Glasgow schools closing the exam results gap

EXAM attainment levels in Glasgow are continuing to rise despite the city remaining at the bottom of the schools league table.

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Stephen Curran told of more pupils going into education, training or employment
Stephen Curran told of more pupils going into education, training or employment

The Scottish Government has released the Higher and Standard Grade results for every school in the country.

While the figures show that, once again, East Ren-frewshire Council tops the table, Glasgow is in joint last place with North Ayrshire.

Only once in recent years, in 2011, has Glasgow managed to pull itself from the bottom of the local authority league table.

But education chiefs say the city faces deprivation levels worse than anywhere else in the country and pupils go on to "positive leaver destinations", such as training or employment, that do not necessarily mean education.

Deprivation is measured by how many pupils are entitled to free school meals.

In Glasgow this is 27%, while the Scottish average of 16%. In Renfrewshire, the figure falls to 8%.

City councillor Stephen Curran, executive member for education and young people, said: "Not only have we recorded the best ever exam results this year, our recently published destination figures prove that we are also closing the gap with the rest of the country and more of our children than ever before are going on to education, training or employment. The number of our pupils achieving 3+ Highers by the end of S5 and S6 has risen by more than 3% since 2011.

"Our figure for young people going to higher education has risen every year since 2002 and has risen by another 2.1% this year to 31.4%, which makes it again the most popular destination for Glasgow's school leavers.

"This is particularly critical when the national figure for higher education destinations has fallen slightly."

At the top of Glasgow's league table, Hyndland Academy has raised its attainment at three or more Highers by 15 percentage points in two years.

This year it achieved 47% of pupils gaining three or more Highers, up from 38% last year and 32% in 2011.

CASTLEMILK High School is also thriving, having seen its results for three Highers rise from 2% in 2011 to 11% this year.

At Cleveden Secondary the results in this category are up 10 percentage points on last year to 23%.

Shawlands Academy has seen its pupils gaining three or more Highers rise to 34% this year from 23% last year.

Bellahouston Academy rose from 20% to 21%.

Last year Hillhead High School increased the number of fifth year pupils passing three or more Highers by 23 percentage points from 17% to 40%. But this year it has fallen to be in line with the Scottish average of 28%.

Kings Park Secondary, another of last year's notable schools, saw its grades rise from 19% to 29% but this year the number with three or more Highers had fallen back to 20%.

Lourdes Secondary had also been marked out as a success last year with its results rising from 14% to 24%. This year it has scored 25%.

Govan High, which regularly sits at the bottom of the city's league table, this year had no pupils pass three or more Highers. Last year it had 5% of pupils pass three Highers.

In East Renfrewshire, 59% of pupils leave school with three or more Highers compared to 20% in Glasgow.

East Renfrewshire also saw St Ninian's High School emerge as the top state school in the country with Williamwood second in the league and Mearns Castle in third place.

The council also received its best results at Standard Grade level and for several schools achieving five or more Highers.

East Renfrewshire's director of education, Mhairi Shaw said: "These results are a testimony to the phenomenal success of East Renfrewshire's educ-ation service in never resting on our laurels and always striving for improvement.

"Hard work and dedication from our pupils, teachers, education staff and parents has resulted in the successes we are celebrating today.

"We are always looking to invest in our education and better our school portfolio.

"Our school estate has been boosted with the recent opening of Eastwood High and we are set to follow this and match the first class teaching experience being provided at Barrhead High, with a new school building.

"Everyone who contri-butes day in day out across our schools to nurture and develop the young people should be proud of our achievements and we are looking towards how we can build on these successes in the future."

At St Roch's Secondary, in Royston, exam attainment is up for three Highers from 8% last year to 12% this year.

Head teacher Gerard McGuigan, who taught at St Ninian's High before moving to St Roch's six years ago, said dedicated plans for every child are vital to success.

MR McGuigan said: "We have a detailed tracking plan for each of our pupils and we regularly hold meetings to discuss every young person and how they are getting on with their subjects.

"It's time consuming but worthwhile. If a pupil is found to be falling behind we have a crisis intervention meeting and discuss how to get that person back on track. We do not let anyone fall through the cracks even though we deal with pupils who come from challenging backgrounds.

"As a result our leaver destinations are higher than the Scottish average and we have 55% of pupils going on to higher and further education.

"We want our pupils to know they can do anything they want to. If you have the ability to sit five Highers then we will help you do it - anything is possible."

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Education

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