Newly released data shows that learners in Eilean Siar are outperforming their national counterparts. The Scottish Government’s Initial Destinations of Senior Phase School Leavers, published on 7 March, 2017, shows that Eilean Siar has, at 97.6%, the highest percentage of senior phase pupils in a positive destination in Scotland.

Other recent publications confirm Eilean Siar’s position as one of the highest-performing authorities.

The Local Government Benchmarking Framework (outlining the performance of all local authorities in Scotland in a range of measures) and the Insight National Benchmarking Measures (describing the attainment of leavers in S4-6) indicate that at the Senior Phase (S4-S6) and in a number of elements of the BGE (Broad General Education), the performance of children and young people in Eilean Siar is consistently higher than national averages.

Local Government Benchmarking Framework data shows important successes in the Senior Phase. The percentage of pupils achieving five or more awards at level 5 (National 5) continues to be higher than national levels and the percentage of pupils achieving five or more awards at level 6 (Higher) now exceeds national levels. Average tariff scores (i.e. points related to courses and grades) of S4-S6 learners in Eilean Siar continue to be higher than national averages. Analysis of performance by SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, which identifies areas of deprivation and affluence) shows that the attainment of Eilean Siar learners in the lower ‘quintiles’ is significantly higher than their national counterparts.

Performance of S4-S6 leavers, reported through Insight National Benchmarking Measures* indicates that Eilean Siar leavers have performed better in 2016 than the virtual comparator* and their national counterparts in almost all Measures, as a whole group and by analysis of additional support needs, gender and the lowest performing 20%. Learners identified as having additional support needs (ASN) perform better and significantly better than the virtual comparator and national levels in all Measures and there is a notable improvement trend in the performance of ASN pupils in literacy and numeracy at level 5. Very clear improvement trends are evident in literacy and numeracy at level 5 and in literacy at level 6. Higher percentages of leavers in Eilean Siar achieve positive destinations than their virtual comparator or national counterparts and there is a clear trend of improvement in relation to females entering positive destinations.

The very positive attainment levels in Eilean Siar are the direct result of strategic departmental and school-level planning and the commitment of Headteachers and staff to a range of measures which aim to improve standards, specifically: robust tracking and monitoring through RAM TAM (Eilean Siar’s tracking and monitoring system for the Broad General Education); Local Quality Assurance Group (LQAG) collaborative planning and moderation of standards across schools;  engagement with national moderation through the Quality Assurance and Moderation Support Officers (QAMSOs).

Cllr Catriona Stewart, Chair of Education and Children’s Services said: “We are very pleased to hear of the latest figures which confirm that learners in the Western isles are outperforming their national counterparts. We have fantastic schools which have been purpose built to deliver Curriculum for Excellence, and our dedicated staff, in all educational settings and at departmental level, aim to ensure that all children and young people reach their potential and have the best life-chances.”

*National Benchmarking Measures: Leaver Initial Destinations; Improving Attainment for All; Attainment versus Deprivation; Improving attainment in Literacy and Numeracy.

*Virtual Comparator is an electronically-generated comparison where, for each learner in a group, another ten with similar ‘characteristics’ are selected from the national database.