Update 11 December 2020

Update on Prelims

This week, the Deputy First Minister announced that Higher and Advanced Higher examinations in May would be cancelled.  The SQA statement can be found here SQA comments on Deputy First Minister’s decision to cancel Higher and Advanced Higher exams – SQA

At Dunbar Grammar, we had Preliminary Examinations for Higher and Advanced Higher, scheduled in January. The leadership team have discussed the impact of the announcement this week and agreed that  we will still have a Higher and Advanced Higher assessment window in January. This will be supplemented by further assessments later in Term 2 and the very beginning of Term 3.  We will not refer to these as prelims (as prelim implies preliminary to a final exam).  Instead, we will call them extended assessments (as they last longer than a lesson) and run them in a structured manner.  On Monday, we will confirm the dates for these assessments.  Mr Mc Bride will write to all students and their parents/carers next week to confirm full arrangements.

National 5 Structured Assessments

The SQA have released subject specific guidance on the alternative certification model for National 5 this year.  This involves the delivery of key assessments which are tailored specifically for each subject area and planned to give each student the best possible chance to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through their courses. We recognise the importance of maintaining transparency and a high level of support for students as we deliver this model and are currently in the process of collating the various requirements and timelines so that we can share this with students and parents.  All key assessments will take place from January onwards with students being given clear advice and guidance in their classes prior to any assessment taking place.

The SQA released a statement for parents this week for N5 candidates.  It can be found here:


For all senior phase students our SQA enquiries inbox remains open for parents’ who wish to contact us with any specific queries or concerns:  dgssqaconcerns@dunbargrammar.elcschool.org.uk

Senior Phase Information Evening

On Wednesday 16th December we will host a virtual information evening for the parents’ of S4, 5 and 6 students to discuss updates that have emerged to date from the SQA, East Lothian Council and the Scottish Government in regards to changes to this year’s certification model for National 3&4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses. Whilst there may still be some unanswered questions, we fully recognise the pressure and anxiety our students and families may be experiencing this session and hope that this evening will help to give a degree of clarity of the current context, key milestones and the current and planned supports that will be available to students during this time.

The sessions will be hosted on Google meet and will take place over two slots: 6pm and 7pm.  This is due to the cap on attendees in any single Google meet – both sessions will contain the same information and therefore parents’ and carers need only attend one of these sessions.  Due to time restraints, we will not be able to address questions directly during the meetings but would invite parents’ and carers to submit questions in advance of the session so that we can do our best to address as many of your concerns as possible.

Please complete the following form if you would like to attend:

S1 & S2 Reports

These have been handed to S1 and S2 students today. Please contact your son/daughter’s Guidance Teacher if you have any concerns.

DGSC (Parent Council)

The next meeting of the Parent Council (DGSC) is on Monday 14th December, and we are looking for a new chair! If you are interested in attending or would like to find out more information about being the chair, please email dgsnewsletters@dunbargrammar.elcschool.org.uk

S1 Cyberbullying and Social Media

We will be holding S1 assemblies next week to remind young people to control their behaviour and respect others online.

By the time young people join us in S1, most have learned to communicate responsibly when using social media. Some play out their differences on-line as their teenage friendships change and evolve. A minority use social media as a way to behave in an offensive and bullying way to others.

Recently, we have been made aware of an alarming rise in students using Snapchat to be offensive to each other. Snapchat enables students to make up anonymous accounts and post offensive and upsetting messages to others without trace. These students would never say such things to someone else’s face but are emboldened by the fact they cannot be traced. Snapchat has a minimum age of 13 and Whatsapp has a minimum age of 16+.

All social networks have potential problems. Students could be at risk from bullying from people they connect with, they can be pressured into taking personal photos or they may be exposed to explicit content at an early age.

Social networks are an easy way to connect to people, but as they are essentially anonymous, it’s possible to build up a relationship with a stranger who isn’t who they say they are – for instance an adult posing as a child with the aim of grooming youngster.

Please discuss issues around social media at home and use the following pages to oversee what young people access:

Parental support using Google Parent Link for Android phones:

Parental support using iphones

Some other useful links:

Reporting on Snapchat:

Reporting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter:

Christmas at DGS

Monday 14th December Day 1 of DHT Christmas Quiz 3
Wednesday 16th December After school Wednesday Mile will be a Santa Walk/Run – Staff and students encouraged to join in.
Thursday 17th December DHT Christmas Quiz 3 – all classes submit
Friday  18th December DHT Christmas Quiz 3– Santa will visit the winning class
Monday 21st December Christmas Treats on sale from Charities Committee
Tuesday 22nd December Dress Down
Christmas Treats on sale from Charities Committee
PERIOD 5 – S6 Christmas Surprises
PERIOD 7 – Gunge a Teacher (Led by Student Council).  Screened live to all classes

UCAS 2021 Applications

Students applying to university this year should now be in the process of, or have completed, their UCAS application. They have been supported by a member of staff (their mentor), either their Guidance teacher or another member of the teaching staff.  Mentors are now in the process of writing the reference for the student, some have already completed this. The deadline date for students to have completed their UCAS application is Monday the 14th December. By this date they should have paid and sent this to allow Guidance teachers to check all parts of the form. When students pay and send it does not go directly to UCAS, it will come to the guidance teacher who can then send it to UCAS after entering predicted grades and the reference.

You can support your child in this application process by:

  • Reading their personal statement.
  • Encouraging them to continue complete all sections of their application
  • Go online to ucas.com/parents where you find lots of useful information, resources and videos.
  • Remind your child to check the UCAS Google classroom where lots of advice and notifications are posted.


East Lothian Council are now accepting EMA applications for January Starts for 2020/21.

The EMA form is now online:  https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/ema-apply-now

Free School Meals

The facilities team will deliver free school meals to the homes of students who are isolating to make sure they are still received. Please call or email our school office if this applies to you. Parents/carers with a child who is isolating should not visit the school building.

Stars of the Week

The winners for this week are below:


Peter Morrison (Maths) Effort and Support

  • He helped me learn Trigonometry and he helped me with preparation for my maths test
  • Because he is really funny and tries to keep all the students happy all the time.
  • I want to nominate Mr Morrison because he shaved his head for charity and I think it’s an extremely nice thing to do, and not only that, but he has helped everyone in my maths class even though he was stuck at his desk
  • Shaving his own head for charity raising a huge amount of money! …………….In the winter!
  • He is extremely helpful and always tries his hardest, he is amazing at table football as he is the northern Irish champion and he will be very sad if he doesn’t get star of the week as will all of his students

Alix Harris (History) Support and Inclusion

  • Miss Harris never lets anyone in the class feel as though they are doing badly she is always so supportive even when we get things wrong and instead of being disappointed she shows us where we went wrong. I wouldn’t have any other teacher for higher history!
  • Everyone knows that they are never stuck in class as we are able to discuss answers with people around us making everyone feel comfortable to answer as well as teacher answering questions that we are stuck on
  • Miss Harris has managed to get every single student in her class to get an outstanding mark in their higher essays. She is an inspiration to all teachers and although she is harsh at times that’s half the reason we do so well. She doesn’t only tell us if we make a mistake she actually shows us what we have done wrong and how to fix it. Miss Harris deserves star of the week just as much if not more so than any other teacher.


Jared Stevenson S4 (Effort)

Jared puts a lot of pressure on himself to always work at his best, and often forgets to acknowledge that he is doing an incredible job in his school work. He has a real passion for learning that extends beyond his N5 subjects. Equally, Jared is continually supportive of his classmates; encouraging others in strategic ways to achieve their potential. Well done Jared!

Isla Tooze S1 (Effort)

Isla has been such a delight to have in my HWB class when covering Heart Start. She has been sharing her personal experiences to the class which shows true bravery and is very inspiring for the rest of the class.

Other Information

  • 20-12-08 Information Sheet
  • To add a bit of Christmas cheer, here’s the link to this year’s Covid-friendly Panto film, Rapunzel, available to download for free via the Brunton’s website here: https://www.thebrunton.co.uk/en-GB/shows/rapunzel%20the%20pantomime%20-%20a%20family%20film%20to%20enjoy%20at%20home/eventsThey’re asking people to make donations to help cover costs if they can.
  • DRIVE-IN CAROL SERVICEAn Innovation Due to the Restrictions.  Come and join us on Saturday 19th December for our Drive-in Carol Service.  Book your car in, tune into East Coast FM 107.6, and join in community with others as we sing.The event will happen at Dunbar Grammar School car park on Summerfield Road.  Cars will book in for different entry time-slots, and the main event happens on the radio at 2.30pm-3pm.  Book your car space on Eventbrite – just search for Belhaven Parish Church Drive in Carols.If you don’t have a car, then join in from the comfort of your home by tuning into East Coast FM.For more information, contact Hazel Gray on hazeljam1@gmail.com / 07870849737

Online Learning Information


Please email attendance@dunbargrammar.elcschool.org.uk  with student absences/appointments.