Dollar Academy has been a co-educational day and boarding school since its foundation in 1818. Today, it provides an exceptional all-round education to around 1,300 pupils aged 5-18. Our focus is on encouraging the individual talents and ambitions of every young person, in a positive and supportive environment that fosters the development of transferable skills, self-confidence and strong personal values. Dollar Academy is very much at the heart of the town – it is a major local employer and values highly its relationship with the wider community. The school itself is a friendly, supportive, hard-working and committed community of staff and pupils who enjoy cordial, professional and productive working relationships. The school’s location is undoubtedly one of the most scenic in the country, set against the Ochil Hills and the historic Castle Campbell, but within easy reach of the major towns of the central belt and just 40 minutes from Edinburgh Airport. With around 1300 pupils and 250 staff from Scotland and around the world, the Dollar community is welcoming and vibrant. The whole school sits within a single, stunning 70-acre campus.
Teaching Staff Roles
Support Staff Roles
We have more than 120 teachers on our staff covering ages 5-18, and we offer a wider range of subjects than any school in Scotland. So how can we ensure that our teachers are up to date with their professional practice?
We support teachers fully in developing their professional knowledge. To give one example of how we do this, take our in-service days (INSET). At most schools these are stand-alone days, with a ‘one-size fits all’ approach; a presentation to all staff on a common theme, irrespective of experience, interest or need. At Dollar, we do it differently. Our six INSETs form an ongoing programme of professional learning across the year. Each member of staff chooses a strand that addresses their needs.
Finally, all of our teachers are GTCS registered and undergo the Professional Update process every five years. We have a robust process of annual appraisal that was developed in collaboration with the GTCS.
Dollar teachers genuinely are experts at what they do. As a school we don’t buy into fads, and we don’t feel the need to continuously “innovate”. This is because we evaluate what we do, learn from current research, and are confident that what we do works well. We aim to base all our decisions about teaching and learning on evidence and experience rather than trends and buzzwords.
We back this up with a full CPD library. Reading is one of the most important, impactful and cost-effective ways of developing your pedagogy. We have almost one hundred titles by leading figures in education and we use these in our Professional Learning Reading Group.
We also have two committees which continuously evaluate what we are doing across the school. The Curriculum Committee looks at how joined up our courses are across the Prep, Junior and Senior schools. The IT Working Group looks at how we can use technology to enhance pupil learning rather than indulging in expensive gimmicks that have little impact on progress. On top of this, the Heads of Department regularly debate teaching and learning through the HGIOS4 framework (How Good Is Our School?).
We actively encourage our staff to be involved in educational initiatives outside of school because we believe this helps us understand how the world is changing around us. We also believe we have a responsibility not just to Dollar, but to Scottish education as a whole.
Our staff assist part time in various roles at the SQA. Several of our staff are involved in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and supervise Masters’ programmes at universities. We also have staff who deliver In-service to other schools, speak at conferences, write for publications and blogs, work for local government and education charities. We are very much an outward-facing group of professionals who want to contribute to Scottish and international education.