School exam results on an upward curve

File photo dated 08/02/12 of a pupil at work in a classroom. Children will lose out if the Government's current education policy, which fuels intense competition between schools, is not reversed, a union leader has claimed.PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday September 1, 2014. Pitting school against school has also had a damaging effect on relationships between staff, with school leaders now issuing instructions and teachers simply doing as they are told,  according to Mark Baker, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) new president. See PA story EDUCATION Schools. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
File photo dated 08/02/12 of a pupil at work in a classroom. Children will lose out if the Government's current education policy, which fuels intense competition between schools, is not reversed, a union leader has claimed.PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday September 1, 2014. Pitting school against school has also had a damaging effect on relationships between staff, with school leaders now issuing instructions and teachers simply doing as they are told, according to Mark Baker, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) new president. See PA story EDUCATION Schools. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Despite an ‘extremely fraught year’, exam results have largely improved, the council’s service director for children and young people has said.

Carol Kirk told the education committee on Tuesday that the general trend for the Borders as a whole was an upward one, in relation to the number of qualifications achieved by pupils.

However, she added: “It has been an extremely fraught year looking at a whole new set of qualifications coming in.”

Ms Kirk said that the number of pupils achieving three or more and five or more qualifications at Higher level increased, with a fall in attainment only recorded in the new National 5 qualifications, which replaced Standard Grades and are intended to be harder qualifications.

“This shows that across the board we are broadly progressing,” Ms Kirk said.

A more detailed report will provided to the committee in November once detailed figures are available for ‘comparator’ school groups, which are based around socio-economic factors and enable a comparison to be made between similar schools.

However, Councillor Catriona Bhatia emphasised that it was important that even if a secondary school is performing well within its comparator group that efforts are maintained to close the ‘attainment gap’ in the area.

Joe Walsh, the Roman Catholic representative on the committee, also called for best practices to be shared between schools, and urged the council to look within the authority for examples of this, rather than necessarily outwith the area.

Ms Kirk added that it was important to look at pupils’ wider achievements and learning in school, not just exam results.