Culloden Academy, Inverness, was chosen for the first of the new style inspections looking at Curriculum for Excellence and a great deal of highly positive work by the school has been recognised in the report.
Rector Stephen Dowds welcomed the outcome.
He said: “It wasn’t really “our turn” for inspection amongst Highland secondary schools, but we had been chosen in 2003 for what was then the new style HMIe inspections and here we were chosen yet again for their first go at another new style.
“Main differences for us were the change from inspecting four or five departments to being inspected absolutely everywhere. There was a bigger inspection team with eight inspectors, seven of whom were very experienced indeed. They now stay for the full week and have a major focus on literacy and numeracy, and on Curriculum for Excellence developments as well as how good teaching and learning is at the school.
“It was music to our ears then, when they said to us in the formal feedback session, “none of us could remember ever being in a school with such a positive atmosphere for learning, tremendous relationships and well behaved pupils”.
“We feel this is well reflected in a very positive report. As well as the report confirming that we have created just the right atmosphere and commitment for high achievement, our standing in attainment has been recognised as consistently better than similar schools in Scotland and we have excellent SQA results, for example in the top 10% in Scotland in Mathematics, and very good too in Chemistry, Human Biology, Biology, Music, French and Graph Communication.
“We aim to take all of our pupils’ attainment to those high levels. This year we also enjoyed our best S4 SQA results ever, 48% of our S4 pupils gained 5 or more Credit passes at Standard Grade. This is in the top 20% of the country and the highest we have ever achieved, part of a steadily rising pattern. The average for the Highlands is 36% and nationally it is 33%. We also had very numbers with five A passes at Higher, standing in the top 30% in Scotland.
“We were delighted too that the Inspection team were able to be part of a week of House assemblies led by pupils and House Captains in that week, something which they admired greatly along with our daily assemblies programme. We had already begun to work on the aspects that we jointly noted were capable of further improvement. I will be sharing that work with all parents in the course of the session. The support we have from parents at the school is excellent and I’m certain they will be very pleased with this report. Our developing Friends of Culloden Academy Parent Council will be meeting to bring further opportunities for parents, along with our many partners in business and the community, to support and be aware of the excellent work going on at of the school.”
Mrs Jillian Walker, Chair of Friends of Culloden Academy Parent Council, said: “I am delighted with the positive report that we received and I am very proud of our school. We look forward to Culloden Academy going from strength to strength.”
Mrs Walker was one of the first pupils to attend Culloden Academy when it opened in 1978.