We have had a lovely start to the new session at NBHS, and it was a real pleasure to welcome pupils and staff back to school this week. As well as our new S1s, we have new pupils in most year groups and I sincerely hope that they all settle in quickly to their new school and soon feel a part of our community.

As well as new pupils, we also have a number of new staff joining NBHS. I am delighted to welcome them all onto our staff team and I know that they will have a very positive impact on the life of the school and the learning of our pupils. Some of our existing staff have changed their roles or remits and you can find details of staffing changes in a separate post.

In assemblies with every year group on the first day, I spoke about how proud I am of the warm, friendly, positive relationships here at NBHS. However, we cannot take these relationships for granted: it is the responsibility of every one of us to be caring, courteous and respectful at all times if we are to ensure that NBHS is a safe and happy place to learn and work. I also spoke about three essential qualities for success at school, and in life in general: hard work, resilience and being curious. Emphasising curiosity in particular, my challenge to the pupils for the year ahead is to have an inquiring mind and a hunger for exploration. I look forward to seeing that in action as I visit lessons and speak to pupils throughout the year. How can parents encourage this perpetual curiosity? Instead of asking your child “How did you get on at school today?” try asking them “What good questions did you ask in school today?” This is what the mother of Isador Isaac Rabi used to ask him as a child on his return from school each day – and Isaac grew up to be a renowned physicist and Nobel Laureate, always asking searching questions of the world around him.

There were certainly many good questions asked by staff during our two inservice days, as we worked together to enhance our professional learning. Topics included: strategies for building long-term knowledge; Getting It Right For Every Child and safeguarding; the Careers Education Standard; and coaching skills.

During our inservice days, there was also much discussion and analysis of exam results. This has been an excellent year for NBHS pupils sitting SQA qualifications and, indeed, a record-breaking one. It was such a delight in S5 and S6 assemblies to congratulate our pupils on their achievements. I will share more about exam results in a future post but, in the meantime, below are just a few details. (Please note that ‘records’ are based on comparisons over the last fifteen years; note, too, that we do not have percentages for A passes going back this far so cannot state with certainty that our A passes are record-breaking, though we think they are.)

  • National 4  –  The pass rate is 100%.
  • National 5 – The percentage of S4 pupils gaining 5+ awards is a record for the school; the percentage of S4 pupils gaining 4+ awards has gone up from 65% in 2015 to 79% in 2017; the percentage of A passes is very high.
  • Higher – The percentage of S5 pupils gaining 3+ awards is a record for the school; the percentage of A passes is very high.
  • Advanced Higher – The percentage of S6 pupils gaining at least one award is a record for the school.

Though teachers and school leaders are always interested in overall statistics, it is undoubtedly the results of individual pupils that matter most to us. It is a joy for teachers to see the hard work and commitment of pupils being rewarded and the vast majority of our senior pupils should feel rightly proud of their achievements. For those pupils who have faced a disappointment with their results, they know that they have an opportunity to do better in the coming session, and their teachers will certainly support and challenge them to do that.

There is one further achievement that I wish to mention here, this time in sport. S6 pupil, Dylan Hughes, has won a silver medal in the Youth Commonwealth Games! The Games were held in Bermuda in July, with 64 nations taking part. Dylan’s event, the Men’s Time Trial, was held in searing heat and his wonderful medal-winning performance puts him into the history books as the first Scot ever to win a cycling medal at the Games. Huge congratulations to you, Dylan!

I look forward to an enjoyable and successful year ahead for all in the NBHS community.


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