Craigroyston High School S6 pupil numbers double

Joe Dudgeon and brother Bryan. Picture: JANE BARLOW
Joe Dudgeon and brother Bryan. Picture: JANE BARLOW
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A HIGH school previously ranked among the Capital’s weakest has doubled the number of pupils staying until 18 as figures showed schools across the city making significant progress.

New data revealed Craigroyston Community High saw its S6 “staying on” rate leap from 18 per cent to 30 per cent in only two years – the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school sessions.

The S6 retention rates rose across the Capital and are now better than the national average. Some of the biggest increases were in schools in some of the most deprived areas of the city

Craigroyston’s latest figures compare with 2010-11, when the school’s S6 roll showed only 14 per cent had opted to sign up for another two years in class.

The trend means the number of Craigroyston youngsters staying until S6 rose from around 12 in 2010-11 to 25 in 2012-13.

Parents are delighted. They say the figures are evidence of a new spirit of ambition at the school – and one they hope will be built on.

Headteacher Steve Ross has already vowed he will continue to overhaul classes and teaching at Craigroyston, as staff work towards a target of keeping every pupil in school until S6.

Proud mum Veronica Robertson, 46, whose sons, Joe, 16, and Bryan, 13, attend the school and plan to stay until S6, said: “It’s great news – kids get a better deal if they stay on at school.

“For Joe, it’s always been about getting a good education and getting out of the scheme. There are no opportunities and staying on at school is the way to do it.

“His younger brother has obviously seen what Joe is doing and is keen to do that as well.”

The figures emerged from updated school statistics released by the Scottish Government and national standards agency Education Scotland.

Although stay-on rates varied across Edinburgh, the overall trend – which saw S6 retention rise from 61 per cent to 65 per cent between 2011-12 and 2012-13 – was firmly upwards, indicating scores more pupils are staying on at city schools. In a further encouraging sign, Edinburgh outperformed the national picture, where the figure rose from 56 to 59 per cent.

Some of most impressive results were at campuses serving the city’s most deprived neighbourhoods, which have historically suffered in comparison with counterparts elsewhere.

At Forrester High – which takes pupils from areas such as Wester Hailes and Sighthill – S6 retention between 2011-12 and 2012-13 leapt by a fifth from 41 to 61 per cent. And at Castlebrae Community High – which previously faced closure over falling rolls and poor exam results – the S6 staying-on rate over the same period rose from 21 per cent to 31 per cent.

Headteacher Derek Curran said the improved trend was the fruit of a sustained push over recent years to encourage youngsters to stay in class.

He said: “Getting more pupils to stay on is absolutely crucial. We know the longer young people are in full-time education, the more they thrive and get the best start in life. The longer they are at school, the keener they are to achieve positive destinations and at a much higher level.

“It means they end up with a CV they can take to employers and that they’re in a really strong position to move on.”

The new figures were also hailed by city education bosses, who said they are proof new approaches to teaching are working.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “The figures are very positive and demonstrate the ongoing success of our efforts to encourage pupils to stay on until sixth year.

“I’m particularly heartened to see some significant improvements in schools that have traditionally had lower stay-on rates. I think this shows the initiatives that have been introduced, like pupil mentoring, are having a really positive effect in supporting pupils and helping raise their aspirations.”

Capital performs well

THE updated Scottish Schools Online statistics show pupils in the Capital are continuing to perform well on most measures of exam performance.

In fourth year, the proportion of youngsters scoring five or more Standard Grade general passes in 2012-13 was 80 per cent – only slightly below the Scottish average of 82 per cent.

But at credit level, Edinburgh fourth years scored a 40 per cent pass rate – two percentage points up on the national figure. And at Higher level, 51 per cent of pupils in Edinburgh gained at least one pass – three percentage points higher than the figure recorded nationally – with 31 per cent succeeding in three or more subjects.

‘It’s important to people’s futures’

FOR 16-year-old Joe Dudgeon, an S5 pupil at Craigroyston High, staying on until the end of S6 is crucial given the demands of today’s workplace.

Now preparing to sit Highers in English, maths, graphic communication and geography, as well as a National 5 test in physics, Joe said he was looking forward to boosting his qualifications further in S6.

He said: “I think there’s a positive attitude to staying on now and the teachers have been impressing on pupils that it’s important to people’s futures. My brother, Bryan, who’s in S2, is also asking questions about courses and what the school can do for him if he stays on.”