Education Scotland recognises positive progress at Hawick High School

Published: 21st March 2023

Education Scotland has recognised continued improvements at Hawick High School which were found to be working well in supporting young people’s health and wellbeing, learning and progress

After reviewing all of the evidence and in discussion with the council, Education Scotland are now confident that the school has the capacity to continue to improve, and will make no further visits in connection with the inspection report of December 2019.

Education Scotland published an initial report on the secondary school which set out a number of areas for improvement.  These were agreed with the school and ourselves.

A further visit was made in February 2022, where inspectors worked closely with the headteacher and staff and found progress had been made in many areas since their initial inspection.  Inspectors asked for further information to be provided in a year’s time to ensure progress continued to be made at the school.

As requested, we have now provided Education Scotland with a report on the school’s progress.  The report is available online  and highlights the progress made in a number of areas.

Improvements achieved

Staff continue to develop positive relationships with young people which was leading to a calmer, more focused learning environment. They were also undertaking professional learning to better understand the needs of all young people.

The House Championship led by the staff Improvement Teams has created a sense of ethos and achievement across the school. The House Assembly programme is now well established and has strengthened the role of the DHT House, House Mentors and House Captain and celebration events are now taking place for both BGE and Senior Phase students.

Across the school there is more consistency in the structure of lessons and in the quality of learning and teaching experiences for young people. Over the past 12 months, there have continued to be considerable improvements in this area.

Improving learning and teaching remains a core focus and this is evidenced in the high quality professional learning, which is on offer for all staff, the professional dialogue around teaching and improved experiences in the classroom for young people.  Digital technology has a very high profile in all aspects of the school and its work, highlighted by the school achieving the Digital Schools Award in June 2022.

Senior leaders have continued to make improvements to the curriculum, both in school courses and those delivered with partners. These are impacting positively on attainment of young people in the senior phase. The curriculum continues to provide a growing range of pathways and experiences for young people through the addition of NPAs and new National courses.

Over the past 12 months, the attainment of young people has continued to improve, with the attainment of pupils in the senior phase having significantly improved. Young people are achieving more qualifications at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level 4 – SCQF level 6. Young people in the senior phase are also attaining well in literacy and numeracy.

As part of its arrangements for reporting to parents on the quality of education, we will continue to inform parents about the school’s progress.

Recently retired Headteacher Vicky Porteous

“Over the past four and a half years, the staff and young people of Hawick High School have worked incredibly hard to bring about significant school improvement. I am delighted that their commitment, efforts and capacity for ongoing improvement has been recognised. This is an outstanding achievement for the school and community and the best retirement gift I could have hoped for. I am delighted to be handing over the leadership of the school to Acting Headteacher Lisa Scott who will continue to support the school on its improvement Journey”.

Jonathan Short, Parent Council Chair

“I am delighted that the commitment to improvement by staff and young people has been recognised by Education Scotland and I want to congratulate all the staff on the outstanding improvements they have made on this journey over the last four years. The parent council look forward to working alongside the school on its continuing improvement journey’