HERMITAGE Academy’s exam pass rates remain higher than the averages for both Scotland and Argyll and Bute – but are down on last year.

The Helensburgh school is one of only three secondary schools run by the council whose Higher pass rate exceeds the local and national average, according to newly-published figures.

And despite the decline in pass rates – from 82.7 per cent in 2018 to 78.3 per cent in 2019 – the school has the best Higher pass rate in Argyll and Bute.

The Advanced Higher pass rate at Hermitage has also dropped from 83.4 per cent to 79.6 per cent – a figure only three schools could better – but the National 5 pass rate has jumped slightly from 83 per cent to 83.8 per cent.

READ MORE: 'Significant improvement' at Hermitage Academy, say education inspectors

The figures have been revealed in a document which went before the council’s community services committee when it meets in Lochgilphead today (Thursday).

In a report accompanying the exam pass rates, produced for all of Argyll and Bute’s secondary schools, Douglas Hendry, the council’s executive director with responsibility for education, said: “Overall, percentage pass rate data should be interpreted very carefully.

“Schools have presentation policies that are designed to encourage pupils to achieve success at the highest level of qualification that they can.

“In some instances, and for some pupils this may mean that they receive a D grade within a qualification level, which is an award.

“It is also the policy in Argyll and Bute, as with other local authorities, that full discussion and consideration of both pupil and parent views are reflected in the final decision to continue with a course or whether to sit an external exam.

READ MORE: Praise for Helensburgh and Lomond's pupils as exam results are published

“This policy may result in circumstances where pupils are given the opportunity to attempt a level that they may find challenging to pass as it may be their last opportunity to do so e.g. in S6.

“Schools will again offer these pupils the opportunity to sit the exam to improve their positive destination chances, for example, access to higher or further education.”

Mr Hendry also pledged that a further report on educational attainment and wider achievement will go to the community services committee’s next meeting, due to take place in December.

Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, the authority’s policy lead on education and chair of the community services committee, congratulated pupils upon the national release of exam results on Tuesday, August 6.

READ MORE: New report urges more 'pupil power' at Hermitage Academy

She said: “Pupils and teachers should be proud of their efforts and I would like to congratulate them all and thank them for their hard work.

“We are determined to do everything we can to ensure that our children and young people are given every opportunity to achieve success in their lives and to move onto positive destinations.

“There are many ways that our young people can make positive progress and access appropriate pathways into work, even if they did not receive the results they were hoping for.”