Thank you to Mrs Bell who took assembly in my absence on Monday morning. Our Deputy Head reminded pupils to be as resilient as they can be. She also gave a timely reminder that wearing winter coats and keeping warm is essential, and she presented a clay pigeon shooting trophy to Jake, who had been drafted in at short notice by older boys, to make up a West Calder team of three. Pupils have demonstrated determination to get to half-term despite some coughing and spluttering and our very busy academic and extra-curricular programme. 
On Wednesday, the elderly residents of Priorwood Court were charmed by the visit of Pre-Prep, who sang and presented hampers to our senior citizens. We welcomed a Care Inspector to help us move forward with our development plans for Kindergarten and the new boarding house. I am delighted to inform you that the meeting was constructive and positive. Good progress is being made behind the scenes.

On Wednesday afternoon, a busy fixture programme took place, and please see the website for results and match reports. 
On Thursday, Form 5 were welcomed by Merchiston, who hosted a fantastic technology day. We are most grateful to the staff of Merchiston for looking after our pupils so well. 
Thursday afternoon and evening saw this year’s squad singing competition reach a crescendo, with a varied junior and senior solo competition that demonstrated the diverse talents of our eight soloists. Willa, Elsa, Elena and Imogen wowed the audience with their solo performances, and congratulations to Imogen who was Mr Pettinger’s junior winner, and to Otto, Thomas E, Alexander and Tegan, who performed in the senior section.  Tegan was, without question, the outstanding soloist on the evening. Though impartial, I will admit to being thrilled that Scott ended up victorious, following a very slick performance of “Got My Mind Set on You”, with a clever but slightly underhand parental/audience participation section to their performance. Scott, until last night, were the only squad not to have won the Andy Sanderson Salver in the competition’s eight year history. 
squad singing

This morning at assembly, before we celebrated the successes of the evening before, we were treated to a most ingenious Form 2 assembly on the Great Fire of London. Mrs Kirkness’s charges shared the reading and reciting of a poem, showed us their mini ICT productions, and sang ‘London’s Burning’ to conclude their term’s work. This class has been impressing us with their work ethic and ability throughout the term, and I made mention of Sophia and Rhiannon, who had recently impressed Miss Simpson with two fabulous examples of creative descriptive writing in the form of mythical adventure. I spoke briefly about how best to make use of the holidays, and encouraged Forms 4 to 8 to produce their lectures whilst ensuring they use the ten-day break to have an appropriate amount of rest. We wished this afternoon’s Dandylion trialists the very best of luck, before congratulating Form 2 again, on an outstanding assembly. 
I would like to take this opportunity to thank staff, parents and pupils for their kind wishes, having succumbed to the trauma of a kidney stone last Sunday. I have been very touched by the level of concern. I will certainly be resting over the half-term break and I hope the same can be said for your children.

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