The only secondary school in Scotland to opt out of council control has generally impressed the inspectors who came to call towards the end of last year. It was Dornoch Academy's first session back under Highland's control after almost five years on its own.
The quality of lessons observed were very good or good in 76 per cent of cases. Nine aspects of the school were judged to be very good and five to be good.
The strengths and weaknesses of the school's self-govrning period are largely reflected in the findings. As it was voted out of the local authority by parents, Dornoch's links with them were not surprisingly said to be "strong" and its management of devolved finances very good.
The only unsatisfactory rating was reserved for the school's approach to evaluating its own work. The effectiveness of John Garvie, the head, is only judged fair, particularly in not giving a strong enough lead in improving attainment.