29th January 2016

Any bleary-eyed pupils and staff sat in the Morrison Hall on Monday morning soon received a rude awakening, as Mr Bell piped in the haggis carried by Head Boy Harry, who then addressed the haggis on behalf of the school.  This was followed by a recital of “A Man’s a Man for A’ That” by Robert Burns, and an explanation that Burns measured people by their honesty and integrity, not their level of wealth and self-importance; a sound lesson for all of us. 
A full cast rehearsal for the Middle School play ‘Porridge’ took place, whilst the rest of the school cracked on with their academic curriculum.
Heavy rain and some now commonplace flooding put paid to several fixtures on Wednesday, though it was possible for some football matches to take place here at St. Mary’s, thanks to the excellent drainage and care and attention of our back pitches from Mr Bell.  Results and match reports can be read on the website. 
On Thursday evening, I met with several parents of Forms 5, 6 and 7 pupils to give a talk on Choosing a Senior School. Thank you to Miss Simpson and Mrs Edwardson for adding their thoughts, and to all the parents who attended, all of whom asked some very interesting questions. 
This morning, Miss McRae put up several of her more able musicians and singers to perform in front of the school and a handful of proud parents; violin, flutes, recorders and singing voices made up a most entertaining assembly.  I was then able to award Oliver deG and Tiggy with book tokens for their first five book reviews, before congratulating all the pupils who suggested a collective noun for a ‘number of teachers’.  Amongst the interesting entries were: tribe, intelligence, grumble, pick ‘n’ mix, school, concentration, and clan, but the winning entry went to Hannah F for her suggestion of an ‘alphabet of teachers’. 
Fearing a vicious backlash from disgruntled parents, I cunningly handed your suggestions over to Miss Simpson, who was most impressed.  She particularly liked an ‘inspiration of teachers’, but felt that might be seen as blowing one’s own trumpet, so congratulations to Mrs Muir, whose suggestion of a ‘forbearance of teachers’ has been judged as the winning entry.  Our eloquent judge described this suggestion as working elegantly in the style of collective nouns, and having a depth of meaning: good nature, patience, tolerance, endurance, temperance, forgiveness, acceptance of mistakes, and self-control in difficult situations.  All things exhibited by Miss Simpson by lesson 11 on a Friday afternoon!
We are delighted that on a Thursday and Friday, Lieutenant Routledge is joining us to assist in Senior Maths lessons, and we are very grateful to her and indeed the Royal Navy for lending her services. 
We have been visited by a number of Queen Margaret’s pupils and staff who very kindly offered to conduct a hockey coaching session with our senior year girls.  Unfortunately the weather put paid to the idea of training so we had lunch together instead!  We are very grateful to Queen Margaret’s for a detour on their trip north to visit us here at St. Mary’s. With a few extra mouths to feed I am sure you will join in paying tribute to the ladies in the kitchen, who are coping admirably whilst their captain recuperates after his recent operation.  I would like to add my thanks to Mrs Hardie who volunteered to come in on her day off to help in what is now the busiest part of the school.
Finally, as I write, the weather conditions outside are extreme to say the least, and we have been at pains to highlight the dangers such weather poses.  To this point, high winds and heavy rain have not caused too much difficulty, but I would ask you to take great care at the weekend when more bad weather is forecast.

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