TONY CONROY believes there is no one single factor in St Ninian's success story, but the Reach for the Stars programme for pupils in the early years, which helped win a national ethos award, has been significant. This year's fourth year was the first to come through.
Reach for the Stars assesses preparedness to learn and positive approaches. Monthly assemblies celebrate success with merits, certificates and vouchers for pupils who do well.
The school has also achieved the Government's Investors in People (IIP) status.
Partnership with parents has been vital and uniform is now virtually universal. There has also been a reduction in pupils doing part-time jobs.
Supported study has been "critical" and has expanded with the extra cash channelled through the Excellence Fund. The scheme now runs from October to prelims and from January through to the exams. It covers all subjects, runs five nights a week for an hour and a quarter and is attended by up to 80 per cent of senior pupils. "If we had more money we would extend it to the whole school," Mr Conroy said.
A number of teachers voluntarily act as mentors to pupils who are in danger of underperforming, meeting once a week for a quick chat. "I think the reason we have done so well is by reducing the gap between boys and girls," Mr Conroy said.
Pupils in S5 and S6 have full timetables and are encouraged to sit five Highers where possible. They are not allowed to idle in the common room wasting study time.