24th November 2017

Apologies to any regular readers for “radio silence” last Friday, as I was attending the SCIS Headmasters conference in Dunkeld, which proved informative and interesting. At that time pupils were finishing off their assessments, and the process of marking, recording, and reporting is advancing. In my absence, pupils and staff were invited to wear multi-coloured socks as a fund-raising effort for Children in Need, instigated by the Friends of St. Mary’s. £289.01 was raised for this very worthy cause.
On Sunday, Will, Tommy, Jamie, and William T represented a Scottish Prep Schools Select XV against an Edinburgh School Select XV on the fabulous Greenyards stand pitch. All four St. Mary’s boys played their part in the 45-7 victory, with Will scoring a hat-trick of tries, and William T being voted Man of the Match.

scottish Prep schools 4 boys
The action-packed weekend inspired my “Hero of the Weekend” assembly on Monday morning. 

Nominees were: Mrs Hardie for being the central figure amongst many St. Mary’s staff who hosted the Prep School Rugby match and visitors to St. Mary’s for teas and coffees after the match; William T for being selected as a replacement for the Dandylions and playing so well that he was selected as a replacement for the Scottish Prep Schools, then playing so well that he was voted Man of the Match!; the brave people of Zimbabwe involved in attempting to depose Robert Mugabe; and last but not least, the hugely charismatic and courageous Doddie Weir, who graced the Murrayfield turf with his three sons to present the match ball before Scotland’s fantastic international against New Zealand. Needless to say, without any hesitation, Mr Weir gained my casting vote.
We also heard on Monday that the work of the pupils led by Mr Rawson with an outdoor learning and wildlife conservation project has gained us the Green Tree Schools Gold Award.  Please see article in the .mail and well done to Mr Rawson and his team on gaining the school this prestigious award.
During the week, Form Teachers and subject teachers have been meeting with parents of Forms 3, 4, 5 and 6 to discuss their children’s progress, and middle school rehearsals have got underway.
It was a great pleasure welcoming Kirsty Smyth on Wednesday to talk to Form 8 about non-fiction writing. Kirsty writes for Scottish Field, and before her visit pupils had been given the chance to read through several articles. This proved an ideal opportunity for Form 8 to learn about the process used by a professional writer, and Form 8 and Miss Simpson were extremely grateful to Kirsty for giving of her time, expertise, and enthusiasm. 
Wednesday afternoon saw a busy fixture programme unfold, with compliments being bestowed on all pupils, not just those of St. Mary’s, but to their opponents too for playing their matches with such commitment in foul weather conditions. Please see the school website for match reports.   Huge congratulations to Jessica, Tegan and Isla for playing in the successful Dandylion team against the WOSPS at Kilgraston and particular
congratulations go to Jessica who captained the victorious A team.

Pic of Isla Tegan and Jessica
On Thursday, Form 1 took a trip to Upper Nisbet as part of their Farm to Fork project. We welcomed a second visit from Mrs Jessica Miles, Headmistress of Queen Margaret’s in York. Mrs Miles called in to maintain the useful link between our two schools, and to touch base whilst visiting Scotland and prospective parents north of the border.

upper nisbet 2

This morning it was a great pleasure welcoming the new Fettes College Headmaster, Mr Geoffrey Stanford  Mr Stanford brought with him several intriguing props to support his fascinating account of his successful ascent of Mount Everest as party leader. Importantly, one of the messages Mr Stanford wanted to put across was to highlight a failed attempt seeing him and his party turn back 350 metres from the summit. His resilience and fortitude saw him revisit the mountain at a later date, and with the support of a fabulous team of fellow climbers and Sherpas, he eventually succeeded in reaching the summit. As he spoke, pupils passed around crampon-clad climbing boots, the thickest and warmest clothes imaginable, down-filled jacket and trousers, ice axe, an oxygen cylinder (empty!), and photographs of the mountain and his expedition team.
The theme moved on to setting our goals to be challenging but achievable if broken up into incremental stages and, without question, Mr Standford has most certainly walked the walk. Mr Stanford then spent time meeting parents, staff, and some pupils, before being shown around the school. We are very grateful to him for being so generous with his time and providing such an interesting, uplifting, and inspiring assembly.
Next Friday we look forward to welcoming Mr Jonathan Lee, Headmaster from Longridge Towers, and again parents are welcome to join us for his assembly and for teas and coffees with Mr Lee following his presentation.
Since this morning’s assembly, I have been informed we have a third Accelerated Reader “millionaire”; congratulations to Maria for climbing the equivalent of a reader’s “Everest”!
Finally, it is my great pleasure to congratulate Fergus H on being awarded a D&T and Art Scholarship to Sedbergh, and to Jamie who has been awarded a Headmaster’s Award for Sport to Sedbergh. Well done to both boys.
Enjoy your weekend.

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