Eight of the top ten state schools in The Herald’s annual league tables come from the west of Scotland.

Our table of the top 50 state schools in Scotland Jordanhill School, in the west end of Glasgow is top with 83 per cent of school-leavers achieving five or more Highers.

The school - the only state-funded secondary not in council control - improved its performance on last year when 81 per cent of pupils achieved the benchmark.

Dr Paul Thomson, rector of Jordanhill, said its position in the The Herald’s table of the top 50 state schools in Scotland reflected the philosophy of supporting all pupils.

He said: “The work done by our pupils on initiatives such as anti-bullying has been central to creating an inclusive and supportive culture in which everyone can achieve to their full potential.

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“The outcome of empowering our teachers, pupil support assistants, parents and pupils is that our pupils consistently achieve far beyond what might reasonably be expected regardless of their home background, gender, race, additional support needs or abilities.”

Second in our table was Dunblane High School, in Stirling, where 76 per cent of pupils achieved five or more Highers.

Stuart MacKay, the school’s headteacher, said: “This is a fantastic achievement by the young people of our school and reflects not only the quality of teaching, but also the support our young people get from parents and others within the community.”

Once again, secondary schools from East Renfrewshire dominated the league tables taking three out of the top five spots.

Paul O’Kane, the council’s education convener, said the performance of schools such as St Ninian’s High and Mearns Castle continued to go from strength to strength.

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“The latest figures are a result of the hard work and dedication put in by all our staff, pupils and their supportive parents,” he said.

“To have so many schools at the top is an outstanding achievement, with all our other schools also maintaining or building on their excellent performance.”

Glasgow state schools which feature in our table include the Glasgow Gaelic School, which came tenth, Hyndland Secondary, which came 32nd, and Notre Dame High School, which came 40th.

While the league tables make for interesting comparisons between schools in different communities, one of the most interesting figures is the percentage of pupils living in Scotland’s poorest neighbourhoods.

Many of the top schools have no pupils from poor backgrounds, while those that have the most are generally further down the table.

This once again shows the impact of poverty on attainment given the range of social problems and caring responsibilities faced by disadvantaged pupils.

However, this makes the performance of schools with higher levels of deprivation such as Notre Dame, Hyndland and St Luke’s, in East Renfrewshire, even more impressive.

Brian Boyd, emeritus professor of education at Strathclyde University, said the percentage of pupils living in disadvantaged areas was a very significant factor in overall results.

He said: “Schools performing equally well in different parts of the country can have quite different sets of results because of the types of communities they serve.

“The figures show schools with very few disadvantaged pupils tend to be those at the top of these tables.

“We know schools in disadvantaged areas such as Glasgow have significantly improved their results over the past decade, but it is not necessarily going to show up in these figures.”

Eileen Prior, executive director of parents’ organisation Connect, said families wanted well-rounded information about their child’s school - not just exam results.

She said: “Parents want to know as much as possible such as what activities and opportunities are on offer, how schools support pupils and how they develop relationships with families.”

Joanna Murphy, chair of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, said families should be wary about the information presented in league tables because they show schools through a very narrow lens.

She added: “Making judgments about a particular school using exam results alone is not an accurate measurement of what each school offers its pupils and their families.”

A spokeswoman for schools body Education Scotland said exam results were published annually to help raise attainment.

She said: “The information adds to that already provided by schools in their handbooks, quality reports, websites and communications with parents. All these together help parents better understand the work of their schools.”