Letters to the Editor – 24.6.21

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OHS Parent Council’s dismay

The people of Oban may be aware that some locals have criticised Oban High School in the past weeks focusing on the school uniform – as has been reported in the last two issues of the Oban Times. As the Parent Council we are dismayed at the ferocity of the discussions, as we are proud of our high school and believe that such negative feedback is untimely after the school team have given their all to get our kids through the past year.

We have all suffered the coronavirus trials and tribulations in our own ways. Being mostly confined indoors without access to friends has been particularly difficult for our young people, who missed out on some of the highlights of school, from Jingles to school trips. But the school’s dedicated team of teachers and support staff have made sure that our teenagers continued to receive as good an education and as much support as possible under the circumstances, and that they will hopefully receive the qualifications they need to fulfil their dreams.

To do so the school staff had to make constant changes to plans and do pretty much everything on their very full agenda differently to before. As parents we received updates with changing arrangements nearly every week – some of them running to 10 pages – delivered in writing and often also as video messages.

Contrary to what some may still think, Oban High School is doing extremely well. The current headmaster believes in breadth and that one size does not fit all. The school therefore now teaches the broadest possible curriculum, aiming to prepare every pupil to succeed on their individual journeys because everyone has a contribution to make to society. This is what education in the 21st century should be like, and has been highly praised by the official school inspectorate: “I am blown away with OHS” in terms of curriculum, provision and inclusion, states a 2019 report, adding: “The Learning and

Teaching Policy is the best I have ever seen.” The same report even says that the school is underselling itself. Maybe that’s because west coast folk don’t like bragging.

Within our local authority our school has the highest rate of positive destinations for school leavers with 40 per cent going to university, 40 per cent into employment and 16 per cent going to FE colleges in either Oban or Glasgow. In the respected Times league tables for 2021, OHS was ranked 128/340 schools with 42 per cent of senior pupils achieving 5+ Highers.

On the Parent Council we regularly witness the great importance the school places on inclusion, with an outstanding support department, dedicated guidance teachers for each clan and a commitment to provide learning technology and equipment to disadvantaged pupils.

Oban High School is of course not perfect – our role is to support the school to constantly improve – but we believe that they deserve respect and the thanks of this community.
Oban High School Parent Council

In search of my great granny

I’m wondering if your readers can help me find where my great-granny is buried as although Scottish, I am now living in New Zealand.

I think it is likely she is buried in the Oban area. Her name was Mary Jane MacPherson (nee Cameron) and she died at Shian House, Benderloch on April 23, 1943, aged 95.

She was born in Acharacle and married the Kilchoan schoolmaster. Later she was the postmistress at Strontian.

They moved to Glasgow then Milngavie where her husband Allan died in 1917. At some point thereafter she moved to Benderloch. She is not buried with her husband, so I assume she must be somewhere closer to her home in Benderloch, but I can’t find where!

Had Covid not intervened I would have come to search in person, as Strontian is my home territory. But for now that is impossible.

I know this is a long shot, but I would be more than grateful if someone is able to help me find any reference to the aged lady and where she ended up.
Kareen Robinson, bothy@xtra.co.nz