Head teachers discuss school attainment

Fraserburgh Academy.
Fraserburgh Academy.

The rectors of Fraserburgh and Banff academies attended a meeting of Banff and Buchan Area recently to discuss their schools’ attainment levels.

Fraserburgh Academy head teacher David Clark and his Banff Academy counterpart Andrew Ritchie spelled out the levels of pupil attainment at their schools as well as their plans for the future.

Mr Clark said that in his 14 months as rector of Fraserburgh Academy there had been a number of improvements at the school.

The Fraserburgh Academy rector cited the introduction of parent interviews, saying such interviews had been arranged recently with 15 parents, out of 19 who had been contacted, attending to discuss their children’s learning.

Mr Clark said a new approach had also been introduced in terms of guidance, with staff adopting a more assertive and challenging, rather than informal, style. Mr Clark added that all pupils now have an ‘Achievement Grid’ to promote attainment.

In terms of exam preparation, Mr Clark said there had been a renewed focus on encouraging pupils to get the best possible marks as opposed to simply just passing exams.

Reference was also made to efforts by the academy to foster improved links between the school and employers to enhance employability skills.

Following the presentation, Area Manager Margaret-Jane Cardno raised the issue of a gender attainment gap. Whilst highlighting that girls have traditionally outperformed boys, Ms Cardno asked what work was being undertaken to improve the aspirations and positive leaver destinations of girls at Fraserburgh Academy. Mr Clark replied that a number of girl-friendly interventions were already taking place at the school.

Councillor Charles Buchan took the opportunity to thank the head teachers and their staff for all their hard work.

Cllr Buchan also raised whether temporary staffing affected attainment and asked Mr Clark what Fraserburgh Academy was doing to support higher-ability pupils.

Councillor Brian Topping, meanwhile, congratulated both academies on their work and asked Mr Clark if he was supportive of financial packages whereby key workers, in particular probation teachers, were supported in terms of housing when they relocate to Aberdeenshire. Mr Clark said he was supportive of such measures.