7th September 2018

In the early 1960s, two men Drew Patterson and George MacDonald were working as stonemasons for Galloways of Darnick.  As they built our school wall at the front of the campus, one of them had the mischievous idea of cementing a plastic boy’s head into the pointing. Drew and George received a ticking off from their boss Mr Galloway for the jape, but in the decades that passed, the boy’s head became a talking point for many in the local community.  At some point, the face was removed from the doll’s head, leaving a tennis balls sized cavity in the wall.  Our man on the street, Cammy Shand, has spent the summer weeks pointing and repairing the wall and learned of this tale from many passers-by.  Not only was Cammy given the full story but he also learned that George MacDonald is still alive today.  Having heard of this story, I approved the replacement of the doll’s head with another, which I understand has been donated by George MacDonald.  As you walk along the High Street, outside our south facing wall, keep an eye for a face peering back at you, round about knee height, and don’t be alarmed as you now know the tale. The wall looks fantastic and is a physical demonstration that St. Mary’s embraces its past whilst also looking to the future. 
Meanwhile our 22 new starters in the Prep School have settled in extremely well this week and all pupils are enjoying redecorated changing rooms, a flatter front field and impressive new rugby posts as well as many new planters and newly sown grass in parts. 
As we convened as staff, it was a pleasure welcoming Angus Inwood, Assistant Housemaster, Assistant Form Tutor to Form 6 and who is teaching PE, ICT, Maths and Science as well as coaching the 1st XV, alongside Mr Rawson.  We also welcomed Conchi Amado from Spain and Ms Amado is teaching Spanish to Forms 6 and 7 as well as helping out in and around the boarding houses.  We have also been delighted with the addition of George West, who has joined us as a GAP student until Christmas, having just left Fettes with a strong set of ‘A’Level results and it is lovely to have former pupil, parent and governor, Ann Wright join the games team.  Ann is helping coach the senior girls’ hockey squad.  Alongside our new starters, we have Mia Hawke who has joined Form 8 from Australia.  Mia is here for a month and has added hugely to the smooth start our top year have made. 
The week started with rain and today’s dreich conditions have sandwiched three brighter school days but the positive start we have seen from all pupils and staff has kept everyone smiling.  The holidays seem long gone.  On the subject of holidays, we have included the blue calendar in your child’s brown envelopes, clarifying our term dates up to the year 2020 and have extended these dates on to our website through to July 2020.  We have done this to ensure even our most organised forward planners can avoid term time absence when arranging holidays.
Next week, form tutors in Forms 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8 are available to discuss your child’s syllabus. Please see the blue calendar for precise dates and times.  Your attendance is not essential but the opportunity to hear of plans for this academic year, you might find very useful. 
Finally, in keeping with the tale of the doll’s head, our outlook is forward facing and optimistic after such a great first week back.  Well done, all.

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