School

Agenda for Parent Council meeting on 6 September

2 September 2022: The first Parent Council meeting of this session will be held on Tuesday 6 September at 7 pm, and all parents and carers are most warmly invited to attend. This meeting will be held online using MS Teams, and the joining link will be circulated by email by the School next week.

The provisional agenda for the meeting is:

  • PC report and update on Head Teacher recruitment – Sarah Scott, Chair JGHS Parent Council
  • Head Teacher report – Neil McCallum, Acting Head Teacher
  • Christmas Concert 2022 – Mairi McLennan, Curriculum Lead for Performing Arts
  • Active Schools – Eliot Ambrose, Active Schools Coordinator for JGHS
  • Darroch Refurbishment – Laura Stewart, Deputy Head Teacher
  • Q&A

If there are particular issues or queries that you would like raised during the meeting, please send these to us by email:

Email the Parent Council

Please note that there will no written Q&A after the meeting. Please emphasise any question you are interested in by using the “like” function in the Q&A panel to help us get through all business during the meeting.

Dates for upcoming Parent Council meetings

21 August 2022: The JGHS Parent Council meeting will be holding regular meetings throughout the year. All parents and carers are very warmly invited to join us at these meetings, and to bring any questions or areas of concern to our discussions.

This year’s meetings will be held in a mixture of online and in-person formats.

Dates of meetings

Meetings will be held at 7 pm on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 6 September 2022
  • Wednesday 12 October 2022 (AGM)
  • Tuesday 29 November 2022
  • Wednesday 1 February 2023
  • Tuesday 21 March 2023
  • Wednesday 31 May 2023

Contact us

f there are any issues you would like to raise with the Parent Council, please contact us by email:

Email the Parent Council

Welcome back to the Parent Council

19 August 2022: The first Parent Council meeting for 2022/23 will be on Tuesday 6 September at 7pm. 

This will be an online meeting and will be an opportunity to find out about the work of the PC, meet our new Headteacher, Neil McCallum, and hear about what is happening at the school at the start of the new term.

Questions for the meeting can be raised in advance by emailing the Parent Council and we will try to include them in the updates. There will also be the opportunity to raise questions via the Q&A typed chat facility on the night.  

Email the Parent Council

Please look out for the joining link for the meeting, which will be sent by the School in the week of the meeting.

This year, the PC plans to have a mixture of online and in-person meetings – dates for all the meetings are given below:

  • Tuesday 6 September 2022
  • Wednesday 12 October 2022 (AGM)
  • Tuesday 29 November 2022
  • Wednesday 1 February 2023
  • Tuesday 21 March 2023
  • Wednesday 31 May 2023

Goodbye to Mr Macdonald

Wonderful send off from parents and carers

When the Parent Council made an appeal to families to contribute to a fund to mark Donald Macdonald’s retirement from teaching, and from JGHS, we were confident that it would be well supported, reflecting the high regard in which our departing Head teacher is held, and the affection which the school community has for him.

We are therefore delighted to announce that this appeal raised the sum of £2,212.86.

We were delighted, on behalf of parents and families at the school, to present Donald with a beautiful bowl from a local pottery, and also with his very own Leavers 2022 hoodie. The lovely farewell messages from JGHS families have been compiled and are being passed on to Donald as a further souvenir of his time at Gillespie’s.

Gifts presented to Mr Macdonald by the Parent Council

Donald J Macdonald Award

The generosity of families means that we are able now to set up an award which will be an enduring legacy of Donald’s time at the school. This will be named the Donald J Macdonald Award and will aim to recognise the achievements of pupils, reflecting the values of the school of respect, kindness, integrity, inclusion and high expectations, which Donald himself values so much and promoted throughout his time here.

Further details of the award will be announced in the new school year, to allow consultation with the school and – most importantly – Donald himself.

Thank you!

Over the last ten years at Gillespie’s Donald has seen thousands of children through their schooling and on to life in the outside world. We would like to thank him for for his commitment to Gillespie’s over that period, through good times, and great times, but also – and particularly over the last two years – in times which have been challenging and stressful. 

His support of children and families throughout, and also his willingness to take unpopular stances on our behalf, knowing that it was in the best interests of the school and its pupils, has been very much appreciated.

Goodbye, Donald, and our very best wishes for a long, healthy and happy retirement. Or, as they might say in North Uist: Gur math a thèid leibh, a Dhòmhnuill – bidh sinn gur n-ionndrainn!

JGHS Parent Council

Mr Neil McCallum to be Acting Head Teacher at JGHS

10 June 2022: Today parents and carers at JGHS received a letter from Jackie Reid, Acting Senior Education Manager at the City of Edinburgh Council, to say that Mr Neil McCallum, currently Head Teacher at Balerno High School, has been appointed as Acting Head Teacher at JGHS from August to December, 2022.

The letter went on to say that “Mr McCallum has previously worked in James Gillespie’s, which provides him with a well-established knowledge of the school context. His extensive leadership skills and experience will augment the strength of the existing senior leadership team to provide the continuity and stability needed at this time”.

Update on recruitment of new Headteacher at JGHS

27 May 2022: The post of Headteacher at JGHS was advertised by the Council at the beginning of May, with the hope that a replacement for the school’s retiring Head, Donald Macdonald, could be put in post as close as possible to his departure date in August. 

That advert has now closed, and the Council have decided that the post should be re-advertised to allow more time for all prospective candidates to register an interest.  This will take place after the summer holidays at the beginning of the 2022/23 school session.

For the period up to Christmas, the Council are planning to designate an Acting Headteacher, and are hoping to recruit a suitable candidate from amongst the secondary Headteachers in Edinburgh.

Parent Council involvement

Parent representatives have been working with the Council to find the best way forward in this process. The Parent Council has emphasised the importance of a capable, committed and enthusiastic acting Headteacher being in place as soon as possible so they are able to work with Mr Macdonald in the run-up to his retirement and can take over smoothly after the summer. 

They have also stressed that the new recruitment process should be a dynamic and open one, which is advertised as widely as possible and will maximise the possibility of a competitive range of candidates being attracted to the role.

Please send any comments you have about this matter to the Parent Council.

Email the Parent Council

Next Parent Council meeting on Tuesday 22 March 2022

22 March 2022 update: The next Parent Council meeting is tonight, Tuesday 22 March at 7 pm and will include a presentation by Faculty Head, Ashling Dolan, on the Maths curriculum

Agenda

  • Update on PC activities – Sarah Scott, PC Chair
  • Mathematics Curriculum – Ashling Dolan, Acting Curriculum Leader for Maths
  • Update on Active Schools – Eliot Ambrose, Active Schools Co-ordinator
  • Head Teacher’s Report – Donald Macdonald
  • Questions – via Q&A chat

The joining link has been sent out by email by the School.

Please email the PC with any questions or issues you would like included in the Head Teacher’s update.

Email the Parent Council

Details of last meeting

The recording of our last meeting on 26 January 2022, and a copy of the Q&A, are available on the PC website:

PC meeting 26 January 2022

Choice, attainment and positive destinations research project

5 March 2022: James Gillespies High School is taking part in a research project being led by Stirling University on the impact of Curriculum for Excellence on attainment, subject choice and student experience. 

Take part in the project

As part of the research, the investigators would like to speak with a group of 4-6 parents with a child/children in S4-S6 to learn about their experience of supporting their child to make subject choices. 

There will be an online meeting with the group on Monday 14 March at 7 pm (about an hour). If you would be interested in participating, please contact the Parent Council by email:

Email the Parent Council 

Further information is available on the project website and on Twitter:

Choice, Attainment and Positive Destinations

Twitter

JGHS Christmas Concert 2021

Sadly, due to the ongoing pandemic, the School was not able to host its usual Christmas concert in the Usher Hall.

Instead, pupils and the JGHS music department recorded performances by the wonderfully talented ensembles and bands at the school, and put together a fantastic online Christmas concert.

You can view it now via YouTube – Happy Christmas everyone!

Welcome back!

JGHS Parent Council would like to welcome you back to – and for those who are new, welcome you into – James Gillespie’s High School for the 2021/22 session.

The Parent Council is here to represent all parents and carers at the school, including by: 

  • putting forward parents’ views
  • consulting and providing feedback to the school
  • providing refreshments at school events
  • fundraising for school projects, equipment, books and trips
  • co-ordinating with other Parent Councils
  • making representations to the City Council

The Parent Council meets several times a year and we encourage everyone to get involved in whatever way they feel able. 

We will shortly be publishing our calendar of PC meeting dates for the session and reporting on the survey of parents which we carried out before the summer holidays.  

In the meantime, there is more information on the PC’s work on the website and we can be contacted at jghscouncilcomms@gmail.com for any questions or to raise any issues.