Council Executive notes positive school pupil performance

A group of high school pupils hold up their exam result papers

Published: Tuesday, 7th November 2017

Our Executive Committee has noted two reports relating to pupil performance.

The first has highlighted the significant progress that has been made over the past five years at senior level by S5 and S6 pupils.

They also heard that early years and primary school pupils are performing well when measured against the Broad General Education (BGE) benchmarking standards developed in August 2016.

Senior pupils making continuous improvements 

Attainment and achievement of senior phase pupils reported against the Scottish Government’s statistical benchmarking tool, Insight show real strengths in performance with significant progress being made with all 15 key measures. The performance of both S5 and S6 pupils shows an improving trend with 2017 results overall being above the national average. In terms of literacy and numeracy, there has been an increase from the previous year for S5 pupils at National 3, 4 and 5 with a similar picture for S6 pupils.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Children and Young People

“These figures are the result of a great deal of hard work and dedication on the part of school staff, the young people themselves and of course their parents and carers and they are all to be commended for their efforts. It is encouraging to see such continuous improvement and also that we are maintaining a positive trend in leaver destinations.”

Strong performance by younger pupils

New performance measures introduced last year for younger pupils are designed to provide clarity on the national standards expected within each curriculum area and to make clear what learners need to know and be able to do to progress through the agreed levels. Evidence of pupils’ achievement is gathered by teachers who use a variety of sources to demonstrate progress including day to day learning, coursework and planned periodic assessment.

Attainment across all stages and subjects at primary level is consistently above the national average which puts the Scottish Borders in the upper band of highest attaining local authorities. Notable achievements in session 2016/17 include P1 and P4 pupils achieving at the appropriate level while at P7 most pupils achieved second level for listening/talking and reading. Almost all S3 pupils achieved third level for literacy and numeracy.

Achievements in the early years

The importance of early years education was also highlighted, particularly in light of the preparations that are being made for the Scottish Government’s planned expansion of early learning and childcare hours from 600 to 1140 from 2020. Proposals for delivering the additional hours across the Borders were outlined to Executive Members in a separate report, but they were told of the highly positive outcome already experienced by children, families and staff teams at Philiphaugh Community School Nursery who took part in a seven month pilot in 2016. As a result, the headteacher found that children’s attainment had benefitted overall from the extended hours, with their literacy showing particular improvement.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Children and Young People

“Making sure that we are doing all we can to support our younger pupils to achieve well in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing is one of our highest priorities, with work being done every day in primary schools across the region to support this aim. Once again, it is encouraging to see such good progress being made and our thanks go to our teaching and support staff for their commitment.

“The progress made at the early years level by children taking part in the pilot at Philiphaugh is to be commended and we look forward to being able to extend that opportunity to many more young learners and their families with the exciting potential this has in terms of early intervention and as part of our overall commitment to closing the attainment gap.

“Both these reports also outline a series of steps that will be taken at school, local authority and regional level to ensure that we continue to do all we can to improve pupil performance and raise attainment for all. We are ambitious to see pupils achieve the highest levels they can and intend implementing a number of approaches to support that goal including putting raising attainment at the heart of all quality improvement activity and developing a Raising Attainment Strategy.”

More information

The reports are available to download from our website