School

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

Rising rolls and capacity at JGHS

1 February 2023: Following discussion at the JGHS Parent Council meeting in October 2022, it was agreed that the Parent Council would seek to engage with the City of Edinburgh Council about future accommodation requirements at the School.

The Parent Council has now sent a letter to Edinburgh City Council outlining the our concerns and asking for meaningful dialogue with the Council to address the issues raised.

A copy of the letter is available at the link below:

James Gillespie’s High School Capacity Planning

If you have any comments to make about the issues raised, please send them to the Parent Council.

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! 

Programme

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. 

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”.