Nicolson Notes

The weekly round up of news from the Nicolson Institute Secondary School, Stornoway.


At the Nicolson Institute, the generosity of pupils and staff was demonstrated once again yesterday with nearly £800 raised at the interval and lunchtime in aid of the Nepal Earthquake Appeal.

Three S6 girls, two of whom are originally from Nepal, collected the money throughout the school. They also raised more than £300 from a visit to the Council Offices. Currently the total is over £1,100.


The new Environmental Science course begins in June for S3 pupils. It is an exciting, hands- on multi-disciplinary course that applies Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Technology, Geology and Geography to real-life situations.

It is about how best to look after the world we live in and the people who live in it. Topics to be studied include the Living Isles, Land of Rock, Agriculture and Fishing.

In addition, Soil Resources and Energy & Climate Change will also be studied.

Towards the end of S3 pupils will have a chance to explore a local and global environmental elective.

The course will be delivered in a number of ways including experimental work, field trips, project work and guest speakers from the local environmental sector.

There will also be close links made to the skills-based courses such as Crofting, the John Muir Award, Duke of Edinburgh and Aquaculture. The intention is to make Environmental Science available to pupils in S4 onwards, potentially up to Higher level.


The ​S2 boys’ team won 4-1 playing at home against Mintlaw Academy in the semi-final of the North of Scotland Cup.


The Music Department took S4 pupils, accompanied by senior pupils Stephen Drummond (S5), Mairi Maclennan (S5), and Isabelle Bain (S6), to perform for the residents of Bethesda.

They were participating in the ‘Care for a Ceilidh’ initiative, which organises Gaelic singers and traditional musicians to provide short concerts to residents of local care homes.


The English Department has just held its annual Scholastic Book Fair, with many new titles in teenage fiction as well as study guides and books on the hobby of the moment – baking.

Two book quiz competitions to give away £5 book tokens had an enthusiastic response.


The S4 Aquaculture course recently visited Great Bernera to learn about mussel farming. First of all, from the famous Bernera bridge, pupils viewed the mussel lines spread throughout Loch Roag. They also watched the half-million pound mussel boat servicing the lines.

Having completed the outdoor classroom session the group went on to visit the mussel processing factory in East Loch Roag, where they were met by manager Ruaridh Mackay.

He told the class about the new method of growing mussels which uses special ropes and enhances the growth rate of the mussels, reducing the production time from three and a half to two and a half years.

The group then toured the factory, finding out how the shellfish are cleaned and processed, before ending up with customers such as the high-class Loch Fyne restaurant chain.

The visit ended on a positive note. Pupils heard how the prospects for shellfish farming are good, and that Loch Fyne hopes to expand the processing facility and purchase another boat to meet demand.

Pupils would like to thank Loch Fyne staff for giving them such an excellent day out in the community learning about Aquaculture.