28th February 2020

It was my great pleasure to tell the school on Monday, that a third proposed visit from NASA Astronaut Dr Jim Reilly and his lovely wife Allison, is now in the calendar for next term.  For any newcomers who are unfamiliar with our link to these lovely people, they are close friends of former St. Mary’s grandparent and neighbour of the school, Lady Strathmore.
After talking of experiences he and his fellow astronauts faced when flying three space shuttle missions, Dr Reilly presented prizes to the school at our 2015 Prize Giving.  In 2017, he very kindly returned to spend a morning with the middle school in the science lab and an afternoon with the senior school. 
Dr Reilly is a hugely inspirational gentleman.  His contributions to teaching and learning here at St. Mary’s are truly memorable and we are all thrilled he is returning to visit again.
Meanwhile, Mrs Rawson, Mr Inwood and the boarding team completed their very own ‘mission by organising, preparing and running the most wonderful Boarders’ Dinner Dance on Tuesday evening.  Chef and his team laid on a feast fit for royalty and our 48 most regular boarders had a wonderful time dancing and reeling the night away.
On Wednesday, with the usual raft of fixtures, an U11 Netball ‘Festival’ as listed in the calendar, turned out to be a tournament.  Had our girls performed below par, this might not have merited a specific mention in this .Mail blog, but Mrs Bell would never forgive me if opted not to ‘shout from the rooftops’ about the girls’ victory! 
Interviews have taken place to appoint a new Head of Learning Support and shortly after completing this weekly update I shall be writing to parents with news of who will follow in the considerable footsteps of Mrs Hardie, when she retires this summer.
Form 5 enjoyed a workshop with the SPCA and a short report features later in this newsletter.
And so, we have finally arrived at Friday in this weekly review.  Whilst I have never flown the space shuttle, I can imagine the launch phase is a little bit like the week we have had here at St. Mary’s, with such a huge amount going on, checks to complete and adjustments to be made. 
Today, we have welcomed Head of Queen Margaret’s York, Mrs Sue Baillie to give an address to the school.  Mrs Baillie give a splendid account of her village bake off experiences and the failures and successes that go hand in hand with such ‘cut throat’ competition.  She likened these to the trials and tribulations we all experience, but her vivid descriptions were comparable to the Apollo 13 mission still hailed as NASA’s greatest ever successful failure!
Shortly after Mrs Baillie headed off, Mr William Bancroft of The Good Schools’ Guide arrived to spend the day with staff, pupils and parents.  Under normal circumstances, I am sure he would have been suitably impressed.  However, with the Scottish Rugby team arriving on our front field to practise their scrummaging, and an ITV film crew appearing to film a Form 8 Environmental Studies lesson and talk to Mr Rawson about the fantastic work St. Mary’s is part-funding and he is coordinating all over Scotland, this might have caught his eye somewhat.  We await his report with interest.

Mr P will be signing off by conducting a meeting with Form 8 parents to go through the fabulous camp week he has organised for the year group, to celebrate their rite of passage through the school. 
Mrs Bell and Mr Inwood will be cheering on our intrepid cross-country team on Sunday at the IAPS Cross-Country Championships.  We wish them the very best of luck.
Have a great weekend. 

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