Schools’ mixed fortunes

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The latest school tables reveal a mixed 2012 for Midlothian high schools.

Newbattle Community High School was in the bottom 10 performing schools in Scotland for pupils passing three or more highers this year.

Meanwhile, Beeslack and Penicuik beat the national averages in figures revealed on the Scottish Schools Online website run by Education Scotland. It gives a detailed breakdown of pre-appeal exam results for every secondary school in Scotland.

They show the percentage of S4 pupils passing five or more standard grades at level four or better, and the percentage of S4 pupils who go on to pass three or more highers in S5.

Newbattle High had Midlothian’s lowest rate of S4 pupils going on to pass three or more highers in S5 – four per cent.

This was down from nine per cent the previous year. The national average is 27 per cent.

The school, which last September was given the go-ahead for a £25 million re-build, did see a rise of three per cent in S4 pupils passing five or more standard grades this year compared to last. But their figure of 69 per cent is still short of Scotland’s average of 80 per cent.

Councillor Lisa Beattie (SNP), Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We recognise that league tables only measure certain elements of any school’s performance. There really has been some tremendous work done at Newbattle High School, with many successes, not least the recent COSLA award.”

Penicuik was the only Midlothian high school to see a percentage increase in both S4 pupils passing five or more standard grades (up one per cent to 86 per cent) and S4 pupils going on to pass three or more highers in S5 (up six per cent to 35 per cent).

Four of the county’s six schools equalled or bettered the national average for five or more standard grade passes.

Yet it was the reverse for three or more highers, with only Penicuik (35 per cent) and Beeslack (33 per cent) beating the national average.

St David’s RC was the county’s worst performing high school in terms of passing five or more standard grades, with 63 per cent, down nine per cent from the previous year.

Councillor Beattie added: “We have seen a number of continued positive trends across Midlothian in exam results but going forward, we recognise that there are still some challenges in relation to key target areas. Education staff will continue to support the schools to further improve attainment.”