Alternative Certification

Like all Scottish secondary schools, we are using the alternative certification model to deliver results for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses this session. Our teachers will use assessments that pupils have taken part in over the course of the year as evidence to decide the grades that our pupils should be awarded. Unlike last session, all grades will be awarded based on a young person’s demonstrated attainment. It was always our intention to carry out further assessments towards the end of the year and give our pupils the opportunity to be assessed when they had completed their learning. Please see the link below for details of our plans for carrying out these assessments and a calendar of when they will take place.

SQA Update for Parents / Carers and Senior Pupils

From Monday 15 March, pupils in S4 to S6 who are taking national qualifications will begin their return to school and will have priority for face-to-face lessons. Learning and teaching, whether in school or through remote learning, will continue to enable both teachers and pupils to review and consolidate all learning, before moving on to focus on completing assessment evidence.

The number of assessments which pupils will undertake for qualifications purposes may vary across their subjects. This is due to the nature of individual subjects and how they are taught. Pupils should talk to their teachers if they have any questions about what work will count towards assessment evidence.

With the SQA exams being cancelled this year, teachers will use their professional judgement to decide results at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher based on the marked evidence from pupils’ assessments. These will remain provisional results until all quality assurance checks have been carried out.

To ensure provisional results are fair and credible across the whole of Scotland, quality assurance processes will be applied in two phases:

  • In the first instance quality assurance will be carried out by the school, with support from the local authority. This includes discussing and agreeing the marking of pupils’ work across all classes and local schools.
  • Alongside this SQA will also carry out quality assurance as support for teachers. For example, reviewing their assessment and marking standards. This is to ensure that when teachers conduct assessments, that national standards are applied reliably and consistently across Scotland.

Schools will submit provisional results to SQA by 25 June.

SQA will not adjust provisional results. It will check for administrative errors that might have happened when schools were sending the quality assured results to SQA. When that check is completed, provisional results will become final.

Pupils will receive their results by post on Tuesday 10 August 2021. They will also receive their results by text and/or email if they decided to sign up for this service at

SQA has created an information booklet outlining ‘What you need to know for 2021 – National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher’ qualifications. This includes further details on how results will be arrived at and about the quality assurance process for this year.

The booklet is available to download from the SQA website and will be posted directly to your child w/c 15 March.

You can stay up to date on the 2021 National Qualifications by visiting

Plans for 15th March – 2nd April

Our plans for the re-opening of our school for all pupils from 15th March onwards are now final. The letter below from Dr Vance covers these arrangements in detail. Pupils have been given a copy of this letter in their PSE classrooms today, where they will also find details of the Groups they have been allocated to. Each group will attend one day per week. Please contact your child’s Guidance Teacher if you have any queries about these arrangements.

Message to Pupils in S4-S6 Not Attending School in the Next Two Weeks

I’m sorry we are not going to get to see you next week but if infection rates and the R-number keep moving in the right direction, I fully expect to see you all- though not necessarily all at the same time- in March. We miss how it feels when you are all in the building and look forward to the speedy return of that ‘busy building’ feeling.

We have a better picture now of what needs to happen to get you your qualifications. Soon after the announcement of 2nd March we will share details of how assessment will be organised and what will be assessed after the Easter break and to that end we are working on the next version of the assessment calendar that we previously shared with you. For now, however, my message remains the same as the one I have been giving and SQA have been giving since January: these days are about covering the course, learning skills for assessment activities, making mistakes and learning even more from them. Nothing is decided yet but your every effort puts you in a better place and every activity you undertake gives you more knowledge and more skills for the post Easter assessment phase. 

In March we will be writing an update report for you which will both help you with Choice of Course and help focus study/revision over and after Easter.

I know only too well how dull and monotonous this way of living and learning is and so innovate yes, find treats and rewards, yes but please don’t lose sight of the fact that at some point we need to get together and show what you know as part of the process of recognising your learning. 

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey- it is clear that you are less fond of following the timetable less than the younger pupils. Please be assured that I have reflected on these messages. My concern that I will deal with is that the interaction between you and the teacher needs to be as strong as possible to make maximum progress and teachers are not available for direct interaction beyond class time. What I will do this week is talk with PTs about what successful adaptations they have made to their senior class delivery which still allows direct teacher-pupil engagement (essential to prepare you for the assessment phase) but better reflects the complicated lives you are living and pressures you are dealing with. I’ll also meet with some pupil representative groups to better understand the feedback. Evolution rather than revolution of our approach is my ambition.

Stay focused, stay busy and stay safe. When any or all of them become difficult to do, talk to teachers, talk to Guidance and if needed we have people who can talk to you and help you.

All the best,

Dr J Vance

Message to All Pupils in S1-S3

There’s only one place to start. This isn’t what we wanted for you, how we wanted to work with you or how we wanted to help you develop into the young adults and leaders you will become. One of the many problems with a pandemic is that it really doesn’t care what we want. So we make the best of it and find our way out of it as quickly as we can by doing the right things and lots of them. The last Scottish Government update gave no clear message about a likely return date to school for you all but I remain hopeful that this will become clearer at the next announcement on 2ndMarch. 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey. I’m pleased by the high level of satisfaction from S1-3 with 

  • the current structure, 
  • with the amount of work given and 
  • the appropriate difficulty of the work. 

Please be assured that every negative registered and every comment is carefully considered to see what can be done to make things even better for you as an individual or us as a school community. In the meantime, I keep coming back to my main message- talk to us, let us know about your struggles and your successes and let us help you.

Take care,

Dr J Vance

Instructions for S4-S6 Pupils Attending School from 22 February / Information for Parents and Carers

We are looking forward to welcoming some of you back from Monday to make progress in a range of your certificate courses. If this applies to you, details of which day you are to visit will have been posted in your Google Classroom.

I am very aware of the importance of this moment and how much it matters that we do it right. If we do so, and the R rate and infection numbers continue to fall, more pupils will soon be spending more time in school. If we don’t and infection rates rise, the current arrangements will last longer. Forgive the tone of what follows but I need to be absolutely certain that we all understand that this is not like August when pupils returned with no expectation of social distancing and initially no face masks. Please therefore read carefully the list of bullet points and be ready to work to these standards from the moment you leave your house.

  • When you arrive please make your way to the subject area immediately.
  • Unless you have a medical exemption you are expected to wear a face-covering at all times unless eating. 
  • You are expected to maintain social distancing of 2 metres at all times and classrooms; the social area and the one way system are all designed to support this.
  • We will organise two lunch-time sittings and different toilets for different subjects to maintain distancing. Your teacher will confirm the arrangements to you.
  • The invitation is for a whole day to give you and the teachers an opportunity to make real progress. You will of course get break and lunch but I am urging you to remain in the school grounds at lunch.
  • The canteen have devised an order form which you can collect from in front of the tuck shop in the morning and see the daily menu there. Someone will come to classrooms about 9.30 to collect the forms.
  • We know that a few of you may have been invited in for more than one subject on a particular day. We are sorry that this happened but unfortunately clashes such as these are unavoidable with the limited time that we have at this stage and the range of courses that we are trying to support- each with different pressures. If this affects you, you must attend initially to the subject you normally have in that column (or to put it another way, go to each subject once). In later weeks you may have the opportunity to attend the other subject and additional sessions can be scheduled after Easter if required. SQA have pushed the date for submission of provisional grades back again so we still have months to cover all that we need and teachers will be mindful if pupils need extra time after this phase is over.

When you are in if you have suggestions about how we can make the experience safer or better then please share them with your teacher who will pass them on to me. Senior Management will review what went well/ could be improved.

Dr J Vance

Important Letter for Parents and Carers of Pupils in S4-S6

Please see this important letter from Dr. Vance for all Parents and Carers of Pupils in S4-S6. The letter contains important information about:

  • the practical subjects which will require pupils to come into school from Monday 22nd February;
  • updated guidance on the use of face masks in school;
  • use of asymptomatic testing kits available to pupils and staff.

A letter for parents and carers of pupils in S1-S3 will be issued on Monday 22nd February.

Pupil and Parent/Carer Survey

We would like to gather the views of our pupils and parent/carers about their experience of this current lockdown. Each should only take a few minutes to complete and can be accessed at the links below.

The Surveys will remain open until Thursday 11 February.

New Positive Relationships Policy

Our new Positive Relationships Policy (copy below) was introduced at the end of November 2020. This new system replaces our previous behaviour policy which was based around a class transfer system. The new system aims to ensure that both pupils and teachers have their voices heard and communication with parents about this is an important feature.

Respect for everyone in the school community is central to our Promoting Positive Relationships Policy. We aim to ensure that everyone will:

  • Treat everyone respectfully
  • Work to the best of our ability
  • Represent the school appropriately at all times

Stage 1: A restorative conversation takes place between the teacher and the pupil about their behaviour. Pupils will be encouraged to make a good choice and to reflect on how their behaviour is impacting on others.

Stage 2: If there is no improvement in behaviour the pupil is issued with a Reflection Card and given five minutes to think and reflect about their behaviour. There is a second chance for a reflective conversation with the teacher. At this point the behaviour will be recorded as a Demerit and you will receive a text message to inform you that your child has been asked to reflect upon their behaviour.

Stage 3: If the poor behaviour continues then the pupil will be removed from class and sent to the Principal Teacher. The Principal Teacher may refer the matter to a member of the Senior Leadership Team on duty (Social Area) if required. A Behaviour Referral will be recorded and an email or text sent home. Reflection Time at interval or lunchtime may be issued by SLT.

Stage 4: If Principal Teacher involvement is repeatedly required then the matter will be referred to the SLT Year Head. Parents will continue to be informed by text, email or, for more serious incidents, by phone.

If you have any questions please contact your Child’s Guidance Teacher or Year Head.