Q&A fact file: Dollar Academy



What percentage of the total on roll are boarders?

Around 10% of our Senior School pupils board full time at Dollar, and there are a few younger boarders in our Junior School, too. The focus is very much on creating a home-from-home environment with around 90 boys and girls living in three small family-style boarding houses located on Dollar’s stunning 70-acre campus at the foot of the Ochil Hills.

One great advantage of boarding at Dollar is that there are several hundred day pupils that live locally in the town of Dollar, so boarders have a wide circle of friends, both in and out of the boarding house. Day pupils are allowed into the boarding houses to visit and boarders can also visit day pupil friends in the town, with permission.

My child is particularly good at a sport, what support will they get?

Our pupils have plenty to keep them busy, with around 100 co-curricular activities on offer, including a number of different sports. Boarders can also make use of the excellent facilities on site including grass and all-weather playing surfaces, a fitness suite, Strength & Conditioning room, swimming pool, gym and sports hall.

Sport is deeply rooted in life at Dollar. Our teams regularly win national rugby and hockey competitions, and we passionately encourage participation at every level. Dollar also has a growing reputation for cricket, athletics, football, tennis, and even ultimate frisbee! In addition, the school has recently partnered with the world-renowned Gleneagles resort, to offer a Golf Programme for beginners through to elite players. We are proud that many of our pupils go on to play professional sport and represent their country.

We read so much about racism in the UK, will this affect my child?

Scotland is known for its open outlook and excellent hospitality, and all families will receive a very warm welcome at Dollar. The school values of ‘Be Kind’, ‘Work Hard’ and ‘Get Involved' are central to the Dollar ethos and we have developed a strong pastoral and guidance system which supports our pupils and contributes to their intellectual and social development. The Care Inspectorate has described the school as having ‘a sector-leading’ standard of care for its boarders.

We believe that, in order for every young person to succeed to the best of their abilities, they must do so in a caring and secure environment; one which will encourage them to develop self-confidence and social skills, where the relationship between all members of the community is based on trust and respect.

Will schools still be able to play against one another after covid?

Yes - that is certainly our understanding. Co-curricular activities are an integral part of life at Dollar, and despite the current restrictions in place, our coaches and pupils have been able to find innovative ways to train and play during the pandemic. For example, at the start of lockdown in March 2020, we produced our own ‘Sportstrain’ app for pupils to follow training exercises and keep in touch with each other, recognising that there are both mental and physical benefits of being part of a team.

The can-do attitude displayed by staff and pupils has ensured that almost all our co-curricular activities have continued to run this year in one form or another. Rigorous planning and risk assessment have been key to finding innovative ways to run activities in a COVID safe way.

My child has a learning need, how would you support them?

The friendly and experienced teachers of our dedicated Support for Learning department provide in-class guidance, team teaching, small group tuition and tailor-made individual programmes. They also support pupils for whom English is an additional language via structured EAL provision.

Close links are maintained with Heads of Year and Houseparents, to ensure that learning needs are communicated with all staff. Parents are invited to work in partnership with the department, contributing to Personal Learning Plans and review processes. The department works collaboratively with other professional agencies including Educational Psychologists, Optometrists, Therapists and Audiologists, as required.

What makes your school special?

We are rightly proud to be the world’s oldest co-educational day and boarding school, and we like to think that we have learnt more than a thing or two about looking after our boarders over the years. As such, boarding at Dollar looks and feels different to many other schools. Our boarders live in period houses that balance traditional charm with modern comfort and style, providing welcoming bedrooms, stimulating work spaces and contemporary social rooms. Moreover, our boarding houses are run by Houseparents who absolutely view the young people in their care as an extension of their own family. They keep a close watchful eye over the academic and pastoral development of every pupil in their house, supported by Assistant Houseparents, house tutors and a team of pastoral specialists.

In addition to our extensive co-curricular programme, Dollar offers the widest range of academic subjects of any school in Scotland. Our pupils consistently achieve some of the best results in the country, leaving us to study at the top universities in the UK and around the world. The top three leavers’ destinations in recent years have been the Universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews and Glasgow with around one third of pupils choosing to study at English universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Kings College and UCL.

The questions were answered by Ian Munro, Headmaster.