Rector's Blog - 1st June 2020

The Scottish Government has indicated that schools should reopen from 11th August. As you will know, this is a week before we were going to start this year! Whilst we await further guidance and advice from Edinburgh City Council, we have been considering risk assessment and management in our school before we decide on the best and safest way to return. Ms Barrett, our Business Manager, has been taking forward these discussions and will inform the timetabling model and supports we will propose before the end of Term.

I have to say, all of the above is more complex than it sounds, but when you consider that teachers were expected to upend lesson plans and convert to online delivery in just a few days, and just did it, we will just do this too and with the support of a whole raft of non teaching and admin staff who go beyond the call of duty on a daily basis.

This of course has been the strangest of terms, and it will end 3 weeks on Friday! By that time, my successor will have been appointed. The successful candidate will have won a watch, as they say. Over the last five years we set ourselves the task of being one of the highest attaining, most inclusive and most creative schools in the city. It is no boast to say that we have achieved this and much more. When you consider where we were, and where we now are, it has been an incredible journey - and to think The Times has even placed us in the top 50 highest attaining schools on the country, and 6th in Edinburgh.

All of the above has been achieved by the sheer dedication and commitment of the best group of colleagues I have ever had the pleasure to work with, and a real desire to be a school which not only takes great pride in the past, but also has a keen eye to the future. I do believe with every bone in my body that the best is yet to come. Trinity Academy is seriously going places, and being Head Teacher of this wonderful school over the last five years has undoubtedly been the highlight of my career... which isn’t over yet!

Bryan Paterson

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Rector's Update - 23rd April 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

As we return to what would have been the summer term, I do hope you and yours are well. During the holidays we, like many public servants, continued to work on a wide range of areas. I thought it would be useful to share this with you.

Hub Provision

80 children from 20 schools were being supported over the holidays. Our school Senior Leadership Team and a number of volunteers gave up their time to deliver learning and care to the children of key workers.

Pupil Support

Our transition process is well underway. We are making direct contact with a number of identified pupils and their families. Similarly those students with Individual Education Plans have been / will be contacted by Support for Learning. Ryan McKay, our Community Worker, has also engaged with targeted students.

Learning from Home

A huge effort has gone into ensuring students have access to learning materials whilst the school is closed. We are finalising advice and improving structure of what we offer, in particular for those students in the Senior Phase who will be starting study for SQA courses. This will be in line with CEC advice and timetable change and will be published in advance of 11th May following full consultation with teaching staff and professional associations.

SQA Update

Advice from SQA has now been published. We await guidelines from CEC. In the meantime, as you will have seen on the news, the process will involve teachers ranking students based on evidence and estimated grades. This will not be shared in advance. We are currently working with Curriculum Leaders and will publish parental information as soon as possible.


It will not be possible to email each student regarding their course choice. However, once completed, Curriculum Leaders will create teams on Office 365 from class lists. From this, students will know into which courses they have been placed. Again, further advice on this will follow as soon as we have it.

Budget / School Roll

Some positive news. It looks as if the school may well have cleared historic debt! In addition, our roll has increased to 874 which means additional budget and staffing for the new Head Teacher on appointment.


As you know I retire at the end of term. My post has been advertised. It is anticipated that a new Head Teacher will be in place for August. We are also in the process of appointing PE and RMPS teachers via online interviews. We will then be fully staffed. A very positive position to be in!

Finally, a huge thank you to all for all your efforts and support to date and to come. Rest assured my colleagues and I are doing our utmost to support some sense of normality in these difficult times!

Bryan Paterson
Head Teacher


Rector's Blog 5th December 2019

I know I do go on a bit about our year on year improvements in attainment, but this doesn’t come with the wind, nor is it to be taken for granted.  In our school, we recognise that extending the course choices open to our students and ensuring positive progressive coursing are critical factors in raising attainment for all. We now have a much wider range of courses than before including Drama, Dance, Psychology, Music technology, Photography and the like alongside enduring positive partnership with Edinburgh College to deliver an even wide range of opportunities that can’t be delivered in school. We are also in the process of rebuilding Home Economics as a subject, and my intention is to appoint another teacher to join Ms Anstruther in developing courses to Higher level. 

Mr Todd is already engaged in the process of beginning to formulate NEXT year’s timetable; his work on this seems never ending! What is particularly pleasing in our school is the fact that students’ choices lead the process, and because of this, we have an almost 100% satisfaction rate, as students are coursed to their fullest potential.  IT plays a huge role in this with the whole process being fully automated in recent years. All information is on our website and the school App, including how our students will be supported in deciding course choice at every level. 

Parents/carers of senior students will know that we are in the middle of “prelim season,“ I have reminded our students that prelims give an indication of future success, but are not definitive. There is more learning time after prelims than before. If students are disappointed with their results, there will still be ample time to improve post-Christmas. That is not to be complacent, but rather to ensure a greater focus next term.

Finally, a number of students have been asking me if I am leaving. The cat appears to be well and truly out of the bag here, and I can confirm my intention to retire at the end of this session. My intention has always been to retire at 60 (I know I don’t look it!), and I have to say I have never worked for such a wonderful group of colleagues as I have here in Trinity; and I’ve been around! Similarly parents/carers  the Parent Council have been a huge support in re building our reputation as one of the best schools in the city. But I’m not finished yet…June is a long way off!


Rector's Blog 4th Nov 2019

Building on Success

The latest edition of our annual newsletter,  “Building on Success” is our biggest and best yet and will be with you soon. Jam packed with a huge array of examples of how we promote wider achievement across our school, it demonstrates that whilst being one of the highest attaining schools in Edinburgh City we are so much more than an “attainment factory". The wonderful work of every single faculty is on show, as is a huge number of related extra curricular activities and the sheer sense of enjoyment on the faces of our young people.  I do hope you enjoy reading about the successes and experiences of your children. We are extremely proud of everything that they have accomplished over the past year. Please share the good news and celebrate the achievements with the wider community!

Meantime, Officers from Edinburgh City Council held an open event at school to present final plans for our new sports facility at Bangholm. We are delighted that this project is moving forward, and will allow our hard pressed, and highly successful PE faculty to deliver better experiences in a state of the art facility. These really are exciting times, not just for the delivery of PE, but for the whole school. The intention is that these facilities will be used by Trinity Academy but will also be open to the wider Community out with school hours.

In advance of submitting the planning application Edinburgh City Council is holding a drop-in information session at Bangholm Outdoor Centre between 2:30pm - 6pm on 7 November 2019.

At the event we will have on display the plans and images that will form part of the planning application and members of the project and design team will be on hand to answer any queries you may have about the proposals.

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Rector's Blog 6/6/19

Bursting With Pride

Just heard a comment from my parent council that they thought I was going to burst with pride at our awards ceremony last night, and they are so correct, albeit I got so carried away with sharing the successes of all our faculties that my speech over ran, and I swear I saw someone nod off!

As a community we have so much to be proud of. This really is such a wonderful school. I can say without hesitation that Trinity is without doubt the best school I have worked in. And this is not is not just my “west coast patter” either – what we have achieved together in recent years is really quite remarkable. By working together, our fantastic staff, parents and students have transformed the fortunes of our school. In doing so, we deliberately set the bar high in stating we aspire to be the most improved, the most inclusive school and one of the highest achieving schools in the city – an aspiration we are well on the way of achieving.

As I reflected on  last year’s achievements at prize giving last night, it really was with some pride that I could say not only that it has been a hugely successful year, but that I am utterly convinced the best is yet to come. I say yet again, we are indeed a school that is seriously going places!

  • S4 results second best in a long, long time. We now outperform the Edinburgh average at national 3, national 4 and national 5 levels
  • Our Higher results are equally pleasing with 55% of all our students achieving at least one higher…38% achieve at least three Highers and an astonishing 28% achieve 5 Highers or more
  • Of particular note were our results in Mathematics where despite being two staff down, the dedication of our maths colleagues, and teachers from across the school led to the best set of results in many, many years. It is true to say that our results last session were some of the best in the City.

In fact our results across the board beat our comparator schools, Edinburgh and National averages in all but one indicator. The impact of this on morale across our community has been huge. One indicator of this is that our roll has been capped, and there is a significant waiting list for a place in our school!

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Rector's Blog 15th January 2019

Happy New Year to all!

As we go into the new year and reflect on the difference in our school since School Inspection in 2015 and now, and the sheer hard work and commitment of all in our school community to build a culture of ‘Only the best will do in all we do’, it is clear that this hard work is paying significant dividends. The future looks very promising indeed as we continue to raise attainment and achievement across our school. As I said in my last blog, this is more to do with attracting and nurturing the best possible teachers to our school than anything else. As colleagues leave to promoted posts I can assure you that our continued success as a school means we attract very high quality professionals to replace those who move on. I am in no doubt that the fantastic results in recent years (and in particular last year) had an impact on the quality of applicants. I am also in no doubt we have some of the very best teachers in the city and beyond, and thereby our continued success for our school is assured!

Recent staff changes include:

• Maths – Mr Dave McKay promoted to Curriculum Leader at Firrhill High
• Maths – Ms Catriona Keating appointed. Takes up post in 4 weeks.
• Support for Learning - Mr Adrian Moir appointed and in post.
• Support for Learning - Ms Aileen Swalwell appointed and in post.
• Biology – Ms Kirsty Haldane appointed (already in post).
• Chemistry – Dr Norman Zhu appointed and in post.
• English – Ms Gill McKay returns from maternity leave 21st January.
• Computing – Mr Caldwell on sabbatical until August. Mr Rikki Breach has been promoted as Acting CL until his return.
• FCT - Ms Cairns and Ms Calder in place. Ms Mackie (Classroom Support Assistant) has also been invaluable. Revised coursed rec HWB framework in place.

Health and Wellbeing

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Rector's Blog 10/12/18

First blog in a long time, but now that our new website is finally up and running, these will be more regular again in the coming months.

This has been a very busy term indeed, as we look to build on the success of our fantastic SQA results of last session. We now have a much improved whole school tracking and monitoring system in place which enables us to keep a close eye on student progress and to intervene and support as necessary. We have had a number of parents’ nights, and I have been overwhelmed by the positivity of comments from parents and carers as to how our school manages to be so successful and yet so warm and welcoming.

 You will hear a lot on the News about schools being “data driven,” with schools encouraged to “dive deep,” and “interrogate the data.” I have to say however that all the data in the world will not make one iota of a difference to a school if we don’t appoint the best staff and nurture an enabling culture which supports the wellbeing and success of all adults and young people. So, in this school whilst we do recognise the importance of data, I would say our success comes from not being data driven per se, but rather being person driven in all we do, in using data to support us all in exceeding our expectations, and thereby enabling us to continue being as successful as we have been year on year.

And talking of appointing the best staff, I chair all appointments panels in school. In recent weeks a number of colleagues have taken up post;

  • Mr Nelson – Acting Support for Learning Leader
  • Mr Adrian Moir – permanent Support for Learning teacher
  • Ms Aileen Swalwell – permanent part time Support for Learning
  • Ms Erin Cunningham – permanent History teacher
  • Mr Jamie Horne – temporary PE teacher
  • Ms Kirsty Haldane – permanent Biology teacher
  • Mr Norman Zhu – temporary Chemistry teacher
  • Ms Maxine Burchall – temporary Music teacher

All of the above are wonderful professionals and excellent new members of our team. The future looks very bright indeed for our school with colleagues of this calibre joining us!

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Rector's Blog - 15th August 2018

As we see students returning to school, smartly dressed and keen to start, it is always a pleasure to begin another school year.

When I arrived in August 2015, I made a commitment to working closely with colleagues, parents and the wider community to build a culture whereby we could be the most improved, the most inclusive and the highest attaining school in the City. This year, I emailed all parents to update you on our Higher and National Results in S4 and S5. I’d like to take this opportunity to analyse the raw data a bit further.

As you will see from the table of results in S4 and S5 below, our National and Higher results are the best in many years. This is undoubtedly a fantastic set of results for our school, but most importantly for our students as well as parents/carers and teachers who supported students achieve to such a level. I am clear that we are now well on the road to delivering excellent results for all!

 20142015201620172018Edinburgh 2018
By the end of S4:      
Students achieving 5 or more N3866070708882
Students achieving 5 or more N4796065577775
Students achieving 5 or more N5293339394641

The results in S4 are exceptional. For the first time in some years, our school beats the Edinburgh City Council average in all indicators. These results bode very well for our students’ continued success in S5 this session.

 20142015201620172018Edinburgh 2018
By the end of S5:      
Students achieving 1 or more Higher524661545560
Students achieving 3 or more Highers362938333841
Students achieving 5 or more Highers171316182822

Although we haven’t quite managed to beat the Edinburgh average in S5, these results are nonetheless very positive indeed. Do remember that this was the year group who told me on my arrival, that they were the worst year group in the school! As you can see, these results, barring one exception, are the best in years. Given these great results in S5, our S6 results are looking very good for next year! I will, however, urge a word of caution. In my experience, students may well take their foot off the pedal as they receive unconditional offers for university or college, and thereby not achieve to their true potential. I have already discussed this with our students and alerted them to the dangers of this.

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Rector's Blog - 14th May 2018

Staffing News

Susan Cook - Following on from successful long and short leet interviews last week I have been nominated as the preferred candidate for a Head Teacher’s post in East Lothian. Although no start date has been agreed as yet, my new post will not commence until August at the earliest. As most parents will be aware, I was seconded to Trinity Academy as Depute Head Teacher in January 2017, swapping positions with Lewis Paterson, who went to Leith Academy at this time. We were both due to return to our respective schools in December of this year, however Lewis has now been seconded to the Scottish Government until December 2019. This means that we will shortly be advertising for an Acting Depute Head Teacher to take up post from August 2018 - December 2019. The good news is that Bryan Paterson will return on Monday 4th June 2018 as Head Teacher here.

I would like to take this opportunity to say that Trinity Academy is a truly fantastic school to work at and I have learned so much in my short time here from all with whom I have worked. Trinity has passionate and committed teachers who aim to achieve the best outcomes for all of our young people. The parents are extremely supportive and the pupils hard working and enthusiastic in their learning. Our extensive partnership links are also very strong and help drive the school forwards. As a former pupil of the school it has been a dream to be Acting Head Teacher of the school I attended. I would like to thank everyone for their support during my time here and I will continue to give my full commitment to the school until I leave.

Science Trip 9th/10th May

The Science department took three busloads of S1 pupils on their annual visit to the Glasgow Science Centre. This popular trip gives pupils the chance to engage with hands-on demonstrations and experiments in the science mall. Here, pupils discovered how quantum physics is helping engineers develop cameras that can see round corners, how genetic screening can prevent diseases and how chemists can invent new materials to make our lives better. The planetarium gave pupils an insight into our solar system and beyond and graphically brought to life the impact of light pollution on our view of the night sky. For some pupils the highlight of the trip was watching their teacher being targeted by the presenter of the science show using a super soaker. I am delighted to say the pupils behaved well and were polite and respectful ambassadors for the school.

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