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Preston Lodge High School 28 September 2010 Issue 1

Inside this issue:

September Newsletter

School Update


Parent Council


School Inspection


Dear Parent/Guardian,

Extra Curricular


Active Schools Sports Programme


Doesn’t time fly? One year ago, when I wrote my contribution to the first newsletter of last session, I had little idea how quickly the year would pass…. and what a year it’s been!

Curriculum for Excellence factfile


Dates for your Diary


A number of important developments have offered real opportunities to our students to develop their learning and leadership skills, we have had an enormous number of positive interactions with our parents and wider community, we have introduced Curriculum for Excellence, and the year culminated in a significantly improved set of exam results. Oh, and there was the small matter of an inspection…… Inside this newsletter you will find more detail on many of these areas, and on how they will influence our work in 2010/11. The school is in really good heart at the moment and I now feel confident in stating that we are well on our way to being one of the best schools in Scotland. My sincere thanks go to all of our families for their support over the last year and we look forward to working with you this session. As ever, please do get in touch with me at the school if you would like to discuss any aspect of our work. Gavin Clark Head Teacher

PL’s S4 Outdoor Challenge Winners Front Row Brian Frost, Gordon Kidd Back Row left to right Anna Devine, Rebecca Muir, Adam Vince, Alexander Caughey, Finlay Richardson, Amy Kerr

Stage 3 2009-2012

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School Update Exam Results We are absolutely delighted with this year’s examination results. A large number of our students performed extremely well and the overall school results have risen significantly between 2009 and 2010. When people look at secondary school exam results they generally consider two particular measures. These measures are also used by some newspapers to compare secondary schools. The first measure is the percentage of S4 students who achieved five or more Credit Standard Grades (or their Intermediate equivalent). In 2009 24% of our students achieved this. In 2010 35% of our students achieved this. By any reckoning, this 46% increase in student achievement is significant and I would like to congratulate our new S5 on their performance. The second measure that is used a great deal is the percentage of S4 students who achieve three or more Highers in S5. Our percentage here is 19%, which is the same percentage as 2009. However, once successful appeals are added to the 2010 figure it will be almost certainly end up as 20-21%. This will be our highest achievement at this level in the last ten years. Again, I would like to congratulate our new S6 students for their performance. A number of studies across Scottish schools have shown that it is significantly harder to improve overall Higher results than it is to improve Standard Grade/Intermediate results. This session we are certainly aiming for improvement in both measures, and we are currently carrying out work to support all our students, and S5 in particular, to achieve the best possible exam results Finally, it is worth stating that examinations are not just about overall school results. A large number of our students have achieved great things individually, and I would like to congratulate all students who pushed themselves hard and achieved what they set out to do – you can feel very proud. School Uniform Thank you. We have been really pleased by the

positive way in which families have engaged with our new approach to school uniform this session. As you may recall we wrote to parents twice last year explaining that we were planning to adopt a much stricter approach to school uniform. So far, however, we have not needed to take any significant action this session at all! On any given day at Preston Lodge High School almost every student is wearing perfect school uniform and this is an enormous testament to the positive working relationship that we have with our families and our community. Our students are looking incredibly smart and I believe that they are very proud of the new approach to uniform that the collective student body has taken! The school really feels like a place that is settling down to business and there is an almost tangible sense of pride across the building. Over the course of this year we will investigate whether or not it might be the right thing for our school to re-introduce blazers. There is a great deal of support for this idea within the community and, indeed, many of our senior students are keen. We will, of course, keep families informed. Calendar This year we are not distributing a paper copy of the calendar in order to save resources. However, all this session’s key dates are included at the end of this newsletter. I would ask all parents to look carefully at this list and make a note of key events. I would also like to apologise for the late release of our calendar this year, which was caused by the workload around the June inspection. An electronic version of the full school calendar is available on the school website. Prefects and Senior Team Our new S6 prefects have made a great start to their work and have already assumed a significant leadership role around the school. I have been impressed by the attitude and effort they have made in working with our younger students and in supporting them at both intervals and lunchtimes. Our senior student team was selected at the tail end of last year. Head boy – Neil Moyes

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Head girl – Jennifer Walker Depute Head boys – Stuart Morgan, Glen Muir Depute Head girls – Megan Anker, Kirsty McLeod Neil and Jennifer will chair the Student Council and Glen, Stuart, Megan and Kirsty will lead the prefect system. Student Council We are currently at the start of an exciting democratic adventure with the Scottish Youth Parliament. Along with Alva Academy, our Student Councillors and Class Representatives will be participating in a very innovative project which aims to increase the power and relevance of the student voice in schools. Our new Student Councillors – currently being elected – will benefit from a well organised training programme and a great deal of input from the Scottish Youth Parliament between now and Christmas. We hope that this work will give our Student Council the confidence to play a key role in developing learning across the school. We believe our students have a great deal more to offer future school developments and we are delighted to be participating in this work. Curriculum for Excellence Please find included in this newsletter the most up to date information on Curriculum for Excellence provided by the Scottish Government. We are now almost a month into the new curriculum and things are going well. Our S1 and S2 students are engaging with the new Experiences and Outcomes and our staff are planning ahead for the changes to come. However, Curriculum for Excellence is a very complicated process. To try and improve parental understanding we will hold a dedicated Curriculum for Excellence information evening after the October break. It is likely that this event will be of most interest to S1 and S2 parents. The evening will provide a simple explanation to parents about how Curriculum for Excellence works and how they can best support their child through the course of the year. We will write separately to all parents and students. Contacting the school Could I please ask all parents who would like to

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raise an issue of concern to contact their child’s guidance teacher in the first instance? We have recently had a number of situations where parents have contacted teachers direct. Although we encourage conversations across the school it is essential that guidance staff are the gatekeepers of particular issues that need to be resolved so that they can form a clear overview of the students that they work with. Thank you. Staffing Update We are pleased to report that we have many new staff in the building this summer. While Helen Findlay, our School Business Manager, is on maternity leave Val Shields will be carrying out that role. Val joins us from North Berwick High School. We also welcome a large number of new subject teachers into the school: Art

Jennifer Bonnar


Sarah Nisbet Michael Tough


Elizabeth McGillivray


Jack Tennent


Andrea Thacker


Sally Davidson Beth Lloyd


Tracey Gilchrist


Hannah Bond

Home Economics

Lynne Robertson


Katie Young

Modern Studies

Claire McKenna


Joanne Halliday Scott McBirnie


John Johnstone


Rebecca Ennis

Liz Nicoll is currently seconded to Learning and Teaching Scotland. The other key change in Home Economics is that Mhairi Beattie (formerly Angus) is now PT Home Economics from Thursday lunchtime to Friday each week, sharing this post with Eleanor Hunter. Grace McGeachie is Acting PT Guidance for the remainder of the session and her Modern Studies post is currently being filled by Alex Redford.

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Finally, we welcome three new classroom assistants into the school. Kirsten Barker, Katherine Hayes and Julie Thomson have secured temporary contracts for this year due to specific funding which supports individual students who have joined us. We welcome all new staff to the school and we hope that you enjoy your time at Preston Lodge. Finally, farewell to Kirstin McSwann (formerly Carson) who departed on September 10th for Eyemouth High School. Kirstin has secured a permanent Guidance post in that school. Kirstin has been a committed member of both the biology and student support teams over four years at Preston Lodge High School and our loss is their gain. Until a permanent replacement for Kirstin has been secured Jack Tennent will be Acting PT Guidance.

Be Part of PL 85 – session 2009/2010 Last session was an exciting one, with a number of events held to celebrate the school’s 85th birthday. Many former PL’ers have been in touch with the school via email, telephone or good old post to share photographs and memories of their time at PL. The feedback has been very positive and it was great fun for all involved meeting up with old faces – students and teachers alike. The ‘PL Homecoming’ reminiscence film DVD featuring 85 years worth of PL memories, including those of John Bellany and STV news reporter Liz Monaghan, is on sale from the school office. Be quick as stock is limited. A great souvenir or Christmas present! The DVD has been professionally produced and costs £7.00. Any profits go to the film club for its next production. Louise Marr

Parent Council Are you interested in your child's education? Could you make a difference to the school? Then why not come along to the Preston Lodge High School Parent Council meetings? They are held on the first Thursday of the month between 7pm and 9pm (next one is on 7th October at the school). The meetings are attended by the Headteacher, Mr Gavin Clark, Parent Council members and members of the wider community, such as Councillors. Telephone the school (Tel 01875 811170) or check the website for more details.

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planning a comprehensive programme of staff development which will focus on the quality of learners’ experiences.

School Inspection •

Now that the dust has settled on our school inspection it is worth taking stock and thinking about our next steps. We were delighted that our report commented positively on the high morale and improving ethos of the school community. The report also highlighted the contribution young people make to the school and their community, and the strong work of our staff. HMIE described our young people as “friendly, well behaved and supportive of each other” and we were also pleased that they noticed the increasing high expectations we have of student attitude and effort. All in all, HMI felt that we have a clear sense of direction and were in good shape for future developments. We were able to play the key role in finalising our development areas and these were as follows:

To develop approaches to track and monitor young people’s progress, to help raise their expectations, attainment and achievement. We have introduced a new ICT system which we will shortly start using to track and monitor young people’s progress in a very systematic way. This will significantly increase parental understanding of and involvement with their child’s progress.

Continue to improve the quality of learners experiences to ensure challenge and progression in learning. Our current departmental reviews of exam results are focusing on the quality of learners’ experiences. We are also

Continue to improve the Curriculum taking account of national developments. The school’s senior management team and PTs will take a detailed look at the curriculum between now and February and make key changes to allow the full development of Curriculum for Excellence.

Please note that we were only provided with one inspection report per family. If you would like additional copies of the report then these can be downloaded from either the HMIE or school website. In a later newsletter I will provide you with an update of how we are progressing.

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Extra Curricular

the Basque coast and Ireland’s Atlantic coast. Yvonne Murphy, Boatie Blest

Arkwright Scholarship Congratulations to Calum Price of S5 who has been awarded an Arkwright Scholarship. Calum will travel to the Institute of Engineering and Technology in London at the end of October with Mr Cruickshank from CDT to receive his award. This is quite an accolade for Calum and the school - only 500 awards are made each year from entries all over Great Britain. Let’s Grow Schools can collect Let’s Grow vouchers from Morrisons stores and redeem them for brand new gardening equipment including seeds, spades and greenhouses. So, whether you’re a parent, family member or a teacher it’s easy for you to get involved and get children growing. All vouchers can be placed in the box in the school office. There is a new offer as well for every 1000 vouchers we'll get an apple tree! TeachingResources/How-it-works/ 5K Walk Stuart Dudgeon raised £100 for the recent 5K walk. He made his own sponsor form and went round his own family and members of staff in the school. The money was donated to The Stroke Association in Scotland. Well done Stuart! Boatie Blest In August our youngest Boatie Blest crew won their race at the Sail and Oar Festival on the island of Cumbrae. Christopher Berg and Cameron Simpson (S3) won the Open Men’s Pair Oar Race in a boat which they had never rowed before! The boat belongs to the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club and was coxed by Boatie Blest coxswain John Hunter. This was the inaugural Sail and Oar Festival and was hosted by the Galgael Trust and the Cumbrae Community Development Trust. The festival celebrated traditional maritime culture from Scotland as well as from the Celtic language regions of Spain’s Galician region,

Left to Right John Hunter (coxswain), Cameron Simpson, Chris Berg

Preston Lodge off to a flyer as Outdoor Challenge season starts A gloriously sunny Friday in John Muir Country Park, near Dunbar, provided the backdrop for the first of 6 outdoor challenges organised by East Lothian Council’s Outdoor Education Department. Last Friday, it was teams of S4 students from the East Lothian high schools, who were competing against each other in a series of physical and mental activities. The teams were given challenges such as navigating round an orienteering course, getting the team across a bridgeless river (dry!), fire lighting, boiling water, negotiating a high ropes course and several other demanding activities. The students had to work very closely in their teams if they were to have any chance of success in these events. In the end, one of the teams from Preston Lodge came through the day victorious, retaining the S4 trophy for the school for another year. The students forming the winning team were Finlay Richardson, Alexander Caughey, Adam Vince, Rebecca Muir, Amy Kerr and Anna Devine. The picture shows the team demonstrating their fire raising skills - the chemistry department at PL is obviously getting something right!!!

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Active Schools Extra Curricular Sports Programme. Extra curricular sports clubs have got off to a flying start this session and we aim to build on our successes from last year. We have a variety of activities on offer from competitive sports to healthy lifestyle activities. Most of these clubs are free and we offer every child the opportunity to further develop their social and physical skills. If you feel you would like to try a new sport or activity please contact Mr Bennion. He is available on Monday and Tuesday at morning break. There is also a suggestion box posted outside the PE staff base. Please post any suggestions in this box and if numbers are positive Mr Bennion will endeavour to find a coach.

Activities on offer Day









L Pike

Girls Fitness/



G Bennion



C Thomas, B Berg,

Dancemats Rugby

D Thomson






P Christie, A Davies

Indoor Football



G Bennion

U16 Football



G Bennion

Senior Football



G Bennion

U/14 Football



J Johnstone




P Christie

Table Tennis



G Bennion

Dance (ÂŁ2 charge)



B Noble




C Thomas, B Berg, D Thomson

Girls Rugby


C Thomas

Girls Multi Activity


Miss Walker

New* (starting

Running Club



Mrs Beattie





L Pike

Girls Football



J Johnstone

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To see our online calendar go to the School Calendar tab on

Dates for Your Diary! Monday 27 September

HPV Vaccinations Work Experience Week 1

Thursday 30 September

P6/7 Open Evening (7-9 pm)

Monday 4 October

Work Experience Week 2

Friday 8 October

S2 Early Warning to Parents

Wednesday 13 October

S2 Parents Evening (4.30-6.30 pm)

Friday 15 October

All Break for October holiday

Monday 25 October

In-Service Day

Tuesday 26 October

In-Service Day

Wednesday 27 October

Students return to school S4 Early Warning to Parents

Monday 8 November

HPV Vaccinations S5/6 Early Warnings to Parents

Thursday 11 November

S1 Parents Evening (4.30-6.30 pm)

Monday 15 November

S4 Prelims Start

Monday 29 November

S5/6 Parents Evening (4.30-6.30 pm)

Friday 3 December

S4 Prelims End

Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 December

Christmas Concert

Wednesday 22 December

Senior Dance

Thursday 23 December

All break

Monday 10 January 2011

In-Service Day

Tuesday 11 January

Students Resume S3 Early Warning to Parents

Wednesday 12 January

S3 Vaccinations

Tuesday 18 January

S4 Reports sent to Parents

Thursday 20 January

S3 Parents Evening (4.30-6.30 pm)

Tuesday 25 January

S4 Parents Evening (4.30-6.30 pm)

Thursday 27 January

Burns Supper

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Monday 31 January

S5/6 Prelims Start

Monday 7 February

S4 Intermediate 2 Prelims Start

Tuesday 8 February

S2 Options Meeting

Thursday 10 February

S4 Intermediate 2 Prelims End, S5/6 Prelims End

Friday 11 February

All break

Monday 21 February

All Resume, S2 Exams Start

Monday 28 February

S4/5 Options Meeting

Monday 7 March

S2 Exams End

Monday 14 March

HPV Vaccinations

Friday 18 March

S5/6 Reports sent to Parents

Friday 1 April

S2 Reports sent to Parents

Monday 4 April

S4/5/6 Prelims start

Wednesday 6 April

S2 Parents Evening (4.30-6.30 pm)

Thursday 7 April

S4/5/6 Prelims End

Friday 8 April

All Break

Monday 26 April

All Resume

Monday 2 May

May Day Holiday

Tuesday 3 May

S4 Exam leave starts

Tuesday 12 May

S5/6 Exam leave starts

Monday 23 May

Victoria Day Holiday

Tuesday 24 May

In-Service day

Wednesday 25 May

In-Service day

Thursday 26 May

Students resume

Monday 30 May—Thursday 2 June

S1-S3 Programme of Health Days, Whole School Project and Sports Days

Thursday 2 June

S3 Reports sent to Parents

Friday 3 June

5K Walk, All Exam leave ends

Monday 6 June

New timetable commences

Friday 17 June

S1 Reports sent to Parents

Tuesday 21 June

Prizegiving Ceremony

Wednesday 22 June—Friday 24 June

P7 Visits

Monday 27 June -Friday 1 July

Whole School programme of Activities Week trips

Friday 1 July

All break

Newsletter Sept 2010 Preston Lodge High School  

Preston Lodge High School Newsletter September 2010

Newsletter Sept 2010 Preston Lodge High School  

Preston Lodge High School Newsletter September 2010