Tatler schools guide: Broughton High named top state secondary

TWO Lothian schools are celebrating after being named best in Scotland by Tatler magazine.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 8th January 2016, 8:20 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 10:48 am

Broughton High in Edinburgh has emerged as the country’s top state secondary, alongside Glasgow’s Jordanhill, in a new UK-wide list published by the high society bible.

And Yester Primary in Gifford, East Lothian, is the only Scottish junior school to make the grade.

Tatler writers said Broughton – also home to specialist academies for music, dance and football – was fast closing in on James Gillespie’s and Boroughmuir high schools, Edinburgh’s traditional league table leaders.

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They said: “In just three years under driven head John Wilson, the roll call has rocketed from 891 to 1059, with the longest waiting list in Edinburgh.

“To say intake is diverse is putting it mildly – 27 per cent of pupils come from the most privileged homes in Scotland, whilst ‘significant numbers’ live in what’s described as ‘some of the country’s most socially deprived zones’. All rub along cheeringly well.”

Broughton staff said they were delighted at news of their school’s inclusion, which comes as exam results soar to 15-year highs.

Headteacher John Wilson said: “From S4 through to S6, and particularly in S5 and S6, our results have gone through the roof.

“We get lots of out-of-catchment requests, from all of the neighbouring schools in the north and north-east of Edinburgh. Last year, we took youngsters into S1 from 36 different primary schools located across the city and beyond.”

He said much of the school’s recent success was due to its increasing social diversity and the presence of dedicated academies whose pupils are chosen on the basis of talent, not the ability to pay.

“I think that, fundamentally, what we do is try to meet the aspirations of that really wide range of young people who come to the school,” he said.

“The specialist pupils actually spend the vast majority of their learning time in mainstream classes. They’re highly motivated young people.

“As you can imagine, that ethos then influences their peers right across the school and we are very fortunate to have that.”

Dorothy Hilsley, headteacher at Yester Primary, which has a roll of around 190 children, said staff were surprised but happy to find out their school had been listed.

She said: “We’re above the national averages in most areas of learning. The parents have high expectations but they are also very supportive. We also have a very supportive and active parent council. It’s more of a partnership we have here, which is really important. We try to make the school a community.”

City bosses have welcomed Broughton’s inclusion in the Tatler guide. Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “Broughton High School is a fantastic school with first-class facilities, especially with regards to music, dance and sport. For another one of our schools to be recognised once again demonstrates the high quality of education being provided by the City of Edinburgh Council across the Capital.”