Hard-working Northfield Academy pupils are defying expectations eight months after the Aberdeen school hit rock bottom.
Huge changes have been made since March, as bosses scrambled to make drastic improvements following a public flogging from watchdogs.
Education Scotland gave the Granitehill Place secondary school the lowest “unsatisfactory” grade in all four areas of its assessment.
It came after one departing American teacher told us his time teaching in the deprived area was “worse than anything he saw in the US”.
The recovery effort was dealt a blow when Douglas Watt quit his role after three-and-a-half years due to “personal reasons” last month.
He has since been replaced by Craig McDermott, who took over the reins just two weeks ago.
An update on progress made at Northfield suggests that there are finally some promising signs of progress.
It reveals that bonding trips and adding “less traditional” courses to the curriculum have played a part in the turnaround.
How have Northfield Academy pupils improved results?
The report highlights that more youngsters are attaining higher grades thanks to changes to the S4-S6 curriculum.
Figures show the number of young people achieving at least one SCQF Level 4 qualification in S4 increased by around 4% compared to 2022.
While the number of pupils gaining at least one SCQF Level 5 shot up by 8%.
There was also some success at S5 with a 4% rise in students achieving at least one SCQF Level 6.
So what were the changes that have boosted Northfield Academy results?
Pupils in S4 are now able to take part in skills for work courses, which have less focus on more traditional academic subjects.
Those looking to join the beauty industry can learn the basics of make-up artistry through a partnership with the professionals from GlamCandy.
Meanwhile mechanics and construction courses are also on offer.
How do S1 pupils get ‘positive start’ to their time at Northfield?
The report also hails significant changes that have been made before first year pupils even begin there.
The group and their “crew” teachers were invited to take part in an “outward bound experience” to allow them to get to know each other better.
More than 80% of the cohort attended the event, which lasted four days and was held on the first week of term.
Feedback revealed the experience gave youngsters a “really positive start” to their time at the school and helped to form strong bonds.
Meanwhile an area of the building has been adapted to form a “home” space, allowing young people to feel more comfortable while at school.
Survey indicates pupils are happier to attend
Meanwhile, a recent survey revealed more pupils feel safe while at the school.
But while the 4% increase was deemed to be “pleasing”, it was acknowledged that more work needs to be done to improve this.
Meanwhile, a group of young people who struggle to regularly attend classes have been identified.
School staff have been working hard to ensure these pupils are given “appropriate educational pathways” to allow them to improve their grades.
You can read more about Northfield Academy’s new headteacher below: