The Voice of st leonards senior school


School of the Year

SCHOOL OF THE YEAR | We are absolutely delighted to share the news St Leonards has been awarded the Sunday Times ‘Scottish Independent School of the Year’. St Leonards has been singled out as the leading school of its kind in Scotland, and was commended for its dynamic approach to teaching and learning, as well as its excellent examination results and recognition from universities in Scotland, England and across the globe.

This Top Independent Secondary School in Scotland title adds to a strong set of recent achievements for the school: St Leonards has been ranked the top independent school Sixth Form in Scotland for A-Level / IB results for the last three years (2015, 2016 and 2017) by the Sunday Times Good Schools Guide, Parent Power.

Parent Power is widely acknowledged as the most authoritative annual survey of the country’s best schools. In addition to looking at exam results at GCSE and for the International Baccalaureate it considers the all-round education on offer, including co-curricular activities, sports, university destinations for school leavers, and pastoral care.

The guide Editor, Alastair McCall, has praised the school on its success: “No Scottish independent school can match St Leonards’ achievements in the sixth form averaged over the past four years.

“The IB is a perfect fit for a school that is international in outlook but gloriously Scottish in its traditions and history. Under Michael Carslaw’s assured stewardship over the past decade, St Leonards has forged a distinctive personality that draws students from far and wide.

“Academic success is only part of the story. The school’s wider strengths ensure students leave ready to take their place in the world and equipped to deal with all of the challenges they will encounter.”

The International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum is delivered both in the Junior and Senior sections of the school and has been recognised as being far more than just a qualification gained at the end of a pupil’s school career:

“It is a dynamic and effective way of teaching and learning, from the youngest to the oldest in school”, says St Leonards Headmaster, Dr Michael Carslaw.

“It is based on knowledge and understanding but also on reflecting and acting. Pupils are encouraged to be open-minded, curious, to work collaboratively, to lead their learning and master the art of presentation, preparing students for life beyond school”.

The breadth and depth of the syllabus and mesh of academic and co-curricular learning continue to benefit St Leonards students, with 88% of last year’s leavers being accepted to their first choice university.

“We are thrilled be named Scottish Independent School of the Year. To receive such a prestigious accolade is a wonderful achievement for the school. It is an outstanding reflection on all staff, pupils, parents and the wider school community, all of whom help to create an impressive, effective, consistent and caring learner journey from Year 1 to Year 13 and beyond. Encapsulating our school motto perfectly, we truly offer an education ‘Ad Vitam’ (‘for life’)”.

Duke of Edinburgh Award on the Rise

DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARD ON THE RISE | Earlier this month, we were contacted by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Scotland, to congratulate St Leonards on having the fastest growing D of E programme out of all Scottish independent schools.

This is fantastic news, and our thanks for to Dr Maclean, Mr Martin and our Activities Coordinator Ms Johnson for all their hard work in continuing to develop the programme at St Leonards.

Already this term our D of E pupils have ventured out into the beautiful Scottish countryside for their Silver practice expedition, and we look forward to further updates as they progress towards the real thing!

TOK Residential

On Saturday, 10 November a group of 20 Year 13 pupils travelled to Kindrogan in Perthshire for our inaugural TOK Residential weekend. This was an opportunity for the students to participate in quiet study sessions at the centre, focussing on completing their TOK essay drafts for their IB Diploma.

This wasn’t a case of all work and no play, and the group enjoyed games including ‘Wink Murder’ and ‘Witness’, all of which could be related to their TOK studies in some way.

We have received brilliant feedback from the students who attended our first TOK Residential trip, and all involved have said they would strongly recommend it to Year 12 students next year.

Thank you to Mr Seymour, Mrs Pemberton-Hislop and Miss Tawse for accompanying the trip, and ensuring a productive but still fun weekend was had by all.

WOSPS vs Dandylions Hockey

WOSPS VS DANDYLIONS HOCKEY | Fiona and Issy (Year 9) represented St Leonards as part of the U13 WOSPS hockey team, playing against the Dandylions at Fettes on Wednesday, 21 November. The WOSPS went down to a very strong Dandlyions side, but a strong performance nonetheless from the girls. Well done Fiona and Issy!

Model United Nations

MODEL UNITED NATIONS | Members of our Model United Nations club travelled to North Berwick for what turned out to be a very successful day-long conference. With 10 pupils representing Brazil and Israel, the groups engaged in lively debates, discussions and diplomacy. Congratulations to Bernat, who was awarded ‘Best First Time Delegate in the Health Committee for Israel, Jakub, who was Highly Commended in the Health Committee for Brazil, and Ruaridh, who was chosen as the ‘Outstanding Delegate for the Media Committee for Brazil.’

It was an excellent start to a busy weekend for the debaters, who also took part in University of St Andrews Debating Competition on Saturday, during which Henriette (Year 11) distinguished herself for her diligence and improvement from a beginner to a skilled debater across the four debates.

Some of our MUN representatives shared their experiences of the day, with full reports available to read via the link below:

Rugby Results

RUGBY RESULTS | The St Leonards-Madras (SLM) Blues U18 squad travelled south to Dunbar at the start of November for their first Grandis Conference fixture after the Half Term break, coming up against a much-improved home team in blustery conditions. Both teams were rock solid in defence, but with tries for Harry Dunstan, Alexander Samuel and Maurice Batiuluna, it was a win for the SLM Blues. Final score 26-19. Man of the match was Maurice Batiuluna.

Also against Dunbar, the U14s secured a strong win as a result of some great tackling, fantastic team spirit, and excellent fast passing in the line to the wings. Some superb tries were scored!

The U13s claimed victory against North Berwick with an excellent performance from all the players. Preston Lodge came out on top in the U13s’ and U14s’ next matches by a try score in each fixture, but both games were hard-fought, thrilling, and memorable to watch.

The U16s played George Watson’s B team on Saturday, 24 November, and after a few early handling errors, the boys managed to settle and pass the ball wide to both flanks. A really entertaining match to watch, with great teamwork in the linespeed, and close discipline in the defensive lines.

For regular updates on all our SLM Blues team, we have a dedicated Facebook page @stleonardsmadrasblues, where results are shared each week. Please feel free to like and follow the Blues online!

Jull Singing Competition

JULL SINGING COMPETITION | As always, the Jull Singing Award on Thursday made for an outstanding evening of vocal performances, with seven St Leonards pupils taking to the stage in front of a captive audience and independent adjudicator, Ms Claire Innes-Hopkins, who kindly joined us from the University of St Andrews where she is Acting University Organist and Director of Chapel Choirs.

Beth (Year 9) was first to perform, singing Summertime by Gershwin. Beth received a special mention at the end of the evening for being the youngest performer to take part in the competition.

Lucy (Year 11) sang two pieces, Cheek to Cheek, followed by a traditional tune called Poor Wayfaring Stranger.

Next up was Peter (Year 12), who received compliments on his rich, low notes in Something’s Coming and Luck be a Lady, before Roma (Year 13) took the programme in a more classical direction with Vivaldi’s Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, and If Music Be the Food of Love by Purcell.

Robert (Year 13) performed Cradle Song and Sunday, while Molly, who was Highly Commended alongside Peter, gave an engaging and emotional performance of Burn by Miranda, which was preceded by Statue at Tsarsoye Selo.

Head Girl Eve (Year 13) closed the competition with Brahms’ Sonntag and How Could I Ever Know? by Simon.

The audience and performers enjoyed refreshments in the Music School Auditorium while Ms Innes-Hopkins deliberated on her adjudication.

After giving constructive feedback to each individual competitor, Eve was announced as this year’s Jull Medal winner. A huge well done to all the pupils who performed, and special congratulations to Eve, Peter and Molly!

Fife Schools Hockey Sweep

Year 9 Girls Hockey Team

FIFE SCHOOLS CLEAN SWEEP | The Year 9 girls travelled to Dunfermline on Monday, 5 November to take part in the S2 category of the Fife Schools Hockey Tournament.

A series of strong games resulted in victory for the St Leonards side, making it a clean sweep this year in the Fife Schools Tournament, with wins for Year 9, Year 10 and the Senior girls.

Young Film Academy Award

YOUNG FILM ACADEMY AWARD | Cameron (Year 9) travelled to London during the summer holidays for a ‘make a movie’ course with the Young Film Academy. Along with his group, Cameron created a short film called ‘3.31’, taking the project from storyboard to screen, acting out the parts, and filming and editing their production.

A few weeks later, Cameron received the exciting news that their movie had been nominated for a Young Film Academy Award, and at the end of August, he journeyed back down south for the ceremony, where ‘3.31’ was announced as the winner!

With more day courses in film-making planned at the Young Film Academy next summer, Cameron is hoping to return and continue to build on his skills.

Well done Cameron! An Oscar winner in the making?

ISGA Golf Championship

ISGA GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP | The St Leonards team played Loretto in the semi-final of the Independent Schools Golf Championship on Wednesday, 7 November, narrowly losing out on a place in the next round of the competition.

Congratulations to the Loretto team who were victorious 2-1 on the day, and go through to play in the finals of the tournament.

Showjumping Scene

SHOWJUMPING SCENE | St Leonards pupils have been keeping up the school’s strong equestrian tradition this term, with lots of showjumping successes. Most recently, Beth (Year 9) moved through the heights at British Showjumping, tackling her first round at 1.10m at the Scottish National Equestrian Centre.

Olivia (Year 11) competed at the Strathallan team showjumping event at Howe Equestrian Centre, finishing as the sixth individual on the day.

Congratulations to Beth and Olivia, and to Alice, Ella and Libby, who competed alongside Olivia at the Strathallan event. We look forward to hearing future updates from our riders!

St Leonards Senior Business Visit

ST LEONARDS SENIOR BUSINESS VISIT | St Leonards 2013 leaver and entrepreneur Stefano Pieraccini came back to school this month to give a talk to some of our Sixth Form BTEC students about the challenges of owning and running a successful business.

Stefano, who owns the Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews, and has just opened Edinburgh’s first Cicchetti Bar, The West Room, gave Miss Prudencio-Aponte’s class lots of brilliant advice based on his own experiences, and answered plenty of questions ranging from where he sources his produce to how he promotes his business online.

It was also an opportunity for Stefano to catch up with some of his former teachers, and even reminisce with Ms McQuade-Powell about his days in school Drama!

Midlands Hockey

1st XI Hockey Team

MIDLANDS HOCKEY | The St Leonards 1st XI hockey team took part in the Midland District Hockey tournament on Tuesday, 6 November at High School of Dundee.

In their first match the girls took on Glenalmond. It was a close game, filled with end-to-end action. The St Leonards players broke the deadlock after 15 minutes with an excellent team goal, resulting in Ellen slotting the ball into an empty goal.

The last 5 minutes of the game were tense, and goalie Lauren made some amazing saves from numerous short corners. Eventually Glenalmond scored with a top-class reverse stick shot, which could not be saved.

A 1-1 draw was a great result, and the girls were delighted to get a point from their opening game.

The second match was always going to be a tougher encounter against a very strong side from Dollar Academy. The girls defended well but went down 2-0. It was another solid performance and the girls were able to implement a new game plan which they had been working on during training sessions in school.

The final match saw St Leonards take on the host team, High School of Dundee. Again our girls started well, putting the opposition defenders under enormous amounts of pressure which resulted in St Leonards going 1-0 up thanks to a great goal from Ellen. It was a fantastic steal and a very calm and collected finish. The girls played their best flowing hockey of the season but the High School took their chances and finished as eventual winners.

The 1st XI girls should be exceedingly proud of their attitude and work rate throughout the tournament, at the end of which Lauren was voted as ‘Player of the Tournament.

Well done to all involved!

Festival of Social Science

FESTIVAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE | Around 90 pupils in Years 7 & 8 came together in the School Hall for a special mini-conference organised by St Leonards, in partnership with Abertay University.

Run by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Festival of Social Science is held from November 3 to 10, helping researchers engage with new audiences from teenagers to pensioners, including individuals representing businesses, charities and policymakers.

This year more than 300 creative events are taking place across the UK, aimed at encouraging businesses, charities, government agencies, schools and college students to discover, discuss and debate topical social science issues.

At St Leonards, a screening of the film ‘Hidden Figures’ encouraged everyone to think about issues of gender and race inequality. The pupils then explored these topics in more detail before working in groups to create and present a series of informative posters.

A special thank you to Dr Anastasia Koulouri from Abertay for all her support and hard work in making this event such a success. Years 7 & 8 thoroughly enjoyed the day!

Donald Dewar Debating

DONALD DEWAR DEBATING | On Tuesday, 20 November, St Leonards played host to visiting teams for the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Competition.

Hannah (Year 11) and Ruaridh (Year 12) took part in a hard-fought debate on the issue of Google, arguing whether the internet search engine has caused more harm than good. The duo argued very effectively against Grove Academy, presenting very well-researched arguments.

The judges were particularly complimentary of the floor debate, where the book token prize was awarded to Roma (Year 13).

Unicycling Champion

UNICYCLING CHAMPION | Since our last update on Year 10 unicycling star Henriette’s success, she has secured the title of German Champion in the large group competition with the Bavarian Freestyle Team. Congratulations from all at St Leonards!

Football Focus

Senior Boys' Football Team

FOOTBALL FOCUS | The Senior Boys’ football team came up against High School of Dundee in a tough game on Tuesday, 27 November, with wet and windy conditions making for a challenging match. Despite a 6-0 defeat, the boys have been on top form this term, registering two ins and a draw in their first three games.

The boys have a strong chance of finishing high up in the Independent Schools Football League and reaching the play-offs. We wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season, and will continue to share news of their progress in future newsletters!

Red Sand Project

RED SAND PROJECT | New York-based activist and experiential artist Molly Gochman visited St Leonards to raise awareness amongst the Sixth Form of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

Molly spoke to our IBDP pupils about her inspirational Red Sand Project, and explained the context behind it. So far, the Red Sand Project has taken place in all 50 US states, and 70 different countries around the world, and is a participatory art installation that creates opportunities for people to question, connect with, and take action against vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation.

To achieve this, Molly distributes small bags of red sand, which people can use in public spaces to mark out lines, which help to raise awareness.

Molly’s incredible knowledge on the subject, and passion for the project, meant she had a thoroughly captivated audience in our Year 12 and 13 students. She distributed small bags of red sand to the group to use around the school grounds and in St Andrews, with the aim of further raising awareness of human trafficking.

Sailing Success

SAILING SUCCESS | After taking up sailing earlier this year, Oscar (Year 10) has secured a series of successes, with a grand total of five trophies presented by the Wormit and St Andrews Boating Clubs.

Since representing St Leonards in the Brown Cup back in June, alongside fellow Year 10 pupil Alex, Oscar has been awarded prizes for ‘most improved cadet’, ‘best cadet under 17’, won the Wormit Cadet Racing Series, the St Andrews beginners’ race, and was the Topper Top Hat Trophy Champion.

Super to see such strengths in water sports!

WW1 Artefacts Exhibit

WW1 ARTEFACTS EXHIBIT | A special exhibition of WW1 artefacts, timed to coincide with Armistice Day events up and down the country, brought history to life for pupils in Years 8-12 earlier this month. Classes had a chance to view photographs, medals, wartime uniforms, and the original map setting out plans for the Battle of Cambrai in 1917.

Our thanks go to the Dunstan family for kindly lending their fascinating collection to the School, and to Miss Tawse, for looking out some pieces from our own St Leonards Archive.

Hockey Highlights

HOCKEY HIGHLIGHTS | It has been a busy and fruitful few weeks in terms of hockey fixtures, with our Year 9 girls beating Dunfermline High School 8-0 thanks to four goals each from Fiona and Issy. The Year 8 girls were also victorious 8-0 against Dunfermline, with goals from Katie, Nadja, Elisenda, Millie and Quitterie.

The Year 10 girls had a very close game at home against Mary Erskine’s School from Edinburgh, with Sophie chosen as player of the match. The 1st XI girls lost 3-0, and the 2nd XI squad went down 2-0, with the highlight of the day coming from the Year 9 girls, who won their game 4-0!

Against Morrison’s Academy, the Year 10 girls won 2-1 thanks to goals from Rebecca and Emma, and the Year 9 girls were victorious, too, with a final score of 3-1. Goals were scored by Milli, Issy and Anneli.

Keep up the good work girls!

WOSPS Rugby Representation

WOSPS RUGBY | Scott and Henry (Year 8) represented St Leonards in the U13 WOSPS squad on Wednesday, 7 September, playing against the Dandylions at Cargilfield. Unfortunately for the WOSPS, the Dandylions fielded an incredibly strong team, who claimed the victory on the day.

CAS Football

CAS FOOTBALL | One of our Year 12 tutor groups organised a CAS football match to raise awareness of human trafficking, with both boys and girls sporting skirts and dresses for the game. Thank you to Francesca, who has written a few lines below about the group's motivation:

'We decided that we would focus on human trafficking for our CAS football match because it is a major global issue. The majority of victims are women, so by wearing dresses whilst playing, we were representing them. This project was primarily meant to educate our peers about the issue.'

- Francesca, Year 12

Karate Competition

KARATE COMPETITION | Kathryn (Year 8) travelled to Grangemouth at the end of October to compete at the Kobe Osaka Karate Championships.

We were thrilled to hear that Kathryn secured second place in the girls’ age 10-11 years Kata. She is pictured here receiving her award on the podium at Grangemouth. Congratulations Kathryn!

Swimming Star

SWIMMING STAR | Congratulations to Milli (Year 9), who is the winner of the Cupar and District Swimming Club annual distance championships in the 12 and under 200 individual medley, 400 freestyle, and 800 freestyle. Milli was also awarded a trophy for Best Girl at the recent Fife Leagues Swimming Gala. Absolutely brilliant news – well done Milli!

Triathlon Scotland

TRIATHLON SCOTLAND | Maddy (Year 8) finished third in the Triathlon Scotland National rankings for Aquathlon, following a fantastic tri season during which she had a podium spot in almost every race. Maddy trains with East Fife Triathlon Club, which was also awarded Best Small Club at the presentation ceremony in Glasgow. Prizes were presented by Commonwealth medallist Marc Austin. Brilliant news - well done Maddy!

St Leonards Spotlight

ST LEONARDS SPOTLIGHT | Last week we were excited to launch our new podcast series, St Leonards Spotlight, and have had a brilliant response so far from our listeners! Each episode will focus on a different area of school life, starting with child and adolescent mental health. In our first podcast, Mr Durward (Head of Years 10 & 11) speaks to Eugene Adams, who is Lead Nurse in NHS Fife’s CAMHS team.

If you have not yet have a chance to tune in, St Leonards Spotlight is available via iTunes, Google Podcasts and Spotify, or you can listen directly online at Radiopublic.com.

If you have any suggestions of topics for future episodes, please do not hesitate to get in touch! We would love to hear your feedback.

Remembrance Assembly

REMEMBRANCE ASSEMBLY | The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. On Friday, 9 November, pupils came together to reflect, remember, and mark one hundred years since the end of the First World War.

A special Sixth Form Assembly was held to commemorate the Armistice centenary. Our students and staff helped tell the stories of nine courageous and admirable individuals, several speaking of their relatives. The morning concluded with a reading of ‘In Flanders Fields’.

Thank you to our Head of History, Jan Fulton and our speakers Ruaridh, Reedi, Sarah, Hugo, Catherine, Veronika, Coral, Lauren, Eleanor and Hannah for leading this important assembly.

Poppy Scotland

POPPY SCOTLAND | Our thanks to all who purchased a poppy for Remembrance Day. Through donations at St Leonards, £297.29 was raised for Poppy Scotland, the charity founded by Douglas Haig for veterans of the British Armed Forces and their dependents.

Christmas Fair

CHRISTMAS FAIR | All are very welcome to join us for the St Leonards Junior School Christmas Fair on Saturday, 8 December from 10.00am - 12.00pm in St Katharines Hall. Expect plenty of imaginative seasonal stalls and games, run by our Junior School pupils, as well as Santa's Grotto and gingerbread house decorating workshops. Booking for Santa's Grotto and the gingerbread houses is essential, with details provided in the posters above.

Organised and supported by the wonderful St Leonards Parents Association, the Christmas Fair is always lots of fun for all ages. We look forward to seeing you there!

St Leonards Christmas Cards

ST LEONARDS CHRISTMAS CARDS | This year's beautiful St Leonards Christmas card is now on sale for parents, pupils and staff to purchase.

In print, the card design features gold foil stars in the sky, and showcases our iconic St Leonards clock tower on a winter's night.

The Christmas cards are being sold in packs of ten - each pack costing £6.50.

Should you wish to order cards this year, please complete the form which was sent out via email earlier this week, and return it to the Junior or Senior School Office. Alternatively, email contact@stleonards-fife.org

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