The Voice of st leonards senior school



SNOW REPORT | It was a rather chilly start to Spring Term, as St Andrews enjoyed a touch of snow! However frozen pitches do not stop St Leonards - training moved down to our beautiful East Sands beach. Year 9 were the first to take to the sand and race the waves, following the sunshine and blue skies. It was the favourite class of the day for many - how lucky we are to be in St Andrews!


RUSSIAN NEW YEAR | The beginning of term’s snowy weather allowed 'festive cheer' to linger a little longer at St Leonards! To celebrate this New Year in style, our Year 11 and Sixth Form Russian students travelled to Fingask Castle. They attended a beautiful banquet, made new resolutions for the year ahead, and enjoyed a tour of the impressive seventeenth century snowy grounds. Before returning to school, they even accepted the challenge to take down the 11 foot Christmas tree from within the castle – team building at its finest! A great trip to end the first week of Spring Term.


MICRO-CLIMATE INVESTIGATION | In geography, Year 8 have recently completed a study of the micro-climate of St Leonards school grounds. We caught them ‘mid-investigation’ at their garden site outside Queen Mary’s Library. Students were carefully collecting data, including wind speed and temperature, from 10 different sites. Their results will be written up as a final report to identify the windiest and coldest places at school.


JELLY BABY BIOLOGY | Our Year 8 biologists were conducting a combustion experiment in one of their recent classes. The experiment is called the ‘screaming jelly baby...’ why, we hear you ask? It shows the jelly baby burning and being added to a chemical that liberated oxygen. This reaction caused energy to be released in combustion – evoking aggressive heat, light and sound, because of the gas created. It clearly demonstrates to students the similarities between respiration and combustion. Everyone was very excited, hence the shaky photographs!


SPORTING HEROES | At the end of last year, Year 8 boys Archie Clarke and Chris Forrest were both selected for the Scottish Prep Schools squad. They played the Edinburgh select team on Sunday 11th December at Merchiston School and were victorious.

As well as his Scottish Prep Schools selection last year for Rugby, Alexander Samuel (Year 10) has now been selected for the U15 Scottish Basketball squad. What sport shall he conquer next?

Final year student Tristan Rees ran for Scotland last Saturday, 21st January, at the Celtic Nations Cross Country International Championship in Cardiff. Running as part of the U20 squad, Tristan gained his first cross country cap of 2017 and sported the new Scotland vest.

Year 11's Harry Mercer has been selected for the Scotland Under 16 rugby squad.

Congratulations to all the boys on national success in their sports.


RUGBY SPOTLIGHT | Harry Mercer's selection for the Scotland Under 16 rugby squad is a clear indication that rugby at St Leonards is on the up. Highlights of last term's rugby season included victory against Lathallan (19-17), an exciting fixture against Harris Academy and a convincing win against Waid Academy (64 – 42).

Five Year 8 pupils attended trials for the WOSPs U14 trials for a future a match against the Dandelions (Archie Clark, Chris Forrest, Davy Whatmore, Robbie Logan and Tristan Bruce). After their strong performances, Archie Clarke and Chris Forrest were then chosen for the Winning WOSPs squad and then for the Scottish Prep Schools side. The SPS XV played the Edinburgh Select XV at Merchiston Castle at the end of last term, winning 39-15.

In October, Harry Mercer (Year 11) represented the West of Scotland in a trial game versus the East of Scotland at Netherdale in Galashiels. The best players from both teams were then selected for the Scotland U16 squad. Harry was successfully chosen, and is currently training with the rest of the team weekly at Oriam, Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre. Housed in a £33 million purpose-built sports facility, this cutting-edge development transforms Heriot-Watt into the training hub for Scotland’s national football and rugby squads. This is a wonderful achievement and we wish Harry well in the next team selection process.

We asked PE Teacher and Former Scottish Rugby Internationalist Andrew Turnbull what he thinks of St Leonards Rugby?

“I’ve really enjoyed my time so far at St. Leonards. It’s been a challenge moving on from playing rugby as a profession, but the school has supported me so well in my transition and I am thrilled to be teaching something I am passionate about. The kids are great to work with and there are some very talented athletes in the school. Selection for the Scottish Prep Schools and the Scotland U16 squad are great achievements for the individuals chosen and indeed for our school. Rugby is improving at St. Leonards and we are confident for a stronger next season."

Mr Turnbull first turned professional in 2001 with The Borders. He spent a season at Rotherham before moving back up to join Edinburgh in 2007. He then played full time with the Scotland 7’s program in 2010 before retiring from professional rugby in 2015. During this time, he played in 3 Sevens World Cups (Hong Kong 2005, Dubai 2009, Moscow 2013) and two Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010) alongside 3 Scotland A caps in 15’s. His favourite player of the past is Jason Robinson and his current ‘one to watch’ is Nehe Milner Skudder. We are delighted to have him here and look forward to the next rugby season later in the year. Until then, we will have to sit back and enjoy watching the Rugby Six Nations!


LANGUAGE PERFECT | At the very end of last year, Senior School pupils competed in the ‘Language Perfect Northern Championships’. This is run by Education Perfect, an online tool which promotes and perfects vocabulary learning in different languages at different levels. The results are in, and we are very proud to announce the following school achievements: Lauren Hastie (Year 9) was awarded a gold certificate, Emily Challice (Year 10) and Owen Baxter (Year 10) were awarded silver, and Roma Dhasmana (Year 11), Attila Newey (Year 8), Helena Oldroyd (Year 9), Tomas Badia (Year 9), Rose Murray (Year 9), Archie Clark (Year 8) and Emma McBarron (Year 8) all won bronze certificates. Well done to everyone!


ANIMAL MAGIC | The Art Department have silenced our Year 9 pupils! The class are working on a project called ‘The Animal in Me’, creating their very own animal sculptures. Stocked with plaster bandage and clay, they have been busy casting and modelling. Using a cast of their very own face, they will transform the mould into an animal of their choice. Here are some of Year 9 after completing ‘Step 1’! Game faces are on! The next newsletter promises to provide a follow-up piece with the finished designs.

Masks modelled by Daniel Hewitt, Kirsty McRobb, Lucy Tabberer, Tomas Badia, Elisha Jerret, Charlotte Williamson and Lauren Hastie.


DINNER WITH A DIFFERENCE | These working dinners are for our Sixth Formers and they aren't just about table etiquette and which knife and fork to use (though we cover that too); they are mainly about how to present yourself for the world of business. With reportedly up to 80 per cent of jobs gained in social settings rather than a formal interview process, we advise our Year 12s and 13s about useful social skills, such as making introductions and opening gambits and developing an 'elevator pitch.' For example, you have work experience in a swanky office. You need to take the lift to the fifth floor. You find you are standing next to the chief executive, who nods at you and asks you how you are. You have a few seconds to say who you are and why you'd love to work for the company. Tough - but fun - and we are always incredibly impressed because every single one of the young adults has wonderful skills and qualities to communicate. Sometimes Dinners with a Difference are held in the Headmaster's House and sometimes elsewhere. This term, the students have been fortunate in that the events are held in the sumptuous surroundings of a nearby castle. Their beautifully crafted thank you letters show just how much they appreciate these evenings - and how much they have learned.


MONEY MATTERS | Our Year 13 students attended the useful seminar, ‘Managing Money – a lesson for life’ in the Music School Auditorium on Thursday, 19th January. Speaker and financial specialist Sandra Morrison-Low, who heads The Stewart Ivory Foundation Education Trust, enlightened our Sixth Form with money-management ‘top tips.’ It's in preparation for flying the nest and moving on to work, travel and study across the globe.


BURNS NIGHT | This week's school assemblies have been dedicated to Scotland's national poet. The Senior School acknowledged the life and works of Robert Burns - with a twist. English Teacher Mick Kitson explored Rabbie as a song writer, hearing a wonderful solo from Jack Boag and tunes Ye banks and braes o bonnie doon and MacPherson's Farewell played by the rest of the folk band. Some Sixth Form students dressed to impress, celebrating Robert Burns: tartan suits, ties and trews were all spotted. Well done to our special assembly performers: Hannah Woods (Year 9 fiddle) , Eve Hayward Daventry (Year 11 fiddle), Lauren Hastie (Year 9, Bass), Lucy Tabberer (Year 9 vocals), (Jack Boag Year 12 vocals).


UNIVERSITY TRIPS | Two Year 12 groups attended the University of St Andrews this month, visiting different departments. Off to the School of Chemistry were Megan Andrews and Matt Bruce, who were selected to attend a Masterclass there. Led by a University professor and a group of PhD students, they took part, along with chosen pupils from other schools, in two experiments – the synthesis of Paracetamol and a multi-step synthesis, applying different methods and experimental techniques to each. They considered the steps pharmaceutical companies take to synthesise drugs, and learnt that it is possible for the entire reaction to occur in just one beaker, regarded as a typical method in the chemical industry. Both students agreed that this was an interesting and valuable opportunity. Matt said: "The visit gave me an idea of what it would be like to study science-based subjects at university level. We returned with super knowledge that will help us with our IB Chemistry course."

Higher Level Psychology Sixth Form students visited the School of Psychology and Neuroscience on Friday, 13th January. Part of the Psychology Diploma syllabus focuses on developmental psychology and students were able to benefit from hearing from recent graduates. They learned what it is like to study for a psychology degree at University, conducting ‘real’ experiments in the labs and listening to final year PhD students talk about their own experiments with primates in Zambia, was extremely beneficial for their course. The highlight of the visit was a lecture led by Principal Teaching Fellow, Mr Paul Gardner, on the importance of psychology in everyday life, as well as promoting the diverse career options a psychology degree can enable. It was a successful and popular trip that will be repeated for next year’s budding psychologists.


ISGA GOLF | The St Leonards Golf Team played an extremely close match earlier this week against Loretto in the Independent Schools Golf Association Championships on the Jubilee course.

Miguel Reider (Year 12) and Charlie Webb (Year 12) got off to a fast start being 5 up after 10 holes, preventing a comeback from their opposition and winning their match on the 15th. The other two matches were mixed for the entire duration of the round, with a high level of golf being displayed by both teams. Ben Caton (Year 12) and Catharina Graf (Year 11) were 1 down going down the last and unfortunately Cathi narrowly missed a long attempt at birdie to continue their game. The St Leonards Spanish duo, Pol Berge (Year 12) and Oriol Martinez (Year 10) competed in another incredibly close game today and demonstrated spectacular golf from start to finish. Unfortunately the pair were beaten on the last hole, allowing Loretto to move on to the next round. Overall a strong team performance from our St Leonards side. In spite of the disappointing end to a nail-biting match, our team were still smiling!


SPA DAY | The boarders 'best weekend activity award' so far this term goes to the Spa Day at Fairmont St Andrews. Pupils from Bishopshall visited the five star resort to enjoy the spa facilities for an afternoon of pampering and relaxation. The girls particularly enjoyed the snail shower, the pool, the sauna/steam room and the Jacuzzi - so much so, that they are already planning their next spa treat trip!


TICKETS PLEASE | Next month, St Leonards Year 11 and Sixth Form students will publicly perform Les Misérables. Rehearsals are well underway, as it is only a few weeks until the cast members take to the stage! Here is a sneak preview photograph…! Join them in The Byre Theatre from Wednesday, 22 - Friday, 24th February and experience a wondrous school production. This is a favourite of many, so tickets are selling fast. Book ahead to save your seat by calling 01334 475000, or CLICK HERE. We look forward to the show!


MOCK EXAMS | The mock exams are coming to a close, with Year 11 finishing their GCSE exams last Friday, and the final Year 13 tests take place on Tuesday, 31st January. Good luck to those who still have one or two more to sit, and congratulations to you all once they are finished!

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