New measures of success at Buckhaven

Some of the prizewinners at Buckhaven.
Some of the prizewinners at Buckhaven.

A YEAR of remarkable accomplishment at Buckhaven High School has helped redefine the concept of success.

Head teacher David McClure took the general theme of success as the topic of his end-of-term address.

But he felt a few supplementary questions were necessary to explain conclusively if 2011-12 was a triumph at Methilhaven Road.

The answers convinced him it certainly had been, with outstanding academic feats complementing others in music, sport, art, charity work and community support.

“The Oxford English Dictionary states success is ‘the achievement of something attempted’ but I think this definition is a bit one-dimensional,” said Mr McClure.

“What if you attempt something which can’t be done, or you attempt something that is so easy anyone can do it?”

Mr McClure said “a set of five deeper questions”, linked to how success might be measured, would sum up if 2011-12 was a success for Buckhaven High School.

If it is measured by being among the best, how did we do?

A long list of achievements in music and sport – yielding a total of 14 national winners and 56 Fife winners – told the story.

If success is measured by helping others, how did we do?

The school had assisted Methilhill Primary with accommodation while its roof was replaced; it had observed VE Day and Remembrance Day, and helped the education service by hosting the Young Carers’ Initiative, while also raising over £3240 for five main charities.

If success is measured by managing change, how did we do?

Buckhaven continued to introduce the new Curriculum for Excellence and had made “some imaginative and radical changes to our framework”.

If success is measured by showing improvement, how did we do?

Improving trends were recorded in a range of exam awards and attainment, while year on year, nearly a quarter of Buckhaven High pupils went to university and 71 per cent went to work or college.

This year, 95 per cent of school leavers were off to a “positive destination”.

If success is measured by how others see us, how did we do?

A Fife education service review in December was followed in February by an HMIe inspection, which said: “Young people are rightly proud of their school. They enjoy school, where they feel safe and well cared for.

“Relationships between young people and staff are very positive.

“Staff across the school are clearly committed to improving the quality of young people’s learning.”

Mr McClure said having fun was another vital ingredient to accomplishing success, and there had been many enjoyable outings and activities.

“Well done to every single one of our pupils, to every single member of staff and to every parent and supporter, who has helped us achieve such a succesful session,” added Mr McClure.

Guest speaker was former pupil Gordon Cairns, who captained the school golf team to UK success in 1972 and whose business career included spells with KPMG, House of Fraser and the Laidlaw group, among others.

He also did extensive charity work and was a business adviser for Young Enterprise Scotland, and a mentor at Napier University.

Very proud of his Buckhaven years, he told teachers they did an important job which was invaluable to pupils, who could achieve much across Scotland and in wider society.

He appealed to parents to encourage their sons and daughters, adding: “Give them a supportive and caring environment and watch them flourish.”

And he told pupils: “Be proud of your Buckhaven education – it has equipped you very well for life and will be a good asset to you.

“You can have a significant and positive impact on those around you, regardless of how old you are.”

Musical entertainment also peppered the evening, while the departing sixth-year pupils were ‘piped out’ at the end of the ceremony.