13 September 2021

Pupils continue to settle in well and there is an element of normality around the school despite the circumstances.  Staff and pupils continue to adhere to guidelines in place in order to help minimise the spread of the virus.  This includes the wearing of masks inside the building, hand sanitiser at all the entrances, cleaning of desks between classes, staggered entry into the building at the start of the day (as well as after interval and lunch) and double periods (to minimise movement around the school and the number of contacts in a day).

I recently met with Principal Teachers to discuss results from last year as well as departmental plans for the coming years.  These were all very positive meetings and it was great for me to have the chance to talk about where we have been and the direction we are taking.  Hopefully we will be in a better position this year to take things forward without the same interruptions.  Our whole school priorities this year are:

  • Learning and teaching
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Digital
  • Wellbeing, inclusion and equality

NLC have funded a Principal Teacher in the school to help with the running of the new ‘Future Fridays’ – congratulations to Mr McGurk in PE who was appointed to this position. We have a large number of pupils staying on for the Friday afternoon and hope to expand the offering that is there as we move forward.  To keep up to date please follow the new Twitter account @FridayOlhs .  There are also a number of lunchtime and after school sports clubs now running in the PE department throughout the week, which a number of pupils have signed up to.  Pupils should get down to the PE department if they are interested and speak to one of the PE teachers.

Congratulations also to Mr McHugh who was appointed permanently to the post of DHT vacated by Mrs Moore who retired at the summer.

We had our first meeting of the Parent Council on Monday 6th September. The school is lucky to have such a strong group in place to support the school.  If you are interested in joining, please contact the school office and we will pass your email on the relevant people.  The next meeting is the AGM that will take place on Monday 4th October.  Again, if you would like to attend the AGM, please contact the school office.  The email address is:

enquiries-at-ourladyshigh@northlan.org.uk

We celebrate our Patronal Feast day around the 8th September, The Nativity of Our Lady.  Normally this would include a whole school Mass with many guests, along with other activities.  Obviously this could not happen due to restrictions but we were grateful to Fr Ness, our school chaplain, for celebrating class Masses for all our S1 classes as well as a Mass for the S6 Caritas pupils.  On the Friday there were also activities and a quiz for pupils. Thanks to Mrs Smith for all her work in organising these activities.

This is the time of year when pupils, mainly in S6, start to think about their application for University, which is done using UCAS.  A presentation about this was emailed to all parents of S5/6 pupils.  Last week Mr McVeagh organised for Focus West, who support pupils into Higher Education, to have 1-1 meetings with pupils.  We are hoping this has provided them with relevant information which will help them in this process.

Please note the following dates:

Friday 24th and Monday 27th September:  September weekend holidays

Monday 11th – Friday 18th October:  school closed for October week.

HT Blog – 26 August 2021

Welcome back to the HT blog for the first time in quite a while!

It has been a great start to term and pupils have settled back into school life well. A big welcome to our new S1 group, almost 160 of them, the biggest year group we have had in the school for a number of years.  I have been receiving very positive reports about our new year group who are settling in comfortably.

Guideline at the moment allow us to start planning events that we could not do in the past.  So far, staff have approached me about a field trip for Travel & Tourism, a Social Subjects trip to Bannockburn for S2 and others.  There are no plans for overseas trips this session as things are still a bit precarious.

As you know there are still measures in place in the school as a result of Covid, including double periods, masks, etc… It is important that we all try our best to do our own bit to avoid transmission of the virus as much as possible.  There have been cases in the school since our return and therefore we need to continue to be cautious when we can, as it could have an impact on us being able to run activities such as the ones mentioned above.

We have already had the NHS in the school for immunisations for our new S4 cohort and some of our S5.  All school pupils (Primary and Secondary) are also being offered the flu vaccine this year and consent forms were issued.  The date for these to take place has now been confirmed as Tuesday 16th November and will be in the form of a nasal spray.

Our Friday afternoon activities started last Friday and were a great success. Pupils who are interested in an activity should contact Mr McGurk in the PE department. Thanks to Active Schools and our Senior pupils who helped to run activities.

The way things are at the moment there are no activities in the school calendar that can take place that would involve inviting parents into school.  The guidelines also state that we should avoid havening assemblies.  Our Awards Ceremony therefore cannot take place again.  Like last year, we will have awards via a presentation in classes and then pupils collecting certificates/awards to ensure that they are recognised as they normally would be. Information will also come out to Parents to replace the information evening that would normally take place for those pupils applying to University through UCAS.

HT Blog – 21st December 2020

Care Packages

A huge congratulations to the personal development group who have been working hard this year to create care packs for patients at Wishaw general Hospital.  100 care packs and 50 craft packs for dementia patients.  These were collected recently and distributed! Well done to all involved.

Advent Services

Fr Ness continues to come to school and work within current restrictions in order to support us in any way he can. Lately he has been coming in to undertake Advent Service with our S1 pupils.  Thanks Father!

SQA

As you know we are now in a position where all SQA Exams at all levels have been cancelled for 2021. We will continue to gather evidence throughout the year for pupils to ensure a qualification reflective of their work during the year.  In doing so we will have to work within SQA guidelines to ensure an equity across the country as well as ensuring there is an integrity to the whole process.

Fundraising

Thanks to Mrs Smith and her team for organising a fundraising fun day on Wednesday.  Staff and pupils were encouraged to wear their Christmas jumper and had the opportunity to take part in the Walkathon to the North Pole!  There was a market with stalls set up –  lucky dip, home baking, hot chocolate, personalised candy canes, a raffle for Beats headphones, school masks and a meditation station. Thanks to the S5 and S6 pupils who played their part in the organisation and running of the day.  The rest of the day included a quiz and  film in classes.  Over £2000 was raised on Just Giving for our chosen charities.  This is still open and can be found at:   https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/olhsnorthpolewalkathon

           

Christmas Door Competition

In order to brighten the place up, many teachers took part in the Christmas Door competition.  There were many excellent decorated doors and the pupils had the final say in the winner.  Well done to Mrs McGuire for the winning entry and the runners up Mrs Woodside and Mrs Zambonini.

Sports Ambassadors

Well done to Stewart and Cavan who have been nominated as the school’s Sport Ambassadors.  Their aim is to promote sport and physical activity, motivate and inspire other young people in the school and seek pupil opinion on PE and extra-curricular activities.

Christmas Message

2020 has been a year like no other!  It has been difficult for most people but there are many families in the community who have lost loved ones over the course of the year and with the restrictions that have been in place, this has made it so much harder.  We remember them in particular at this time of the year and pray that they find some kind of peace during this Christmas season.  Throughout my time in the school I have found the Our Lady’s HS community to be a very close and supportive one and this has been evident over the last 10 months.  I thank you for your support of me, the school and each other and wish you all a Happy and Holy Christmas.

God Bless

HT Blog – 3 December 2020

Last week and this week we were delighted to hold our S5 and S6 virtual Awards Ceremony in  PSHE classes, where we recognised the hard work of the pupils during session 2020/21. With the restrictions in place we were unable to hold our ceremony in the usual way in September but felt it was important to still recognise the great work of so many pupils.  After the short ceremony pupils made their way to the Zone to pick up their award and certificate.  Hopefully next year we can go ahead as normal with our usual ceremony.  Congratulations to all the award winners – there are some pictures on Twitter (@OLHSMotherwell).

As part of this year’s celebration of Catholic Education Week the RE department organised a prayer breakfast in the school, delivering pancakes or crumpets to all classes where they joined together in a short prayer service.  It was lovely to be able to do something in these times of restrictions.

This is a difficult time for lots of people and our Caritas pupils, recognising this, have created prayer cards for the local priests to distribute to the sick in the parish, remembering them in our prayers.

Staff and pupils will be taking part in a walkathon this year to raise funds for three chosen charities: St Andrew’s Hospice, St Margaret’s Children & Family Care Society and SCIAF.  On Wednesday 16th, we will attempt to walk to the “North Pole” whilst wearing Christmas jumpers.

The hope is to turn the yard into a Christmas market area with stalls selling hot chocolate, snacks and homemade gifts. Adding to this we will have a Christmas quiz and a Christmas film slot throughout the day. S6 pupils and some staff will also be taking part in ‘I’m a sixth year get me out of here’ where they will be eating a selecting of ‘foods’. This will be filmed and available to show to classes on the day. Looking forward to an exciting socially distanced, risk assessed day!!

A JustGiving page has been set up where donations can be made – please support us!

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/olhsnorthpolewalkathon

We are still awaiting the return of a number of library books which are overdue as a result of the lockdown.  Please check old schoolbags, under beds, behind furniture, etc… Books can be returned to the box in English classrooms where they will be collected and quarantined, ready for going back on the shelves!

A group of pupils had the opportunity to learn about animals from around the world and their environments, with some even getting the chance to overcome their fear of tarantulas!

Forthcoming

  • Monday 7th December                  S4 Prelims begin
  • Wednesday 16th December         Fundraising Day – walkathon to the “North Pole”
  • Thursday 17th December               Christmas Dinner (to be booked and payed for in advance)
  • Tuesday 22nd December               School closes at 2.30pm for the Christmas holidays
  • Wednesday 6th January                 School reopens
  • Monday 18th January                     S5/6 Prelims begin

HT Blog – 11 November 2020

Thanks to everyone for the great support to the school, especially since we came back after the October week.  Unfortunately a number of pupils have had to self-isolate, which is not ideal.  Teachers are trying to ensure that appropriate work is available via Teams.  Please contact us if there are any problems with accessing Teams or work as it is important that pupils try to keep as up to date as possible.  SQA have now issued the timetable for Highers and Advanced Highers for 2021.  Dates can be accessed here:  https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/files_ccc/exam-timetable-2021.pdf

Due to the lack of a final exam for National 5, along with the uncertainty that is still around Highers and Advanced Highers, staff continue to gather evidence that will be recognised by SQA. Unfortunately this can be stressful for pupils and as soon as you add isolation periods into the mix, it can potentially have an adverse effect on mental health.  In the last blog I highlighted some of the things that were happening in the school around mental health.  We had a number of pupils in S6 taking part in training to become Mental Health Ambassadors and I have no doubt they will have appositive impact on what is happening in the school over the next year.

Please encourage the pupils to come and talk to us if they have any issues before they become bigger than they need to be.  And if they are not wanting to talk to us, then parents can phone us to chat.

We are delighted that this week we saw the start of indoor PE again. There is no change yet in the use of changing rooms but this is step in the right direction and should certainly make a difference in the activities needed for pupils undertaking certificated PE in S4/5/6.

We have a number of departmental Twitter accounts that you can follow to keep to speed with some of the great work going on in the school.  For example if you follow OLHSart&design you will be able to see some of the work of our talented pupils:

The school’s main twitter account is OLHSMotherwell and other twitter accounts include:

  • @olhs_healthwb
  • @OLHSRE
  • @OLHSMathematics
  • @OLHSSocSubjects
  • @OLHSTechnical

11th November was Armistice Day, which was marked in the school with a two minute silence.  This was followed by Peter in S5 playing the pipes in the yard.

Most of our correspondence these days is via email – if you have not been receiving these emails, please contact the school office to update details on 01698 274925.

Please note that Monday 16th November is an Inservice Day and therefore a holiday for pupils.

HT Blog – 24 October 2020

It has been a quick week since our return from the October break.  I hope that it was a good break for the pupils and their families.  Since our return it has become clear that as a school community we do not remain untouched from Covid-19. With individuals testing positive and numbers of pupils having to self-isolate it just highlights the need to be extra vigilant and ensure we all follow procedures to help minimise the impact across the schools and within families.

At the start of the month we had our Parent Council AGM.  To have the large numbers we have interested in being involved with the Parent Council is heartening, and is a reflection of the vested interest that parents have in the school and the education of our young people.

Part of our School Improvement Plan for this year is around the health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff.  We have a pupil group of Mental Health ambassadors who have been busy in the school over the last few weeks. They organised the Wear Yellow day just before the October week. They  were also handing out purple lanyards with our school Mental Health motto #speakoutOLHS.  The lanyard is simply a visual aid for staff and pupils to sign post them to a person willing to listen and assist.

The ambassadors have also produced a school mental health mascot based on pupil voice.  It is a turtle called TAZ.  The mascot is visible around the school with inspirational quotes.

Members of our Personal development class have been making collections and receiving very kind donations from local companies to make care packages for Wishaw General.  Well done to them for all their hard work.

At the recent S1 class Masses Fr Ness presented a number of pupils with their Pope Francis award following all their great work at Primary – a fantastic group of young people who served their communities well.  We have a number of S6 pupils this year undertaking the Pope Benedict XVI Caritas award.

Another aspect of our School Improvement Plan is digital learning.  There is an increase in the use of Microsoft Teams and this is particularly important at the moment, especially for those pupils who are having to self-isolate.  If you have any concerns about accessing Teams at home, please contact the Pupil Support teacher to discuss further.

There has been a number of letters emailed to parents over the last few months.  If you have not been receiving these, please contact the school office to check and update your email address.  Another way we communicate is through the school app. If you have not already downloaded it search for School App for Parents in the Google Play or Apple App Store. When you have downloaded the app please search for our school name to see our dates, news and receive messages.

Due to circumstances there are not many activities or events that we are in a position to run at the moment.  The only forthcoming events currently are:

  • Monday 2nd November    Parent Council Meeting 7pm
  • Monday 16th November   Inservice Day (holiday for pupils)

HT Blog – 4th October 2020

W/b Monday 5th October – Week 1

DOUBLE BLOCK 1 DOUBLE BLOCK 2 SINGLE PERIOD DOUBLE BLOCK 3
MONDAY Mon 1 Mon 3 Mon 5 Mon 6
TUESDAY Tue 1 Tue 3 Tue 5 Tue 6
WEDNESDAY Wed 1 Wed 3 N/A Wed 5
THURSDAY Thu 1 Thu 3 Thu 5 Thu 6
FRIDAY Fri 1 Fri 3 N/A Fri 5

Given that the week after next is a holiday, we will be following the Week 2 timetable on our return on Monday 19th October.

Parent Council AGM

A letter was sent last week from the Parent Council giving notice of the AGM taking place on Monday 5th October.  This will be a virtual meeting and if you would like to join, please contact office@ourladyshigh.n-lanark.sch.uk

Mass

Thanks to Fr. Ness for his time spent with our first year classes so far, including a Class Mass. It was great to be back in the school chapel again! The rest of the Masses for S1 will take place this week.  S6 Captains also took the opportunity to introduce themselves to the S1 pupils.

Virtual Coffee Morning

Thanks to the Personal Development class for their work in organising the Virtual Coffee morning that took place last Wednesday. We received a delivery with our choice of tea/coffee and cakes and scones.  A great deal of effort went into this and the pupils did a great job. The money raised will go towards their class project providing care packages to three wards in Wishaw General Hospital – dementia ward, emergency care and cancer care.

The class also ran a Beat the Goalie competition to raise funds for the same project.

We will continue to work with our school captains Niall, Lucy and Paul (below) along with the house captains in prefects in taking the school forward.  The role of S6 pupils is always an important one in a school and despite the restrictions, we need to ensure that the pupils continue to have these opportunities.

Forthcoming Events

Monday 5th October – Parent Council AGM

Friday 9th October –  ‘Wear Something Yellow Day’ to highlight the issue of Mental Health.  Donations will collected on the day and ribbons for £1 will be available throughout the week.

Thursday 8th October – Pupils applying to University through UCAS will be spending time in a computer suite with their Pupil Support teacher to support them through the start of the process.

Monday 12th – Friday 16th October – October Week Holiday

HT Blog – 3 March 2020

As part of our transition programme with the Primary schools we were delighted to welcome the P6 pupils from our associated primary schools to Our Lady’s for the day. They followed a timetable for the day and appeared to have a fantastic time. The next time they will be visiting is when they are in P7 and we look forward to that. The parents of the current Primary 7 who are joining us in August had the opportunity to come to the school for one of the three information sessions organised in February. Parents had a short presentation followed by a tour of the school with a group of OLHS pupils (many of them reminiscing about their own time at the school!) followed by refreshments and a chance to ask questions. Thanks to all of those who came along.

Following a short holiday and two inservice days pupils S1 pupils returned to the school on the Friday for a very interesting and thought provoking day. Part of the morning was spent raising awareness of climate change and what they could do to make a difference. And in the afternoon was our Holocaust memorial Event. Pupils were provided with details of the Holocaust and staff explained other historical events that are classed as genocides, asking pupils to discuss what steps they could take to stop anything similar happening again. This was a challenging topic for our pupils who approached the event with great respect, hard work and an excellent attitude.

That same day a group of our S6 Caritas pupils made the journey to Oban with Mr McHugh and Fr Ness four a short retreat. The pupils came back very positive about their experience away and seemed to get a great deal out of it.

We have once again reached that time of the year when we are trying to prepare for the next session 2020/21. As part of that pupils are in the process of choosing their options. An Information Evening took place to inform parents of this process and offer advise on how to support the young people.

Our S6 Advanced Higher English class had a visit recently from journalist and author Maggie Ritchie who gave a great talk and set some creative challenges for the pupils. And our S2 pupils had the pleasure of a talk from author Gill Arbuthnott focusing on where stories come from. Thanks to Ms Macfadyen our school librarian for coordinating these excellent visits.

Congratulations to our S1/2 heptathlon team who recently won the Gold medal at the Giant Heptathlon event at Ravenscraig recently. They went on to represent North Lanarkshire in the West Regional Finals and, although did not come out winners, did the school proud. Well done! There are so many sports activities that our pupils are involved in presently and thanks have to go to the PE department who are organising these events. Please follow them on twitter for more information (@OLHS_PE).

Many thanks to Fr Ness who lead the school in three services on Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent. Fr Ness has kindly offered to come in daily to celebrate Mass at 12.55pm in our Chapel. Pleases feel free to pop in and join us if you are passing.

Forthcoming Events


March – S4/5/6 folio and assignment write-ups and practical exams
9th March – international Women’s Day
10th March – S2 Parents’ Evening
19th March – NL Schools Concert at Concert Hall in Glasgow
25th March – School Spring Concert
3rd April – school closes at 2.30pm for the Easter break

HT Blog – 4th February 2020

Time has been flying since we came back after Christmas and the pupils continue to work hard. The S5/6 Prelims have taken place and pupils have been receiving their results and are identifying their next steps. Parents should be receiving the S5/6 reports around 19th February and Parents’ Evenings have taken place for S3 and S4 pupils. However, there is no need to wait for a report or a reporting evening if you have any concerns about progress – please feel free to pick up the phone and speak to the Pupil Support teacher. Parents’ Evening appointments are only 5 minutes and don’t always give the time to go into depth if there are more serious concerns re progress.

There has been excellent progress with the 3G pitch which now has the carpet laid. The finishing date of 6th March is still looking good so keep the fingers crossed for some decent weather over the next few weeks!

S2 pupils were in for a treat recently when Cool Creatures visited the school. All the pupils had the chance to meet various creatures close up, a Tenrec, meerkat, boa constrictor, crested gheko, skunk. Many thanks to Miss McGavan for organising this for the pupils.

A group of S3 pupils had the opportunity recently to visit the Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station for an interesting and informative visit. Our U-13 football team had quite a journey recently for their Scottish Cup tie – Fraserburgh! This was an early start for the boys and a late night. Unfortunately they did not manage to progress to the next round but these boys and all the other teams representing the school, continue to do so in a positive and enthusiastic way.

We continue to try and communicate with you in as many ways as possible. We have the school app which is free to download and I would encourage you to do so. The school twitter account is @OLHSMotherwell which you can follow and if you search ‘OLHS’ you will find a number of departments who keep you up to date with what is going on as well.  Also, please remember to let the school office know if you update your email address as most of our correspondence home goes via email.

Forthcoming Events
• Thursday 6th February – P6 Transition Day
• Thursday 6th February – P7 Information Evening
• Monday 10th & Tuesday 11th February – Holidays
• Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th February – Inservice Days (holidays for pupils)
• Tuesday 18th February – Options Information Evening (S2/3 – 6.30pm & S4/5 – 7.30pm)
• Monday 24th February – P7 Information Afternoon
• Wednesday 26th February – Ash Wednesday
• Monday 2nd March – Parent Council Meeting

HT Blog – 14 January 2020

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2020. I hope you all had an enjoyable time with family and friends over the Christmas season. Things are back to normal in the school now and pupils very quickly got back into the way of things despite a few tired faces last week (especially the staff!)

There were many events taking place before the holidays – Senior Citizens party, school concert, ceilidhs for the pupils, inter house quiz, S1 Panto trip, Christmas parcels, etc…. I am very grateful to the many staff and pupils who were involved in these successful events that make such a difference in a school.

The prelims for S4 pupils took place before the holidays and pupils should be receiving their reports soon with a Parents’ evening following on Thursday 30th January. The S5/6 pupils are presently preparing for their prelims, which begin on Monday 20th January.

We were very grateful once again to Fr Ness for organising Confessions for S1/3/6 pupils. The priests who came in on the day to assist were very impressed with our pupils and their conduct and reverence. Confessions have been organised for the other year groups during Lent.

Progress continues to be made with our new 3G pitch and all going well is scheduled to finish on time, 6th March 2020.


Monday 20th January – S5/6 Prelims begin
Tuesday 21st January – S3 Parents’ Evening
Thursday 30th January – S4 Parents’ Evening
Monday 3rd February – Parent Council Meeting
Thursday 6th February – P6 Transition Day
Thursday 6th February – P7 Information Evening
10th & 11th February – Holidays
12th & 13th February – Inservice Days (holidays for pupils)
Tuesday 18th February – Options Information Evening (S2/3 – 6.30pm & S4/5 – 7.30pm)
Monday 24th February – P7 Information Afternoon
Wednesday 26th February – Ash Wednesday