Our ‘Real Ballerina’ visits the school!

We were delighted to welcome Olive McMillen back to Dalkeith High School recently. The ‘real ballerina’ was accompanied by her husband and friends to see our cherished sculpture.

The bronze sculptured ballerina which held a prominent position at the main entrance of the old Dalkeith High School was relocated here so that future generations of pupils can continue to appreciate this excellent work of art.

The bronze figure was commissioned when Dalkeith High School was extended in 1960. Artist Thomas Whalen was asked to create something that should be “on traditional lines and be completely novel and attractive in its conception, also that it would symbolically represent all cultures, the teaching, and the learning which are the prime and essential functions of an educational building.”

Thomas Whalen, 1903-75 was born in Leith and was a student at Edinburgh College of Art in about 1928-31.

Whalen produced many large reliefs, bronzes and stone carvings for churches, power stations and other public buildings, of which the Ballerina at Dalkeith High School is just one. He was also commissioned to make a sculpture for the 1938 Empire Exhibition in Glasgow.

Following the school’s brief, Thomas decided to produce a prima ballerina which symbolised someone who, from a very early age has the will and extraordinary ability to dedicate herself to hard training and concentrated study. The image also encompasses art, music, drama, poetry, physical well-being as well as the obvious poise and grace of controlled ballet movements.

Having decided on the subject, Thomas then needed a suitable model to achieve the exact pose of a ballerina and his son’s friend Olive McMillen agreed to pose so that Thomas could make sure the limbs were exactly equivalent to a ballerina. Olive has since played principal role in many operas and musicals and spent 15 years running a musical production company with her husband.

Speaking of his father’s work, Carrick Whalen said: “My father was excited about receiving this commission and I can remember Olive sitting for him in the studio in Dean village, as he sculpted the clay model. This was then cast in bronze by my father’s friend and renowned bronze caster, George Mancini, who had a studio at Fountainbridge.”

The ballerina has grown to represent our school emblem, harmonising perfectly with the ethos of the school motto, “labor vincit”, hard work prevails.

HPV (cervical cancer) vaccine

Consent packs are out now for HPV vaccine for girls in S1.

The HPV vaccine, given to girls in S1, protects against the main strains of the human papillomavirus which causes cervical cancer.  It is important that you get this protection early enough for it to be effective.  So, you should have all the required doses as soon as they are offered at school.

If you receive a consent form, make sure you discuss it with your parent, carer or guardian and return the form to your school as soon as you can.

More information about the programme can be found using the following link to the HPV page of the Immunisation Scotland website.  Or you can call NHS Inform for further information on 0800 22 44 88 (8am to 10pm, every day).

www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/hpv

Developing the Young Workforce – Parent/Carer Survey

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) supports better connections between industry and education so your child(ren) can be informed and inspired about careers and the world of work.

Through DYW Industry and education work together to bring the curriculum to life so young people can relate their learning in school and college to skills and careers, supporting them to be better informed about subject choices and next steps on leaving school.

DYW Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian would like to understand parent/carer views to identify if they you feel equipped in supporting your child(ren) through these stages and decisions while at school.

The survey should take between 2-3 minutes to complete.
Thank you,
Team DYW