The JYHS Cluster and School Roll

West Lothian is divided into catchment areas for primary and secondary schools. Each home address has a catchment denominational school and a catchment non-denominational school, for both primary and secondary education. Although the Council aims to provide enough places for all children in the catchment area at a catchment school, living within a catchment area does not guarantee a child a place at a catchment school. Parents can request a school other than one of their catchment schools. This is known as a ‘placing request’. Parents can request that their child go to any primary school in West Lothian regardless of religion. The council must grant these requests unless there is a legal reason not to.

Further details of the policy and procedure for admission to secondary schools.

The schools associated with The James Young High School are:

  • Bankton Primary School
  • Bellsquarry Primary School
  • Dedridge Primary School
  • Williamston Primary School

The James Young High School admits pupils of both sexes.

The school does not provide teaching by means of the Gaelic language as spoken in Scotland. A secondary aged pupil whose parent wishes him/her to be taught by means of the Gaelic language will be educated at James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh.

Most of our pupils are familiar with the school by the time they arrive in S1. We work hard, in partnership with our associated primary schools, to ensure that pupils have as many opportunities as possible to link with us. As pupils enter the upper school at primary, we host a range of events for them at James Young to help them with transition to secondary school. In November, we hold an Information Evening for Primary 7 parents and in June pupils spend two days at the high school as part of an induction programme. The induction programme provides an opportunity for pupils to meet their new classmates, their new teachers and enables them to follow some of their new timetable. Senior pupils are allocated to classes as buddies, and take a particular interest in ensuring that new pupils settle as quickly as possible. We offer parents of the new S1 an opportunity to visit the school in the September of the new session when they are able to meet their child’s tutor and have a tour of the school.

At the heart of providing a welcoming and supportive ethos for our new pupils is the Pupil Support Team which provides support to pupils and their parents where necessary. Details of the team are provided in this pack.

The James Young High School has a roll of approximately 1140 pupils and around 200 pupils enter S1 each year.

Buildings and facilities

The school has benefited in recent years from a £19 million refurbishment and is well equipped to deliver a high standard of education to students.  In addition to the normal range of classrooms you would expect in a secondary school, there is a range of specialist accommodation including ten modern science laboratories, workshops for art, design and graphics courses, numerous computing suites, attractive kitchens for home economics, a library with a modern IT resource area, a fully equipped lecture theatre and an attractive dining room.  Outside, we have a tiered area with seating, which can be used as an outdoor classroom.

There is a real emphasis on information technology within the school and all classrooms are fitted with at least one computer and fixed data projector; most also have an interactive whiteboard.

Sport is very well catered for.  There are extensive playing fields, a swimming pool, dance studio, fitness suite, squash courts and an all weather pitch.

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The James Young High School has a very positive ethos. We promote a strong sense of community and good interpersonal relationships between staff and pupils are very important to us.  We are a caring and supportive school and encourage participation in school life from all of our pupils to ensure that each of them realises their potential.

Parent Council

There is a very active and successful Parent Council which is also involved in fundraising activities which have over the years provided equipment and resources for the school.  You are encouraged to support the group by attending fundraising events and by volunteering to help on the committee.  Further information can be found on the school’s website or through the school office.

Links with Parents

We believe that regular and effective communication with our parents is an essential part of school life.  The school aims to establish parental links at an early stage by working closely with our associate primary schools and by holding open nights for prospective parents.

We aim to provide regular information on what is going on in the school to parents.  For example

  • we regularly update the website with news and information
  • we provide parents with regular reports
  • we hold parents’ evenings where performance, progress and attitude can be discussed by the parent and class teacher
  • we track pupil progress on a regular basis and inform parents immediately of any concerns
  • we hold parents’ information evenings at key stages
  • we have a system in place for contacting parents when a pupil is absent and we do not know the reason
  • we involve parents regularly in working groups which help us with decision making


What will I learn in the classroom?

Curriculum for Excellence

The purpose of the curriculum is to make sure that learners acquire the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence:

  • successful learners
  • confident individuals
  • effective contributors
  • responsible citizens

They will demonstrate this by becoming more independent and successful in their learning, by having greater knowledge and more secure understanding, and by being able to use the knowledge that they have more effectively. They will be able to process new information more easily and apply knowledge in different contexts from those in which the knowledge was acquired. They will be able to learn more independently.

They will be more confident in tackling new and more challenging tasks and dealing with new situations, and will have a better understanding of their responsibilities within society.

They will be more able to control their own lives and to be active in society, particularly in contributing to the economy, but also in their awareness of wider issues that affect them.

Pupils will learn in four different contexts:

  • the ethos and life of the school as a community
  • curriculum areas and subjects
  • interdisciplinary learning
  • opportunities for personal achievement

The curriculum will be designed around experiences and outcomes. The needs and abilities of the learner should dictate the pace and nature of their progress through these.

The curriculum must include the sciences, languages and literacy, mathematics and numeracy, social studies, expressive arts, health and wellbeing, religious and moral education and technologies. All of these elements must be part of every learner’s broad general education from early years up to the end of S3, although there will be opportunities for some specialisation within areas to reflect the learner’s progress and interest.

In the senior phase, learners will reduce the curriculum areas covered. Further information will be provided to parents at key stages.


The Library, run by a chartered librarian, is at the heart of the school serving both pupils and staff. The librarian plays an integral part in equipping pupils with the information skills that are vital for life beyond school. Opening before school break, lunch time and after school ensures that pupils have an opportunity to access the library resources they need to support their school work. In addition to a range of fiction for personal reading, the Library has non-fiction and reference sections to support the curriculum. Daily newspapers, magazines, a computer suite and health and careers collections are also available. Pupils have access to resources in West Lothian library services.

School library

Skills Development Scotland

Careers Advisers and the school work together to provide support and guidance for all pupils in their career planning. All pupils can access the qualified Careers Adviser at the weekly lunchtime drop in session and the adviser gives significant input to the school during social education. particularly at times of transition.


The amount of homework set depends on school stage and the level at which pupils are studying. The school operates a Learning for Life Policy which sets out responsibilities for homework and parents and pupils are asked to enter into a homework contract with the school. Every pupil is issued with a new homework diary st the start of each session which should be used to record all homework set. In the spirit of partnership, parents are asked to check and sign diaries at the end of each week.

Study Support

At specific times of the year, extra revision classes, master classes and Easter schools are offered. Furthermore many pupils benefit from the help of individual mentors in the lead up to certificate examinations.


Who will support me?


Moving on to secondary school is a big event which means many changes. For all pupils it involves a new environment, meeting new people, learning new things and making new friends. We try to make the transition period as easy as possible for our pupils by offering lots of opportunities for them to familiarise themselves with the school during the course of primary 6 and 7. We involve them in a range of activities based at the school and our staff provides input to the primary schools in a variety of ways.

Many pupils will have visited the school before they start in S1. They may have attended the Monday Club, joined Easter or Summer school clubs or come swimming at the pool but even if they have not, the school pays special attention to ensuring that starting school here is a positive experience.

In November an information evening is held and in June there are induction days and a health conference where pupils meet their teachers, new classmates and follow their new timetable. Each pupil is assigned a tutor group and senior students acting as buddies help to support them in the early days and beyond. During the last year at primary school, secondary staff visit and consult with P7 teachers with a view to placing pupils in classes with friends and to ensuring that all educational and social needs are met.

Pupil Support

Each year group has a year teacher, who will monitor individual progress, and a Pupil Support worker who will support both pupils and parents with any problems which may arise.

Health and Medical Care

The school health service provides regular medical input to the school and offers a programme of immunisation.

The Pupil Support Team have offices and a rest room from which first aid and care are dispensed for all minor illnesses, If, however, a pupil has on accident or would benefit from going home, parents will be contacted. It is essential that the school holds up to date emergency contact details. It is also important for parents to keep the school informed about any medical conditions or treatment concerning pupils. Pupil support workers are unable to dispense medication, unless parental permission is given in writing and medication is supplied.

In School Support Department

The school operates support services to pupils through our In School Support resource. An extended support team consisting of trained support teachers and specialist support staff offers assistance tailored to meeting a range of learning needs. Staff in the support resource work very closely with their departmental colleagues to ensure that there is a whole school approach to supporting pupils at the school. In addition to supporting pupils with identified needs, we operate a number of strategies to ensure that pupils who are experiencing difficulties in the classroom are picked up at the earliest possible opportunity.

Monitoring and Tracking

Throughout the year pupils will have a meeting to discuss progress. In S1 the first meeting is very informal and is called a “settling in” interview. After that, there are routine interviews with all pupils to discuss progress and critical interviews to address specific problems if they arise. The relevant teacher will help pupils to look at their progress and set targets to work towards. Interview records are made available to pupils and parents.


Reports from subject teachers are issued at various intervals throughout the year. In the reports, teachers comment on issues such as attainment, effort, behaviour in class and homework. Suggestions will also be made ‘next steps’ and how pupils can make further progress.


What is expected of me?

School Dress Code

Pupils are expected to wear school uniform. Guidance is issued to parents during the course of Primary 7.

Preparing for School

Pupils should come to school with all the books and equipment needed for each day which normally includes: jotters, books, folders, homework, pens, pencils, ruler, rubber, sharpener, PE kit, HE kit. Art/CDT folio and musical instruments if required. All school equipment should be carried in an appropriate school bag.


We are proud of the positive relationships that exist between staff and pupils. The school expects pupils to behave well in class and beyond. They are expected to care for others and treat fellow pupils, staff and visitors with respect. In addition, we ask that all pupils treat school property with care to ensure that our facilities are kept in good condition.

How is success celebrated?

BART – Behaviour and Reward Tracking

BART runs throughout the year. This is a system whereby points are awarded or deducted for positive and negative behaviour. Points are gained for such as: good timekeeping, being in school dress, good work and good attendance. Equally, points are deducted for bad behaviour, lack of homework, poor attendance and timekeeping. At the end of term an award ceremony is held to give awards – Gold. Silver and Bronze.


At the end of each school year, there is a prizegiving ceremony to which parents are invited. Prizes are awarded for academic achievement but the school also recognises consistent hard work and effort. Prizes are also given for sporting excellence, musical achievement and services to the school and community.

Merit Awards

Merits are issued to pupils who have done well. This may be because they have achieved good test marks, handed in excellent homework, worked well, helped other pupils or for any other good behaviour. Receiving a merit postcard will add to a pupil’s BART points. Parents will be provided with a summary of merits awarded (and demerits) at reporting times.


Assembly is held for each year group on a regular basis. There may be a specific topic for assembly, such as a chaplaincy visit, on outside speaker, a charity event, or giving information. Whenever possible, assembly provides an opportunity to recognise pupil or group achievements.

Art deptartment display

Pupils with different flags on European Language Day

Pupils in art class


Home Economics

Pupils in CDT department


What else can I do at school?

We encourage pupils to participate widely in extra curricular activities and there is a range of options available to them.


A large number of pupils receive instrumental tuition normally on a weekly basis in: brass, woodwind, percussion or guitar. Pupils take part in a wide range of musical activities ranging from Junior and Senior Windband, Junior and Senior Choirs and other groups. Residential music camps are held frequently and groups of pupils entertain the community in the school and beyond. Vibrant musical productions are staged on a regular basis.

Outdoor education

As part of the settling in routine, all S1 pupils spend a day at Lowport Outdoor Education Centre with their tutor and can either go canoeing or mountain biking.


Sport has a very high profile at JYHS and pupils benefit significantly from the range of sporting opportunities that are available. Pupils are able to develop their individual skills and talents by taking part in a whole host of sporting opportunities such as football, rugby, badminton, tennis, swimming, basketball, dance, trampolining. gymnastics and athletics. Opportunities will vary from year to year.


Pupils benefit from a wide range of extra-curricular clubs that are on offer. Although clubs vary from year to year, in recent years they have included: Amnesty International, cartoon/manga, Duke of Edinburgh, Latin, Lego, Mission Respect, Reading, Science and many more.

Tenis court
Brass Band playing in school

pupil on trampoline

Chinese club 2