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Head Teacher Blog

Dear Parent/Carer

In the final blog this year, I thought it would be fitting to focus on the Prize Giving Ceremony which took place on Tuesday evening as it presented me with an opportunity to reflect on the year as a whole.  I would like to thank you all for your support and feedback over this session.  I truly believe that families are vital in ensuring that the school community continually improves and for all your help this school session – thank you.

Head Teacher Speech: Prize Giving

Good evening, everyone – pupils, ex-pupils, families, colleagues and guests.  It gives me great honour to stand before you as Head Teacher of our wonderful Greenfaulds High School Community.

Prize Giving is, and should be, a celebration of excellence in a whole range of areas within the school.  The pupils recognised today have demonstrated excellence within their subject areas and have been rightly recognised for their talent and dedication.  To all of you I offer a huge congratulations.

I was recently in a discussion with a Doctor of Education at Glasgow University, who asked me how I measured success?  On the face of it, the easy Head Teacher answer is one where you look at the educational metrics to answer that question – has attainment improved, has your percentage of pupils moving into a positive destination improved and the answer to that is absolutely yes.  Our Attainment for 2023, due to the hard work of pupils, staff and families was an improvement upon the results in 2022.  More pupils passed 5 National 5s in S4, more pupils attained 5 Highers in s5 and over 1/5th of S6 left with at least 1 Advanced Higher or equivalent.  On the back of these excellent results and the ongoing hardwork by Mr Adler, Mr Proctor and others – more pupils left Greenfaulds High School and into a positive destination (work, college, university, training or apprenticeship) than any other high school in North Lanarkshire.

However, a successful school is more than simply numbers (which my colleagues will tell you is something I do love – despite being the proud holder of a degree in the Arts and taking 2 years to achieve my Higher Maths).  For me, a successful school is one where there is warmth at its heart.  Pupils want to come to school, we support and celebrate one another and that when pupils leave school, they have fond memories of their time there.  Up to now, there is no metric which demonstrates or evidences that and yet, I would say that ensuring that pupils feel safe, cared for, supported and encouraged is just as important as a league tables in the press.

At the end of this year, I would say that we as a school have had a very successful year.  Tonight and other nights and events this year including Social Justice Awards, Royal School of Art Awards, New College Lanarkshire 10 Year Anniversary Awards, have evidenced this.  Our pupils rightly are at the centre of this evening and the range of talent on show here is something which many other schools in Scotland are right to be jealous of.  So tonight, lets take time in time to celebrate and reflect upon the achievements of so many talented young people.  As a school, this year, Greenfaulds has gone from strength to strength.

As a school community we continue to reach out to our wider community through the work of our incredible Pupil Parliament and through individuals giving up their time to help others.  The GHS Generations committee spent their year working with and supporting local care homes to help the elderly and frail members of our community, bringing brightness and joy to the many members of the public that they met, spent time with and made memories with.  Our Social Justice Committee continued to work with a local foodbank and provide the GHS kitchen located within the Sacred Heart Church in Kildrum. On a Monday evening each week pupil volunteers provide hot food to the vulnerable members of our community.  As a school we ran our annual Christmas appeal. This allowed our school community, to come together and gather an immense number of gifts to support those families in need and give a merry Christmas to all.  Christmas time also marked our first ever Jingle Sale led by the Eco Committee where staff, pupils and the community opened their hearts and wallets to support a range of good causes and local businesses.  It was a fantastic event and one which I would hope becomes a long running tradition within the school.  Shafa, one of our school captains, continues to work as a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament – indeed, that is why she is not here this evening as she is on parliamentary business.  Shafa is just one example of the many pupils who volunteer and give up hours and days of their time to help others.  Greenfauld’s community work is exceptional thanks to it’s staff, young people and families.

Our pupils became World, European, Scottish and Regional Champions in a range of activities ranging from Dance, Athletics, Rugby, BMX and Football to name but a few.   Such is the wealth and range of talent that exists within the school, I was delighted when Mr Neil proposed the idea of a school colour early in the session.  In line with our school values of Ambitious, Progressive and Inclusive; this is part of our drive to recognise the significant achievements by many of our pupils who compete at both Regional and National Level whilst at secondary school. Tonight is a significant chapter in the life of the school in that we get to recognise a whole range of achievements that our pupils have achieved outside of school and I’m delighted that you are here to join me as we start our Greenfaulds Colours Tradition.

We are rightly proud to be the only school in North Lanarkshire which teaches in the Medium of Gaelic.  Our Gaelic pupils and staff have been involved in a host of activities over the course of this session including attending the Film G Awards where our pupils films and shorts were nominated in a range of categories, all members of the school were encouraged to engage in a range of activities during the National Schechnaig Gaelic Week, a week long trip to the my own personal childhood home of Skye, as well as establishing the first ever Shinty Team of Greenfaulds High School.  We are also delighted to host and say failte to our now annual Central Schools Gaelic Conference where young people learning in the medium of Gaelic came together from schools across Central Scotland for a day of language and culture.  Greenfaulds is very much at the forefront of Scottish Secondary GME provision.

I was delighted to see the continuation and development of school trips.  This year, our pupils went on over 30 different trips.  Greenfaulds pupils travelled to the First World War Battlefields of Northern France and Belgium, the seaside and beneath the ocean off the Isle of Arran, took coastal walks along the Fife Coast, engaged in flight simulators in Glasgow and attended the Highland Show.  Indeed, one of the reasons why one of our Captains is absent this evening is that Grace Young is currently in New York on the USA Trip and felt that the commute back for tonight would be too much!  Everywhere they went, pupils from Greenfaulds were recognised as being polite, articulate and excellent ambassadors for all of us – a sentiment best summarised by Mr Grindall a Snorkel Instructor from Arran who took the time to write to me this year to say ‘I retired from teaching in 2007 so I was wondering what today’s teenagers would be like; Well … they were wonderful, full of enthusiasm, happy, appreciative, so polite – all of them were great ambassadors for your school.  Parties from your school will always be welcome here’.  The pupils at Greenfaulds are exceptional. I have never had so many people across the country and abroad, comment on the behaviour of some many of our pupils in such a positive manner.

I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank our Captains, Grace and Shafa, for the huge amount of work that they have undertaken over the course of this session.  Their leadership and coordination skills have been exemplary, and they have represented the school in a wonderful and incredibly sensitive yet determined manner.  They have displayed skills and competencies way ahead of their years, many of which are far superior to my own.  To both of them, I would like to say a very heartfelt and public thank you for all you have done for the pupils and the school in your tenure at Greenfaulds.

This session we also say a sad farewell to three wonderful members of staff.  Mr Gerard (we will use his Sunday name) Kielty leaves Greenfaulds after working  here for 20 years and 8 days (it was me counting – not him) as a Teacher of Technology.  Gerry is a man who loves to travel and explore and we will absolutely miss his supportive nature of all the pupils that he has worked with over the years.  We wish him all the very best, albeit we will be very jealous of his adventures!

We also bid a fond farewell to Eileen Okane who leaves Greenfaulds after over 10 years.  Eileen has been a very active and supportive member of the RME and wider Social Subjects Faculty and having had the great pleasure to observe some of her lessons, I have found the profound nature of some of her lessons both intriguing and stimulating.  Eileen leaves us with our very best wishes and I’m sure that she will spend many happy and long hours in Spain (a little known fact is that she is fluent in Spanish) or cold water swimming in Scottish Lochs – too extreme contrasts if you ask me!

We also say goodbye (although not quite yet as he leaves at the end of August) to Steve Clulow.  Steve has worked at Greenfaulds since 2003 and been a PT of Pupil Support and led Bruce House since 2009.  Steve can always be relied on to call a spade a shovel and the many, many families and pupils that he has supported over the years always remark upon his straightforward and pupil centred approach to things.  At a personal level, I would like to publicly thank Steve for his candour and guidance on a range of issues as a very active and supportive member of the PT Team and as the representative of the SSTA, one of the professional bodies within the school.  I will genuinely miss his presence around the school and his support next session.

As well as travelling outwards it was fantastic to welcome families over the course of the session into school.  Events such as the P7 Science Fayre  in which Mr Cochrane walked the very fine line of demonstrating science whilst not breaking the substantial health and safety precautions was a great introduction to the school for our newest families, whilst the wider community were wowed by our incredible school show, High School Musical, which ran over 3 nights and marked the return of the school show for the first time in 5 years.  The performances, a large portion of which came from S3 pupils means that the future of school show is in strong, capable hands.  Our S6 Graduation where we were joined by the families of our graduating S6 pupils is always a special night as it is the last time that our pupils are ever together as a year group.  Without wanting to go too Lion King on everyone, it does mean an awful lot to me that families take pupils to their first day in school and then leave with them at the very end of their high school journey.

It would also be remiss of me not to mention one of the great additions to the school in the form of the Coffee Pod which was brilliantly summarised as Beanfaulds by Mr Gardiner.  Open on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning it has supplied staff and pupils with amazing hot drinks this year.  However, the way that our first group of Senior Pupils have developed the initiative has been a wonderful thing to see.  Whilst I was very happy with an addition which would gain pupils accreditation and skills to support them in work (be it part time or full time) alongside draining my bank account to feed my flat white addiction, the pupils have embodied the values on the school.  They have been ambitious in growing the business, opening at a range of school events this year, they have been inclusive in ensuring as many seniors as possible who are interested are involved in the process of staffing the barista bar and through their message of have a coffee and a chat have promoted people to talk about their feelings and emotions.  This promotion around positive mental health has led them to win the Central Scotland ‘Shark Tank’ for Social Enterprise and being recognised as Social Enterprise Champions at a National Event 4 weeks ago.

And so, as the academic year draws to a close with just one more day to go, what is next?  In August, we are confident of good news for our results this session.  Our projections look like the attainment picture within the Senior School will continue to go from strength to strength.  For me, this is so important as it provides as many young people as possible with the privilege of choice, the privilege of choosing from a range of in school and post school options.  For many of our young people gathered here this evening they move on to work, college, training or University and they do so with our very best wishes and the open invitation of ongoing support for wherever life takes them.  For the other pupils I would challenge you to push on for even bigger and better things not because what you have accomplished is not enough.  Far from it, you have achieved amazing things but more because we as a school should always live by our values and we are constantly ambitious.  Our community is capable of so much as demonstrated over the last school session, but I genuinely believe that this forthcoming year we can achieve even more because the talent that sits within this room and within the school community is so rich and diverse that it is almost inevitable.

It fills me with so much pride to work within this school community.  Our prize winners have worked so hard and contributed so much to our school that we are delighted to recognise you here this evening.  Thank you.

Dates for your diary

Tuesday 6th of August: SQA Results Day

Thursday 8th of August: Recoursing Day (more information to follow)

Monday 12th of August: School re-opens for staff

Wednesday 14th of August: School re-opens for pupils

I hope you have a lovely summer.

Moran Taing


Jamie Vaughn-Sharp

Head Teacher



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