Golspie High School is making progress in becoming more inclusive and achieving, its head teacher told Highland councillors yesterday.
Mark Evans told a meeting of the council’s Sutherland County area committee that he had a clear vision for the school after its disappointing performance in its last inspection a year ago.
He said: “Our attainment was graded satisfactory, but the inspection was helpful in enabling us to pinpoint particular areas to focus on.”
The school was widely criticised for its poor Highers achievement, with only 15% of pupils gaining five Highers, against a national expectation of 37%.
Mr Evans said: “It has been quite a battle to create a positive, forward-thinking school with absolutely committed staff. Recruitment of teachers is always a struggle, but what I have now is essentially a new enthusiastic staff, with the remaining experienced teachers more committed and it’s gelling really well.”
Mr Evans was pressed on the school’s low Highers achievement by local councillor Hugh Morrison, who asked him why Golspie High’s figure was 15% as opposed to Dornoch Academy’s 47% .
Mr Evans said: “There are differences between the two areas. Personally I want to close that gap.
“We already have some good news. Last year 35.5% of our leavers went to University. This year the figure looks to be 40%, with more than half of those unconditional offers.
“We might not be getting as many through five Highers, but we’re getting them to university.”
Inspectors rated the school ‘weak’ in ensuring wellbeing, equality and inclusion.
Mr Evans said: “We’ve been working really hard to create an inclusive school which unlocks the potential of everyone and instils the ethos of education for life.”
He said health and wellbeing officers had been working closely with disadvantaged pupils, and were seeing real results.
He added: “This week we’ve started informal discussions with parents from each year group about everything that’s going on in the school. The school is a very different place from a year ago, with a different atmosphere created by the staff.”