A league table that doesn’t tell the whole picture ...

Viewforth High School
Viewforth High School

A Kirkcaldy school has featured in the bottom ten of a nationwide league table based on exam results.

Viewforth High was one of nine secondary schools across Scotland which performed poorly with just one per cent of pupils achieving five Highers or more in 2013.

But councillors stressed it was just one measure of how the school was doing.

Viewforth wasn’t the only school in the Kingdom which ranked low in the table.

Lochgelly High had just two per cent of pupils securing five Highers or more and St Andrews RC High in Kirkcaldy and Buckhaven High each had three per cent of pupils attaining five or more Highers.

The town’s other two secondaries, Kirkcaldy High and Balwearie High, performed better with five per cent and 15 per cent of pupils making the grade respectively.

The top performer in Fife was Madras College, St Andrews which recorded 19 per cent of pupils achieving five or more Highers.

The figures, compiled annually using data from the Scottish Government, allow state schools to be ranked based on the percentage of the S4 roll who go on to pass five or more Highers in S5.

Again, the tables illustrate the gap between schools in affluent areas and those in more deprived parts of the country.

Common among all the best-performing secondaries was the relatively low numbers of children receiving free school meals. For example while only 10.8 per cent of pupils received free school meals at Madras and 40.5 per cent of pupils at Viewforth.

Joe Fitzpatrick, head of the Council’s education service, said Fife’s schools were making good progress.

He said short, medium and long-term strategies have been developed which will help close the educational gap between them, and support children from more disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their potential.

But councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, also believes there are other ways to measure success.

He said: “I would really like the Government to think again about this measurement of success, or indeed failure, of a school.

‘‘Vocational education should have equal status with academic education. Building confident young adults who are socially aware of society’s needs and community ranks high in my expectation of school achievement.”

He added: “Attainment in exams is a blunt instrument as Viewforth would rate very high in other measurements - staff and pupil morale is inspirational at the school.”