Falkirk area high school 'most improved' in Scotland

A high school in the Falkirk area has enjoyed a massive turn around in exam fortunes to be named the “most improved” school in Scotland by a national newspaper.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 1:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 1:55 pm

The Times Scotland published its 2022 High School League Table and Braes High School, in Newlands Road, Brightons, saw the biggest turnaround in exam success from 2016 – the last year there were comparable figures.

While Jordanhill School topped the table for the sixth year running, Braes High School had an amazing increase in “gold standard” pupils – those youngsters who gain five or more Highers.

Last year, 62 per cent of Braes High pupils attained five Highers, up from 33 per cent the school achieved in 2016.

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Head teacher Iain Livingstone with Braes High School pupils

Councillor Laura Murtagh, Falkirk Council spokesperson for education said: “The progress that has been made in the last few years to raise attainment at Braes High is an amazing achievement for everyone at the school.

“The school has demonstrated real resilience to come through as the most improved school in Scotland despite the challenges of the last two years. These figures themselves only tell a small part of the story as the attainment demonstrated by our pupils across a variety of levels is a fantastic illustration of the diversity of positive destinations our pupils go on to.

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“Having met with pupils recently to discuss the school’s success, it was impossible not to be impressed with their confidence and positive attitude towards many aspects of their school experience, not only on learning and teaching but on the community ethos within the school, family learning and pastoral support.

“Pupils spoke with real passion about their links with local community, charities, and their cluster primary schools, helping to create an environment which fostered a positive atmosphere where they can achieve their best whilst helping others.

"It’s fantastic to see the results come through in the attainment figures which match with wider success within the school. To be named as the most improved school in Scotland and in the top 30 performing schools is fantastic news and everyone at the school should be very proud of the progress they have made in raising attainment.”

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, the existing SQA examination methods had to be revised and pupil submissions were assessed by class teachers.

Pupil Louise Robertson explained how much she recognised her achievements during the period of teacher assessment.

She said: “They are worth the same but personally I will always be prouder of myself for getting through last year, which was a very difficult year with so many assessments and not much time.

“I was stressed. It was not a normal year. People might believe the qualifications were gained more easily because they were judged by teachers, but people often forget everything else that was going on.”

Head teacher Iain Livingstone said: “If the direction of travel for the country is more of a blend of exams and continuous assessment, that wouldn’t faze us. It is about knowing the learners, working with them and being able to support them.

“I agree that there is still a need to test your mettle and prove your worth in an examination as young people might be assessed in a similar way in the workplace, but I would certainly endorse a wider approach to gaining qualifications.”