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Crisis school gets top head

ONE OF the country's most respected headteachers has been drafted in to kick-start Fraserburgh Academy's revival following a critical inspectors' report last year.

Douglas Marr, head of Banchory Academy, along with Tim McKay, an assistant head, this week moved into the secondary on a minimum five-month secondment. It is the first time in the north-east a head has been transferred as a trouble-shooter.

Aberdeenshire failed to appoint a new head at Fraserburgh over the summer following the retirement of Ian Rankin and has instead sent in one of its major players.

Mr Marr takes over a secondary that traditionally props up the council's schools in terms of exam performance and which has been awarded pound;200,000 from the Excellence Fund to raise attainment.

He said he was "delighted" with the response this week from pupils, staff and the community and described the temporary appointment as "an honour".

"I took the job on because the reputation that the town and school have are based on perceptions that are inaccurate. I said to the kids this week we would be focusing on the three As - attainment, attendance and attitude - and we will be producing strategies to get these going."

Mr Marr is also challenging the Scottish Qualifications Authority over Fraserburgh's poor showing in the exam tables.

"We had over 30 youngsters this year that got a Credit in maths in S3 but the SQA has no means of absorbing that in their statistics," he complained.

He also believes Fraserburgh is unfairly treated by comparative exam results because so many pupils leave for jobs at the age of 16. Unemployment in the area is just 2 per cent and only 44 per cent of Fraserburgh's fourth year transfer to the fifth.

"The exam statistics are based on children who never entered the system," Mr Marr said.

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