SCHOOLS in the west of Scotland have dominated this year's Herald league tables.

Eight of the top ten schools in the country based on exam performance at Higher have all come from Glasgow or surrounding council areas with Edinburgh schools taking just one place and Stirling the other.

Jordanhill School in Glasgow's west end was the top performing school for the second year in a row with 75 per cent of its pupils achieving The Herald's benchmark of five or more Highers by the time they leave.

Dr Paul Thomson, rector of Jordanhill - which is state funded but independently run - said the results reflected the hard work of pupils, the commitment of staff and the support from parents.

Although the school serves once of the country's most affluent communities Mr Thomson said the focus of staff was on pupils from all backgrounds.

He said: "The national data indicates that regardless of gender, race, additional support needs or abilities our pupils consistently achieve far beyond what might reasonably be expected both against national benchmarks and against pupils with similar characteristics.

"These outcomes reflect our philosophy of supporting and challenging each young person based on their individual strengths and needs."

This year is also the first time since the league tables were collated by The Herald that a Glasgow comprehensive state school has beaten secondaries from the affluent suburbs of East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire.

The Glasgow Gaelic School came second in our table with 74 per cent of pupils achieving the benchmark of five or more Highers.

The comprehensive school delivering success for all its pupils

Controversial league tables still have their place

Donalda McComb, the school's headteacher, said the bilingual nature of the education helped boost attainment and provided a unique ethos.

She said: "Young people come from different backgrounds and 80 per cent are from homes where there is no previous connection with the language.

“Quite a lot of these families learn some of the language themselves in order to support their sons or daughters and that helps to create that wider ethos.

“We have very hard working staff and pupils who are motivated... but we see that extra language component as having a positive impact on their wider learning."

As usual several schools from East Renfrewshire featured amongst the top schools with three in our top five.

However, while not appearing at the top of the table, there was an equally impressive performance from two East Renfrewshire schools in the more disadvantaged area of Barrhead.

Barrhead High School and St Luke’s High School both saw a significant jump in performance placing them alongside other schools with far lower levels of deprivation.

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Mhairi Shaw, director of education for East Renfrewshire, said: "These results are a testimony to the hard work and dedication of our pupils, teachers, education staff and parents.

"It’s particularly rewarding to see that our figures reveal an incredible performance from two schools in our more disadvantaged areas."

Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said it was important families used the Parentzone Scotland site, where the Herald takes the data from, to find out as much as possible about prospective schools.

The website also includes links to school inspection reports, attendance and absence figures and data on where pupils go to when they leave school.

Mrs Prior said: "The information provided helps parents see beyond the league tables and understand their local school and how staff there will support and encourage their children to stretch themselves in all aspects of their development.”

Angela Constance, the Education Secretary, said: “Parents can now benefit from more and better information than ever before, helping them become more informed about their children’s progress.

"Schools cannot be judged by any single measure and this data adds to a range of available information on individual school performance."