22nd January 2016

We began the week with news from the weekend. Some might think that the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue activity on the side of the Eildon Hills, which included a helicopter from Her Majesty’s Coastguard, was the most exciting event: not a bit of it.  Mrs Fresle provided the world with Annabel Sandie Frances Fresle, weighing in at 9lb½oz.  I was thrilled to report, and can continue to do so, that Annabel, Mum and Dad have all settled in to their new routine very well. baby Fresle

Continuing with the welcoming theme, Form 5 were joined by Libby B, Form 3 were joined by Anna B, and Form 1 welcomed Callum B.  All three have settled into their new school day very well, and we are delighted they have joined us.

On Tuesday evening, teaching staff received “Prevent” training from Crime Prevention Officers Nick Walker and Jeff How.  This training is part of Scottish Government’s approach to identifying young people who might be vulnerable to recruitment from extreme groups.  Though largely aimed at school teachers of older senior school pupils, the course proved informative and enlightening, if a little concerning at times.
We had an excellent day of fixtures on Wednesday.  Please see website for individual match reports.  Mr P and Mrs Letts then headed to Glenshee with our skiers and an entourage of supportive parents, to compete in the Scottish Prep Schools Ski Championships.
skiers Jan 16 skiers Jan 16 2

This morning I congratulated our team (Molly, Samuel, Stephanie, Cameron, Wilfie, Thomas, Matt and Chloe-Marie), not because they had won any medals, nor arrived back to St. Mary’s with a trophy, but because I had received feedback from various sources about how positive, polite, cooperative and appropriately competitive the team had been. Well done to all involved for making this a worthwhile venture.
Much to Miss Simpson’s delight, I then went on to talk about collective nouns for animals, fish, birds and insects. For example; a shrewdness of apes, a troop of baboons, a cete of badgers, an unkindness of ravens, a destruction of wild cats, and a clat of worms. I then invited suggestions for a collective name for a group of school teachers, with a prize due to be awarded to the best, if not correct, answer on Monday.  Do feel free to enter by dropping Julie an email in the office if you wish.  No anonymous entries will be accepted!

Following on from Assembly, the Morrison Hall was a buzz of activity as Ms McRae set about a full day of rehearsal with Forms 3, 4 and 5 for the forthcoming middle school production of ‘Porridge’.
As the week draws to a close, I would like to wish our Form 8 pupils sitting scholarship exams in the coming week all the very best. 

I would like to remind parents of Forms 5, 6 and 7 that I will be giving a talk on Choosing a Senior School in the Hamilton Building on Thursday 28th January at 5:15pm. 
We have had encouraging news that Chef was discharged from hospital earlier this week, and is at home recuperating whilst reading all the cards offering good wishes.  Meanwhile, Pam and her team are doing their very best to cope and, with a little extra help from our graduate assistants James and Rowan, are managing to keep the “pack” of St. Mary’s wolves fed.
Finally, if you are out and about this weekend, look out for a bevy of roe deer, a paddling of ducks, a murmuration of starlings, a mob of kangaroos, a tiding of magpies…


Jules Birdsall, 22/01/2016

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