All posts by Mr Docherty

Exceptional and well-deserved success

Dear students & parents/carers

I could not be prouder of the achievements of our students from S4-S6 and who have work so hard for their success. . They should all feel immensely proud of what they have achieved.  Well done to all.

A special word of thanks and best wishes for the future to the departing S6 students. This hugely talented group have been through so much over the past 18 months, but they have shown remarkable levels of resolve, resilience and endeavour, dealing with all the challenges which came their way with great calm and clarity of thought. They have also been the most delightful group of students and can be rightly proud of their stunning results.

I would also like to congratulate the students from S3-S6 who participated in the vocational qualifications programme ranging from SCQF Level 3 to Level 8. Their success has been of the highest standard.  The range of qualifications achieved from Foundation Apprenticeships to Beekeeping is a tremendous tribute to the desire of our students to develop their knowledge and skills beyond the traditional profile of SQA Qualifications.

One example of that success was the Human Body Structure & Function. The course is a SCQF Level 8 taught through West College Scotland. It forms part of the ERC/School vocational programme and has been run very successfully for a number of years. The students receive a pass or a fail only. No percentage grades are awarded. Despite the challenges of online learning, they remained focused and engaged at all times. All 16 students achieved the award with an average coursework score of 80%. with Zainab Alani achieving 100%. Another was all S6 students  achieved their Psychology – Personal Development Award (PDA) at  SCQF Level 7.

A full summary of our course successes will be made available when we receive all student results from the Colleges.

Ad Astra!

John Docherty

With thanks

Dear Parents and Carers

During the pandemic I am sure you have spent time trying to distinguish between what ultimately matters and what merely seems to matter at this time. These have been days when there are things only we can do, we who are what we are, in this time, in this place, and facing these circumstances. Where what we want to do meets what needs to be done, that is where God wants us to be. My deepest thanks to parents and carers for your outstanding support for our teachers and school staff over the past term.

As we end term, I would like to thank staff for their dedication and support for our young people and colleagues. Few are the days when they have not made a difference to the lives of our young people. They have placed as their highest priority educating our young people within the vision we have for them.

Equally importantly, I would like to thank our students, despite the disruption experienced and endured, for their kindness, patience, perseverance, positivity, and dogged resilience. These last three weeks have been special moments as they re-connected with their fellow students and teachers and re-energised on their return to school, growing to fill our expectations of them. They have proven well capable of what we asked of them and they have responded, achieving heights of which we know they are eminently capable of achieving. We look forward to the day when all are able to return and be energised by the prospect of what is yet to come; “if you plan for a year, plant rice. If you plan for a decade, plant a tree. If you plan for posterity, educate a child” [Confucius].

We continue today the Sacred Triduum marking the climax of Jesus’s mission. He came amongst us in humility as a servant, showing His great unconditional love for us by dying on the cross.  As we accompany Jesus through Good Friday, no matter what trials we may be facing, let’s pray for confidence in God’s presence, that we may be strengthened by it and filled with hope as we look forward to Easter. The Passiontide hymn Vexilla Regis once sung on Good Friday when the Blessed Sacrament is taken from the repository to the altar is here and  ‘God So loved the world’ by Bob Chilcott here.

In response to the needs, hopes & sorrows of our school community we pray & reflect:

  • in sorrow on those who have died, whether family members, friends or those unknown to us personally. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer
  • with compassion on those who have suffered whether through illness, stress, financial adversity, or family tensions. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer
  • in hope that, as the pandemic is controlled and we open up our lives again, we build our society into a better shape, more compassionate, less marked by inequalities, more responsive to needs and deprivation. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Finally, the post of Head Teacher, Saint Ninian’s High School is currently advertised in the national press. I will retire at summer.

Wishing all families a very joy-filled and happy Easter and restful holiday.

Year of St. Joseph: the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Friday 19th March 2021

Each of us can discover in Saint Joseph, the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence, an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. He reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.

Year of St. Joseph:

Prayer to St Joseph by Pope Francis in this special year of St Joseph

Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988), Saint Joseph the Worker (1963) basilica of San Lorenzo Florence

In this space bathed in a velvety, supernatural light, the young Jesus, with his very Westernised crop of golden hair, has joined his father in his carpentry shop.  Bent over the workbench, his right hand rests on two planks of wood while he carefully examines, as though fascinated, the nails held in his left hand.  With similar concentration, Joseph’s chiselled face expresses both deep tenderness and profound melancholy.  He is about to place his hand on the Child’s head in a gesture of blessing, but also of love and comfort.  He has a presentiment of the far more abominable use to be made of this wood that will form the cross and these nails that will pierce the body of his Child, the Christ, true God and true man.  The rendering of the objects and tools; the depth suggested by the wooden awning; the treatment of the landscape, oscillating between the abstract gold background and figurative elements of vivid or soft colours: all enhance these two figures, lending them a noble relief and a magisterial presence.  This Italian artist enables us to experience a real relationship: it is our gaze that joins with the carpenter’s hand in a caress that unreservedly enters us into this poignant moment of intimacy. Saint Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, watch over and protect all our families, and especially at this time our children and young people on their return to school.

Phase 2 of schools return

Dear Parents/Carers

The latest update from the Scottish Government

Coronavirus in ScotlandChildren and familiesEducation

From 15 March, all secondary pupils will receive both high quality remote learning and some in-school teaching. Councils will decide how to safely balance in-school learning based on local circumstances and needs.

Senior phase students (S4-S6) who are taking national qualifications will have priority for face-to-face lessons in school.

Updated schools safety guidance to support the phased return will be published next week and Education Scotland will develop practical guidance for schools, which will be also published shortly.

All secondary pupils will continue to be required to observe two metre physical distancing while in school in the period immediately after the Phase 2 return. This is in addition to existing measures, including the use of face coverings. School transport will operate with the same physical distancing rules as public transport.

All pupils are expected to return to full-time schooling after Easter, subject to continued suppression of the virus.

Well done to all of the students who have been returning for in-person learning under the current guidelines for their commitment to their studies and and support for their teachers.

Thank you

John Docherty