Headmaster’s Headlines

Headmaster’s Headlines

16th May, 2017

First, many congratulations to Nils on his birthday!

I would be most grateful if readers of Headmaster’s Headlines could accept the words I said to the School this morning.

Announcement of new Heads of Houses

I was pleased last Tuesday to have announced the Captain of School for next academic year and Oliver will be shadowing Luca for the rest of this term and deputising for him as needed.

This morning I would like to announce the Heads of Houses for the next academic year and I would like both Luca and Oliver to help Housemasters to recognise and congratulate these young men on their appointment. We will then move on to the Deputy Heads of Houses before half term and the final piece of this leadership jigsaw will be the Student Leadership Group selected from the Heads of Houses, to support Oliver and his work. These early leadership appointments allow the Lower Sixth to shadow their Upper Sixth counterparts and learn the role. They will also increasingly take over the role and responsibility of prefectship, as the Upper Sixth prefects prepare for their final A Level exams.

So congratulations to the following on their appointment as Heads of House for the Academic Year 2017-18.

Merchiston-Heads-of-House-2017Captain of Pringle: Rustam
Head of Chalmers West: Peter
Head of Chalmers East: Rufus
Head of Rogerson: Jamie A
Head of Laidlaw North: Jamie B
Head of Laidlaw South: Callum
Head of Evans: Harry
Leader of Pupil Learning Council: Rory

Heads of House 2017 with staff 

I have enjoyed seeing the word clouds from the Lower Sixth Part 1 Leadership training session. There were 7 groups and these are the Lower Sixth key characteristics for a successful leader. The characteristics and clouds are fascinating and indeed each one of us has much to learn from them!

I never like delineation between students. And one of the most striking moments in the chats our present Upper Sixth student leaders had with many of our Lower Sixth, was the following quote from one of our Lower Sixth: “It does not matter whether a leader is a senior prefect or a prefect. What really matters is whether he cares. That is all that matters.”

Foundation of Goodness

A few weeks ago I mentioned the gracious thank you letter that we received from the Foundation of Goodness Sports Academy in Sri Lanka for the donation we game them. They said that the money was going to be used to sustain the Tamil language classes that they provide. They have now sent us the following note:

In appreciation of the kind contribution by Merchiston Castle School we have now displayed a sponsorship board pertaining to your kind donation at our Tamil Language Centre.

What is fascinating about charitable purpose and giving is not just the actual fundraising. It is more significant working with the charity and seeing it at first hand, receiving and sharing. We saw that earlier this academic year with the “good works” of Charlie in Zimbabwe (mentioned in Headmaster’s Headlines here).

Successes and Awards

Angus (Fourth Form) was involved in the Mod Fringe piping competition last week. I am delighted to announce that he ‘cleaned up’, winning the U15 competition MSR, U15 Piobaireachd, and the overall piping U15 prize. Well done, Angus.

Well done to Patrick and Max in Third Form who played pipes and drums at the 2nd National Veterans First Point Conference at Edinburgh Castle last Thursday.

I am pleased to award our ‘Design Technology Students of the Term’ this morning. This is given to pupils that have shown the greatest level of commitment, effort and achievement over the last term.

Senior: Evan
Middle Years: Jonathan
Juniors: Dougal

Sports Roundup

In cricket, the 1XI won against Carlton CC and Loretto. The 2XI, 3XI, U11As and U11Bs won and the Pringle 1XI, 2XI, 3XI and U9s lost against Fettes. The U15As won and the U15Bs lost against Edinburgh Academy. The U15As and Pringle 1XI won against Dollar. The U14As, Pringle 2XI and U11As lost against Dollar. The Pringle 3XI lost against the High School of Glasgow.

Following on from Angus’ Century last week he has followed up with his second ton of the season. This time it was 128 not out off just 78 balls against Loretto. Angus was not the only pupil to score a hundred this week. Well done to George who scored 101 for the 3XI against Fettes. Congratulations Angus and George!

In athletics, there were a number of excellent individual performances at the Open Invitation Meet at Pitreavie. In tennis, the U18Bs won against Loretto.

Adam was competing at the East of Scotland Championships this weekend and jumped a new U15 High Jump School Record of 1.71m. He has beaten the old record of 1.70m which was previously set by Monty in 2007 and Henry in 2013.


In swimming, well done to the U12 swim team who finished in fourth place in our annual prep school swimming gala.

Max is part of the U14 East of Scotland district hockey team that won the Notts Sport U14 Boys’ Inter District 2017 Competition (national inter-district championship, therefore Scottish Champions), held at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Saturday 13 May, where the most talented players from five districts were on show. The team was dominant, 31 goals for, 0 conceded! Here we have a photo of a very happy Max, following the win.

We have five pupils in the Middle School who are all involved in a football team outside of School, namely Beechwood Football Club. As a new team last year, they have worked really hard to gain promotion through the leagues and in their first season they played 21, won 12, drew 5 and lost 4. Two weekends ago they played in the League Cup Final against the league winners Arniston Rangers. Arniston were very much the favourites. But in a very close game, the team executed its opportunities and maintained a solid shape and fluency of football throughout the 70 minutes to produce a 2-1 win in the atmosphere of Bonnyrigg Rose Stadium. So well done to Niles, Ben, Charlie, Tristan and Matthew!

Activities Roundup

Last week, from my study (!), I enjoyed listening to the M&M Theatrical Production of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe in the Memorial Hall to the Pringle pupils. That certainly made for different Tuesday morning for me! The Pringle Centre had its poetry and music evening last Thursday, and the Book Passport Scheme in the Spawforth Library is well under way. Well done to all the pupils who participated in the Summer Pipe Band Concert on Thursday evening and thank you also to the pupils who supported the performance. I enjoyed the evening and I was particularly moved by the joint performance of The Sounds of Friday boys and girls and all of our Pipers and Drummers. A big team indeed! The Sixth Form had a trip to the European Finals at Murrayfield on Saturday evening and this was an excellent example of the School making the very most of its location. This evening we have the Junior Music Cup and I would like to wish all the pupils who are performing the very best of luck. Last night, we had the Middle Years and Senior Years Inter-house Debating Final. We are also staging the first of two Sports Days with the Juniors happening on Thursday. This is on top of a raft of sports fixtures and house socials.

And A Level exams start today, with another busy week of GCSE and IGCSE exams. I wish all those sitting public exams all the best. A few weeks ago now, on the Wednesday before Will’s Service on the Thursday, when Mrs Hunter and I were looking after Mr and Mrs Mackay, I sat on Will’s Bench as Mr King was showing them the two Outdoor Classrooms. I was struck by the hub of activity in that part of School, as academic clinic after academic clinic of Fifth Form and Upper Sixth pupils and staff exited academic facilities at 5.45pm. You were all smiling which was a sight to behold! So, to all public examination candidates, keep smiling; believe in yourself; pace yourself; and most importantly of all, heads up!

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