On Monday morning, I took the opportunity ahead of Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, to explain why this features on the Christian calendar. Pupils and staff showed great enthusiasm for the idea of gorging on foodstuffs such as pancakes before the start of Lent. This then led to me inviting everyone to consider any character vices they may recognise in themselves, and to consider putting this right, not just over the Lent period but from Ash Wednesday going forward. I suspect the earlier part of the assembly was more likely to be acted upon than the latter!
On Tuesday, it was our great pleasure to welcome Oundle Registrar, Gary Phillips, who spent time meeting with parents, and then during the evening with several staff. We are delighted that our ongoing relationship with Oundle School is stimulating so much interest amongst you our parents. 
On Wednesday while a very busy fixture programme unravelled – during which our U11 netball team in the Ardvreck tournament gained particular success – I was diverted to St. George’s to meet with their new Head, Mrs Alex Hems. We are very much looking forward to welcoming Mrs Hems to St. Mary’s in the near future, and are delighted that she is keen to embrace the close relationship between our two schools.
A cohort of Form 5 pupils attended the Merchiston Maths Fun Day, and Dr Morgan is pleased with the St. Mary’s representation finishing high up on the fun day’s finishing order, which provided a high standard of competition.
Tutor/Parent consultation meetings took place for Forms 3 and 4, and we heard of three of our pupils being highly commended during the Edinburgh Competition Music Festival at St. Cuthbert’s Church. Congratulations to Tegan, Molly C and Lucy Mac, and particular congratulations to Willa, who was awarded the outstanding performer in her age category. Well done to Ms McRae and Mrs Harvey for taking such a strong St. Mary’s representation to this festival, and well done to all 14 pupils for taking part.
Meanwhile, St. Mary’s had the great pleasure of welcoming three gentlemen who attended the school between 1940 and 1945. George Scott-Watson, John Sutherland and Alastair Brooks meet on a regular basis to reflect on their time at the school in what must have been an extremely complicated period in the school’s history. It was a great privilege to have lunch with the three men, and they thoroughly enjoyed their tour of the school with two Form 7 pupils. We look forward to seeing them in the audience at our senior school production in three weeks’ time.
This morning we welcomed Mrs Elaine Purves, Head of Rossall School, Fleetwood, Lancashire. Mrs Purves came to talk a little bit about her school, but with a greater focus on different types of bird and in particular the leadership and teamwork skills of Canada geese. Pupils listened carefully as Mrs Purves gave us an explanation of the v-formation in which these migratory birds fly, and an explanation for their strong communication whilst in flight. Clever parallels were drawn to how we, as members of our schools, can best look after each other. We are very grateful to Mrs Purves for popping along. 
I then paid tribute to the successful U11A netball team, our Form 5 Maths team, our singers and our tour guides, who have all done their bit to enhance the reputation of St. Mary’s throughout a very busy week.
I would also like to make mention of Alexander F, who after auditions in recently months has been selected to play the part of Oliver in the Captivate Theatre Company’s production, to be put on during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Alexander was amongst 300 people who auditioned for the part, so congratulations to him.
Today we welcomed Geoff Thurman and Gabby Foster from Ampleforth, who called in on their way south. Mr Thurman kindly offered to referee the 1st rugby game v Aberlour.
In keeping with how busy school is at the minute, this weekend sees the annual FP Dinner on Saturday evening, and the IAPS Cross Country Championships at Belhaven on Sunday. As ever, we have a large team representing St. Mary’s, and good luck to Mrs Bell and all her runners.
Have a good weekend.

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