HSD pupil scores top mark in Scotland in 5 separate subjects

Ethan McColgan celebrates 5-star performance in SQA exams

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A High School of Dundee pupil has recorded the top mark in Scotland in five separate SQA subjects.

Ethan McColgan, now F5 (S5), gained the highest, or joint highest, score in the country in this year’s National 5 exams for Maths, English, History, French and Economics.

Ethan’s remarkable 5-star feat came courtesy of perfect scores of 100% in four of those subjects - Maths, English, History and French - and 96% in the other, Economics, in which he shared the top mark in the land with fellow HSD pupil Lewis McLennan.

Incredibly, with 97%, Ethan was also just one mark off the nation’s top score in Physics, and in the process of recording another overall score of 97% in Chemistry, he actually achieved full marks in the exam.

The 16-year-old also recorded a score of 91% in Biology to complete a clean sweep of eight grade A band 1 passes at an average of 97.6%.        

Ethan said, modestly, “My goal was to do as well as I could. It was just good to see the hard work pay off.

“The SQA release the top marks for every subject in a spreadsheet on their website, so when I came into school to get my individual component marks I had a look at it, just out of interest.

“My teachers were very supportive and helpful. I don’t want to get too carried away as I have my Highers to concentrate on now!”

Ethan wasn’t the only High School of Dundee pupil to achieve the top, or joint top mark in the country at National 5 level, with David Logan, Jenny Shang and Archie Gilmour also sharing that distinction in Maths, and Steven Chen in Mandarin, courtesy of 100% scores.

Rector of the High School of Dundee, Dr John Halliday, said, “Every year I am thrilled to see our pupils achieve their best in SQA exams, whether it is 100% or 50%.

“This year’s candidates have worked hard, led and supported by our professional, skilled, dedicated and caring staff.

“In addition to these fantastic individual achievements, the school is also celebrating a number of exceptional performances at subject level. For instance, Art & Design, Music and PE all recorded 100% pass rates at all SQA exam levels, while taking Biology, Chemistry and Physics together at N5, Higher and Advanced Higher levels, the pass rate was a remarkable 97%, with 66% passed at A grade.   

“Results such as these can only happen when there is an excellent relationship between pupils, staff and parents, based on a caring and values-based approach.”

Read more about the School's 2019 SQA results.