The Voice of st leonards senior school



SKI TRIP 2017 | There was no immediate Easter Holiday rest for our 28 ski trippers! This group of Year 7 – 13s departed school early on the last day of term to hit the slopes in Sölden, Austria with Snowtraxx ski instructors, enjoying daily lessons as well as après ski snowball fights and sledging on the beginners’ slopes.

Snowfall during the evenings allowed for fresh, powdery conditions on the ground - improving their ski time on the different runs. Miss Dawson reported that students enjoyed the challenges of the terrain, and made the most of their time on the piste, working hard to improve their skills and technique as the week continued. The week was topped off with glorious sunshine, so our team returned with a healthy glow!


NATIONAL GOLF COMPETITION | It was a beautiful morning in St Andrews, the home of golf, for the St Leonards National Junior Golf Championships. We welcomed over 150 participants from schools throughout the country. Under 9, Under 11 and Under 13 players competed on the Balgove and Strathtyrum courses before taking part in the putting and longest drive sections. Congratulations to all our young St Leonards team, as well as our Senior School and Sixth Form helpers. Everybody went home with a lovely St Ls goodie bags, full of St Andrews Links golf treats.


Livia Plaumann

PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE WINNER | The school has even more photography success to report on. Three talented students have managed to win prizes in the 2017 Rotary Club Young Photographer of the Year Competition. Livia Plaumann (Year 12) won 1st Place in the Senior Section of the District Heats and qualifying for the national Final! George Rees (Year 12) came 2nd Place in the same Senior Section and for the first time, St Leonards has a prize-winning pupil in the Intermediate Section – well done Emilia Forgues-Puccio (Year 8) on coming 2nd place in this district Heats.

George Rees
Emilia Forgues-Puccio

Pupils from 18 other schools competed and submitted work in our local district heat, so this is a wonderful achievement for the school to feature three winners as well as Livia going through to the National Final. The results of the National Final are now in and we are delighted to announce that Livia Plaumann was awarded 2nd prize! She is thrilled to be the overall runner up of the Competition. Many congratulations to Livia, George and Emilia on their great achievements!


YEAR 8 INVESTIGATE OUTDOORS | Year 8 were ‘talking organisms’ in class a few days ago and, due to the sunny weather, took their ecology studies outside to carry out an investigation. Our budding ecologists had to determine whether there is any correlation between light intensity and the percentage cover of grass growing under the beech tree. The teams had to work together to collect data, measuring the light intensity, temperature and percentage of grass cover at two-metre intervals from the trunk outwards. Concentration is the key…!


CAREER BREAKFAST | Our Career Breakfast spaces for Sixth Form students were quickly snapped up to listen to our most recent inspirational VIP Guest. Professor Philip Long, Director of the V & A Dundee, spoke to the group about the exciting waterfront project and the development process. He also discussed his degree and where it has led him throughout his career. Students asked him many interesting questions, ranging from his vision for the design of the building to how quickly and easily business decisions are made. An inspirational start to our Sixth Formers' morning, all over breakfast! Thank you to Professor Long for his precious time.


HOCKEY STARS | We have two Hockey Stars to report on this term who have both represented Midlands District Teams. Alfie Love (Year 9) was selected and played for Midland U14 at the Inter District competition at Glasgow Green, (the venue of the 2014 Commonwealth Games). His team gave a strong performance, finishing second in the tournament. Helena Oldroyd, (Year 9) represented Midland U14 at Peffermill Hockey Centre last weekend. Her team finished 4th, with Helena's playing very well.

Both Alfie and Helena have now played in front of Scottish selectors and will also be involved with U16 district trials taking place during the summer holidays. We wish them the best of luck for the U16 selection process.


YOUNG ENTERPRISE | Our Young Enterprise (YE) teams, accompanied by Miss Grilli, visited the St Andrews Links to learn more about their company and how a business works. They listened to three valuable company presentations, which focused on the financials, branding and commercial, as well as merchandise. Our YE students learnt how to be more ‘business minded’, about the importance of having passion for what your business means and does, and that you should not be afraid to innovate! The team were also lucky enough to take part in a question and answer session with the Chief Executive, Major General Euan Loudon CBE.

Our future entrepreneurs left feeling upbeat, with a better understanding of how important the business cycle and planning is, as well as top tips on how to position your brand. Now ‘back to the office’!


BUGSY MALONE | It was a brilliant 'all singing, all dancing' week before half term, as the school performance of Bugsy Malone took the Byre Theatre by storm.

Our Junior and Senior School pupils convinced appreciative audiences with their portrayal of comedic gang warfare, all set in 1920s New York. Kim Whatmore and Douglas Andrews demonstrated a convincing and strong rivalry on stage, as Dandy Dan and Fat Sam. With their finely honed American accents and swagger, the boys and girls were a joy to behold!

Bugsy Malone, our smooth city slicker played by Alfie Love, updated the audience with the thickening plot, in between chasing his Blousey Brown amour, Yasmine Millar! Over the course of the evening, chaos broke out as splurge gun fights and custard pie moments erupted between our cast members. Messy - in a really entertaining way!

Congratulations to the excellent cast and crew led by Mrs Ledger for taking the audience to the deep dark streets of New York City and putting on a wonderful show filled with accurate accents, action and glamorous outfits.


SPECIAL GUEST LECTURE | Earlier this month St Leonards hosted Professor Mona Siddiqui OBE, Professor of Islamic and Interfaith Studies at Edinburgh University, who came to speak to our Year 12 students as part of the James Gregory lecture series. The lecture was titled, ‘Reflections of Christian-Muslim Relations’. The interactive afternoon session covered issues ranging from politics and the recent French election result, individual freedom of speech, Islamic dress and migration to interfaith dialogue. Our students had the chance to pose varied and fascinating questions to one of the UK’s leading female Muslim commentators and certainly made the most of their opportunity.

Two students gave their feedback from the lecture:

The lecture was an interesting discussion on Muslim and Christian relations and how they're viewed around the world. We talked about what our views were on the Muslim religion and what we thought the definition of a "Western" culture was.

We also discussed the effects of religion on our society and how our liberal society integrates and receives different religions. The talk was both insightful and engaging, as many members of the audience participated in the post lecture discussions.

- (Ilona Maclean and Kate Moran, Year 12 attendees)


NEWTONMORE OUTDOOR | Earlier this term, Year 9 embarked on an adventurous trip to Newtonmore as part of their transition experience into Year 10. Based within the beautiful Cairngorms National Park at Craigower Lodge, our boys and girls participated in a range of exciting outdoor activities and team building exercises - some even facing their fear of heights! The group enjoyed canoeing, hill walking, abseiling and climbing, as well as exploring and admiring the nature and wildlife that surrounded the lodge. The highlight of the trip for many was the gorge walk, which finished with a rather significant cliff jump!

The terrific trip was led by Head of Years 10 and 11 Mr Durward, with the help of Mr Turnbull - and for one weekend only, the special return of Mrs Myles! Many memories were made by our Year 9 team and they are looking forward to moving up to Year 10 after the summer.


YEAR 12 PSYCHOLOGY | Our Year 12 Psychology class embarked on a trip to the Living Links Research Centre in Edinburgh. Living Links is a field station and research centre of the University of St Andrews, established in partnership with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Edinburgh Zoo. It has large outside and inside enclosures in which capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys live together. These form mixed-species groups in the wild. Living Links is designed to support studies by scientists at the Universities of St Andrews, Stirling, Edinburgh and Abertay, who together form the Scottish Primate Research Group.

A highlight of the trip for many was entering the Panda enclosure. The educational trip was a wonderful and unique opportunity that allowed our students to study closely the behaviour of some of our animal relatives. It also gave our Psychologists an opportunity to visit a centre where they may spend more time if they choose to continue their subject at University Degree level.


CALEDONIA DREAMING | We are delighted to announce that Hector Long (Year 11) has been selected for Caledonia, one of three regions in Scotland for rugby and the level below national representation. Making the squad is a regional accolade and we are very excited to follow Hector's progress.


ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS & SOCIETIES | Did you know that all ESS students carry out independent research on a topic of their choice? This must include an experiment or investigation they have designed. So the important event in this process is ‘field work day’.

For instance, Charlie did his research on the West Sands. He asked: 'Does distance from the centre of St Andrews affect the amount of litter on the beach?’ Ilona visited the Lade Braes: Her topic was: 'How does the soil moisture content impact plant diversity and frequency and vary on a transact down a slope on Lade Braes '. She is measuring soil moisture content here. Sarah' investigation is about soil erosion and soil plants or surface cover. Kevin's investigation is about pollution with salt at road sides and plant seed germination. Sarah's investigation is a waste audit and to see if the Year group of students in the school correlates with the amount and type of waste produced.

There really is no limit to your ESS Assessment – so be creative and think big!


MATHS CONTEST | Year 8 have been feeling competitive in Maths, completing a two-part competition. First up was group work, solving 10 different problems of increasing difficulty. Round two was a ‘Crossnumber’ (think Crossword with Maths questions)... This was a real challenge, and even our brainy Maths Department Teachers were impressed with the resilience and teamwork shown. Well done to all the teams who took part and special congratulations to the winning squad: Attila Newey, James Mackenzie-Page, Anna Grace Clark & Emilia Forgues-Puccio.


MATHS MERIT | Duncan Bouchard in Year 9 has received a Merit in the Intermediate Mathematical Olympiad. This is an invitational follow–on round to the UK Intermediate Mathematical Challenge, where only the top candidates are selected to participate. Nearly 1,600 pupils qualified to participate in this year’s Olympiad, so receiving a merit at this level is a great achievement. Here is Duncan being presented his certificate by our new Head of Maths, Mr Russell Hall.


TIME FOR TENNIS | Well done to our Tennis pairs who competed in the annual Schools’ Tennis Tournament this Thursday. It was an afternoon of top tennis, with all schools represented winning a section! Unfortunately our Senior team were not victorious overall, but congratulations to Junior doubles partners Sophie Clarke and Eva Smeddle for winning the U11 group.


YEAR 10 ABOUT TOWN | As part of the GCSE Urban topic, our Year 10 Geographers completed fieldwork out and about in St Andrews. The main focus of the day was to investigate the patterns of environmental quality and land use in St Andrews and examine how perceptions of environmental quality vary.

Our student sleuths used three techniques to collect the data: the Environmental Quality Index, land use mapping and questionnaires. This was tiring work, so there was a quick pit stop for food and refreshments and for a few selfies to be taken! The work and information gathered on their town excursion will be followed up with data analysis to enable them to draw conclusions, and an evaluation of the techniques they used. Despite just one heavy rain shower, the group enjoyed some sunshine on their big day out.


PEA EXTRACTION | Year 12 biologists have been getting rather excited about their latest gruesome green experiment. The current biology lab trend seems to be extracting DNA from peas - practice makes perfect - because after a few attempts the entire class successfully managed to conclude the investigation! NB: the slime in the photographs is the DNA.


MOCK GENERAL ELECTION | The St Leonards School Constituency is holding its very own Mock Election on 8 June 2017. Political fever gripped the school on Thursday, 25 May, however, as ‘candidates’ representing the Scottish Green Party, Scottish Labour Party, Scottish Liberal Democrats, SNP and Scottish Conservative and Unionist parties took part in a Hustings, hosted by Jack Boag and chaired by Ryan Miller. In glorious sunshine, the various candidates, supported by their election agents, were given the opportunity to address the voters outside the CDR on Birdcage, pitching to the student crowds, presenting their manifesto and responding to any quick-fire questions from the audience. Questions included a heartfelt plea to outlaw exams, but all candidates resisted the temptation to gain easy votes and upheld their party position regarding Local Assessment Policies! Good luck to the candidates – early voting intentions suggest ANY of these parties could emerge victorious!

It is all happening on Thursday, 8 June. Look out for the results in our next Newsletter!


TIME FOR TEA | Last Saturday, St Rule organised a farewell tea party for their Year 13 Day Students. The St Rule games room was decorated and there were delicious sandwiches, buffet treats and sweets for all the students to enjoy. The afternoon was spent reminiscing about school and creating special House gifts for one another. Each student wrote one word describing their friends – and once the kind words were gathered, these formed a beautiful collage in a variety of shapes, and each student went home with a framed copy to keep. More lovely school memories created!


MANAGEMENT MASTERCLASS | Our Sixth Form Business Management class was recently visited by guest speaker, Mrs Ruth Hewitt, a specialist in ‘Investment in People’ (IP). Mrs Hewitt gave an interesting presentation about the work IP does in Scotland, specifically focusing on ‘Employment Engagement’. This covers HR, one of the key areas of our Business Management syllabus. The talk was well received by the students, who were so ‘engaged’ that they then demonstrated some of the skills they have learnt by presenting different employment scenarios. It really brought their Business Management course to life.


GOLF GREATS | On Sunday, 21 May, parents, staff members and students battled it out in teams on the St Andrews Links Strathyrum Course for the annual St Leonards Junior & Adult Golf Competition. Thank you to everyone who came out to play and congratulations to our winners, Jack Headon and Pat Headon, finishing nett 62, and runners up, Ewen Farquhar and Angus Farquhar, with nett 66.


GOLFER SPOTLIGHT | Ben Caton (Year 12), part of our St Leonards Elite Golf Programme, was very busy in the Easter holidays. He played in the Scottish U18 Junior Tour, the Scottish Boys' Open Stroke Play Championship and the Battle Trophy. Since then, he secured a place to play in the Fairhaven Trophies at the Fairhaven Golf Club in Lytham St. Annes, which took place earlier this month. This is a prestigious event which counts in the Scottish Boys' Order of Merit list. Ben was delighted to receive an invitation from Scottish Golf to attend a practice round for the Boys' Home Internationals at St. Annes Old Links and an extra practice round at the Fairhaven Golf Club.

As well as this incredible achievement reaching the Scotland U18s team, he is also playing against France at Nairn Golf Club this weekend – we wish him the very best of luck!


YEAR 8/9 CONCERT | Guitar, saxophone, piano, harp, voice, violin - not to mention four xylophones - were among the musical instruments played on top form in the Auditorium for the last concert of this half of term. The uplifting musical extravaganza concluded with a rendition of band Muse’s Starlight, performed by Year 9 Ensemble. Another marvellous musical moment!


EXAM EXTRA | We wish our Year 11s still slogging away at their GCSE and IGCSE exams the very best of luck. Not long now...

...Our lovely Year 13s have now finished their Diploma exams and are off on holidays, internships, work experience breaks or simply relaxing at home. Many congratulations to you all. We look forward to celebrating with you on the Younger Hall stage at Prizegiving on Friday 16 June.


OBAMA VISITS ST ANDREWS | It was wonderful to welcome President Barack Obama to St Andrews last week, in glorious sunshine! After eagerly waiting, we managed to get very close and congratulated him on his round. Some of our students were lucky enough to watch him on the 18th green of the Old Course, and are still smiling about it! A rather special way to start the Half Term Holidays!




It is National Boarding Week from Monday, 19 June – Sunday, 25 June. Boarding Schools up and down the country are celebrating and as a proud member school of the BSA, we are delighted to help promote and indeed celebrate boarding by offering a sample boarding taster for some or all of the period, to our current day pupils at St Leonards. Spaces are limited, so please, if this might be of interest, please contact Dr Geoffrey Jackson-Hutt by emailing

Boarding offers a wide range of benefits including strong pastoral care, excellent learning and teaching as well as first-class facilities. There are also extensive activities outside the classroom and the chance for students to forge lifetime friendships. Join us during National Boarding Week to experience fun activities, new friendships and discover what boarding is like.


Mr Andy Durward, Head of Years 10 & 11 warmly invites you to an Online Awareness Information Evening for all Year 8 - 13 Parents and Guardians. The event will take place in the Music School Auditorium from 6pm - 7pm on Monday, 5 June 2017. Please RSVP to

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