PL Log Blog: In the beginning…..

This session, Preston Lodge High School is very proud to celebrate its 85th birthday as a school and the 40th birthday of the new building at Park View.  We aim to mark these events in many different ways throughout the session.  One way is to look back to the first log book from 1924.  It’s a fascinating insight into what education was like back then.  We are very lucky to have the log book.  It is locally rumoured that Mr J Sykes M A, headmaster from 1957 to 1970, crawled into the original building while it was still on fire, risking his life and wooden leg, to retrieve the log book.  And here are some of its entries.  See if you can spot an ancestor or two and see how things have changed.  And thank you Mr Sykes.  We are indebted to you.

The first rector was Dr J S W Boyle, M A, B Sc 1924-1928

26th September 1924

Preston Lodge School was opened at 10am on Tuesday 23rd September by Dr D R Macdonald, Dunbar, Chairman of East Lothian Education Authority; Dr J Logan Ayre, Prestonpans, and Mr R D Robertson, Executive Officer were also present.   As the new buildings are not yet completed, the school began work in the U F Church, and Parish Church Halls, Prestonpans, together with a hut which had been erected in the playing-field East of the Parish Church Hall.  The following teachers were present at the opening:  John S W Boyle M A B Sc Ph D – Rector; Peter Gray M A – Principal English Master; R G Leishman M A B Sc – Principal Science Master; Miss J Smith M A – Modern Language Mistress; Wm Reid M A – Classical Master and Assistant in English; Miss M A Mitchell M A B Sc – Assistant in Mathematics and Science (Temporary Teacher appointed owing to inability of Miss Porteous to report for duty before 6th October.  The number of pupils enrolled to date is 151.

Number of pupils on roll to date is 188.

27th September 1924

At a meeting of staff held today, it was decided that teachers would wear academic gowns.

1st October 1924

The regular time-table was put into operation on Monday except for handwork and music, English or Mathematics being substituted.  As regards written home work, the rule is now laid down that in English and Mathematics, exercises are to be given for handing in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in other subjects on Tuesday and Thursday.

2nd October 1924

Mr Stewart H M I called this afternoon to discuss the question of ‘Preliminary Training’ for pupils intending to enter the teaching profession.  It was decided that it would be advisable not to make Preston Lodge a centre for this Preliminary Training until next session.

3rd October 1924

Mr Trewin H M Inspector called at the school to see the laboratory accommodation and the proposed Science Time-table.

6th October 1924

Miss Annie Porteous M A B Sc joined the staff today as Assistant Teacher of Mathematics and Science.

13th October 1924

The number of pupils on the register of the school is now 159.  Six pupils have this week transferred to Class I Secondary.  This will necessitate the splitting of Class I Secondary into two classes.

17th October 1924

Wood-work benches were received last night; from today the Primary School science laboratory will be available for Preston Lodge School on Friday 9am – 3.45pm.

21st October 1924

Dr Jamieson, Chief Inspector of Schools called this morning with his assistant, Mr Thomson.  They were greatly surprised at the size of the school, and insisted that no time should be lost in splitting Class I Secondary into two classes.  The purpose of Dr Jamieson’s visit was to see the school as a request had reached him for recognition as a Secondary School.

22nd October 1924

Miss Crawford H M I visited the school today to enquire about the instruction in needlework, cookery se.   She expressed the hope that it would be found possible to continue sewing throughout the first three years of the secondary course.

27th October 1924

Miss Dorothy Forsyth M A joined the staff today as an interim assistant in English and French, as Miss Elizabeth Guild M A who has been appointed assistant in English and French will be unable to come here for several weeks.

Attendance last week 95%

Mr A Prentice is appointed Art and Woodwork teacher at £160 per annum duties commencing from today.

31st October 1924

The new time-tables, rendered necessary by the splitting of Class I Secondary into two sections IA and IB, came into operation yesterday.

3rd November 1924

A bus service to convey pupils to Preston Lodge from Winton, Pencaitland and Ormiston began today.

7th November 1924

Twenty new pupils have enrolled at the school during the past week.  The number of pupils on the admission register is now 179.  Attention of teachers had to be drawn to the fact that sufficient care was not being exercised in the transferrring entries from First Instance Records to Registers of Daily Attendance.

11th November 1924

All pupils and members of staff attended a Memorial Service at the War Memorial at 11am today.  Rev Dr J Logan Ayre, Parish Minister, Prestonpans gave a short address “In grateful rememberance from Preston Lodge School.”   All Boy Scouts and Girl Guides attended in uniform.  A collection taken from the school on behalf of Earl Haig’s Fund realised £1:9:6 1/2.

13th November 1924

As there are now 34 pupils travelling daily from Ormiston and Pentcaitland district, the contractor is running two buses one from Ormiston and the other from Winton and Pencaitland.

19th November 1924

John W Johnston, 214 Sunnybank, Prestonpans took over the duties of Janitor from today.

More from the PL Log book in another post soon.

S5 Outdoor Challenge 2009: Preston Lodge win again!!

Preston Lodge High School continues winning streak!!

In recent months, Preston Lodge High School has excelled in the ELC Outdoor Challenges organised for each year group by East Lothian Council’s Outdoor Education Department.

Last session Preston Lodge retained the S6 Challenge, followed by success in the S2 Orienteering Challenge.  A few weeks ago we entered two teams into the S4 Outdoor Challenge, which was held at John Muir Country Park.  The Preston Lodge teams proved too much for the other secondary school teams and took joint first places.

On Friday 25th Sept the S5 Outdoor Challenge 2009 was held around North Berwick Law,  two Preston Lodge teams of S5 students secured first and third place in a very closely fought competition.

In these challenges, the competing teams are faced with a variety of  physical and mental challenges such as an orienteering, tight rope course construction, fire-lighting problems, rock climbing etc.

The photograph shows the S5 winning team, with proud Preston Lodge staff Gordon Kidd and Brian Frost who assist in running these events.  The winning students (from left to right) are; Andrew O’Brian, Neil Moyes, Kier Stewart, Stephen Huish, Lindsay McNeil and Samantha Naylor.

S5 Outdoor Challenge 2009 - Winners
East Lothian S5 Outdoor Challenge 2009 - Winners Preston Lodge

Chemistry teachers, Kidd and Frost, both former Preston Lodge High School pupils, said, “These events are thoroughly enjoyed by all who take part.  We see the students from all schools working very closely together in their respective teams and the confidence that is instilled in them by these events is wonderful.”

The next Outdoor Challenge is on Friday 9th October, and it will be the turn of the S3 pupils from across the county to do battle.

Can Preston Lodge maintain their impressive run and make it 5 in a row?

“We know we’ve a great school others should know it too”

From East Lothian Courier 24th Sept 2009

Gavin Clark outside PLHS

THE new headteacher of Preston Lodge High School says one of his biggest challenges will be changing some county residents’ negative perception of the school.

Gavin Clark took over at the high school at the beginning of the new term and aims to ensure the school achieves its potential and strengthens its reputation within East Lothian.

“I think the projection that some people outside this cluster have of the school is completely wrong,” he said.

“It’s already a really good school and one of the key challenges is to make sure it is known as one of the best schools (in East Lothian).

“I always knew that Preston Lodge was a good school and now I’m certain it could be one of the best in Scotland.”

The 42-year-old was appointed headteacher following the retirement of Willie Galbraith earlier in the year, and was formerly the depute head at Dunbar Grammar School.

“I’m really looking forward to spending time here and although it’s not without its challenges, it is a great school to work in,” he added.

“It has just been fantastic here so far and the community have been very welcoming. To come in and take over from the enormous contribution that Willie Galbraith put into the school was pretty daunting.”

To read more of this article go to the East Lothian Courier website.

East Lothian Courier Masthead

Duke of Edinburgh award news.


A great response from the current S3 in getting involved. Anyone still interested or with money outstanding should get this handed in by Monday afternoon (28th September).

We will be having a meeting at lunchtime on Wednesday 7th October in Mr Kidd’s room. Hopefully the logbooks will be with us. To help us allocate you a staff mentor, please think about getting a group together of you and your friends (up to a maximumof 7 pupils). We will do our utmost to accommodate you in friendship groups.


Two small groups are out on practice expedition next week (1st – 3rd October) with a few finally being assessed after being snowed off in the Spring last year! Please ensure you get a staff permission sheet from Mr Kiernan and approach your teachers for ‘appropriate discussions’.

Likewise, any other pupils interested should get logbook fee into a member of the team before Monday 28th September. A short meeting will be held in Mr Kiernan’s room after your return from work experience. Watch this space.


A lot of pupils have expressed an interest in participating but there have been few uptakes on this. A short meeting will be held in Mr Kidd’s room at break-time on Tuesday 29th September to finalise the participants list.

East Lothian S4 Outdoor Challenge 2009

Some of our regular readers may recall that in the 2007 S6 Outdoor Challenge our two teams came 1st and 2nd in this annual competition involving all six of the East Lothian Secondary Schools. In the 2008 S6 Outdoor Challenge our team once again won their competition. Our S6 are undefeated in this event.

How could our S4 better this ??
Well on Friday 4th Sept our two S4 teams took part in the S4 Outdoor Challenge 2009 and managed to improve on the 1st and 2nd place standard of 2007 – by coming 1st equal – with each other!!

Well done to both of our teams for setting such a high standard.

PLHS Team 1

PLHS Team 2

Scott Robertson Sean Gaffney
Paul Dixon Jack Longmuir
Maia Aitken Mark Singer
Jenna Stevens Karen Munro
Rachel Connachan Jennifer Tait
Jack Ferguson Emma Cullen

The event comprised of a variety of physical and mental outdoor based challenges including orienteering, fire-starting, rope work skills etc…

Both the School and Outdoor Education staff and organisers were immensely impressed by the way both Preston Lodge teams worked together to score the highest number of points out of all the teams – in almost every task.

Consequently, in the end there was nothing to separate both teams and a joint first place was secured – by a long way for our school.

The competition was organised by East Lothian Outdoor Education staff and each secondary school sent two teams to the John Muir Country Park near Dunbar.

A great day out for the pupils (and staff!), and a high bench-mark set early for the year ahead.

Well done and congratulations to all of those involved.

Welcome from new Headteacher: Summer Newsletter

Gavin Clark, Headteacher, Preston Lodge High School

I would like to thank all the staff, students and the many parents I have already met for making my first week at Preston Lodge High School so enjoyable. I have had a wonderful time, and am really looking forward to the year ahead. Please do have a look at the August 2009 newsletter, where I give a little more detail about my views on education in general, my thoughts about Preston Lodge High School, and my vision for the school.

I look forward to meeting as many parents as possible at various school events over the coming weeks and months, but do get in touch right away if you would like to discuss any aspect of school life.

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Preston Lodge High School goes global!