Mr Rawson and Ms Ozwell were delighted with the efforts of our Gordonstoun Challenge 5 (Anna M, Fergus H, Iona, Antony, and Jake). They took on the various tasks with spirit and determination, and conducted themselves in an exemplary manner throughout a very busy weekend. Thanks to Mr Rawson, Ms Ozwell, and the pupils for representing St. Mary’s at this important event.
I had the pleasure of receiving our outstanding Common Entrance results over the half term break, from various senior schools across Scotland and England, and enjoyed recounting the details to the staff as school resumed on Monday. 
Forms 6, 7 and 8 gathered before heading off in various directions to wonderfully exciting destinations. Form 6 hit the road to Ford and Etal, Form 7 headed to Elie in Fife for the coasteering experience, and Form 8 set off for the Galloway Activity Centre. Form 6 returned on Wednesday evening recounting many tales of their adventures, and congratulated Mrs Gordon in particular for her courage on the giant swing! Form 7’s daily adventures have continued throughout the week, and they have made the most of the outstanding itinerary put together by Mrs Hardie in the days building up to the week. Form 8 popped in briefly on Tuesday evening, which gave me my opportunity to pat them all on the back and to say well done from their very proud headmaster.
The intrepid Mr P, and his assistants Lieutenant Routledge, Mr Whitelaw and Mrs Rhodes, have continued to lead them from one outdoor adventure to another as the week has progressed. They are tired but at the same time exhilarated by their various experiences and again, should be congratulated for their contribution to the success of the week. Ms Birdsall in the office has worked constantly, uploading various photographs as they relayed back to us through various mediums. These pictures provide strong evidence that our oldest year groups are making the most of their opportunities.
By and large, the weather through the week has been favourable and warm – perhaps almost too warm – but an unpredictable Wednesday saw fixtures being cancelled.
As the rest of the school routines have remained in place, we are extremely grateful to former pupil Morven Lawrie, who has joined us on work experience. I had heard on the grapevine that Morven is to be Head Girl at St. George’s next year, and she modestly confirmed this much-deserved accolade. The school joins me in offering Morven our congratulations. 
One of next year’s GAP students and also a former pupil, Stefan Rooney, popped in for the afternoon on Wednesday, and just as he had demonstrated when here as a pupil, he rolled his sleeves up and got stuck in with all the younger pupils, with whom he clearly has a natural rapport.
This morning in assembly, we were privileged to receive a history lesson from Form 4 on the Jacobite Rebellion led by Bonnie Prince Charlie. We heard their modern-day news reports as two armies faced each other on the stage. History was re-enacted before Form 4 concluded proceedings with a rendition of the Skye Boat Song. Well done to Mrs Scott Aiton and Form 4 for an excellent assembly. I was also able to congratulate the Form for being the first to register on Miss Simpson’s Accelerated Reading scheme. They read a combined total of 17,361 words yesterday! I congratulated Emily D on coming runner up in the category ‘C’ of the Tesco Bank Art Competition with her picture of Clouds Over the City. Today we welcomed 15 new pupils to our new pupil in-day, and as I write our new faces seem to be beaming as they move around the school with their new classes.
We wish Mrs Bell and her extensive athletics team all the very best for the IAPS Championships on Sunday at Fettes, and I close by encouraging as many parents and pupils as I can to take part in a mile run on Monday evening at 6pm to raise funds and awareness to support the Toby Henderson Trust . The instigation of this fund raising initiative is a friend of Naesima in Form 8. His name is Jo and he is 7 years old. The Toby Henderson Trust has been providing valuable support to children with autism, and it is for this cause that the St. Mary’s community are offering their assistance. Jo has been running one mile each day throughout June, and I would encourage as many of you as possible to add your support for just a short time on Monday evening.
Finally, I am thrilled to announce that from Monday onwards, girls will be boarding in New Buccleuch House under the watchful eye of Mrs Rawson, Mrs Gordon, Jessie and female tutors assigned to the rota.  Mr and Mrs Rawson have worked tirelessly to ready the new boarding house in time for Form 8 girls in particular.  A huge thank you goes to them for all their hard work.
Have a good weekend.

Jules Birdsall, 25/06/2017

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