FAQs for Parents

Here are some questions that are often asked by parents. The answers have been supplied by other parents rather than the school management. If you have a question not answered here then please ask using this form: ask a question.


My son/daughter will start at Porty in August. Are there any events to help him/her prepare before they start?

There are several activities to ease the transition from primary to secondary school:

  • A P7 open evening in September where P7’s and their parents/carers look around the school and find out about some of the subject areas.
  • After school sports activities in the school during P7.
  • Sports afternoon in June.
  • A 2 day visit in June where they meet their classmates and learn how to navigate the school building.


Details of these will be published on the Calendar.


Porty is such a big school won’t my son/daughter feel lost after Primary?

Most children are really ready for the challenge of a larger school and the school helps them manage through a few different systems. First, throughout their school career they start the day in a small registration class, known as “reggie”. This class has a few pupils from each year  – your child will go there every morning to familiar faces and meet a couple of their classmates there too. There is also a house system and for 1st and 2nd year the school is split in two so that A and B pupils mix, and C and D pupils mix, creating the feeling of a smaller school. Most young people find a niche over the first term or two, and for the very few who don’t there is a range of support.


What happens in the different years?

In 1st and 2nd year pupils follow a general curriculum, then choose subjects in which they will be examined at the end of 4th year. National 4 and 5 qualifications will replace Standard Grade and Intermediate qualifications in the current system from 2013/14. They can then move on to range of courses including Highers and Advanced Highers in 5th and 6th year. More information here.

Learning and Teaching Scotland Curriculum Page

Learning and Teaching Scotland Parents’ page

Parents page on Scottish Qualifications Agency


What subjects are taught?

The main subjects taught are listed on the Department pages. For some senior pupils there may be an opportunities to study other subjects at neighbouring schools.


What uniform should they wear?

The school appreciates parents support in maintaining uniform standards and particularly in discouraging the fashion edge that many youngsters try to bring into their uniforms. The details are in the school information pack and on the policies page


What should I do if I am concerned about my son or daughter?

The school is very helpful and friendly to parents who have any concern, however large or small. Sometimes teachers are busy and difficult to get hold of but they take messages and get back in touch with you. The first person to contact is usually your child’s Support for Pupils teacher  – if you don’t know who this is then ask when you call the office.

If you have a concern not related to school check out these services.


What support is available if my son or daughter is struggling?

There are two main ways pupils are supported. Every pupil has a Support for Pupils teacher, which was called ‘guidance’ in our day! You should know the name of your children’s Support for Pupils teacher and the school endeavour to keep this person the same for siblings. This person is usually the first port of call for any issues with your child’s learning or other issues, like family problems, which might be affecting your son or daughter. The other support system is Support for Learning, described below.


My son/daughter needs learning support what does the school offer?

If your child needs extra support with learning, the department which helps them is called ‘Support for Learning’ and some further information can be found on their web pages. You can contact them through the school with any concern about your son or daughter’s learning support needs. Each pupil’s support needs are logged in a file that is given to every teacher to inform them about the support they should offer to pupils in their classes. Of course each teacher sees a lot of pupils so it might take some time for them to get this right for every pupil in a new class, but if you have concerns get in touch with Support for Learning who can investigate.


Support for Learning at Portobello have pioneered a support service called The Base, which  is described in these links:

A week in my shoes – a youth worker’s placement at the Base

Scottish Government’s description of the Base

Portobello High School Support for Learning Policy


I never seem to find out about parents night, school concerts etc. How can I do this?

At the start of the academic year the school sends home a booklet which has all the dates for the school year. Hang on to this it is your reference point for everything! There is also now information on the school website calendar and you can sign up to email alerts by clicking on the little envelope on the right of the home page on this site.


What is parents night like?

Your child needs to make appointments with all of the teachers you would like to see (which is normally all of them, including their guidance teacher). This is your best chance to really engage with all of the teachers and find out how your son or daughter is getting on. Some youngsters don’t make appointments so to avoid missing it altogether check the calendar so you know when it is coming up and you can ask them about how they are getting on making appointments. It is your choice whether to bring your son or daughter with you or not, although they can be helpful in finding your way round the school. Probably about half of parents bring their son or daughter, but this increases as they get into the senior school. You see each teacher individually in a classroom with 2 or 3 other teachers spread around the room and there is a reasonable amount of privacy.


Where can I find out more about school life?

You are welcome to come to the Parents Council meetings where school matters are discussed with parents and the Headteacher gives a regular update of school activities. You can get involved in sports clubs, represent the school on wider forums, or help out with fundraising if you want to be more involved.