PUPILS at state schools in Scotland’s largest city have seen their exam results transformed over the past decade, new data shows.

Despite significant levels of poverty across Glasgow the proportion of pupils securing Highers has increased at a dramatic rate since 2007.

Ten years ago only a quarter of pupils achieved at least one Higher compared to more than 53 per cent this year – an increase of 91 per cent.

Loading article content

For the highest-attaining pupils the improvement has been even more dramatic with just five per cent securing five or more Highers in 2007 compared to nearly 13 per cent now – a 158 per cent rise.

READ MORE: Tackling stark impact of poverty on exam results is the single biggest challenge in Scottish education

Glasgow is progressing at a faster rate than the national average with Scottish figures showing an increase of 53 per cent for pupils securing one or more Higher and 94 per cent for those achieving five or more Highers.

A number of factors are seen as crucial to the improvement with a reduction in the proportion of pupils being excluded and new policies to support the most disadvantaged pupils.

Other policies include a focus on better teaching and school leadership and the use of restorative justice techniques – where pupils are forced to confront the impact of their actions – to help discipline.

Chris Cunningham, the council’s education convener, said the past decade had seen a “tremendous focus” on improving attainment.

READ MORE: From a drunk teacher to pupils standing on street corners: How Glasgow turned it around

He said: “Glasgow is making great strides to raise the bar and we will continue to work to close the national attainment gap.

“This will remain a key focus of the city government and I will work with colleagues in schools and the council to ensure we continue to deliver.”

Susan Quinn, Glasgow representative of the Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union, paid tribute to the hard work of all staff.

She said: “Glasgow teachers consistently work hard to overcome the disadvantage many pupils face and the success they achieve is often overlooked by politicians and others.

“Tackling the impact of poverty is a complex challenge, which goes beyond the school gate, but our schools are making a difference.”

READ MORE: Tackling stark impact of poverty on exam results is the single biggest challenge in Scottish education

Detailed figures show improvements are apparent across the city from schools in more affluent areas to those serving more impoverished communities.

Hillhead High School, in the west end, has seen the proportion of pupils securing five or more Highers rise from 10 per cent in 2007 to just below 25 per cent. Nearby Hyndland Secondary has also seen progress with 34 per cent now achieving five or more Highers compared to 19 per cent a decade ago.

Maura McNeil, headteacher of Hyndland, said: “There is a clear vision across the city with everybody working together.

“That sounds simple, but it is actually a difficult thing to deliver across such a large city. We are all working to get the best for pupils.”

Elsewhere St Andrew’s Secondary, in the east end, saw 18 per cent of pupils achieving five or more Highers compared to just three per cent in 2007.

Gerry Lyons, headteacher of St Andrew’s, said: “We are very focused on analysing what we do and focusing on the things that work. That has been a major change in the city.

READ MORE: From a drunk teacher to pupils standing on street corners: How Glasgow turned it around

“We tell all of our pupils that they have the ability to achieve as soon as they walk through the door and they hear that message consistently. When they see their classmates achieving they buy into it.”

And Castlemilk High School, on the south side, has also been transformed with their best ever results in 2017.

The school often had no pupils getting five or more Highers in the past, but this year nine per cent secured the benchmark.

Lynn McPhillips, headteacher of Castlemilk, added: “Whatever support the pupils need we give it to them.

“We have a relentless focus on making sure young people achieve their potential and the staff never give up on them. As the school motto says, we want nothing but the best for them.”