AS PUPILS at Ross High School arrived back on Wednesday they were greeted by a number of new faces - including a new headteacher.

Replacing Dorothy Bartholomew, who retired in the summer after 12 years as headteacher, is Lanarkshire-raised Paul Reynolds, whose CV includes teaching in Africa and the Highlands.

Mr Reynolds, who is taking up his first headteacher post, is one of 21 new staff this term in what he describes as "exciting times" for the school.

As well as Mr Reynolds and the new acting depute head, Dorothy Patterson, who arrives from Dunbar Grammar, there are a further 15 teachers and four support assistants starting this week.

Mr Reynolds told the Courier: "Having that many new staff is significant. It is all positive. It's 21 new people coming in with a lot of vigour and enthusiasm.

"The school is particularly proud this year of the fifth year results. They are some of the best set of results the school has had in 10 years.

"I want to take what's going well and keep it going and take things further forward and continue to make Ross High a school to be proud of. I want to make it an inclusive environment so that every pupil feels part of the school and they have ownership of the school; no pupil is treated differently to any others.

"These are exciting times and things are going well. What we need to do is build on that and keep it going forward. The job is to keep building and take forth the new national initiatives. It is really exciting to be a part of it." Mr Reynolds studied physics at St Andrews University before earning his teaching qualifications in Glasgow. He then travelled to Africa.

"I started in Zambia for two years, then moved back to Scotland and taught in Stirling, then moved to the Highlands to Mallaig High School, where I was principal teacher of guidance," he explained.

"Then the past seven years I have been in Lochaber. The first five years I was in charge of curriculum and the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence. The last two years I had a pupil support role.

"I decided to go [to Zambia] with my wife and work abroad. I spent two years over there teaching maths and physics. It was great, a wonderful experience; I have happy memories and it was really useful.

Attracted to the school by its atmosphere and its positive ethos, Mr Reynolds added: "I really liked the area. The school has a community feel about it. It's immersed in the community. Ross High has got a lot of good areas in terms of encouraging achievement and celebrating pupils' success. East Lothian itself is an attractive area, it's lovely." He continued: "What we want are pupils prepared for the next stages. The goals for the school are to build on successes, move forward new initiatives. The school's in a good place to do that.

"Everyone I have talked to says how great the staff are.

"I hope [to bring] my wide range of experience [to the job]. I have led a number of new initiatives as a depute head and I am confident that I can lead the school forward.

"I am really proud to be headteacher of Ross High and I am really excited for the pupils arriving and to getting on with it." The new staff members are: Mr Paul Reynolds - Headteacher, Mrs Dorothy Patterson - Depute HT (ASN), Miss Wendy Adams - Chemistry, Mr David Fitzgerald - Drama, Miss Michelle Bradley - English, Mrs Carol Allan - FCT, Mr Darren Leslie - PE, Miss Laura Protheroe - PE, Mr William Revolta - Art and Design, Ms Audrey Brown - Business Ed., Mr Chris Kettles - History, Ms Irina Gancheva - French, Mr Liam Baird - PE, Mr Toby Binnian - PE, Miss Audrey Ross - English, Mr Chris Rafferty - CDT, Ms Charlee Goodman - Physics, Miss Vasiliki Kautsouveli - Pupil Support Auxiliary, Miss Suzanne Cathro - Pupil Support Auxiliary, Miss Adele Currie - Pupil Support Auxiliary, Mr Reece Allan - Pupil Support Auxiliary.