Pass marks for senior pupils hit an all time high

The district's high school pupils are now near the top of the class
The district's high school pupils are now near the top of the class

Falkirk’s youngsters are among the best in Scotland when it comes to passing exams.

Latest figures show the performance of high school pupils is at an all time high and now better than the national average.

The number who left secondary in 2016 with the qualifications that should give them the best chance of a good job continued the upward trend of the last five years and put Falkirk seventh in the league table of 32.

Falkirk’s results were benchmarked against the national average and a ‘Virtual Comparator’ made up of pupils from schools in other local authorities who have similar characteristics based on gender, additional support needs, levels of deprivation and leaving age.

It showed 95 per cent left the classroom with what the experts call a ‘positive destination’, two per cent better than the national average and five per cent up on 2012.

Attainment in literacy continues to improve, and also now higher than the national average within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level four and five at 95 and 80 per cent compared with 94 and 79 per cent respectively.

Performance in numeracy at level four and five remains a concern however.

While the numbers continue to improve, Falkirk’s high schools are still below average, attainment at level four – 88 compared with 90 per cent, and at level five – 63 against 67 per cent.

In his report to the education executive Robert Naylor, director of children’s services, promised there will be a “closer look” at curriculum arrangements to get the numbers up.

Across the board however the latest ‘report card’ makes impressive reading with the percentage of pupils leaving school with either one, three or five Highers all up on the last five years and better in two categories than the national average and matching it in the third.

Councillor Linda Gow said: “Falkirk’s schools are moving in a positive direction and its great to see so many of our young people doing well. The staff deserve praise.”

Councillor Tom Coleman of the SNP said: “The number of young people going on to positive destinations today is very near to perfection. What we are achieving is very heartening. Our pupils are proving they are as good as anyone else and given where we once were there is plenty to be proud about.”

His colleague, Councillor David Alexander claimed: “The figures are excellent given at one time Falkirk was so far below the national average. The staff and pupils deserve to be congratulated. The figures also make a nonsense of some of the comments made about Scottish education recently.”

Mr Naylor said key priorities in the future will include tackling disadvantage and closing the poverty related attainment gap.

Pupils from more deprived areas have significantly lower attainment than pupils living in less deprived areas and extra funding is to be allocated to schools on the basis of their deprivation profiles.