Aberdeen , Scotland, Monday, 3 August 2020 Robin Macpherson takes over the headship of Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen Picture by Abermedia / Michal Wachucik

Reaching the next stop on the new Scottish education exam journey, the community at Robert Gordon’s College is celebrating wider further education choices, exciting future career pathways and a growing interest in US and European university destinations.

Robin Macpherson, Head of Robert Gordon’s College shared: “This past year has been phenomenally difficult for everyone in education, so I am tremendously proud of our pupils for what they have achieved. They kept working through the changing circumstances of the pandemic, and the complexity of SQA assessment arrangements, and for that they deserve a huge amount of credit.

“We should never forget that we started the academic year being told there would be traditional exams, and had to totally change things as the weeks progressed. It put staff under a substantial amount of pressure, and they had to shoulder the workload of the assessment marking. It was therefore a great collective effort, and our pupils can take real pride in every grade they achieved. They had to overcome so many obstacles but they did it with great tenacity.

“If there is a silver lining to this year, I would say that our pupils have actually gained a very good preparation for further education. They had to work more independently than in previous years and problem-solve as they went along. School leaders always talk about trying to increase these skills in the curriculum, but actually the pandemic really forced that to take place. We shouldn’t be surprised that our pupils responded as well as they did, because they have a deeper well of resilience than we often assume.

“Perhaps one of the interesting things we’ve seen is greater diversity in choices for further education, with American and European institutions coming more to the fore. Rather than make our pupils risk averse, the pandemic may well have made them more ambitious than ever. They fear nothing.”

A young carer and part of the launch and operational team for the Barnardos Infinity LGBTQ group, Ren Ferguson (S6) highlighted: “As an outcome of my results I’ve been accepted into a theatre course at college which will prepare me for going on to study Drama therapy in London. I would like to be a drama therapist, working with the NHS as there are only a few in Scotland. My favourite parts of school would have to be performing in shows and also helping to form an Alliance group. Self-expression and self-love are two things that should be encouraged in schools and I am honoured to be able to say that I feel I have been able to practise both at Robert Gordon’s College. Between S2-S4 I suffered from mental health issues that affected my ability to attend school. However, the school offered me so much support and with the help of the teachers and nurses I was eventually able to achieve grades better than I could’ve ever imagined. They did all they could to make sure that my time at the college has been as enjoyable as possible.”

Ren achieved Advanced Higher Music, Higher Drama, Higher RMPS, Higher Psychology.

Studying Maths, Physics and Computing Science at Advanced Higher, Hashim Iqbal (S6) said: “The main challenge for me this year was finding a way to improve my prelim results before the final end of year exams. The resources and opportunities provided by the school have helped inspire my decision to study Computer Science at the University of St Andrews and pursue my dream. Though my time at school is over, I won’t forget all the amazing memories I’ve made with all of my friends over the last six years.”

Craig Gilchrist (S6) added: “I have been studying Advanced Higher Mathematics, Mechanics and also Physics in my final year at Robert Gordon’s College. “Although I found home schooling during lockdown a challenge, I have managed to get the grades I need to study Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Glasgow. My favourite part of school was the STEM in the Installation challenge. Studying at Robert Gordon’s has given me the opportunity to try and succeed in lots of different areas.”

Achieving Higher Music, Drama, Business Studies, Modern Studies and English, Kirsty Davidson (S5) is about to take to the stage at The Dance School of Scotland at Knightswood Secondary School in Glasgow. She commented: “My results have allowed me to follow my goal of studying Musical Theatre. Robert Gordon’s has inspired me to work hard so that I can achieve my goals. I love being a part of a community of people who enjoy the same things I do. The support from school has helped me to realise what career path is right for me and has taught me valuable lessons on how to develop my skills.”

Robin Macpherson highlighted: “You often hear that great education is a partnership between pupils, teachers and parents, but when you add in the wider community at Robert Gordon’s College you see what a supportive environment we have. Our operational teams have been amazing, as they kept the school open and made it as safe as possible. Our former pupils have also been an incredible source of support and encouragement to our pupils. We all know that mental health and wellbeing have been significant concerns for both pupils and teachers, so I’m grateful to everyone who can say that they played their part in supporting our learners. It was a truly collective effort by everyone in the Gordon’s community.”