Prize Winners for Session 2022/23
The full list of Prize Winners is available via this link:
Head Teacher Speech: Prize Giving
Good evening, everyone – pupils, ex-pupils, families, colleagues and guests. It gives me great honour to stand before you for my first Prize Giving Speech 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.
Now as a politics geek and avid box set consumer – one of my favourite all time TV shows is the West Wing. For the young people in the audience the West Wing was a TV series in the late 90s and early 2000s which tracked the Presidency of a fictional President – Jed Bartlet.
One of President Bartlet’s most famous phrases was an upbeat ‘what’s next?’. After solving a crisis, a global emergency or similar he would often ask those around him ‘what’s next?’. The older I get the more I see this attitude applied to all aspects of modern life. We are often encouraged to move relentlessly on, pushing for more, always thinking about what is next. Whilst looking for ways to always improve is never a bad think, we are all guilty at times of failing to take stock of where we are, or indeed what we have accomplished. And whilst I would never want to disagree with a President of the United States (although to be fair, I suppose it depends on who that individual is) I do think that at times we need to delay the ‘what’s next’? question and at times asked the ‘so what have we done’? question. Indeed, Aaron Sorkin the writer of the West Wing would have benefited from coming to a school whose motto is Tak Time in Time. Nights such as these should therefore be nights where we ask, so what have we done? 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.
In the last school session, Greenfaulds High School was recognised as a Golds Rights Respecting School, making us one of only 20 high schools in Scotland to be awarded for the work undertaken by the school community to embed the United Nations Rights of the Child within our practices. We were awarded the Digital Schools Award which recognised the excellent work in promoting, recognising and encouraging a whole school approach to the use of digital technology. And we ended the year by becoming the first and so far only high school in North Lanarkshire to be recognized for its environmental work by a Green Flag. The Eco Committee worked over the course of 3 years to achieve the award, focusing on the themes of Litter and Waste Minimisation, Climate Change and Health and Wellbeing. Our pupils organised an amazing COP26 Climate Emergency Action Week within the school with a wide range of activities, lessons, challenges and competitions for pupils, families and staff to get involved in – all designed to raise awareness of the part we play in climate change and how to reduce our carbon footprint. They were also invited to present their ideas to the virtual NLC Youth Climate Conference, reaching an estimated 7000 people!
As a school community we also actively reached out to our wider community through the work of our incredible Pupil Parliament. 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 ran a refugee week where lessons on refugees were taught across the school and a charity fundraising football match was held between pupils and a group of refugee children. As a school we opened our 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 us to as a school, come together and gather an immense number of gifts for all different ages and genders in order to support those families in need and give a merry Christmas to all.
Our pupils became World Champions in Cheer, World, European and Scottish Champions in Street Dance, Scottish Champions in Javelin at 2 different age groups, selected for National Rugby Squads, GB Gymnastic Teams, competed in the UCI BMX World Championships held in Glasgow, became North Lanarkshire League Champions at football and North Lanarkshire champions in Athletics, the list could go on and on, to all of these pupils and the other incredible achievements this past year I offer my sincerest congratulations and a huge amount of awe in what you have accomplished.
We are rightly proud to be the only school in North Lanarkshire which teaches in the Medium of Gaelic, and we were delighted to host and say failte to the first ever Central Schools Gaelic Conference where young people learning in Gaelic came together from schools across Central Scotland for a day of language and culture.
I was delighted to see the return of school trips, after their enforced absence because of Covid regulations. Our pupils travelled to Poland, across Europe and more locally to the Fife Coast and the Highland Show amongst other places. Everywhere they went, pupils from Greenfaulds were recognised as being polite, articulate and excellent ambassadors for all of us.
As well as travelling outwards it was fantastic to welcome families back in to the school for events such as the Science in Science Fiction Show in which Mr Cochrane walked the very fine line of demonstrating the science behind some of our favourite films whilst not breaking the substantial health and safety precautions. The 2022/23 session also saw a very welcome return to live music for the Performing Arts Faculty. Families were invited to a festive open rehearsal held before Christmas, which quickly expanded to a full ‘Summer Showcase’ in June – featuring Greenfaulds’ own Pipe Band, Wind Band, Vocal Group, Senior Rock Band, S3 Drama Group, Guitar duo extraordinaire and the Gaelic Trad band – who you also heard performing so well as you arrived this evening.
We ended the year with a fantastic prom with our S6 leavers and we even managed a couple of cheeky Taylor Swift numbers which I promise I did not pay the DJ for!
Upon our return to school in August we all felt the anxiety and nerves around the results from the exam diet in May. I am a great advocate of recognising hard work and I was delighted to see that as a school the hard work of our pupils, staff and families was recognised in an excellent set of results. Pupils in S4 gained a record number of 5 or more National 5s, there was nearly a 50% increase in the number of S5 pupils gaining 5 Highers and over 20% of our S6 achieved at least 1 Advanced Higher.
And so to the ‘what’s next’? question. 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.
In summary, 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 them here this evening.