22nd November 2019

As I write, we near the end of senior school assessments and we have been impressed by the sensible focus our senior pupils have shown throughout the week.  I reminded Form 6, 7 and 8 this morning in assembly, for whom assessments have taken place a week earlier, to make better use of the all-important feedback process.  This is when learning can be optimised, provided success or disappointment are not all consuming.
The normal business of the week; an autumn walk for Reception Class at Bowhill, a busy fixture programme on Wednesday, and teacher/parent consultation meetings for Form 3, 4 and 5B and 5I, have been interspersed with one or two special events.  On Monday the school car park was kept clear for people attending The Duke of Roxburghe’s service of thanksgiving in the middle of the day.  The service was memorable, and a great tribute to a shy man who played on the “grumpy Duke” persona, but who could not have been more loving as a husband, father and grandfather.
Dermot Jenkinson gave a wonderful address that beautifully and succinctly put in to words what a fine man the Duke was.  The Duke’s entertaining but shy sense of humour was a central feature of the warm and gracious tribute.  The Band of the Household Cavalry encapsulated the swell of emotions apparent and the singing of hymns in a packed Melrose Parish Church, could not have been heartier.  I hope the family felt as lifted by this as the 600+ who attended to offer their support.
The new triangular tournaments that replaced the Dandylions/WOSPS fixtures, took place on Wednesday.  The Saltires (Fettes/Cargilfield) came out on top in the hockey and rugby triangulars, with Caledonia (Craigclowan/Ardvreck/St. Leonards New Park/Gordonstoun) finishing second in the rugby and third in the hockey.  The same positions were commanded by the Thistles (St. Mary’s/Belhaven/Loretto) but in hockey and rugby, as opposed to the other way around.  These fixtures proved competitive and worthwhile, with St. Mary’s boys and girls offering the committed and skilful performances we would expect of our able charges.

thistles rugby nov 19    thistles hockey nov 19

On Thursday, we were visited by human and winged members of the Golden Eagle project.  This proved a fascinating experience and a considerable hit with our Middle School pupils.  Please see Mr Rawson’s report and some wonderful photos of the day, below.
We are looking forward to the visit of Mr Roddy Deans, Director of Rugby from Merchiston Castle, this afternoon.  Mr Deans will be working with our senior boys and his expertise, exceptional coaching and teaching abilities, will be further enhanced by his love of the Border lands from where he hails.
At the time of writing this weekly update, I am still reflecting on the message we can glean from this morning’s entertaining assembly.  Mr Brown’s Form 8 Theology Philosophy and Religion ‘specialists’ laid on a stage performance of the story of Cain and Abel.  I am relieved to say that the scenes involving sacrifice and murder were suitably ‘light’ and entertaining, whilst the story from the Old Testament unravelled.  The moral that we should maintain a rational frame of mind when making sacrifices seemed to be the central message, but I could be mistaken!  All the same, as with so much of Mr Brown’s ‘lessons’, the story is now unforgettable!
I was able to conclude proceedings by congratulating our Under 9 girls on their unbeaten hockey season so far, and a special mention was given to captain Lottie who, on Wednesday, sacrificed her place in the engine room of the team, to give her frozen teammates in defence a more action packed opportunity to keep on the move.  Great leadership.
Have a great weekend and stay warm.

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