HILLHEAD High School has bucked the trend with high numbers of poorer children attaining multiple Highers, according to a new study.
The research found that although 38% of pupils receive free school meals, an impressive 62% are attaining at least one higher.
Professor Bill Buchanan, of Edinburgh Napier University, who conducted the study, said that Hillhead is an anomaly: “It would be fair to say that Hillhead has overachieved in terms of qualifications.
“It’s well known that deprivation is linked with lower attainment and free school meals is a pointer towards deprivation.”
Although Hillhead is considered an affluent area, 44.15% of the school’s pupils come from families whose earnings fall in the bottom three decile groups of Scottish income.
Over 30 postcodes are represented at Hillhead, with pupils even hailing from the likes of Helensburgh, Dumbarton, Coatbridge and Motherwell.
Hillhead pupils also collectively speak 73 languages and a large number speak English as their second language.
Professor Buchanan said: “Glasgow has an older population who are unhealthy and have bad habits, but we’re seeing a younger, healthier population moving into these areas and helping to improve standards.
“Hillhead appear to do a great job at creating a community and bringing children from different backgrounds together.”
School league tables show that Hillhead has improved in exam results in seven of the past eight years.
Willie Wight, headteacher at the school, welcomed the study’s findings as another round of good news.
He said: “I believe our unique curriculum model is a key reason we do so well – we bypass S4 exams and focus more on giving pupils time to learn ahead of Highers.
“I’m also very passionate about free school meals because we have a serious problem of ‘hidden poverty’ in this area.
“My personal opinion is that we need investment and support for teachers and learning if we want to close the attainment gap.”
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