Outdoor Learning

We make full use of our magnificent natural surroundings to enhance the learning opportunities available to our pupils.   A high proportion of school staff are qualified to lead one or more outdoor activities and we are able to provide a wide range of outdoor experiences for our pupils.

With the assistance of partners such as Scottish Natural Heritage, John Muir Trust, Crofting Commission and National Trust for Scotland we encourage pupils to learn about their environment. We also expect pupils to contribute to the community and each year, early in the tourist season, staff organise a beach clean with pupils near the school.


S1 Beach Clean 2013

Our S1 group visited Kincraig Christian Centre, near Aviemore, for their first residential stay in May 2014 where, among other activities, they took part in hill walking, mountain biking, orienteering and water sports. The trip is an integral part of the personal and social development of the child and we expect all pupils to attend.   Find out more here and access lots of photos.

Our S1 pupils also work with rangers at Inverewe Gardens to control invasive plant species and learn to build woodland shelters. S1 participate in the John Muir Award.

1A at Forest School in Inverewe

Click on the photo to see more related images

Senior Geography pupils visit the Cairngorm National Park to explore and understand landscape.

Learning outdoors is an integral part of the biology courses, at all levels. Pupils are taken on fieldwork excursions to the Beinn Eighe mountain trails and to the local seashore. They are regularly taken out, as time and weather permit, to reinforce and enhance classroom work. One of the aims of these trips to is to extend pupils’ knowledge of the flora and fauna of the local area.

S3 Enterprise Day 3

In S5/6, the outdoor education and fitness course is designed to develop an interest in a range of outdoor activities. This course is of value to those interested in a career in sports and fitness coaching, in outdoor activity instruction or in the armed forces. In the past, many pupils intending to pursue academic courses at University have chosen this option to enhance their sixth year experience and their UCAS application.

OEd Mntn Bkg SPffr

Pupils have also worked to build a series of raised beds at the school and produce vegetables, some of which have won prizes in the Gairloch Show. Canteen staff then cooked the vegetables as part of the school lunches available to staff and pupils.

Raised Beds August 2012

Gairloch Show Winners

Click on the onions to see more related images

Additional Activities

foot1“On 16/11/2012 the S2/S3 football team travelled to Glenurquhart for the semi-final of the Highland small schools tournament against Kilchuimen Academy from Fort Augustus. The match was tense but we won 2-1 with goals from Jordan Gorman and me. The final was against Ullapool, again a tight game but Jordan scored before half time. Ullapool equalised but Calum Nelson finished the game by putting the ball in the back of the net.” (Mark Warren)

S2/S3 football

Winners of the Small Schools Football Competition 2013 – Click photo for more images

“All the pupils in the football team were a credit to the school. All their hard work, determination, effort and teamwork paid off and it was a pleasure to be with them watching some excellent football and sportsmanship.” (Mr Gorman)

We have a wide and varied selection of additional activities provided by enthusiastic staff both inside and outside the normal school day. Owing to our geographical location this programme is only possible thanks to the high level of parental support and the commitment of staff and pupils to literally go the extra mile. The journeys involved are sometimes long and for those staff involved in transportation of pupils the minibus is a necessity.

Throughout the year we have an on-going lunchtime programme as well as after-school sports involving both indoor and outdoor activities on our floodlit synthetic pitch. The sporting activities on offer at present include boys’ football, climbing, indoor rowing, basketball and badminton.



Each year pupils get an opportunity to represent their House in an on-going series of inter-house challenges. Nearly all our pupils take part in this as each house battles it out for honours in swimming, athletics, basketball, badminton, hockey, football, indoor rowing and orienteering.

Recent success in basketball has provided pupils to playing at Regional and National level. Our geographical location as well as our small numbers requires a high level of commitment from these pupils and their parents. This in itself contributes to the all round development of the individual. We compete in football and basketball competitions, County and Highland athletic championships. We generally manage to finish the year with a fair share of the honours.


U14 Basketball Team

Complementing this sporting diet, there is a wide range of creative and aesthetic activities that take place. Drama classes and book, art and chess clubs run throughout the year. Individual instrumental tuition can be arranged and S6 often arrange younger groups to play board games.

Music activities in the school include chanter, bagpipe, drum and strings tuition. Pupils involved in music have the chance to perform not only at our own concerts throughout the year, but also at other local and national events. C for Craic performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and produced a CD of their music. C for Craic have evolved and reformed with younger pupils. They are currently recording a second CD. Several pupils are members of Highland music groups and orchestras. We now have a pipe band that is meeting weekly and playing at many local functions and events.


Prizegiving 2013

C for Craic have evolved and reformed with younger pupils. They are currently recording a second CD. Several pupils are members of Highland music groups and orchestras.


Click on the photo to see more images of Electrolab activites

In 2005 staff and pupils took part in a joint trip with Ullapool High to Cape Breton.

Our pupils continue to take part in local and National Mods achieving high rates of success. A growing number of pipers and fiddlers play regularly at school events.

In 2008 the school was involved in a production of Oliver. Pupils from all year groups and a number of school departments contributed to this popular musical, and the end result was of an extremely high standard. Miss Hunter worked with parents and members of the local community to produce the show, which was performed over three evenings.

Oliver Twist    0052.JPG

Click on the photo to see more images from Oliver

Dance and Drama play an increasing role in the pupil activities. Apart from the regular tuition of traditional Scottish dancing in preparation for the Christmas Dance, we work with Eden Court Outreach and members of the community to provide a number of pupils with the chance to learn, drama. Some of our pupils (aka The Culture Club) regularly visit Eden Court to enjoy performances of dance, theatre and opera. In session 2014/15 our newly formed Drama Group plan to put on a version of the Disney favourite Frozen!

In the Art Department, pupils have the opportunity of seeing their own work, as well as that of professional artists, on show at a number of exhibitions that are mounted throughout the year. We are a regular venue for travelling exhibitions and opportunities are also provided for pupils specialising in Art to visit galleries in Glasgow and Edinburgh and to participate in courses and workshops in a variety of activities, both in our own school and in collaboration with other Highland schools. Each year we produce a school calendar for sale in the Community. This provides a showcase for the work of pupils in Art.


Click on the photo to see more images from Art activites

The importance of Gaelic culture is well represented by the pupils in the Music Department. Many of our pupils take part in Fèis Rois events and the Local Mod.

Mr I Cumming, our Gaelic teacher, has helped prepare several pupils to enter the National Gaelic Debate over a number of years. In 2011 efforts were rewarded when sisters Anna and Ceitidh Alice Hulme won the competition.

National Gaelic Debate Winners 2011- Ceitidh Alice and Anna returned to Gairloch with the trophy they received on November 30th 2011 as the winners of the 2011 National Gaelic Debate. On Tuesday evening they defeated The Nicolson Institute, Stornoway in the semi-final. On St Andrew’s Day they beat Millburn Academy in the final in the Scottish Parliament. Anna was also presented with the trophy for the best debater in the competition.

MSP Rob Gibson proposed the following motion in the Scottish Parliament on the 2nd December 2011:
That the Parliament congratulates Gairloch High School debating team on winning the BT Scotland Gaelic Schools Debate for 2011 and wishes it well in future debates and in its skilful use of Scotland’s oldest native tongue.

Gairloch  Winners

Click on the photo above to see more from the debate

Return to the main menu or carry on to read about other examples of school achievement.


School Improvement

The school identifies its over-arching priorities for improvement through a 3-year School Improvement Plan.  Each year individual staff in the school plan and execute continuous improvement by identifying targets and objectives stated within a Department Plan.

Both School and Department Improvement Plans are reviewed on an on-going basis and a Standards and Quality Report is published annually.  This report is made available to parents on the website.

Click here for access to the School Improvement Plan

Pupils are expected to review their own learning and make a contribution to their annual reports.  Pupil results in prelims and final exams are monitored and checked at key points in the year to identify issues.  Pupils use this information to set targets to improve their own performance in the same way that staff work to improve delivery and outcomes.  The self-evaluation by pupils of their progress is used as a topic of discussion with Pupil Support staff at individual review meetings and with parents.



Complaints Procedure

If any parent has a complaint about anything to do with the education of their son or daughter please contact the Headteacher in the first instance.

If you are unhappy with the way your complaint has been handled then you can contact the Area Education Manager in Portree.

Contact details:

Norma Young
Area Education Manager
Skye, Lochalsh, Wester Ross & Lochaber
Elgin Hostel
Dunvegan Road
Isle of Skye
IV51 9EE

Tel: 01478 613697


Additonal Support Needs

Highland Council statement December 2012:

Additional Support Needs

All children need support to help them learn. Some children require more help than others. We follow The Highland Practice Model staged approach to assessing , identifying and supporting additional support needs.    In this model every child has a ‘named person’ who is responsible for making sure that the child or young person has the right help to support his/her development and well-being.

If you have a concern about your child in primary school  please contact your child’s class teacher in the first instance or the  ‘named person’, who will usually be the head teacher.    In a secondary school, the named person  will usually be the Principal Teacher Guidance/Pupil Support.

Sometimes a Child’s Plan may be put in place to help organise, monitor and regularly review your child’s progress.

If you wish to find out more about The Highland Practice Model or the Child’s Plan  you can access more information  at :


There are also Information sheets available at: www.chipplus.org.uk and  click on Education.


You can also read about our Support for Learning Department and the work it does by clicking here.


School Transport

Our catchment area is large and comprises of several crofting townships and isolated dwellings. Over 70% of the pupils rely on school transport. Free school travel is available to those pupils living outwith a three-mile limit. Pupils are required to behave in a sensible manner on school transport. School transport contracts are drawn up between the Authority (not the school) and the operator(s).

Minibus transport is often available on other evenings at 5pm to allow pupils from outlying areas to attend the Study Support Club and extra-curricular activities. This is organised by the school with the support of parents.

School Minibus

The school minibus is used regularly to support a wide range of activities including, football, swimming, art, outdoor courses, S1 Cairngorm trip and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. We also make it available for trips in the community that involve groups of school pupils, primary or secondary. A second minibus is available through joint funding by the local schools and High Life Highland, providing additional transport for the pupils in primary and secondary.

School Dress

Our philosophy actively encourages school uniform for social, economic and academic reasons.  Parental and pupil support has been such that all pupils wear school uniform.


Gairloch High School staff and pupils – April 2011

*  All new pupils will be provided with a tie.  Replacements are available from the School Office for purchase in the event of loss.  As a mark of status, S6 prefects have their own distinctive navy/white tie.

We are aware that some of the clothing marketed in some of the large retail stores is not suitable as school uniform in Gairloch High School.  We try and make available acceptable uniform and that can be ordered through the school office at a reasonable price.

If in doubt phone the school office.

  • Only ‘school’ sweatshirts are acceptable.  No other logo or badge on clothes is accepted.
  • Black (or any other colour) ‘hoodies’ are not acceptable.
  • Black denim or jeans are not acceptable.
  • Pullovers, cardigans, skirts, trousers and shoes that are embellished with sequins and tassels are not acceptable.  Nor are belts with large inappropriate buckles.
  • Girls tights should be black, navy or flesh coloured.

Skirt or Trousers: black or navy
Blouse or shirt:  white
Cardigan or Pullover: black or navy
Tie:  navy/emerald school tie*
Optional but encouraged:  Blazer (black)
Optional:  School Sweatshirt
Footwear:  black flat heeled shoes
PE Kit:  white T-shirt** and navy shorts

Trousers: black or navy
Shirt:  White
Pullover: black or navy
Tie:  navy/emerald school tie*
Optional but encouraged: Blazer, (black)
Optional:  School sweatshirt
Footwear: black flat heeled shoes
PE Kit:  white T-shirt** and navy shorts

** Navy/white polo shirts with the school logo are also available.
Only ‘school’ sweatshirts are acceptable.
No other logo or badge on clothes is accepted.

Uniform can be ordered through the school office.

Prefect's TieMr Chimtali, Headteacher of Mlozi School, wearing his Gairloch High Prefect tie

S6 HoodiesS6 leavers on their last day  wearing specially commissioned hoodies