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Earlston High School
, TD4 6HF, UK Earlston
+44 (0)1896 849282

Earlston High School is a comprehensive, non-denominational, secondary school for pupils from first to sixth year. Earlston is a rural town which stands on the A68 about 35 miles south of Edinburgh.

The other towns in the catchment area are Melrose, St.Boswells, Newtown St.Boswells, Lauder and Gordon. The catchment area also includes the villages of Bowden, Oxton, Darnick, Gattonside and Westruther.

The school roll has risen from 111 in 1965 to the present 830. It is expected that the roll will continue to rise over the next few years. The expected roll by 2007 is 1000.

A Message from the Rector

Pupils enter Secondary School as children and leave as adults. During these years a large proportion of their time is spent at school and it is the school's responsibility to help make each pupil's experience as rewarding as possible. We aim to give the highest possible quality of service to all our pupils and to their parents. This includes a teaching and learning policy which guarantees essential features. We consult pupils about their courses and we encourage enquiries from parents.

However, pupils and parents also have important responsibilities in ensuring that a school is effective and some of these responsibilities are outlined later.

We are fortunate that our staff offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities and many pupils take part in these opportunities. These activities contribute a great deal to the ethos of our school.

To sum up, our school tries to offer as much as possible to our pupils, and much is expected of our pupils and their parents or guardians. This approach has been successful in the past but we are constantly working on further improvements.

Michelle Strong

The History of Our School

In 1877 Two Earlston schools were amalgamated to form Earlston Public School.

Until 1967 The school was a combined Primary and Junior Secondary School.

In 1967 The name of the school was changed to Earlston High School and the secondary department received all pupils from Lauder, Channelkirk,Gordon, Westruther and Hume.

In 1974 The school was upgraded to full 6 year status.

In 1976 Melrose was added to the catchment area.

By 1982 The new extension and the conversion work to the existing buildings were completed.

In 1982 Newtown St.Boswells and St.Boswells were added to the catchment area.

In 1983 Earlston Primary School became a separate school with its own headteacher



The school prospectus is published annually and as a result some of the information it may contain may go out of date. By logging on to the website regularly you will be kept up to date with all school news, activities and general school information.

Attendance procedure

Absence Notes - Absence must be explained by a note signed by the parent or guardian. These absence notes should be handed to the register teacher immediately on return to school.

Extended Absence - By the third consecutive day of absence, parents should contact the school office to let us know the cause of absence. This will save us having to write.

Absence from Class - No pupil may be absent from a class without having previously obtained the teacher's permission.

Leaving School Grounds - No pupil may leave school grounds during class hours or at the morning interval without permission.

Leave of Absence - If a parent wishes to ask for leave of absence for a pupil this must be done in advance and in writing.


Late Arrival at School

Latecomers - Pupils who arrive late for school must report to the school office. They should bring a note, if possible.

Late-Slips - When a pupil is late without a note of explanation, a late slip is issued to be signed by a parent. The late-slip must be signed and returned to the school office. If it is not returned a letter is sent home.


Sixth Year Students

Sixth year students do not have to bring absence notes. However they must provide their own written explanation of absence and lateness.

If they wish leave of absence they must apply to the Depute Rector.

All explanations of absence and lateness are retained by register teachers in case they have to be checked or sent home etc.


Pupils Taking Holidays during Term Time

It is understood that a few families may have no choice about taking their holidays during school time. However, apart from exceptional circumstances we are not able to authorise absence for a holiday.

When a pupil is absent from classes to go on holiday it is very difficult for teachers to provide work for the pupil to do on holiday. When the pupil returns to school he/she must make every effort to catch up with missed work.

Please try to avoid absences which are not essential.



Most absence from school is unavoidable. However, if a parent is concerned that any absences may be linked to a problem in school please contact the Guidance Teacher. If a pupil seems to be absent quite often the Guidance Teacher will contact the parent.


The Aims of the School

General Aims

  • We aim to have a school in which pupils can grow as individuals by developing their sense of self-esteem and sense of responsibility towards others.
  • We aim to have a school which encourages all pupils to develop their knowledge and skills to the full.

Fundamental Statements

  • Each pupil has the right to a high quality education appropriate to his or her needs.
  • Each pupil has the right to be supported and to be secure in the school community.
  • It is a responsibility of every teacher to motivate pupils to develop their abilities to the full.
  • It is a responsibility of all pupils to try their best at whatever they are asked to do in school.
  • It is a responsibility of parents to support the pupils in their work and to support the school in its aims.
  • It is a responsibility of all pupils to ask for help whenever it is needed.
  • It is a responsibility of all parents to let the school know of any concerns or questions.


The School Day

The school starts at 9.00 a.m. and the day is divided into eight periods as follows:

Registration 9.00 - 9.10   Lunch 12.50 - 13.50
Period 1 9.10 - 9.50 Period 6 13.50 - 14.30
Period 2 9.50 - 10.30 Period 7 14.30 - 15.10
Period 3 10.30 - 11.10 Period 8 15.10 - 15.50
Interval 11.10 - 11.30    
Period 4 11.30 - 12.10    
Period 5 12.10 - 12.50

The School Year 2007/2008 - Holiday Arrangements

Start Tuesday 21st August 2007
October Holiday School closes Friday 5th October 2007
Opens Monday 15th October 2007
Christmas Holiday School closes Friday 21st December 2007
Opens Monday 7th January 2008

Easter Holiday

School closes Friday 28th March 2008
Opens Monday 14th April 2008
May Holiday Monday 5th May 2008
Close Thursday 27th June 2008

In-Service Days

Monday 20th August 2007
Thursday 8th November 2007
Friday 9th November 2007
Tuesday 12th February 2008
Wednesday 13th February 2008

Casual Holidays

Friday 8th February 2008
Monday 11th February 2008
Monday 2nd June 2008


Dress Code

All pupils should dress in clothes which are clean and tidy.

Pupils should wear:

  • White shirt or blouse, (with a collar) (also pale blue or grey)
  • Trousers or skirt (plain dark colour - black, if possible)
  • Jersey or sweatshirt (plain dark colour - black, if possible)
  • Shoes (rather than trainers)

The colour of the school jersey is black for S1 – S4 pupils. S5 students wear a grey jersey with their own design of crest and S6 choose their own colour of jersey each year and design their own crest.

The following must NOT be worn: denim jeans; football tops; T-shirts; shell-suits; any clothing with slogans, trainers.

Any parent who has difficulty in supporting the guidelines should write to the school.

If a pupil has difficulty in meeting the guidelines on any day he/she must report to the office before period 1, with a note from home to explain the difficulty. Pupils receive a “blue slip” and if no note was brought the “blue slip” has to be signed at home.

School Sweatshirts/Jerseys:

The following are on sale from the school office :
Black Sweatshirts (With School Crest Embroidered) S5 Jerseys & white polo shirts
White Polo Shirts (With School Crest Embroidered) S6 jerseys & white polo shirts

School ties are also available from the office.

Financial Help with School Clothing:

In certain circumstances, families can receive assistance to buy school clothes. An application form can be obtained from the school or Council Headquarters.

Kit for P.E.

The department allows pupils to wear any suitable games kit at PE. However the preferred kit is given below and is required when pupils represent the school at rugby or hockey. (No clothing promoting cigarettes or alcohol can be worn.)


Girls Boys
White T-shirt or white polo shirt (for PE) White T-Shirt or white polo shirt
Navy blue games skirt (for hockey) Black rugby shorts
Navy/black shorts Royal blue rugby socks
Navy/black sweatshirt (for outdoor activities) Royal blue rugby shirt
Training shoes or gym shoes Training shoes
Navy blue knee length socks  


Pupils make up the largest part of the school community and carry a great responsibility for deciding the kind of school we have; not only for present pupils but also for those still to come to the school.

The main responsibilities carried by each pupil are:

  • To try your best at classwork and homework.
  • To ask for help whenever you need it.
  • To have consideration for all the other people who are part of the school i.e. pupils, teachers, office staff, librarian, cleaners, canteen staff, janitors, visitors etc.
  • To come properly equipped for lessons.
  • To support the school guidelines on dress.
  • To treat all other pupils fairly.
  • To let a teacher know of any other pupil who needs help.
  • To support school sports, clubs, excursions, concerts etc.

If you take these responsibilities seriously, you will give yourself the best chance to develop your abilities. You will develop as a person and at the same time contribute to the development of the school community.


Behaviour on Buses

Many pupils travel by bus to and from school. Good behaviour is very important for the safety of all passengers. Bus-drivers, pupils and parents are asked to report any incidents or general concerns to the school office.

Pupils are instructed that:

  • They must keep back from arriving buses until they stop.
  • They must remain seated throughout the bus journey.
  • They must not prevent other pupils from sitting in available seats.
  • They must complain when their safety is put at risk in any way.
  • After buses arrive at school, pupils must come directly into school.
  • After school, pupils must remain in the playground till their bus has stopped.
  • They must use the bus shown on their bus pass.

(The departure of pupils by bus is supervised every day by Senior Staff.)

If pupils repeatedly fail to behave reasonably on buses the school has been instructed that they must have their bus passes removed. It is then the responsibility of parents/guardians to arrange transport.

School Rules

School rules are necessary to ensure that the school is a pleasant and safe place in which to work. Pupils must maintain a good standard of behaviour and must show consideration for others. High standards should also be maintained by all pupils on their way to and from school.

The main school rules can be summed up as:

1. Each pupil must treat other people, and their property, with respect.

2. Each pupil must take good care of school buildings and the equipment in the school.

3. Each pupil must set very high standards of conduct in classes to allow effective teaching and learning to take place.

Each teacher has a copy of the full set of detailed rules which will be discussed with pupils at the start of each session.

The rules which are of most relevance to parents are:

  • Before P.E., money and valuables must be handed to the teacher for safe keeping.
  • The only pupils using the Car Park entrance should be those who live in that area of town.
  • Chewing gum in school is prohibited at all times.
  • Books and jotters must be properly protected. Pupils must not deface books/folders/
    jotters etc.
  • Pupils must come properly prepared for class. They must have a bag to protect
    their books and they must bring the basic items required for each subject
    e.g. pens, pencils, rubber, ruler, sharpener, calculator.
  • Pupils must bring a suitable kit for P.E. and must bring an apron for Home Economics.
  • Pupils must not smoke, or carry matches in school or on their way to or from school.
  • Pupils must report any problem in following the school guidelines on dress before the start of Period 1.
  • Students must not bring cars into the school car park/playgrounds etc.

At Earlston we are very fortunate that the emphasis has been on promoting good conduct and the incidence of serious offences is relatively low. However, every teacher, and every pupil understands that any conduct which interferes with the work of any class will not be tolerated. Parents are contacted at a relatively early stage and their support is vital in improving a pupil’s conduct.

Intervals and Lunchtimes

Intervals: Pupils must not leave the school grounds at the morning interval.

Lunchtimes: Pupils are allowed to leave the school grounds at lunchtime.

Pupils are allowed access to link areas and the canteen throughout lunchtimes and intervals.
This privilege is dependent on a high standard of pupil conduct. Some areas are reserved for certain year groups. As pupil numbers have gone up it has become more difficult to supervise these areas. If the weather is fair pupils are encouraged to use the playground.

Sixth Year

Sixth Year Students have the opportunity to take on "prefect responsibilities" and "prefect privileges".


  • To follow all school rules and guidelines.
  • To set high standards and to give leadership to other pupils.
  • To help supervise younger pupils at intervals, lunchtimes and during bus journeys and to report any misconduct.
  • To assist at parents' evenings and other events.
  • To serve on a 6th Year Committee.
  • 6th Year Committees include: Charities, Dances, Discos, Hospitality, Excursions, Communications.


  • The use of an excellent common room at intervals and lunchtimes.
  • The use of the library for study at non-class times.
  • Timetabled "common-room periods".
  • The privilege of explaining their own absences.
  • The privilege of choosing their own colour of jersey.

Entry to sixth year is not automatic. Students must have shown they are able to cope with the increased level of freedom and be willing to share the responsibilities of the sixth year. A small number of students may not be granted the privileges of Sixth Year. They will still have access to the same range of courses.

The school benefits greatly from the services and example of the sixth year. Sixth year students gain from the experience of taking on responsibilities in the wider school community


Years 1 and 2

In first and second year pupils are divided into mixed-ability classes which follow a "common course".

The number of periods per week is shown in brackets - (1 period = 40 minutes). Where two numbers are shown, the first applies to S1 and the second to S2


a) Social Education courses cover areas of general guidance e.g. health, relationships, careers.

b) Computing is introduced during Social Education time in S1.
Keyboard Skills (Business Studies Department) is introduced during Social Education in S2.

c) In S2 pupils have 4 periods of Science.

d) Pupils will be introduced to German at the end of S1 and will study both French and German in S2.

e) A booklet giving information on all S1/2 courses is issued to all S1 pupils.

f) The time allocation to subjects may be changed slightly each year.


S2 Choice

Get Adobe Acrobat ReaderIn February/March of S2 pupils choose subjects for S3/4. The choice sheet will soon be available to download below as an Acrobat PDF file.
Download the S2 choice sheet
55KB PDF document, opening in a new window

The choice procedure has been designed to involve pupils, parents and subject teachers. The main stages are :

a) Information booklet on courses issued to pupils and parents
b) Parents evening for information/questions
c) Reports issued by class teachers
d) Every department gives recommendations on likely levels of work for each S3/4 course
e) Pupils discuss choices with Guidance Teachers
f) Parents evening
g) Final choice sheet and final choice

Throughout the procedure the Guidance Teachers are very pleased to discuss choices with pupils and parents.


Years 3 and 4

Most courses are Standard Grade Courses. Since Standard Grade assessment covers the full ability range, it is important to note that all pupils will receive a Scottish Certificate of Education describing achievement in about 8 courses.

Pupils are expected to continue a foreign language into S3/4.


Years 5 and 6

Students can take either Higher or Intermediate courses in S5 in up to 5 subjects. Both are one-year courses; those students who successfully complete their Intermediate course in S5 may go on and take Higher in S6.

Students in S6 have access to all the courses offered to S5 and those who have gained a Higher Grade pass in S5 can take Advanced Higher in that subject in S6.

Students in S5 and S6 may take some courses at the Borders College and some are able to timetable regular Work Experience or School Community Service. Students in S5 and S6 must take at least 4 courses. (Two Advanced Highers count as three courses.)


S4/5 Choice

The main stages are :

a) Careers Interviews.
b) General discussions on entry qualifications etc. at Social Education.
c) Parents/students information evening.
d) Students receive details of all courses being offered.
e) Students indicate the courses they intend to take.
f) Teachers are asked to comment on the students' intentions.
g) The Choice Sheet is adjusted to meet students' needs as far as possible.
h) Students start a provisional timetable in June.
i) After exam results are out, students (and parents) are invited to come into school before term starts in August to discuss results; choices and possible careers.

Notes on Subject Choice

a) It is not possible to offer all combinations of course choices.
b) Courses may not run if numbers selecting them are small.
c) The number of places on some courses is limited.
d) There can be no guarantee that subjects taken in S3/4 will be continued at Higher Grade.
e) Every effort is made to accommodate the wishes of pupils. The number of pupils who are not able to obtain their choice of courses in any year is relatively low.
f) Booklets describing courses are available for S1/S2; S3/S4 and S5/S6. Parents are welcome to ask for any of these information booklets.

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader The S5/6 senior choice sheet will soon be available to download below as an Acrobat PDF file.
Download the final choice sheet

62KB PDF document, opening in a new window

primary schools in Earlston, secondary schools in Earlston, schools in Earlston

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