Bell Baxter High on top form in its historic year

Bell Baxter rector Phil Black, pictured last year with then school captains Ross Stockton and Fiona Cooper, has priased the performance of pupils at the Cupar school.
Bell Baxter rector Phil Black, pictured last year with then school captains Ross Stockton and Fiona Cooper, has priased the performance of pupils at the Cupar school.
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Attendance rates and exam passes at Bell Baxter High School have both shown significant improvement over the past year, a new report shows.

Members of north east Fife area committee heard at their most recent meeting that the school – one of the largest in Scotland - had shown a strong upward trend over the past three years in Higher results and had shown its strongest performance for over five years in terms of the number of Advanced Higher passes.

And Rector Phil Black praised S4 pupils for their performance during the first year of new National qualifications, which he described as a “testing time” for all schools.

“Initial analysis indicates that the results of our S4 cohort stand up well to national comparison,” he said.

“National 5 results in English and Maths are significantly above the national position.”

Mr Black said that evidence of the pupils’ achievements could be seen in the school’s ‘positive destination’ rate.

He said the percentage of pupils achieving positive destinations had been above that of Fife and the rest of Scotland for the past three years.

Any pupils heading for ‘negative destinations’ were closely monitored.

“The vast majority of our learners achieve success that is commensurate with their ability and their prior learning,” said Mr Black.

Attendance rates had also imroved for the third year in a row, Mr Black’s report revealed.

In 2013-14, the absence rate was 7.2 per cent, compared with 8.9 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively in the two previous years.

Exclusion rates also remained low, with 85 days per thousand pupils lost in the 2013-14 session – significantly lower than both the Fife and national average.

In his report, the rector described the figures as ‘a strong endorsement of the school’s commitment to a restorative approach when dealing with relationships and behaviour management.”

2014 was an historic year for Bell Baxter as present and former pupils took part in a range of activities to celebrate its 125th anniversary.

The year also saw numerous academic and sporting individual successes and in June two staff members and one pupil were chosen to carry the Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games.

With a roll of over 1600, Bell Baxter has 19 feeder primariesinCupar and surrounding villages which, said Mr Black, shared the school’s vision of giving pupils the best preparation for life.

He said the school’s size presented an almost unique set of challenges and opportunities to deliver a first-class education for its pupils.

“We can trace our school’s origins back to the 13th century,” commented Mr Black.

“But our culture, aims and strategies are clearly focused on delivering a learning experience which will prepare all our pupils to participate successfully in the 21st century.”