News & Updates

JGHS Christmas Concert

James Gillespie’s Christmas Concert, held in the Usher Hall, is the culmination of several months of planning and rehearsing. The concert showcases the many and varied talents enjoyed by the school community: music from the Gaelic choir, the Clarsach group, the wind band, the pipe band and several others.

The school staff and pupils had worked extremely hard to put on a most enjoyable concert and overcoming the undoubted challenge of getting so many people on and off stage at different times was most impressive. Well done to all who gave us such a wonderful event!

Muriel Spark Book Event

The Spark Theatre in James Gillespie’s High School was the venue for a very special event to celebrate the centenary year of the birth of Muiriel Spark, illustrious former pupil of the school. Jane Fowler, in conversation with journalist and writer Alan Taylor, entertained us with stories and anecdotes of Alan’s friend Muriel. Birlinn, the publisher of all Muriel Spark’s novels, gifted a complete set of them to the school. 

One of our very special guests was Mrs Doris Keir, a former classmate of Muriel. It was great to hear about another side of Muriel, and I think we all left the school that night feeling that we knew her and her work a little bit better.

Muriel Spark Walk

To honour the centenary of Muriel Spark’s birth, Councillor Melanie Main helped to arrange the Naming Ceremony of one of the paths crossing Bruntsfield Links, a path that Muriel herself would have trod on her way to school each day. Aptly the path is now called Muriel Spark Walk. Former pupil Olga Wojtas was invited to officially open the path on Friday 8 June 2018.

Tour of the Old JGHS Building

The red sandstone building overlooking Bruntsfield Links was home to James Gillespie’s High School for 52 years, from 1914 to 1966. It is now used by Edinburgh University as student residences and so we have had no access to it for many years. However in April the Accommodation Officer for Edinburgh University student residences very kindly facilitated a visit to the building by alumni. As you can imagine, although we only had access to the stairs & corridors, the visit rekindled many memories of time spent there.

The icing on the gingerbread was an invitation from the new James Gillespie’s High School to call in for refreshments and a chat, with some S1 pupils taking the alumni round their own new school building. A learning experience for everyone! Sheila Donaldson brought photos with her of her time in primary and in secondary. Thanks for sharing them, Sheila!

Open Afternoon

After four years when the new school was under construction, we were delighted to be able to hold another Open Afternoon for the alumni. We had old photos, school mgazines, index cards, report cards and other documentation, samples of needlework and much else on display for everyone to see.

Janis Croll, former Depute Head Teacher, led some tours of the new school buildings, aided by some very knowledgeable and charming S6 pupils. And a number of alumni took the opportunity to buy a copy, or indeed another copy, of John MacLeod’s excellent book, “Faithful and Brave: A Celebration of James Gillespie’s High School”. 

Some members of the Parent Council provided tea, coffee and home baking in Brodie’s cafe, giving everyone the chance to have a good catch-up with old school friends. And of course the afternoon wasn’t complete until the school uniform had been tried on! They arrived early and left at the end of the afternoon very reluctantly – the sign of a good afternoon!

“It was a real privilege to look at old school photos, report cards andmagazines, to be shown round the new school and its wonderful facilities by a most helpful present pupil and to have an opportunity to chat with friends over a cup of tea.  My friends and I felt we had not had such an enjoyable time for many a long day.”

Farewell Roddy, and Thank You!

Roddy John MacLeod has led James Gillespie’s Trust for four years but, after bringing the long-awaited book project to fruition, Roddy felt it would be a good time to move on to new ventures. We all wish him well and, to mark the occasion, we presented Roddy with a numbered print of the west coast of Harris, a favourite place of his.

Fidelis et Fortis

The clock that never worked, the sinister Green Lady, the day we nearly drowned the Queen Mother – it’s all in a sparkling new book, Faithful and Brave: A Celebration of James Gillespie’s High School. Commissioned by the James Gillespie’s Trust to mark the opening of our new campus, and penned by award-winning journalist John MacLeod, himself a former Gillespie’s pupil – Faithful and Brave is 304 fact-packed and heavily illustrated pages, covering our entire history from the last days of Mr Gillespie to Callum Skinner’s Olympic glories in August 2016. A gripping read, a physically beautiful book and the perfect present, with a warm foreword by Grant Stott – it’s unputdownable. Buy your copy right now. And another for a friend!

Email the school at: to reserve a copy and arrange for collection. Price is £17.99 if collected from school or £21.25 if the book is to be posted.

Electronic payment: 

  • Account name: James Gillespie’s Trust
  • Sort Code: 30 13 01
  • Account no: 00972295

Open Morning

November 5th, and a beautiful day for people to see round the new school buildings of James Gillespie’s High School. Former pupil and Olympic medallist Callum Skinner formally opened the fitness suite in the Eric Liddell Building. It was wonderful to meet so many interested former pupils who were keen to see how different JGHS is now from what it was like in their time.

James Gillespie’s High School Opening

Today, 26 October 2016, the new James Gillespie’s High School buildings were officially opened byJohn Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills, and Councillor Paul Godzik, Convenor of Education, Children & Families.

We were taken on tours of the new school and entertained by some highly talented pupils. The new school is truly ready for the 21st century and I’m sure it will serve its pupils admirably! 

Head Teacher Mr Macdonald welcomed three former head teachers, Dr Pat Thomas, Alex Wallace & Colin Finlayson, to join in the celebrations for the school opening.

© Copyright 2019 James Gillespie's Trust. Registered charity number SCO22811.