‘We can tackle the poverty gap – one kid at a time’

How can schools drive up the attainment of disadvantaged young people? With vocational courses in everything from beekeeping to construction, of course. Kingussie High has hit on the formula of motivating pupils by enabling them to study the subjects they are most interested in – and the results speak for themselves. Outgoing head Ollie Bray tells Emma Seith why all school leaders should take more advantage of the breadth of qualifications on offer

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An empty janitor’s house sits in the grounds of Kingussie High. At first sight, it is a very basic, uninspiring 1970s bungalow – but see it through the eyes of Ollie Bray, the Highland school’s headteacher, and it is transformed. Where once there was simply a modest home in need of some TLC, suddenly there is a “mini-college” waiting to happen.

Currently, part of the house is given over to pupils studying painting and decorating, who use the building to hone their skills. And there is a polytunnel outside, where pupils grow their own vegetables.

Bees have also been ordered. They’re coming ...

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