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Education / Journey to becoming head teacher

Anderson High School pupil Emily Watt has compiled the following article as part of the school’s news project

Anderson High headteacher Robin Calder. Photo: Ash Gardiner and Kyah Engum

LERWICK’s Anderson High School (AHS) recently welcomed a new head teacher, Robin Calder, following the retirement of Valerie Nicolson, who served the school with dedication for many years.

Her retirement last year marked the end of an era, and the AHS is now experiencing fresh leadership and new perspectives as Robin Calder has settled into his role at the Anderson.

Mr Calder has been working hard at the AHS for the past 10 months and has been demonstrating great dedication and support for the pupils’ learning and welfare.

Mr Calder has proven to be an outstanding leader in such a short time, but how did he get to where he is now?

Before Mr Calder was the head teacher, and before he moved to Shetland, he was just a little boy who lived in the Southeast coast on the mainland of Scotland. He went to Berwickshire High School in Duns where he was a hard-working student, but he admits himself that he “had his moments” and “wasn’t perfect.”

After high school, Mr Calder had big dreams to become a history teacher, so he studied at Stirling University and gained a degree in history and education.

He then went on and made a big controversial decision, almost as controversial as supporting Hearts FC, and this was to move to Shetland in 2001 to start teaching in the old Anderson High School. Here he taught history, geography, modern studies and was a pupil support teacher.

In August 2023, he made what he says is his greatest achievement, becoming head teacher at the AHS.

He said he wanted this job as “it’s such an honour doing a big job in Shetland” and he wants to work with pupils and make the school as good as it can be. He loves being able to help people with their learning and he missed being in the school as his connection and past with the AHS is so strong.

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When asked by pupils about any potential changes to the use of phones in school, and whether he would consider a ban, Mr Calder said that he does not plan to ban the use of phones in school at this point.

However, he said it is crucial that phones are used sensibly and respectfully, turned off in classrooms, and students are to leave them inside the classroom when going to the bathroom.

When asked about the use of vapes in and around the school, Mr Calder was clear that vaping is not tolerated or allowed in the AHS.

He is working with pupil support staff and other agencies to develop PSE [personal and social education] lessons on vaping to provide as much information as possible so students can make informed decisions.

Outside of school, Mr Calder can often be found enjoying time with his family and his puggle Elska or watching sports, walking and swimming. He also enjoys going out for meals locally and getting an Indian takeaway.

As a pupil at the Anderson High School, I think Mr Calder makes an outstanding head teacher and will continue to do so in the coming years.

See also Youthful perspective on the general election which was published as part of the Anderson High’s news project:

Youthful perspective on the general election

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