Edinburgh's world heritage

Edinburgh’s world heritage status faces scrutiny amid row over hotel plans

Its supporters call its dramatic spiralling bronze-coloured design an unravelling ribbon. Humourists in Edinburgh say the hotel reminds them of a walnut whip or a Mr Whippy cone. Its critics have simply branded it “the Turd”, and given it a hashtag to match. The remarkable new five-star hotel destined for one of the most valuable retail sites in central Edinburgh, – the St James Centre at the east end of the Georgian New Town, has fuelled a debate over the city’s architectural heritage which has now attracted the attention of United Nations advisers. With an exterior crafted from a winding spiral of brightly coloured steel, it has a twisting spire sprouting from a bulbous bronzed dome – wide enough for a 525-seat, three-storey penthouse restaurant, which will dominate Edinburgh’s skyline. It received planning permission in controversial circumstances in August, in a split decision by councillors against the recommendation of the city’s planners, just as a new furore erupted over proposals for another luxury hotel. That scheme would remodel one of Edinburgh’s most treasured neoclassical buildings, the Greek revival old Royal high school, built on Calton Hill in 1829, causing consternation among conservationists. The Royal, once seen as the ideal site for the Scottish parliament, helped Edinburgh win its world heritage site status in 1995. Next week, representatives of Icomos-UK, who advise the UK on monuments and sites, will arrive in Edinburgh on a fact-finding mission. If Icomos team members dislike what they find, a long-threatened formal investigation into Edinburgh’s world heritage site status could ensue. Both controversies have left council leaders rattled. The proposal for the building, which has been semi-vacant for nearly 50 years since the school decamped to the outskirts of Edinburgh, involves two stepped ziggurat-style wings stacked up on either side of its classic central colonnade. Even after it was reduced in scale to placate critics, the design by architect Gareth Hoskins has horrified conservationists and heritage campaigners, including the Edinburgh-based author Alexander McCall Smith. Historic Scotland, the official architectural watchdog, has formally objected, arguing the development would cause “unacceptable harm” to the site and warning that it would refuse listed buildings consent, a legal requirement for the project to proceed. Now the Hoskins design has competition from a rival proposal. After decades of failure to find a permanent use for the building, a wealthy trust called the Dunard Fund has offered more than £20m to convert it to house St Mary’s music school, one of the city’s oldest. Backed by the fund’s donor and former concert pianist Carol Colburn Grigor, the Royal High School Preservation Trust has been formed to push that proposal. Council executives expect both schemes to come up at a planning committee hearing in December. Some observers believe senior councillors are delighted that the Hoskins plan has serious competition. Willie Gray Muir, a specialist in historic property restoration who set up the trust, said the old school was unique. Sitting in the Arcadian setting of Calton Hill, with the Parthenon-styled columns of the national monument and the City Observatory behind on its summit, it has no other building to compete with for attention. “Trying to force it to become a modern hotel is something the building simply can’t do,” he said. A music school at least “would run with the grain of it”. Adam Wilkinson, director of Edinburgh World Heritage, the official guardian of its world heritage site, said a decision to build the Hoskins hotel would have huge repercussions. “If the old Royal high proposals go through then it will be seen that our systems for protecting the world heritage site are not functioning as they should,” he said. “Historic Scotland couldn’t state more clearly the impact on the world heritage site, and if it’s not working properly then there is absolutely a case for people from outside to investigate.”

Activists urge Royal High School luxury hotel plan axe

BRITAIN’S leading heritage campaign group has stepped up the pressure on Edinburgh’s councillors to reject plans to turn one of the city’s most celebrated buildings into a luxury hotel. They have been warned that controversial extensions planned to the former Royal High School on Calton Hill will “violate” the A-listed landmark and “intrude horrifically” on views across the city. Save Britain’s Heritage (SAVE) has described two “visually dominant” six-storey wings, proposed for either side of the building, as “overbearing and insensitive.” It is demanding plans to convert the building for an American hotel giant are “firmly rejected,” despite the authority signing a lease agreement five years ago with one of the two Scottish developers leading the project. And the campaign group has thrown its weight behind an alternative bid to transform the building - which has been lying largely empty for more than four decades - into a new home for an independent music school. Critics have warned that approval for the development will put Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site status at risk - 20 years after the designation was approved by UNESCO. Save Britain’s Heritage, which was launched by a group of writers, historians, architects and planners in 1975, was instrumental in working with Princes Charles to save Dumfries House, a run-down stately home in Ayrshire, for the nation. SAVE describes the former Royal High School was “a landmark historic building of supreme architectural importance.” It believes the plans for the luxury hotel will draw focus away from the original 1825 building, designed by celebrated architect Thomas Hamilton, and have “negative consequences” for other listed buildings and monuments on Calton Hill.

Music school offer for Edinburgh Royal High site

THE bitter battle for control over the former Royal High School has entered a dramatic new phase after a rival bidder revealed it had made a formal offer to buy the iconic A-listed Neoclassical building. Revised plans for a £75 million luxury hotel were unveiled earlier this month by developer Duddingston House Properties, which included controversial “Inca-stlye terraces” on either side of the Thomas Hamilton-designed school on Calton Hill. Heritage bodies immediately attacked the scale of the new proposals, and another for the nearby Edinburgh St James project, saying they could threaten the city’s World Heritage status. Objections by Heritage Scotland mean the plans could be called in by the Scottish Government. The developers have a 100-year “conditional” council lease on the site, dependent on being granted planning permission for a hotel. A council decision is due on this issue in December and it cannot consider the rival offer at the moment. But yesterday the Royal High Preservation Trust announced a formal legal £1.5 million bid to buy the buildings to turn them into a new home for St Mary’s Music School. The trust’s offer will come to nothing if the council agrees to the new hotel development. The trust described its offer – backed by the philanthropic Dunard Fund, a major supporter of the Edinburgh International Festival – as “one of the single largest philanthropic arts gifts in modern Scottish history”. It added that the bid exceeded the value of the ­council-owned building. The trust has also appointed award-winning architect Richard Murphy to develop designs to turn the site into a music school. William Gray Muir, trust chairman, said: “It is important people know that if the council does not grant planning permission we are standing nearby with our offer. “The old Royal High School buildings are crucial to the character of Edinburgh and part of the architectural heritage that attracts people to this wonderful city. “The trust was set up specifically to conserve and protect this masterpiece for the long term and what better way than to restore it to its original purpose as a school? “St Mary’s Music School needs a new home and if we are successful, not only will this move ensure the school will have more teaching and performance space but as a new venue and destination for talented musicians it will also create opportunity to add to Edinburgh’s cultural economy.” A council spokeswoman said: “Old Royal High School is not on the market as the council has a legal agreement with Duddingston House Properties to lease it. The site is now subject to a planning application for a hotel, which has been submitted to the council and will be considered in due course.”

Grading Utah schools, 2015: Top 20 highest scoring high schools

On Tuesday, the Utah State Office of Education released the results of the Utah state grading system. Each school's grade is based on a score that measures student achievement and academic growth. High schools also are graded on graduation rates and the percentage of students who meet all four college- and career-ready benchmarks on the ACT. Click through the list to see the top 20 highest scoring high schools for the 2014-15 school year. Read about Utah school grades here: Grades for Utah schools rise, mirroring growth in SAGE assessment. For more about Utah's grades, check out the following lists: Grading Utah schools, 2015: Top 20 lowest scoring high schools Grading Utah schools, 2015: Top 20 highest scoring elementary schools Grading Utah schools, 2015: Top 20 lowest scoring elementary schools

Top high school football games

SPASH looks to end two-game losing streak; Pacelli faces major challenge against Amherst in Week 5 high school football matchups About Neenah: The Rockets are coming off a 21-0 loss to unbeaten Fond du Lac last week to leave them 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the Valley Football Association South Division. Quarterback Joe Jung is averaging 157.8 yards a game passing with six touchdowns, while Austin Belot has been the primary threat in the running game with 319 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per carry through three games. Neenah owns wins over Marshfield (27-24) and Kaukauna (35-3). About SPASH: The Panthers will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak, including a 31-28 setback at the hands of Oshkosh North in Week 4 on a last-second field goal. They have had trouble closing out games, having surrendered the final 15 points in a loss to Fond du Lac on Sept. 4. Senior running back Victor Kizewski had a breakout performance against North with 226 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a losing cause. Gus Turner-Zick also surpassed 100 yards rushing in the game. AMHERST AT PACELLI When: 4:30 p.m., Community Stadium, Stevens Point Last meeting: Amherst 42, Pacelli 6 (2014). About Amherst: The Falcons knocked Bonduel from the ranks of the unbeatens with a convincing 49-8 win in Ashwaubenon to improve to 4-0 and 2-0 in the CWC 8. Quarterback Garrett Groshek, who ran and threw for a score, Brandon Piotrowski and Josh Cisewski, who returned the second-half kickoff for a TD, each found the end zone twice in a balanced attack. The Falcons' stiffest test to date was a 68-27 trouncing of Iola-Scandinavia in the conference opener. About Pacelli: The Cardinals have already surpassed their victory total from a year ago following a 47-13 drubbing of Wittenberg-Birnamwood a week ago to raise their record to 2-2, and 1-1 in the CWC 8. Pacerlli built a 35-0 lead at halftime against the Chargers behind three touchdowns from Chris Shibilski and two more from Ethan Jansch. Shibilski finished with 176 yards on the ground on 18 carries with four touchdowns. TRI-COUNTY AT PORT EDWARDS When: 4 p.m., Port Edwards High School Last meeting: Port Edwards 53, Tri-County 19 (2014) About Port Edwards: The Blackhawks were left licking their wounds after a 53-12 beat down by Wild Rose in their Central Wisconsin Conference 10 opener to snap a two-game winning streak. Port was outscored 53-6 over the final three quarters. Ethan Saylor has been a workhorse in the Blackhawks' attack, averaging 122 yards and 8.9 yards per carry through the first three weeks of the season. About Tri-County: Four games into the season, the Penguins find themselves very much in the hunt for a playoff berth after a 33-15 win over Tigerton/Marion last week to move to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the CWC 10. Quarterback Claude Cleereman rushed for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another score to pace the offense. Brandon Peckham, who returned the second half kickoff 80 yards for a TD, rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries. Luke Marinack also tossed a scoring pass. SATURDAY ALMOND-BANCROFT AT SWCHA When: 2 p.m., Whitnall High School Last meeting: Almond-Bancroft 46, SWCHA 14 (2014) About SWCHA: The Saints are one of only a couple of teams in the state to play an Independent schedule. SWCHA is coming off a 10-0 win over three-time defending Central Wisconsin Conference 10 champion Rosholt at home last week to improve to 3-0 overall. The Hornets were limited to just 69 yards of total offense, with all of the yards coming on the ground. Cody Goeben accounted for the lone touchdown in the first quarter. About Almond-Bancroft: The Eagles (4-0) will close out an impressive run through their nonconference slate which has seen them outscore their first three out of conference foes 157-8. Wonewoc-Center became the first team to score against A-B in four games with a touchdown in garbage time. Junior quarterback Wyatt Richtmyre is the trigger man for an offense averaging 50.9 points a game. Austin Bunders, Dylan Bunders, Johl Turzinski, Derek Baumgartner and Noah Kollock are among the weapons in the arsenal.

High school football standings through week 3

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 0-0 3-0 Central Birmingham Brother Rice 0-0 1-2 U-D Jesuit 0-0 3-0 Detroit Catholic Central 0-0 2-1 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 0-0 3-0 Warren De La Salle 0-0 2-1 Intersectional BH Cranbrook-Kingswood 2-0 3-0 Riverview Richard 2-0 3-0 Waterford Our Lady 2-0 3-0 Clarkston Everest 1-1 2-1 Royal Oak Shrine 1-1 2-1 Allen Park Cabrini 0-2 1-2 Macomb Lutheran North 0-2 1-2 Madison Heights Bishop Foley 0-2 1-2 CHARTER SCHOOL Detroit University Prep 1-0 1-1 Harper Woods Chandler Park 1-1 1-2 Warren Michigan Collegiate 1-0 1-2 Detroit Old Redford 0-2 0-3 Romulus Summit 0-1 0-2 Southfield Bradford 0-0 3-0 DETROIT PSL East I Detroit King 1-0 3-0 Detroit Cass Tech 0-0 3-0 Detroit Denby 0-0 2-1 Detroit East English Village 0-1 2-1 East II Detroit Pershing 0-1 2-1 Detroit Central 0-0 1-2 Detroit Osborn 0-0 1-2 Detroit Southeastern 0-1 0-3 West I Detroit Cody 1-0 1-2 Detroit Mumford 0-0 1-2 Detroit Renaissance 0-0 1-2 Detroit Western 0-1 1-2 West II Detroit Henry Ford 1-0 2-1 Detroit Collegiate Prep 0-0 3-0 Detroit CMA 0-1 0-3 Detroit Douglass 0-0 2-1 DOWNRIVER Trenton 3-0 3-0 Wyandotte Roosevelt 3-0 3-0 Allen Park 2-1 2-1 Gibraltar Carlson 2-1 2-1 Lincoln Park 2-1 2-1 Melvindale 1-2 1-2 Taylor Kennedy 1-2 1-2 Woodhaven 1-2 1-2 Southgate Anderson 0-3 0-3 Taylor Truman 0-3 0-3 HURON Milan 2-0 2-1 Monroe St. Mary’s 2-0 3-0 Carleton Airport 1-1 1-2 Grosse Ile 1-1 1-2 Monroe Jefferson 1-1 1-2 New Boston Huron 1-1 2-1 Flat Rock 0-2 1-2 Riverview 0-2 1-2 INDEPENDENT Birmingham Detroit Country Day 2-1 Detroit Consortiom 1-2 Detroit Delta Prep 1-1 Detroit Edison 1-2 Detroit Westside Christian 0-2 Harper Woods 2-1 INDEPENDENT FOOTBALL LEAGUE Dearborn Heights Star 0-0 1-2 Detroit Cesar Chavez 0-0 2-1 Marine City Cardinal Mooney 0-0 0-2 Maryville 0-0 2-1 KENSINGTON LAKES Central Livonia Stevenson 1-0 3-0 Northville 1-0 3-0 Plymouth Salem 1-0 2-1 Novi 0-1 0-3 South Lyon 0-1 2-1 South Lyon East 0-1 0-3 North Walled Lake Northern 1-0 2-1 Walled Lake Western 1-0 3-0 Waterford Mott 1-0 2-1 Walled Lake Central 0-1 0-3 Waterford Kettering 0-1 2-1 White Lake Lakeland 0-1 1-2 South Canton 1-0 3-0 Livonia Churchill 1-0 2-1 Plymouth Wildcats 1-0 2-1 Livonia Franklin 0-1 1-2 Wayne Memorial 0-1 0-3 Westland John Glenn 0-1 0-3 West Brighton 1-0 3-0 Grand Blanc 1-0 3-0 Howell 1-0 3-0 Hartland 0-1 1-2 Milford 0-1 0-3 Pinckney 0-1 0-3 MACOMB AREA Blue Grosse Pointe North 2-0 2-1 Warren Cousino 2-0 3-0 Fraser 0-2 0-3 Mt. Clemens L'Anse Creuse 1-1 1-2 St. Clair Shores Lakeview 0-2 0-3 Roseville 1-1 2-1 Bronze Clawson 2-0 3-0 Center Line 1-1 1-2 Madison Heights Lamphere 0-2 0-3 Mt. Clemens 0-2 0-3 New Haven 1-1 1-2 Warren Lincoln 2-0 2-1 Gold Marysville 1-1 1-2 Marine City 2-0 2-1 St. Clair Shores 0-2 0-3 Warren Woods-Tower 0-2 0-3 Port Huron Northern 1-1 1-2 Sterling Heights 2-0 3-0 Red Utica Eisenhower 1-1 2-1 Macomb Dakota 1-1 2-1 Sterling Heights Stevenson 1-1 2-1 Mt. Clemens Chippewa Valley 1-1 2-1 Warren Mott 2-0 3-0 Macomb L'Anse Creuse North 0-2 1-2 Silver Mt. Clemens Clintondale 2-0 3-0 Warren Fitzgerald 0-2 1-2 Madison Heights Madison 2-0 2-1 St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 0-2 1-2 East Detroit 0-2 0-3 St. Clair Shores South Lake 2-0 3-0 White Grosse Pointe South 0-2 1-2 Romeo 2-0 3-0 Utica Ford 2-0 3-0 Utica 0-2 1-2 New Baltimore Anchor Bay 1-1 2-1 Port Huron 1-1 1-2 MICHIGAN INDEPENDENT S.H. Parkway Christian 1-0 1-2 G.P.W. University Liggett 1-0 2-1 Southfield Christian 0-1 1-2 Lutheran Westland 1-0 1-2 R.H. Lutheran Northwest 0-1 1-2 A.H. Oakland Christian 0-1 0-3 MICHIGAN METRO Blue River Rouge 3-0 Hamtramck 2-1 Detroit Community 0-3 Detroit University Prep & Math 1-2 Red Melvindale ABT 1-2 Ecorse 0-3 Detroit Allen Academy 0-3 OAKLAND ACTIVITIES Blue Auburn Hills Avondale 2-0 2-1 Ferndale 0-2 0-3 Hazel Park 1-1 1-2 Birmingham Groves 2-0 3-0 Southfield-Lathrup 0-2 1-2 Berkley 2-0 2-1 Pontiac 0-2 0-3 Royal Oak 1-1 1-2 Red Clarkston 1-1 1-2 Lake Orion 1-1 1-2 Troy 0-2 0-3 Oxford 1-1 1-2 West Bloomfield 2-0 3-0 Troy Athens 2-0 2-1 Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 1-1 1-2 Bloomfield Hills 0-2 0-3 White Farmington Hills Harrison 2-0 2-1 Birmingham Seaholm 1-1 1-2 North Farmington 1-1 2-1 Rochester Adams 1-1 2-1 Southfield 2-0 2-1 Rochester 0-2 0-3 Farmington 1-1 2-1 Oak Park 0-2 0-3 SOUTHEASTERN Red Ann Arbor Pioneer 1-0 3-0 Saline 1-0 3-0 Monroe 1-0 2-1 Ann Arbor Huron 0-1 0-3 Temperance Bedford 0-1 0-3 Ann Arbor Skyline 0-1 2-1 White Chelsea 1-0 3-0 Adrian 0-1 1-2 Tecumseh 1-0 1-2 Ypsilanti 0-1 0-3 Ypsilanti Lincoln 1-0 1-2 Dexter 0-1 0-3 WESTERN WAYNE Blue Dearborn Fordson 0-1 1-2 Dearborn Heights Robichaud 1-0 3-0 Redford Thurston 1-0 2-1 Belleville 1-0 2-1 Redford Union 0-1 1-2 Garden City 0-1 1-2 Red Dearborn 1-0 1-2 Dearborn Edsel Ford 0-1 0-3 Livonia Clarenceville 1-0 1-2 Dearborn Heights Crestwood 0-1 1-2 Romulus 1-0 2-1 Dearborn Heights Annapolis 0-1 0-3

McLellan: Council needs stomach to say yes to Royal High

Bruce Hare is a passionate man. “No-one can say I’ve not done my best,” he said, his voice quivering as he unveiled the final vision of his dream to turn the old Royal High School into a world-class luxury hotel. Appropriately, the location for revealing the new designs was the modern extension to the Victorian National Museum of Scotland, a much-loved building further adapted by award-winning architect Gareth Hoskins who has given shape to Hare’s dream. The boss of Duddingston House Properties, the company which won the city council’s competition to transform the school, Hare looks intently at Hoskins’ images of the £75m project he hopes will become reality. His voice reduces almost to a whisper: “We were told to come up with a plan to save a building which has lain empty for 47 years without using public money and no-one can say we’ve not done that.” He feigns a lack of knowledge about the last-minute rival bid from St Mary’s Music school to take it over, but then with more than a hint of exasperation says: “Where have they been for the last five or six years? Nobody came up to me and said ‘Bruce, what about a music school?’” It’s not surprising he’s angry. His company won the council competition fair and square, have unquestionably done everything to make an extremely difficult site work, but right at the death after the first designs for the hotel were revealed, up popped a well-funded alternative from nowhere. Whether that concentrated minds or not, there is no question that Hare and Hoskins have listened to the concerns about the first impressions, taken on board some serious advice and produced a significantly different and improved scheme. The accommodation wings have been totally redesigned so as to frame, not overpower, Thomas Hamilton’s original Georgian school buildings. The historic frontage has now been left virtually untouched. The stepped and terraced wings are undoubtedly modern, but in seeking to echo the natural contours and colours of both Calton Hill and Salisbury Crags, Hoskins has produced a skilfully sensitive blend with the setting. The drum design facing Old St Andrews House will attract the most criticism, but as a statement which at the same time doesn’t destroy its surroundings, it’s a stunning achievement. Hoskins took particular care in producing impressions of the new buildings at dusk, claiming the computer generated image of the lighting is an accurate representation of how it will look. If it works as he says it will be a triumph, but of course we’ll never know unless it’s built. Few here would deny that Calton Hill and the old school is a world-class location, and in the world of architecture there is no debate that Gareth Hoskins is a world-class talent. And the company chosen to run the hotel, Rosewood, is an emerging global luxury brand in a business where luxury is a much over-used and devalued term, often applied to anything above four-star as operators try to woo customers with a bob or two to spend. But there is nothing four-star about Hollywood-based Rosewood and its customers have more than the odd spare shilling. Its London property in the heart of the City at Holborn is a lavish conversion of the Edwardian Pearl Assurance headquarters and in Manhattan its refined art deco Carlyle Hotel has played host to presidents and royalty. And Woody Allen’s jazz band. Its Hotel de Crillon in Paris, once an 18th-century mansion and currently closed for renovation, looks out on the Place de la Concorde at the foot of the Champs Elysee. But all this will mean nothing if the city council rejects Hoskins’s revised plans for what is possibly Edinburgh’s most difficult available site. The drawings have been lodged and the decision is expected in December once planning officials have drawn up their recommendations. If permission is granted, Hare expects the hotel to open for business in March 2018, if not he certainly expects the competition to be re-opened. If, as some might have come to presume, the hotel is rejected and the council simply asks the St Mary’s Music School team to bring forward its proposal, a legal battle is almost inevitable. The councillors on the planning committee cannot pass judgement in favour of a rival project and must base their ruling only on the plan in front of them. Having met the requirements of the contest, it is now a question of whether Hare’s proposal is acceptable or not. Some councillors will be implacably opposed, but having listened to the debates on the new St James Centre Hare has a fair chance of success because there is a mood amongst prominent councillors for creating momentum and sending a strong message that Edinburgh is a place to do business. Edinburgh does not have an operator like Rosewood and apart from a handful who come at Festival time or for the odd round of golf it doesn’t pull in enough high net-worth individuals who can make a real difference to big investment decisions. Bruce Hare and Rosewood president Radha Arora, who flew over from California, made a compelling case for drawing in those kind of people. “Edinburgh is an authentic destination for our clients and they spend a lot of money. Edinburgh will be coming to life as part of a group of global destinations and I’m super excited,” said Arora. While the decision cannot be based on the operator’s clientele – and Rosewood would not be considering Edinburgh just because of the Royal High – nevertheless timing is crucial to the scheme and its options are actually quite limited. The St James Ribbon/Walnut Whip/Mole doesn’t look like it would fit with Rosewood’s portfolio. Donaldson’s School might appear ideal, but there is another plan for that and the size of the conversion means it probably wouldn’t stack up financially. And it’s not city centre. So lose the site and the chances are Rosewood will look elsewhere. After all, they have 14 other sites under development on top of the 18 they currently run. On the face of it, the safe thing will be to reject the scheme and let the council’s lawyers deal with the consequences. But will that be the right thing to do? The new Hoskins plan is not the cultural vandalism its detractors will inevitably claim and the question will be whether councillors have enough stomach left to say yes.

GCSE results 2015: Students at the Royal High School celebrate top grades

Royal High School students Sarah Haynes and Sabela Guy celebrate 19 A* grades between them GCSE students at the Royal High School are celebrating a superb set of results. Students, staff and parents were thrilled to hear that 62 per cent of all grades at the school were either A* or A grades. Forty-six per cent of all girls were awarded eight or more A/A* grades and three girls received 11 A* grades. Outstanding performances included: eorgina Wynne Hughes, who gained 10 A*s and 3 As in a diverse range of subjects- from ancient Greek to dance. Zoe Ashton, Cecily Garrett-Peel and Marina Rossich, who each achieved 11 A* grades. Sarah Haynes gained 10 A* grades at GCSE level. She said: "I'm feeling incredible, that was a lot of work- I can't believe it. I wasn't expecting that at all." Languages continue to thrive at the Royal High School, with students excelling in French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Italian and Russian, as well as Ancient Greek and Latin. Fifteen students at the school studied Italian at GCSE level and 13 of these received A or A* grades. Thirty-eight students studied Mandarin- with 22 gaining an A* and 9 gaining an A grade. Scarlett Long received A* grades in French, Italian and Mandarin. Her teacher Jo Cossey said: "They all deserve these excellent results. "To have got that in three languages is just a phenomenal achievement. I'm sure she'll flourish in sixth form." The school was also delighted with the performance of its girls in the STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and maths. Eighty per cent of grades across the school's biology, chemistry and physics departments were A* or A grades. Head teacher Jo Duncan started at the Royal High School this year. She said: "I am very proud of these results and congratulate both those who have achieved a string of A* and A grades and those who have fulfilled their personal aspirations. "They and their teachers have worked extremely hard and well deserve their success. I look forward to seeing them build in this as they return to the Royal High for their A Level and IB studies. "It's not just about the exams, they are important for opening doors and our girls do achieve outstanding results, but it's also about the whole education. "That's one of the things that have surprised me- the sheer amount of things going on and the careers opportunities. We have a lot of different people coming in to talk to the girls. "Being a part of the Girls' Day School Trust, we have access to the alumni network and that's just phenomenal. I have been really impressed with the organisation."

Plans for Royal High School hotel unveiled

New design images have been released of a proposed hotel on the site of Edinburgh's Old Royal High School. The A-listed building, which overlooks the capital from Calton Hill, was built by Thomas Hamilton in 1829 but has been largely unused for decades. Developers planning a £75m "world-class" five star hotel have now submitted an application to City of Edinburgh Council. The move follows a "comprehensive consultation process". What's happening in Scotland today? Keep in touch through our live page. Architect Gareth Hoskins, who also redesigned the National Museums of Scotland, said two new wings containing the hotel's bedrooms would be set away from the original building. He said the two new wings would be landscaped to blend with the surrounding hill. Conservationists had previously complained that the plan to add wings to the building was like giving it "Mickey Mouse" ears. SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central, Marco Biagi, told BBC Scotland: "The hotel plans for the Old Royal High School have been extremely controversial, and many constituents have expressed concerns. "These changes are a welcome improvement, but might still struggle to address the fundamental problems with the scheme - especially in terms of public acceptance." Mr Hoskins said: "We've listened and taken on board views from a wide range of organisations and individuals through the pre-planning process to develop a fundamentally different design for the site. royal high school design imageImage copyrightHayes Davidson royal high scholl design viewImage copyrightHayes Davidson "The design focuses around an informed restoration of the central Hamilton-designed building, repairing its decaying fabric and maintaining the strong sculptural presence of its frontage without intervention. "The existing building will be entirely given over to the public areas of the new hotel allowing its spaces to be fully accessible for the first time in the building's history." The plan to convert Hamilton's neo-classical masterpiece into a hotel is led by Duddingston House Properties (DHP) and Urbanist Hotels. Hotel brand Rosewood Hotels and Resorts has been selected to manage the Calton Hill property. The City of Edinburgh Council, which owns the A-listed building, granted DHP a 125-year conditional ground lease after the company won an open competition in 2010. The Old Royal High School was vacated in 1968 when the school moved to Barnton. During the 1970s it was proposed as the site to house a devolved Scottish Assembly. However, the 1979 devolution referendum did not result in an assembly and when the Scottish Parliament was finally set up in 1999 a new site was chosen.

Portora Royal School Hold Off Wimbledon Challenge at Henley

Portora Royal School brought Ireland’s winning total to two on the first day of Henley Royal Regatta. The crew from Enniskillen got off to a good start against King’s College School from Wimbledon in the Princess Elizabeth for schoolboy eights and stretched their lead to one length. But the Wimbledon boys would not give up. They ate into the lead coming up to the line and lost by just two thirds of a length. Trinity had earlier won in the first round of the Temple Cup for student eights. Henley Royal Regatta, Day One (Irish interest) Temple Cup (Eights, Student): Trinity bt Pembroke and Caius Colleges, Cambridge 3¼ l, 6min 49 seconds Princess Elizabeth (Eights, Schoolboy): Portora Royal School bt King’s College School, Wimbledon 2/3 l, 7:04 Wyfolds (Fours, Club): Nottingham RC ‘A’ bt Lady Elizabeth BC 2½ l, 7:39