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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!

  2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Edinburgh 2018
By the end of S4:            
Students achieving 5 or more N3 86 60 70 70 88 82
Students achieving 5 or more N4 79 60 65 57 77 75
Students achieving 5 or more N5 29 33 39 39 46 41

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.

  2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Edinburgh 2018
By the end of S5:            
Students achieving 1 or more Higher 52 46 61 54 55 60
Students achieving 3 or more Highers 36 29 38 33 38 41
Students achieving 5 or more Highers 17 13 16 18 28 22

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.

  2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Edinburgh 2018
By the end of S6:            
Students achieving 1 plus Higher 58 60 52 66 62 66
Students achieving 3 plus Highers 33 46 39 51 46 47
Students achieving 5 plus Highers 23 32 29 34 31 35
Students achieving 1 plus AH 21 30 24 26 24 26

When we look at this year’s S6 results, although these appear to have dipped ever so slightly, the results are actually very positive compared to the results achieved by the same group in S5. I must congratulate all students on their magnificent efforts as you move onto life beyond school. Please do come back to visit us in the years to come!

It would be unfair to pick out one area of the school for commendation. As I said in my email to parents; worth sharing are the excellent results achieved in Mathematics. The strategy we delivered in the face of a shortage of teachers in Mathematics (let alone significant attention from the media), ensured the best results in a decade or so. I already know that other schools are wondering how on earth we achieved this. The answer is simple. We had an exceptional leader in Ms Hood and a wonderful team of Mathematics teachers complemented by a range of other colleagues from across the school who stepped up to the plate to deliver the Mathematics curriculum to a high standard. This is the kind of school we are. Thanks also to a hugely supportive Parent Council who trusted my judgement on this, and gave me their full backing.

Finally, I have been challenged to prove my contention that these results represent a picture of the most improved in the city. On reflection, I may well have over egged it a little. On closer study, we appear to be only the second most improved! I’ll certainly take that – and I hope everyone else does so too!

Onwards and upwards!

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