BOROUGHMUIR High has been named Scottish State Secondary of the Year – despite pupils being taught in a building branded one of the worst in the country.
The school achieved the accolade in the new Sunday Times list – the first time an Edinburgh state school has won.
Boroughmuir was honoured partly for moving up three places from twelfth to ninth in the state secondary league table over the last year. It was also the only Edinburgh state school to make the top ten.
The Mary Erskine School was named Scottish Independent Secondary School of the Year after achieving the best exam results in the country for 2012. George Heriot’s School ranked second in the league table of independent secondaries in Scotland.
Acting headteacher at Boroughmuir David Dempster said he was “absolutely ecstatic” and attributed the school’s success partly to a “unique ethos” and working in partnership with parents.
“We have a hugely positive ethos in the school and a real belief and culture of success,” he said. “Our pupils believe that it’s cool to be clever. When they buy into it and believe it, then great things happen.”
Boroughmuir has previously been ranked one of the worst school buildings in the country by the Scottish Government and work is finally expected to start on building a new school in summer 2014. It is expected to open on the former Fountain Brewery site in 2016.
Chair of the school’s parent council, Stew Green, said: “It’s been long recognised that the school needed an upgrade and I suppose the fact that year-on-year, the school has not only managed to survive in the existing premises, but thrive in them, can only bode well for the future.
“In some ways it shows that whilst buildings are important, school communities can rise above difficulties – that’s not to say they couldn’t do even better in the right environment.”
The awards are based on exam results, school ethos and activities, and deputy head of The Mary Erskine School, Linda Moule, put the school’s success down to a strong school identity and shared values.
“We are not just about exam results, it’s very much about other opportunities that the pupils can do, whether that’s drama, music, debating – we have over 70 clubs and societies that run every week,” she said.