SCHOOLS from council areas in the west of Scotland have dominated this year’s Herald league tables.

Seven of the top ten secondaries in the state sector based on their performance in Higher exams are from Glasgow and surrounding council regions.

Jordanhill School, in Glasgow’s west end, recording the highest proportion of pupils achieving five or more Highers by the time they leave.

READ MORE: Herald View: Attainment gap is still stubbornly tough to close

East Renfrewshire schools also delivered another strong performance in the 2015/16 school year with three schools in our top ten. Secondaries in East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire also featured.

Dr Paul Thomson, rector of Jordanhill, welcomed the results, but said the data published by the Scottish Government challenged all schools to improve.

He said: “It has been a key focus for Jordanhill to mesh together multiple strands of work on aspects such as classroom practice, pupil support and our digital strategy to allow the potential of every young person to flourish.

“While the achievement of a particular benchmark is praiseworthy, it is not an end in itself and it is more pleasing to note that, regardless of gender, race, additional support needs or abilities, our pupils consistently achieve far beyond what might reasonably be expected.”

Mhairi Shaw, director of education at East Renfrewshire Council, said the results showed children of all backgrounds were reaching their potential.

She said: “Our approach identifies the differing needs of children at the earliest opportunity and allows schools to put appropriate interventions in place.

HeraldScotland:

“We work with our schools to share and celebrate the successes of all young people and take action where the data is suggesting the need for further support, a change in the curriculum or improvements to learning and teaching.

“The support provided to pupils from across the area, including in disadvantaged communities, is paying dividends.”

While the league table makes for interesting reading one of the columns that is most notable is the percentage of pupils each school has from the poorest communities in Scotland.

Strikingly, seven of the top ten schools on the list have either none or fewer than five pupils from deprived backgrounds. Some of them serve almost exclusively middle class communities.

While this does not take away from the achievements of the pupils in these schools it is an important reminder that many are not dealing with the significant issues of multiple deprivation that are present in communities elsewhere, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee as well as former industrial communities such as Inverclyde.

Crucially, these schools may be just as good at educating their most academic pupils as the schools on our list, but will not appear so because the statistics do not reflect the more varied community they serve.

Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said it was vital parents understood the data could only tell part of the story of a school.

She said: “Our perspective is that parents and their parent councils should be involved in working with school staff to agree where improvement is needed and be part of that process.”

Professor Louise Hayward, from Glasgow University’s School of Education, also urged a more hands-on approach.

She said: “Parents need to be aware that there can be significant differences within schools as well as between schools.

“There can be a variation in the way different subject departments in the same school deal with issues such as engaging with pupils from the most disadvantaged areas.

“There is no substitute for a visit to the school and a discussion with the headteacher to get behind the headline figures and find out what it is really like.”

The exam data used by The Herald to construct the league table is gleaned from the Parentzone Scotland website, which is hosted by national schools’ body Education Scotland.

It features a range of information on state schools including figures on attendance and absence, standards of literacy and numeracy and the destinations pupils go to when they leave such as college, university or employment.

Dr Bill Maxwell, chief executive of Education Scotland, said the resource was designed to give families a fuller picture of their local school.

He said: “We know that parental support and encouragement are vital to children’s development so it is important we provide parents with a range of information about their child’s progress.

READ MORE: Herald View: Attainment gap is still stubbornly tough to close

“Parents can now benefit from access to a wealth of data about their child’s education through Parentzone Scotland, from information on school leavers’ destinations to our inspection reports for individual schools.

“Providing this level of information helps to strengthen the link between parents and schools and encourages them to play an active role in their child’s education.”

Top Schools 2016

Format: School...Council...% 5+ Highers...Benchmark...% Deprivation

Jordanhill School...Glasgow...79...57...7

St Ninian's High School...East Renfrewshire...77...55...6

Williamwood High School...East Renfrewshire...70...57...*

Cults Academy...Aberdeen City...69...53...0

Mearns Castle High School...East Renfrewshire...69...57...*

Gryffe High School...Renfrewshire...65...50...*

Boroughmuir High School...Edinburgh City...63...59...*

Bearsden Academy...East Dunbartonshire...63...55...*

Douglas Academy...East Dunbartonshire...61...52...6

Linlithgow Academy...West Lothian...61...52...*

Bishopbriggs Academy...East Dunbartonshire...60..43...12

James Gillespie's High School...Edinburgh City...60...60...5

Balfron High School...Stirling...60...50...*

Aberdeen Grammar School...Aberdeen City...59...55...6

Dunblane High School...Stirling...57...56...*

North Berwick High School...East Lothian...55...49...0

Woodfarm High School...East Renfrewshire...55...43...19

Glasgow Gaelic School...Glasgow City...55...48...*

Boclair Academy...East Dunbartonshire...54...40...15

Peebles High School...Scottish Borders...54...44...0

Turnbull High School...East Dunbartonshire...53...49...*

St Luke's High School...East Renfrewshire...53...35...35

Eastwood High School...East Renfrewshire...53...44...7

Royal High School...Edinburgh City...53...54...5

Strathaven Academy...South Lanarkshire...53...43...*

Banchory Academy...Aberdeenshire...52...42...0

Wallace Hall Academy...Dumfries & Galloway...52...42....*

Lenzie Academy...East Dunbartonshire...52...45...6

Fortrose Academy...Highland...52...42...0

Largs Academy...North Ayrshire...52...49...4

Alford Academy...Aberdeenshire...51...43...0

St Ninian's High School...East Dunbartonshire...51...35...11

Clydeview Academy...Inverclyde...51...44...13

Tobermory High School...Argyll and Bute...50...34...0

Moffat Academy...Dumfries & Galloway...50...37...0

Grove Academy...Dundee City...50...49...4

St Thomas of Aquin's High School...Edinburgh City...50...48...14

McLaren High School...Stirling...50...46...0

Our Lady's High School (Cumbernauld)...North Lanarkshire...49...37...16

Biggar High School...South Lanarkshire...49...38...*

Aboyne Academy...Aberdeenshire...48...46...0

Balerno Community High...Edinburgh City...48...50...3

Hyndland Secondary School...Glasgow City...48...37...26

Earlston High School...Scottish Borders...48...40...*

Dalbeattie High School...Dumfries & Galloway...47...39...0

Glen Urquhart High School...Highland...47...40...0

Castle Douglas High School...Dumfries & Galloway...46...38...*

St Joseph's College...Dumfries & Galloway...46...45...5

Madras College...Fife...46...48...*

Millburn Acadeny...Highland...46...39...11

Kyle Academy...South Ayrshire...46...38...21

You can also view this table here:  Top Schools 2016, The Herald 08.03.2016.pdf