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James Gillespies High School

What says..

Vvery popular, with pupils from as far away as Penicuik and Musselburgh. Waiting list of over 150 to join. Brand new campus completed in 2016. Pupils come from 40+ different countries - 'the most diverse population in Scotland': EFL available (free) for all who need it. No classics, but French, German, Spanish, Mandarin and Urdu, a growing number also learn Gaelic (a feeder school where pupils do all subjects in Gaelic). Strong international links. Exchanges with Spain, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Shanghai. No uniform worn other than on formal occasions, which is going slightly against the current Edinburgh trend - 'If it ain't broke…

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Other features

Music and dance scheme - government funding and grants available to help with fees at selected independent music and dance schools.

International Study Centre - school has a linked, international study centre for overseas students wishing to improve their English.

Performing arts specialist school

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2012, Donald J Macdonald BSc MBASQH Dip Ed (50s), previously head of Liberton High (school's exceptional progress under his watch resulted in an invitation to 10 Downing Street). Has taught science, physics and maths at a range of Scottish schools including Knox Academy and Portobello High. Married, with two daughters; lists golf, fishing and Scottish malt whisky amongst his many interests.


First year capped at 260; very few places available by request - very popular, with pupils from as far away as Penicuik and Musselburgh. Obliged to take children on a first come first served basis, waiting lists. Certain number of pupils who have obtained university entrance elsewhere in the independent sector join in sixth form for increased breadth (and a better chance at Oxbridge).

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Special Education Needs

All children and young people have entitlement to an educational experience of the highest quality. We are committed to the effective inclusion of all pupils in the life of the school. The Special Educational Needs of any individual pupil can be described as whatever is necessary for that young person to gain access to a broad and balanced curriculum. For most pupils most of the time the source of support will be the class room teacher. The Learning Support Department offers assistance in a number of ways: publishing annual advice giving information about the needs of particular pupils together with a strategies pack offering advice on how to deal with various difficulties; direct teaching in subject classes or in a tutorial setting; support by Learning Assistants in class; working co-operatively in classes and in consultation with subject teachers to help make the curriculum accessible for all pupils; organising the Befrienders scheme where sixth year pupils support first years in a variety of classes; working with parents, Guidance, subject and other professionals to assess needs and to set and monitor targets; and administering the SQA special exam arrangements for those with specific learning difficulties.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia Y
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Genetic Y
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health Y
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty Y
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability Y
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health Y
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment Y

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