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Kirsty's Story

Kirsty, Former Parent



"I cannot thank the School enough for helping us when my son found himself in a bit of a situation during his final year of school.

It was during his 4th year at school that my son, Matthew, decided he would like to pursue a career in Medicine. He certainly had the drive, focus and ability to achieve this. However, at the end of 5th year the school he was attending closed, all pupils transferred to another school, joining the existing pupils and teachers at that school. It was not long before Matthew started coming home expressing his concerns that he was underachieving in the Advanced Highers he was undertaking. I won’t go into detail here, but within a few weeks it was clear that Matthew had a real task on his hands to achieve the necessary grades required in his Advanced Highers for entry into his desired subject at university.

It was during November that Matthew had a chance encounter at an event he was attending. He was conversing with a gentleman there, saying what he wanted to do when he left school but also mentioning the difficulty he was experiencing with his studies. The gentleman showed great concern and said how keen he would be to support and assist Matthew to achieve his dream. It was only after this that proper introductions were made, and Matthew realised that he was speaking to the Rector of the High School of Dundee!

Matthew and I were invited to a meeting at the School where his previous qualifications were looked at and a discussion was had around the subjects he was currently undertaking. Then Dr. Halliday suggested that the best way forward for Matthew would be to move to the High School of Dundee to complete his final year of school. We were not expecting this! We thought his offer of support would be along the lines of attending some extra after-school study!

In hindsight, we realise this was a fantastic opportunity although we were not aware of this at the time - we did not know of anyone in our circle of friends, family or acquaintances who had attended the High School of Dundee who we could approach for guidance/reassurance. Indeed, we feared that a 2nd school move in such a short period of time would prove further detrimental to Matthew’s studies.

However, Dr. Halliday and Mrs. Hudson arranged an informal meeting with a small group of Matthew’s potential peers where we were able to ask them anything we liked. Matthew was then invited to try out a couple of taster days at the School which he did. After this we thought “What do we have to lose?” and made the decision that Matthew would move to the High School of Dundee.

"I am happy to report that Matthew has not looked back. Although he only attended the School for a few months we feel that everyone took him under their wings. He very quickly gained a sense of belonging, at no time was he made to feel like an “outsider”. He received excellent pastoral care, his teachers went above and beyond to ensure that Matthew got back on track with his studies and by the time of his exams he entered them with confidence."

"I too experienced a sense of relief within a few short weeks of the move. Matthew’s anxieties dissipated, he was developing new friendships and I felt like I was able to take a step back as the School had taken over (in a very positive way!)

Matthew achieved the results he needed in his exams and was accepted to study Medicine at The University of Dundee. He is now in the 3rd year of his course and continues to do well; he loves what he is doing, there is no doubt that he has made the right decision with his career choice and we are thankful that he was given the opportunity to attend the High School of Dundee, thus ensuring that he was equipped with the necessary qualifications to follow his path of choice. In addition, he remains friends with a number of his peers from the School, he particularly bonded with a couple of them who he now regards as his best friends.

We attended the School during its recent Open Day in September; it was an ideal opportunity to speak once again to the teachers who supported Matthew during his short time there and be able to thank them face-to-face for their efforts.

I remain eternally grateful to the High School of Dundee for the support they not only provided to Matthew when it was needed but also to myself. We received a bursary for Matthew to attend the School and complete his qualifications. As a single parent this also alleviated any additional worry I may have had regarding the financial side of things. Without this assistance, I fear that Matthew may not have been able to achieve the desired results and would not now be pursuing the career of his dreams."