Miss McIver about the refurbishment of the new Darroch Annex, which opened for business on 27 October 2022.

Pupils and teachers alike are very excited to be moving into the new teaching and activity spaces!

The images of the new annex at Darroch: clockwise from top left – new entrance, bright and spacious classrooms, gym hall (with a sprung floor), dining hall.

New members and office bearers

The meeting also re-appointed the existing office bearers of the Parent Council, and we were delighted that a number of new members have also joined the committee.

The full committee membership is below (new members are indicated by *):

  • Sarah Scott (Chair)
  • Kirstin Leighton (Secretary)
  • Ros Ingle (Treasurer)
  • Hilary Snaith (Communications)
  • Laura Bird (Communications)
  • Tiziana Basciani*
  • Nicolas Boyes
  • Rob Dunbar
  • Orla Hobson
  • Christiane Kerlen*
  • Padraic Kinsella*
  • Ailsa Macintosh
  • Caroline McKellar*
  • Aileen Nimmo
  • Bec Phipps*
  • Kate Pinault*
  • Vikki Plant
  • Joanne Sapienza Chapman*
  • Steffi Schultze
  • Lisa Sutherland
  • Penny Tarsia
  • María Angélica Thumala Olave*
  • Charles Warlow

We are very grateful to all the members, new and old, who have joined the Parent Council.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Parent Council will be held online via MS Teams at 7 pm on Tuesday 29 November 2022.

More details will be available on our website in due course.

Contact us

If you have any questions for the Parent Council, or issues that you would like to raise with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch:

Email the Parent Council

JGHS Parent Council annual reports and AGM

Updated 7 October 2022: The Annual General Meeting of the James Gillespies High School Parent Council will be held on Wednesday 12 October at 7 pm in the school library. All parents and carers are most warmly invited to join with us.

This will be an opportunity to review the activities of the past year, appoint office bearers, and to welcome new members.

Meeting agenda

  1. Welcome
  2. Updates from previous Parent Council meeting
    • Headteacher recruitment
    • Council engagement
    • Donald J. Macdonald prize
    • School events
    • Rising rolls
    • Arrangements for future PC meetings
  3. Chair’s Report
  4. Finance Report
  5. Election of Parent Council and Office Bearers
  6. Headteacher’s Report
  7. AOCB
  8. Date of next meeting:  29 November 2022 (online)

Annual reports

The 2021/22 Annual Report from the Chair of the JGHS Parent Council, Sarah Scott, is now available, as well as the Annual Accounts and Treasurer’s Report prepared by the Treasurer Ros Ingle:

Annual Report 2021/22

Annual Accounts 2021/22

Treasurer’s report 2021/22

Information about the applications submitted to the Small Sums Fund over the past year, and details of the allocations awarded are also available:

Small Sums Fund

Join the Parent Council

If you are interested in joining the Parent Council, please get in touch with us by email before the AGM, or simply let us know on the night:

Email the Parent Council