Headteachers respond to exam results

Secondary headteachers from across the Borders congratulate pupils on their 2020 exam results.

Bruce Robertson, Berwickshire High

“Everyone is tremendously proud of Berwickshire High School students for the hard work they have put into their courses this year. As a staff team, we wish everyone the very best of luck for their results.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all our teachers and support staff for everything they have done to support students.”

Justin Sinclair, Earlston High

“I am exceptionally pleased with our pupils’ SQA results this year. In these most difficult of times, it was such a joy to see so many of our young people being recognised for the hard work they demonstrated throughout the year. The performance from our S4 was outstanding and our S5 and S6 achieved very high levels of attainment again this year. I am immensely proud of the young people of Earlston High School and their well-deserved success reflecting all their hard work during a very challenging school year.

“I also must pay tribute to our school staff who work tirelessly for our young people – I am proud of each and every one of them.”

Robin Chapman, Eyemouth High

"As headteacher I am extremely proud of all of the achievements of our students this year. In unprecedented times, their commitment and perseverance has been evident. We celebrate with our students where they have been successful, albeit a very different process for everyone.

"I’d also like to pay tribute to the tremendous efforts of our staff who worked in very difficult circumstances to ensure that learning and achieving have continued here in Eyemouth."

Kevin Ryalls, Galashiels Academy

“Our school vision is values, skills and qualifications to be the best we can and we are very pleased that our exam results reflected this vision as many young people achieved very positive results this summer. This is testament to the hard work and dedication across a team of staff, young people and families.

“We have a strong school community based on high expectations and positive relationships. This has helped individuals and the school achieve very positive SQA outcomes. We are particularly proud of our S4 cohort who will be able to build on our best National 5 results for at least five years.

“We are really looking forward to developing the qualifications strand of our vision with projections for an even wider range of courses and further increases in the amount of qualifications our young people achieve.”

Vicky Porteous, Hawick High

“I am delighted to share with you that for the third consecutive year we continue to see improvements in attainment in Hawick High School.

“The number of S4 candidates achieving an A-C pass in 5 or more subjects at National 5 level has increased by 8% on last year, furthermore the number of S5 students achieving an A-C pass in 5 or more subjects at Higher level is significantly better than previous years. This exam diet has also seen improvements in literacy and numeracy. There has been a significant increase in the number of S4 students achieving a numeracy award at National 5 level.  A-C passes in numeracy at National 5 level have also improved for S5 students and there has been a noteable improvement in A-C passes at Higher level for numeracy. We have maintained our strong performance in literacy at National 5 level and again we have seen an improvement in A-C passes at Higher level. In amongst the many good results there were some tremendous individual performances from a number of our S4 and S5 students.

“We are proud of all the examination achievements of our young people in this challenging and unprecedented year - well done to you all.

“Finally a huge thank you to staff, parents and young people, for their hard work, commitment and support to ensure that despite these challenges we continue to make significant progress in Hawick High School.”

Susan Oliver, Jedburgh Grammar

“As part of our ongoing school improvement agenda, Jedburgh Grammar Campus presented an increased number of pupils for SQA qualifications this year particularly at Level 5 (Nationals) and Level 6 (Highers). This has resulted in positive outcomes for all at every level of qualifications, especially S5 pupils achieving three or more Highers at Grades A–C.

“In addition there is a positive trend for our S6 leavers also achieving more at Highers this year than previously. We have also seen improvements in passes at National 5. Success at Advanced Higher continues to be a strength and positive outcomes at this level have been maintained again this year. As well as these successes, Jedburgh Grammar Campus also presented a number of senior pupils in both Leadership and Personal Development qualifications, as we look to expand our offer and meet the needs of all learners at all levels.

“Our young people have shown tremendous resilience throughout the year and particularly during the period of home learning. Their results are the product of ongoing work from the start of the 2019 school year and are testament to their hard work and best efforts. Well done to all and thank you to parents, carers, partner agencies and our community for their ongoing support. We can’t wait to finally welcome our children and young people to our new campus next week.”

Jill Lothian, Kelso High

“We are very proud of all our young people and their efforts throughout this challenging academic session. At Kelso High, our senior students continued to aim high and with support of family and staff they worked hard towards their individual targets and goals from June 2019 through to March 2020. Although attainment is important, it is part of a bigger picture and at KHS this is reflected in our core values – PRIDE in ourselves, our school and our community.  We have many positive examples of our students supporting the wider community with acts of kindness, creativity and perseverance during lockdown.

“Our young people will continue to develop their portfolio of academic results while also developing skills for life and work either by returning to school, moving on to further and higher education or employment.

“Highlights of 2020 SQA performance include a further increase in the percentage of pupils gaining awards within National 5 and Advanced Highers. As a school we will be celebrating the success of individuals and their outstanding results.

“We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the commitment, dedication and hard work that has been shown over this challenging period by our young people, all staff, parents and carers alike."

Campbell Wilson, Peebles High

“The SQA results achieved by our young people this year are even more remarkable and worthy of praise because of the incredible adversity and challenges they had to overcome. So many of our cohort have done incredibly well and I am genuinely humbled and proud of their perseverance, hard work and triumph over adversity.

“The fact that there were no examinations in May was very unsettling for all learners due to sit exams but not having sat examinations in the normal way does not in any way make the positive achievements of our students any less impressive or less reflective of their formidable abilities and efforts. I take this opportunity to congratulate them and to thank them for their tenacity and perseverance throughout the most challenging of sessions.

“I also want to thank the parents of our school community. Many of their children required significant emotional support at the time of the fire and I know so many of our families helped each other to continue learning in very new and challenging circumstances. I hope every young person celebrating their results this week takes time to thank their families for the support they provided through the upheaval of the fire, the anxiety and challenges of lockdown learning and the uncertainty and worry generated by unprecedented and uncertain new SQA procedures.  

“As is the case every year, not every young person will have received the grades that they were expecting or hoping for. It is important not to panic. We have staff in school this week to answer calls and to point young people in the right direction for further support if it is required.

“Finally I would like to thank our staff. The circumstances of the year dictated that they had to work harder than ever before in an ever changing landscape. They rose to every challenge admirably and without their unstinting creativity, personal sacrifice and dedication to our young people, we may have been looking at a very different set of results.”

Jamie Bryson, Selkirk High

“Behind every result is a story of resilience and sacrifice and I would like to pay tribute to all students who are receiving their results in this unprecedented year. Alongside outstanding individual achievements, teachers will be delighted with the positive trends at Selkirk High School. In addition to another strong set of results from students of National courses, Higher attainment has improved on last year’s record results with more students achieving five Highers than ever before. It is also great to see that the strong progress of recent years has been maintained at Advanced Higher level.

“I know teachers will be looking forward to congratulating every one of our students, in person and whatever their results, upon their long-awaited return to school. We are very proud of them all.”