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Weekly Update 21 April 2017

SQA Exams

This year’s diet of SQA Exams begin on 2 May. This week all learners took part in an assembly which set out arrangements and expectations. They were also issued with a letter and personalised timetable. We wish all of learners (and parents!) good luck with the exams.

Exam Boosters

Following a positive trial during our prelims, all departments will now be offering exam booster sessions immediately before the start of their SQA exams. These sessions aim to help students to enter the exam in a positive frame of mind and provide a reminder of key strategies and points for individual subjects. Further information is contained in the letter which was issued to pupils this week.

S6 Last Day

Friday 28 April is the last formal day of school for our S6. A letter will be sent to all S6 parents detailing arrangements for the day. All other learners should attend classes as normal on this day and the usual high expectations regarding behavior will apply.

Suspended Timetable

Suspended Timetable this year runs during the last week of term and offers an opportunity to take part in a range of different activities. S1 and 2 learners received information about this year’s programme this morning in Key Adult Groups. Learners in S3 -5 can access this information on the school website.

Staff Achievement

Congratulations to Julie Nisbet from our Modern Studies Department, who has been shortlisted for the Health Champion section in the Local Hero Award, run by the Edinburgh Evening News.

A Health Champion is someone who has improved people’s health and/ or made an impact on the quality of life of an individual. They may work in the NHS or health care industry, providing a service above and beyond the call of duty, taking personal responsibility for a person’s wellbeing. They may be a champion for health and well-being issues, healthy lifestyles and exercise in the community. Ms Nisbet has been nominated for her Clubbercise work.

Visit to Napier University

Learners studying for a National Progression Award in Cyber Security would like to say thanks to Peter, Craig and Rich for the penetrating insight into web apps that they were able to benefit from during their visit to Napier University. Thanks to Mrs Stewart-Kmicha for organising.

Weekly Update, 31 March 2017

Spring Holiday
School closes at 12.30pm today for the spring holiday and re-opens on Tuesday 19 April at 8.30am. please be aware that the school office will also be closed for most of the holiday period. We wish all of our learners and families a happy holiday.

Recent assemblies in the school have had a strong focus on social justice and social courage. Last week our head team spoke very powerfully about the school’s 1 in 5 project. Across Edinburgh 1 in 5 children and young people live in poverty and the Portobello and Craigmillar council ward has a figure of 28% of families living in poverty, so this is very much an issue for us as a school community. The head team spoke very movingly about the impact that this has on young people’s experiences in and out of school and the support available and the following short film was shown:

This week, Rev Dr Stewart Weaver, of St Philip’s Church, picked up on this theme with his assembly and shared the story of Erwin James, who turned his life around while in prison and went on to become a writer. He reflected on the impact that childhood poverty and trauma had for this man and spoke about the power of small choices.

Spanish Students in Visit to Porty
Yesterday we welcomed a group of pupils from a school in Madrid to the Food and Textile Technology and Modern Languages departments for a visit while they were in Edinburgh on a trip. The departments organised a set of food and language based activities for them during the afternoon including food tasting, sampling and quizzes etc. The Spanish N5 class and the N5 hospitality classes met with our visitors and joined in the activities. Many thanks to Mrs Bradley and Mr McCulloch for their organisation!

Maths Department
After school revision:  
A reminder to all pupils that the maths department runs after school revision Monday to Thursday, all pupils are welcome to attend.

Revision materials for SQA exams: all pupils studying National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher should have received practice papers from their maths teacher to aid revision over the Easter Holidays, these supplement revision materials handed out prior to the prelims and the February holidays.  Any pupil requiring anything further should speak to Miss Livingston.

PHS Debating Team Alexander Fraser and Rachel Lawson, both S6, competed once again in the English Speaking Union’s Mace Competition yesterday at Moray House School of Education. Though they lost out to Douglas Academy in the semi-final, this represents the best ever performance by a Portobello debating team in this prestigious competition and we are very proud of their achievements. Thanks to Ms Sinclair in the English Department for her support of the team.

Media Screening
Wednesday evening saw our N5 and Higher Media classes take part in an evening screening of their work in our assembly hall. Learners’ families and staff enjoyed seeing the fruits of the labours of media classes this year with film topics ranging from a documentary about the move to the new school, to a film about synchronized swimming and many more in between! Thanks to Ms Allen for arranging this opportunity which we hope will become an annual event. 

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Architectural Award
We are delighted that Portobello High School has been shortlisted for the prestigious RIAS / RIBA Architectural Award. A team of judges toured the school yesterday. For one of them, the visit had special significance – Lorraine Landels, Hon FRIAS, is a former Porty pupil and attended school in both the Annex and the Duddingston Road building. Here she is pictured in front of the Brunstane House notice board – Lorraine was Brunstane House Captain when she was at school!

Weekly Update, 24 March 2017

Inspection of Portobello High School
We would like to thank all those pupils, parents and partners who contributed to our inspection process this week. The team from Education Scotland enjoyed finding out about the work of the school and meeting our staff and young people. It is expected that their report will be published by the end of May and copies will be sent to all parents.

Spring Concert
Thursday evening saw our annual Spring Concert with a wide variety of very high quality performances from groups and soloists and some dodgy jokes from our guest compere! Once again, the talent of our young people and the standard of musical instruction in the school made for a very entertaining evening. Thanks to all performers and also to the Parent Council and FTT department for refreshments.

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Young Consumer of the Year Scottish Final Winners
It is with great pride that we announce Portobello High School as the winners of the Scottish Final of Young Consumers of the Year Competition.  The final was held in Scottish Parliament on Wednesday evening and was attended by representatives from Consumer groups, MSPs and supporters.  Against tough competition from Douglas Academy and Ayr Academy, our team made up of Pippa Watson, Roy Urquhart, Jessie Hardie and Alexander Fraser came from behind to have a staggering win. Well done to all involved!

Football Success
TeamsPorty have enjoyed further success this week after our Under 16 Boys Football team were announced as Lothian Schools League Champions. Congratulations to the boys, coaches and supporters.

Teacher Haircut
Well done to Mr Christie from our CDT department who raised around £200 for Comic Relief by selling raffle tickets to allow someone to cut his hair. Jenna McMahon of S5 was the Demon Barber of Portobello and styled Mr Christie’s locks into a fetching mullet with quiff!

Torness Power Station Visit
46 S3 pupils had a fascinating visit to Torness Power Station this week. This trip was organised by our Head Boy, Roy Urquhart, who is passionate about Science and was keen to share an experience he had enjoyed with others.

New Lanark Trip
Our New Lanark Trip for S3 also took place this week with more than thirty S3 History pupils enjoying the opportunity to see the Annie McLeod experience, the workings of a factory and the living conditions of people in the 19th Century. They also had the chance to look at education at that time and decided they preferred modern approaches to teaching and learning!

Spring Concert

The school’s Spring Concert is on Thursday 23rd March, in the school hall, starting at 7pm. Tickets cost £6 & £3 (concession). 

Participating Groups will include: Wind Band, String Orchestra, Ceilidh Band, Jazz Band, Samba Band, Vocal Ensembles, Small Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, ‘Cello Ensemble and various solo items.


This trip is open to all S3 History students. Find out what it was like to work in the mills of New Lanark in the 19th century. Take a trip on the Annie McLeod experience and discover what her life was like; explore the old school room; feast your eyes on the sweets and souvenirs in the original tuck shop.

When: Monday 20th March, all day.

How much: £9

Collect a letter and consent form from your history teacher. Forms should be returned with full payment to Mr Mackenzie by Monday 13th March. SPACES ARE LIMITED. If you are having difficulty meeting the cost of this trip please speak to your teacher ASAP.

History Department

Portobello HS Sports Personality of the Year 2017

After last year’s success we will be holding our SPOTY Awards night on Friday 21st April 2017. We are asking for the support of parents/guardians to ensure that all pupils’ successes can be recognised and ask that either you or your child does the following:

If you have competed in your sport regionally, nationally or internationally – or you have played sport for a professional club – in the last 12 months, we require one of the slips (below) completed and returned to the PE department so that your sporting achievements can be celebrated on the night. The deadline for this is Friday 10th March.

Sports Personality Achievement Slips

S2 Parents’ Consultation Evening, 28 February

Parents will have an opportunity to meet teachers of S2 pupils on Tuesday 28 February 2017 from 4.30 – 7.00pm to discuss progress at this stage of the school year. Please also note, we are introducing a new online booking system for this and all subsequent parents’ evenings.

Click HERE to read more information about the evening and the new booking system. 

S5/6 Pathways

The process for pupils to choose their options for 2017/18 is now underway.  We like to think about this process as “Reviewing Pathways” rather than “Course Choice” as the options open to pupils now are far wider than they were when most of us were at school.

We have good links with the college and other partners and can offer some very interesting opportunities for pupils to build their skill set in a way which will prepare them very well for entering the job market.  Even if your child is intending staying on until the end of S6, many of the options open to our pupils can be taken alongside a more traditional set of courses.

Click HERE for more details. 

Teenage Booster and Meningitis ACWY Vaccinations

Consent packs for vaccinations from NHS Lothian have been issued to  pupils in S3 (and in S4 – S6 who have not yet received their vaccinations). 

Every year, pupils in S3 are offered the Teenage booster  to complete their life long protection, through routine immunisations, against tetanus, diphtheria and polio.   Any pupils in S4 – S6 who have not yet received this vaccination will also be offered this.

In addition to the Teenage Booster vaccination, all S3 pupils are recommended to have a meningitis vaccine (ACWY).  This protects against several strains including the W strain of meningitis which is on the increase across the UK.  Any pupils in S4 – S6 who have not yet received this vaccination will also be offered this.

Please read the letter, discuss the vaccinations and return completed and signed consent forms to school by Friday 10th February.

Immunisation takes place in school on Wednesday 1st March.

Raising Children with Confidence

b52a8ea7d99d2b01123c5031d5b21209Brunstane Primary School are hosting Raising Children with Confidence course, starting on Wednesday the 1st of February. They would be delighted to welcome parents from Portobello High School to apply. Please see the flyer below and if you are interested get in touch with Lorna Hoy on 661 6834 or call Brunstane Primary school office on 669 4498.

Brunstane RCWC Flyer