Page last updated on Monday, 01 December 2014 at 13:07:46 GMT

Rector's Newsletter -November 2014


The past few weeks have been extremely successful ones as far as sport at Dollar is concerned.  Pride of place should perhaps go to the U16 rugby team following their semi-final victory in front of a large crowd at George Watson’s in the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup.  The game itself was very close, with Dollar winning 13-7, and the most impressive aspect was undoubtedly the Dollar tackling; courage and determination won the day.  One Dollar governor, himself an ex-international, described it as the best game of schoolboy rugby he had ever seen.  It was certainly tense, but both crowd and players showed very good sportsmanship which is something we place great emphasis on here.  It happens that the Dollar school magazine of exactly 100 years ago describes ‘a narrow victory against Watson’s in the championship game’, perfectly demonstrating the long tradition of rugby at both schools.  Dollar will play Merchiston in the final at Murrayfield at 6pm on 27 November (all welcome and free entry) and we all wish the Dollar team the best of luck on this special occasion.


The future looks bright for Dollar hockey, too, and our Form III side convincingly won the Midlands Championship, finishing ahead of Glenalmond, Kilgraston, Strathallan, Dundee High, Morrison’s and St Leonards.  Not to be outdone, our Form I team won an invitational tournament at Fettes involving 20 teams, playing superbly in the process.  Swimming has also had many successes in recent weeks, including the winning of both the Primary and Secondary Schools trophies at the Central District Championships, and I have also been delighted to see the steady progress of our mixed tennis team this autumn in the Aegon Championships.


The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles was successful not only for the European team, but also for the local economy.  Blessed with (unusually!) good weather, the event showed the Ochils and Trossachs at their scenic best in the television pictures beamed around the world.   Several Dollar pupils were fortunate enough to be able to attend in various capacities.  Our own golf teams have also been very active recently and the senior team are doing well in the Independent Schools Golf Association Championship.


Scotland has more than good scenery to offer and in recent months the Academy has hosted delegations of educational advisors and Headteachers from Germany, Denmark, Finland, Japan, China and Taiwan.  They have been surprised by the wide range of opportunities on offer at Dollar and all have remarked on the courtesy of the children and staff, the supportive environment, and our strong belief in the importance of an all-round education.  It has been very much a two-way process, however; we are keen to pick up new ideas and improve practice whenever we can.  It is always interesting to learn what is happening educationally in other countries and, as detailed later in this newsletter, we have recently sent teachers and pupils on exchanges to China, Japan, the USA, Germany, France and Spain.  All have apparently been both rewarding and informative.  I have not as yet managed to find my way on to one of these trips, but there will be no keeping me from Murrayfield next Thursday.


Kindest regards









Congratulations to Charlie Dineen (IV) and Georgia Smith (III) who have been selected for the U18 and U16 Pentathlon squads, respectively, for the indoor international match against Ireland, Wales and England at the Glasgow Emirates in December. 


In October, Dollar’s CCF competed in the St John’s Ambulance National First Aid Competition at Gloucester.  The Dollar team, led by Duncan Smith (VI) and consisting of Angus Clark, Christian Lao (both VI) and Scott Norval (V), defeated teams from across the UK to become Service Cadet Champions.


A team also took part in the Scottish Cadet Military Skills competition at Dreghorn.  The competition is run by the Regular Army and tests the full range of the Army Cadet syllabus.  The Dollar team was led by David Kennedy (VI) and consisted of Duncan Smith, Megan Montgomery, Christian Lao (all VI), Lucy Hulbert, Scott Norval, Sam Ward (all V), Niall Baird, Rebecca Johns and Amy Pope (all IV).  Dollar won the competition for the second year running, beating teams from across Scotland.  This is only the third time that a school has retained the Military Skills title and on all such occasions Dollar has been the school. 




The annual Fife Secondary Schools Individual Chess Tournament was held in Dunfermline with over 70 participants involved.  Dollar pupils finished in the top five places.  The winner was Cameron Brown (VI) with Harry Gray (I) finishing second, Alexandru Roibu (V) third and Andrew Ferguson (I) and Connor Hodgson (V) joint fourth.


Congratulations to Fingal Hall (III) and Toby Douglas (II) on their selection for the Tayside and Fife U15 training squad over the winter.


Cross Country
At the Scottish Athletics Cross Country Relay Championships in Cumbernauld, Jenny Walls (III) was a member of the team winning the bronze medal.


There have been a number of fine performances by Dollar debaters recently: in particular, Kelsey Clarke (VI) was the top speaker at the Glasgow University competition, while in the first round of the ESU Juniors competition both Dollar pairs, Iona Kelly & Gracie Shearer (both I) and Dominic McGinley (I) & Daniel Robins (II), qualified for the next round.  In the ESU Mace, Kelsey Clarke and Amenah Cheema (VI) enjoyed a confident victory in their first round tie.


Equestrian Events
Congratulations to Jack Wilson (II) who achieved the distinction of becoming U14 Scottish Equestrian Vaulting champion for the second year in a row.  He also finished fifth in the British championships. His elder sister Joanna (V) formed part of the Wee County team that became Scottish and British champions in October.  Lisa Eidenberg (IV) was a member of the winning Wee County team in the Intermediate competition.


Girl Guides
Congratulations to Emma Rattray (IV) who was selected by Girl Guides UK to attend a Leadership Skills Camp in October.  Only 15 Guides were selected from over 120 applications.


The senior team, comprising Jennifer Allan (VI), Robert Watson (V) and Andrew Johnston (V), all beat their opposing Strathallan player with scores of 3 & 2, 3 & 2 and 7 & 5 respectively.  A team of six then played against Glenalmond in a greensomes match at Crieff Golf Club.  The match finished in a draw but there were notable performances from Jamie Fulton (I), Callum Wallace and Drew Meikle (both V) who sank a vital putt on the last hole to halve the match.  Dollar also beat Merchiston with Drew Meikle, Callum Wallace, Andrew Johnston and Alex Weise (V) picking up the points.  Alex managed to shoot a gross 1 over par for his round.


Several pupils participated in the Scales Challenge and distinction standard was achieved by the following pupils: Abigail McFadyean (I), Huw Sherrard and Conor Philip (both III).


Several Dollar pupils were selected for Midlands hockey squads this year. The following have been selected for the U16 squad: Eve Pearson (II), Georgia Smith, Erin Stevens (both III), Imogen Watson (IV) and Bevhan Trevis (V).  The U18 squad includes: Beth Alexander, Isla Cubitt, Anna King, Lucy McCran, Hannah Worsley (all VI) and Isla Keith (V).  All performed well.  Congratulations to Alex Wilson (I) who has recently been selected for the Scotland U16 hockey squad.


In the JKA English Open, Tom MacFadyen (I) won his first gold medal, pushing the English National champion into second place.  This is particularly impressive given that Tom has only just resumed training after breaking his thumb while practising.


Lest we forget
Dollar Drama Club and Hillfoots Harmony singers commemorated the centenary of World War I with an evening of poetry, song, readings and drama at Dollar Academy.  Several Form II pupils powerfully recited poems from the Great War and read extracts of letters and documents written by, or featuring, FPs’ experiences.  Those involved were: Josh Richardson, Zach Lonberg, Fraser Dawtrey, Callum Hudd, Toby Douglas, Danae Macleod, Olivia McKay, Naomi Langford-Thimm, Hannah Middleton and Georgie Cassidy.


A team comprising Charlie Worsley, Jonty Haywood (both IV), Angus Macleod and Sophie Ferguson (both III) were placed third in the Independent Schools round of the Enterprising Mathematics Competition in September.  They qualified for the national final against 55 other schools at the Glasgow Science Centre where they finished in a highly creditable third place.  Pupils from Forms V and VI competed in the UK Senior Mathematics Challenge and Duncan Cooper (VI) qualified for the British Mathematical Olympiad.


This year’s annual Scottish Schools Quartets and Trios Piping Competition was hosted by Robert Gordon’s College.  31 groups from 12 schools took part and Dollar retained the silverware in both categories. 
Robbie Martin (II) led the winning B trio alongside Jack Muldoon (II) and Moray Sharpe (III) while Murray Biggart (III) led the A trio with Alasdair Jardine (III) and Finlay Bennett (III), finishing fourth.   The B quartet was led by Tommy Henson (V) with Freddie McFadyean (IV), Finlay Cameron (II) and Andrew Ferguson (I) and were placed third.  The A quartet of Pipe Major Lucy Ferguson, Sandy Cameron, Cameron Bennett (all VI) and Gregor Stewart (V) won the competition, retaining the trophy for the ninth consecutive year.

The Cameron brothers, Sandy (VI) and Finlay (II) both featured in the national press following their successes at the Royal National MOD.  Sandy won the Piobaireachd open event and Finlay won the U15 Strathspey and Reel.


Several Dollar pupils were selected for the U18 and U16 Scottish Inter District Championship played at Gala Rugby Club.  Harry Warr (V) represented Caledonia U18 in their convincing win against The Borders.  Angus Hunter (VI) was also selected, but could not be considered on the day owing to injury.  At U16 level, the following boys represented Caledonia: Cameron Blakemore, Grant Hughes, Charlie Dineen and Angus Cooper (all IV).  Along with Calum Souter (V) and Lachlan Peterson (IV), they have been invited to attend Caledonia training sessions.  Ben McIlwraith and Callum Cruickshank (both IV) are also part of the squad. 


Dollar beat Fettes by 1469-1444 in a recent match at Dollar.  The top score of the day was by Megan Montgomery (VI) with an impressive 193 points out of 200.  In the British Junior Air Rifle Championships at Bisley, Vikki Walls (V) finished seventh.  She has now been selected to train with the British Junior squad.


Two teams from Dollar completed in the Scottish Schools Ski Championships at Midlothian Ski Centre.  The senior team of Megan Stedman (III), Christina Callion, Alex Fleming and Abi Douglas (all IV) finished in overall third position winning bronze medals.  Abi Douglas, the captain, finished fifth in the individual championship.  The U14 team of Archie MacKechnie (J2), Euan Smith, Ruaridh Henderson (both I) and Alice Barthram (II) raced to the silver medal position, with Alice, the captain, finishing sixth in the Individual championship.  The Junior team also competed in the finals of the Scottish Schools Snowsport Association Dual Slalom competition at Braehead.  The team consisted of: Archie MacKechnie, Emma Howat, Andrey MacNee (all J2) and Archie Kelly (J1).  They skied extremely well, finishing in fourth place.




At the 2014 Central Schools Swimming Championships, Dollar pupils won 13 gold medals and won both the Primary and the Secondary Schools Championships.  As many as 14 swimmers qualified for the Scottish Schools Finals which will be held in Aberdeen in January.  At Secondary level, the gold medalists were:  Keir Edgar (II) in the boys’ U13 100m Backstroke, 200m Backstroke and 200m Freestyle; Callum Lawrie (V) in the boys’ U18 100m Butterfly, 400m Individual Medley and 200m Individual Medley; Cameron McCall (III) in the boys’ U13 200m Individual Medley; Kirstin Lawrie (II) in the girls’ U13 100m Butterfly, 200m Individual Medley and 200m Butterfly; Lucy Thomson (V) in the girls’ U18 100m Breastroke and Aisla Gordon (V) in the girls’ U18 400m Freestyle and 200m Freestyle.  The following pupils won silver medals: Sian Thomson (II) in the girls’ U13 100m Backstroke and Lucy Thomson (V) in the girls’ U18 200m Individual Medley.  Bronze medals were won by: Joanna Rae (II) in the girls’ U13 100m Breaststroke, 100m Freestyle and 200m Breaststroke; Aisla Gordon and Lucy Thomson who shared third place in the girls’ U18 Freestyle; and Finlay Johnston (I) in the boys’ U13 200m Breaststroke.


In the Primary School Championships the girls’ U11 200m Freestyle Relay team consisting of Gabriella Forbes, Sarah Hajjar, Fiona McCall (all J2) and Akira West (J1) won gold, and a team consisting of Ellie Johnston (J1), Paige Stevens (P5), Tara Montgomery (P4) and Zoe Findlay (P4) won bronze in the same event.  Individual silver medals were won by: Amy Duguid (J1) in the girls’ U11 50m Backstroke, Akira West in the girls’ U11 50m Breaststroke and Gabriella Forbes in the girls’ U11 50m Breaststroke.  Bronze medals were won by Sara Hajjar in the girls’ U11 50m Breaststroke and Akira West in the girls’ U11 50m Freestyle.  Other members of this successful team included: Zoe Findlay (P4), James Gordon and Wilfie Timney (both 5), Alison Jack, Emily Newton, Archie Kelly, Campbell Shiels (all J1) Ambre Wyper and Alex Evans (both J2).


Congratulations to Keir Edgar (II) who was selected for the National Training Squad in Spain at half-term.  He then competed in the East District long distance championships, finishing with three personal best times and with silver medals in the U13 400m and 1500 Freestyle, and a bronze in the 400m Individual Medley. 


Congratulations to Claire McLeish (V) on receiving a “Forth Award” for her volunteering with Fairway Fife, a group supporting young people with disabilities.  Claire helps facilitate group outings and events and has done some outstanding work in this role.


Water Skiing
Congratulations to Isla Banerji (V) on finishing third in the Ladies U17 British Junior National Waterski Competition.


Young Enterprise
A Young Enterprise team participated very successfully in the Grangemouth Town Hall Trade Fair, selling products manufactured in the EDT Department.  The pupils involved were:  Laura Broomfield, Nicola Scott-Dodd, Benny Yip, Peter Rattray, Bethany Youds, Catrina Steel and Iulian Bold (all VI).



To raise money for The Wooden Spoon, a rugby related charity funding sporting facilities and activities for disabled children, a touch rugby 7s match was played between the Charities Committee and a team of staff.  The score remains “confidential”.


Over £1000 was collected from selling cupcakes for Children in Need and a Universally Challenged quiz raised £140 for the same cause.


The Form I party raised £250 for the charity Playlist for Life which helps those with dementia through music. 


In preparation for their excellent Harvest Assembly, Junior School pupils collected coins for ShelterBox, raising the amazing total of £2562.91. 




Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Many congratulations to the 105 pupils in Form IV who successfully completed their Bronze Assessment Expeditions in the Ochil Hills.  The expedition staff were delighted to be able to commend all of the pupils involved for their positive attitude, enthusiasm and commitment. 


Exchanges with France, Germany and Spain
This year was unique in that all three groups arrived in Dollar at the same time.  Their visit coincided with the Scottish Referendum which certainly enlivened their stay and encouraged considerable debate.  The visitors were most impressed by the Academy and particularly enjoyed the excellent programme put together by host families and exchange partners.  Many thanks to all involved. 


Chinese Exchange
Two pupils and two teachers from YK Pau School in Shanghai visited Dollar last month for two weeks, observing classes and taking part in Dollar life.  The programme on offer proved very enjoyable and everyone was delighted that the Academy’s first Chinese exchange went so well. 


Japanese Exchange
Three Dollar pupils enjoyed a wonderful opportunity to visit Japan in October.  They were warmly welcomed and experienced a real taste of Japanese lifestyle and culture during their stay in Kunohe, before finishing their trip with two days of sightseeing in Tokyo.  In return, Dollar hosted eight pupils from Kunohe in November.  They visited both Edinburgh and St Andrews, as well as learning Scottish country dancing and creating ceramic Loch Ness monsters.  The visitors treated Dollar Academy pupils to demonstrations of calligraphy and otedama and were sad to say sayonara after a rendition of Auld Lang Syne in front of the bronze doors.  The pupils will be keeping in touch by email and Skype.


Connecticut Exchange
The regular exchange with the Ethel Walker Girls’ School was again very successful, with Dollar girls attending classes, experiencing life as boarders, taking part in sporting activities and still finding time to visit New York City during their hectic two week visit. 


Geography Visit to Glasgow University
Advanced Higher Geography pupils visited Glasgow University, attending lectures and discussing project work with final year students.  The visit was kindly arranged by Dr Gordon Curry, School Governor, Head of Learning and Teaching at the School of Geographical and Earth sciences at the University.


Senior School Play
This year’s Senior School Play is The Visit by Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt.  The play is both funny and disturbing and is considered a classic of European theatre.  It runs from Monday 24 – Wednesday 26 November in the Assembly Hall.  Tickets cost £5 and are available through Parent Pay or on the door.


Water Polo
Dollar Academy’s water polo team are having a successful season and recently drew 2-2 with Woodmill.







Joanne Eccles (2006) and Hannah Eccles (2009) finished first and second in the Senior Individual Scottish and British Equestrian Vaulting Championships.  The girls also won the Pas de Deux class.  This is the 12th year in succession that they have won the British Competition. 


University of Aberystwyth     

Catriona Thomas (nee Squires)

PGCE Chemistry with Balanced Science

University of Aberdeen         

Murray Alexander

BSc Geology-Petroleum Geology (IIii)
  Tammas Burt

MA Entrepreneurship-French (IIi)

  James Gee

MA Economics-International Relations (IIi)

  Connie MacGarvie

MA Management Studies–Property (IIi)


Katrina McPherson  

BSc Zoology (III)

  Caitlin Richmond MA Sociology (IIi)
  Natalie Rosie

MA English (IIi)

  Jennifer Waters

MA International Relations-Legal Studies (I)

  Taylor Watson-Fargie BSc Neuroscience-Psychology (Intercalating)(I
University of Bristol Rory Houston MBChB Medicine
University of Cardiff Fraser Drummond BDS Dentistry
University of Dundee Ewan Baird BSc Product Design (IIi)
Univerisity of Edinburgh Catriona Jardine LLb Law (I)
  Ranald MacDonald Ph.D Heterocyclic Azo Compounds




Monday 24 - Wednesday 26 November


Senior School Play

Monday 1 - Tuesday 2 December Form III Play
Tuesday 2 December Prep 4 Christmas Performance, Dollar Parish Church
Monday 8 December Form I & II Christmas Dance
Wednesday 10 December School Carol Concert, Usher Hall Edinburgh
Thursday 11 December Form III & IV Christmas Dance
Friday 12 December Senior Citizens Coffee Morning
Monday 15 December Junior School Christmas Dancing
Tuesday 16 December

Form V & VI Christmas Dance

Prep 1 - 3 Christmas Musical

Wednesday 17 December

German Christmas Market Trip, Edinburgh


Prep & Junior Carol Service, Dollar Parish Church

Thursday 18 December

Senior School Carol Service, Dollar Parish Church


12.20pm End of Term: Prep, Junior & Senior Schools



Thrift Shop Opening – 2 30pm – 4 00pm (2nd and 4th Thursday of the month)


Open Thursday 27 November and Thursday 11 December


Following a recent stocktake we will no longer be taking the following items:

  • Boys’ trousers (long and short)
  • Ski wear and related equipment
  • SQA revision guides/past papers for Standard Grade exams
  • White rugby tops
  • Hockey skirts
  • Riding boots and associated items
  • Golf and cricket shoes
  • Rugby shorts


We also have stocks of the new school umbrella – a vented version, ideal for windy weather (£17). 

We would like to make parents aware that we only take cash or cheques as payment.


The Thrift Shop is always happy to welcome new members to its friendly, committed team.  If you feel that you are able to donate two afternoons a month to this important, parent-run service, please pop in next time the Thrift Shop is open and have a chat to the volunteers.


Further information about the Dollar Academy Thrift Shop can be found in the Parents section of the school website.












Dollar Academy, Dollar, Clackmannanshire, FK14 7DU | Tel: 01259 742511
The Governors of Dollar Academy Trust is a charity registered in Scotland, No:SC0009888
Copyright 2010 Dollar Academy. All rights reserved.