Over the years there has been growing recognition of the benefits of offering out-of-classroom experiences and excursions to pupils. At James Gillespie’s High School we offer a wide and varied programme. School trips develop and reinforce concepts covered in the classroom, contribute to developing more rounded individuals and make learning experiences more interesting and relevant. Pupils gain enormously from learning in new and often unfamiliar environments. As a school we place a large emphasis on developing relationships based on mutual respect.


Excursion Grants


The school is given a very small excursion fund of around £1,000 from the authority to support excursions on an annual basis. In addition there are funds generated by fund raising from the school community. These are not sufficient to cover all needs and can only support in a limited way.

Our Annual Excursions

Alternative Timetable

Information coming soon.

French Exchange

The James Gillespie’s Modern Languages Department is proud of its extensive exchange programme that gives pupils an unprecedented opportunity to practice the language they learn in real life situations and to widen their understanding of a foreign culture. Our long lasting partnership with the Collège Pierre Matraja in Sausset-les-Pins in the South-East of France, near Marseille, offers S3 pupils a chance to live with a French family for a week, learn more about French day-to-day life and experience the Mediterranean culture first-hand.


Example itinerary


We adapt our program each year, but a typical trip could include:


  • Day 1: travel by plane to Marseille Airport and meeting families
  • Day 2: Visit of the historical town of Arles and its Roman Amphitheather. Visit of Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
  • Day 3: Aquatic sport with the local sailing school and afternoon with the families.
  • Day 4: Visit of Marseille, the Museum of Mediteranean culture and boat trip to the Frioul Archipelago.
  • Day 5: School experience
  • Day 6 and 7: weekend with the families
  • Day 8: Return to Edinburgh


The exchange also include a visit from the French pupils to Edinburgh that usually takes place in March-April depending on the Easter holidays.

History - Trenches Trip

At James Gillespie’s we have a proud tradition of leading excursions to the World War One Battlefields of Belgium and Northern France. For students this trip deepens understanding of the conflict and allows them to connect with the past.  It is open to S3 History students.


The dates for this year’s trip are Friday 22  – Friday 29 May 2020.


Passport validity

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change from 29 March 2019. You should use this tool to check your child’s passport is still valid for the Trenches Trip.


Adult and child passports should have at least 6 months’ validity remaining from the date of travel – Friday 22 May 2020.


You can check your passport here 


Relatives’ Graves


You can find the location of graves by visiting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at




You can print off the details and give to your child to give to me.  Or you can email me at colleen.hohs@jamesgillespies.edin.sch.uk by Wednesday 13 May 2020.

New York / Washington D.C.

In June, students are invited to participate in a week long excursion to New York and Washington D.C. where the focus is on understanding political, social and international issues with a US focus.


*Provisional Itinerary – dates / information can change

Day 1 Fly from Edinburgh – New York
Activities in NY
Empire State Building


Day 2 Liberty and Ellis Island
Statue of Liberty / Immigration Museum
Wall Street
World Trade Centre Memorial
Battery Park / Brooklyn Bridge
South Street Seaport

Day 3 United Nations Building – guided tour
Grand Central Station
Manhattan / Central Park / shopping
Times Square
Night-time activity eg. Broadway Show or Baseball Game (depending upon availability)


Day 4 Morning in NYC
Coach to Washington DC


Day 5 Washington Government Building
Washington memorials – guided tour
Holocaust Museum


Day 6 Whitehouse
Supreme court
Capitol Hill


Day 7 Arlington Cemetery
Sightseeing / shopping


Day 8 Coach to Washington DC airport for evening return flight to Edinburgh
Arrive in Edinburgh

S1 Residential

For many years we have offered a residential outdoor experience to our pupils in their first year at James Gillespie’s High School. This year we are planning to attend the Lockerbie Manor Outdoor Education Centre in Dumfries and Galloway.


The activities will be outdoor pursuit based and require students to work together to achieve shared goals and objectives. Sharing experiences with new and existing friends, interacting with teachers in a different learning environment and increased self‐confidence are just some of the benefits regularly gained whilst engaging in outdoor learning. All of the activities are supervised by the centre’s qualified staff. The centre itself has been approved by the Adventure Activities
Licensing Authority (AALA) and the City of Edinburgh Council.


We have used Lockerbie Manor for two years now and the service they provide is excellent. Their staff are fully trained to support students of all ages and abilities during our visit and adopt an inclusive approach. Centre itself is located in the town of Lockerbie (66 miles from Edinburgh) and facilities include the Manor House and three outdoor pod villages which can cater for up to 260 youngsters.


A range of activities are offered from kayaking and abseiling to obstacle courses and team building. The weekend programme is tailored to the needs of our group.


The trip usually happens in March with the approximate cost £150pp and £30 for those entitled to Free School Meals.

South Africa Project

JGHS has been visiting the same two secondary schools, Dloko & Zwelibanzi, Umlazi, Durban, for the past 15 years. The project has evolved each year. The JGHS South Africa Project is just that: a project. It is not a 10 day trip but a year long project that the excursion as part of it.


Pupils are expected to be involved in year long fundraising activities. Staff involved will support pupils but the initiative and work must be undertaken by pupils themselves. An aim of this project is to encourage pupils’ own initiative and build their teamwork, creative and organisational skills.


Some of the most valuable experiences when in SA are when pupils from each school work together on skills, interests and projects and share their cultures. It is vital that our pupils plan for and organise resources for these activities. Pupils are expected to have a knowledge and understanding of the history, issues and culture in SA. Particularly Zulu culture in Durban
and Umlazi. The school will support this with speakers but pupils are expected to do their own background research.


The approximate cost is between £1600 – £1800. This covers:
• Flights
• Hotel
• Breakfasts and dinners
• Excursions/leisure activities
• All transport in SA
• Travel insurance* (if your child has a pre-existing condition you
will need your own travel insurance)




Can you support us? As fundraising plays an integral role to the success of our project,

we actively look for involvement from the wider school community. If you would be willing to donate or attend our fundraising events, please note that:


  • Cheques should be made payable to James Gillespie’s High School and can be handed in to JGHS Reception (envelope
    addressed South Africa)
  • Raffle prizes can also be handed in to reception
  • Follow us on Facebook @JGHSSouthAfricaProject
  • Please come along to any of our fundraising events advertised on our Facebook page.


2020 trip – Parents fundraising Oct 2019

SA Reading- film and book recommendations 


If you would like to find out more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch via: admin@jamesgillespies.edin.sch.uk.