Viewforth High School serves a local community on the East of Kirkcaldy which includes two of the five most deprived data zones in Fife. Over 50% of our pupils live in SIMDs 1 and 2; over one third of our pupils under 16 are classified as living in poverty and the entitlement of pupils to free school meals has been as high as 40%. Since the demise of mining and heavy industry, generations within families are simultaneously unemployed and the current local labour market shows youth unemployment around 20%.
Viewforth High School staff are united in the belief that the work they do improves the life outcomes for all of our pupils, including the most vulnerable, and helps our youngsters break free from the cycle of disadvantage. Staff pupil relationships are good as evidenced by the very low number of days lost through exclusion. Overall attendance is improving and staying on rates are well above local and national averages. This session over 93% of last year’s S4 pupils have returned for S5 and almost 80% of S5 have stayed on into S6. These staying on rates illustrate the success of Viewforth’s innovative approaches to the curriculum and partnership working in the senior phase.
The ‘spirit of innovation’ permeates all aspects of our work with many teachers taking ownership of new ideas because they see the benefits for young people. The school’s S3 curriculum structure has been showcased nationally as an example of good practice and our partnership working with Fife College has been highly evaluated locally. This encourages those senior pupils in danger of missing out to make informed choices for their life after school by dividing their final year between school, college and meaningful employment.
Viewforth High School plays a key part in addressing the “Reducing Inequalities” and “Improving Outcomes for families and Young people” priorities identified in the Fife Community Plan. School staff, pupils and parents have worked closely with elected members, council officials and others to open a new Viewforth High School within the Windmill Community Campus, which will facilitate more joined up working with a wide range of co-located partners.
Viewforth High School is ready for the Scottish Attainment Challenge. Our track record proves our ability to innovate and the success of our senior phase augers well for these proposals for pupils in the BGE. The commitment of all staff to a holistic approach to raising attainment and achievement cannot be questioned. Our move to new school facilities within a new model for local government service delivery, with an expectation that things will be done differently, gives us confidence that the workstreams contained in these proposals are coming at the right time to be welcomed by pupils, parents and the wider community.
It is with pleasure that I, on behalf of the pupils, parents, staff and the wider local community we are privileged to serve, commend these proposals for your attention.