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Standards and Quality Report


This report provides information on the work and achievements of the school during session 2007/2008.  The work undertaken by over 700 pupils and more than 60 teaching staff cannot be described in detail, so this report provides a summary of activity and success in a number of key areas, and indicates the areas for future development.

The school was inspected by HMI in April/May 2002.  No follow up inspection was required.  East Ayrshire has conducted a full health check on the school during May/June 2006.  See Appendix I

The considerable achievements of the school are the result of the effort and commitment shown by pupils and parents, but particularly by both the teaching and non-teaching staff in school.  I wish to acknowledge the work that has been done, and to thank all those who have contributed to the school’s success.

Carole Ford
Head Teacher



Kilmarnock Academy evaluates the quality of its work using the H.M.I.e documents - How good is Our School and Journey to Excellence.  These documents identify nine key areas under which progress and achievement may be measured.

These are

  • Key performance outcomes
  • Impact on learners
  • Impact on staff
  • Impact on the community
  • Delivery of education
  • Policy development and planning
  • Management and support of staff
  • Partnerships and resources
  • Leadership


The process of self evaluation is built in to the work of each department and of the school as a whole.  This report summarises this process and gives an outline of future developments.

Background Information

Kilmarnock Academy serves an area of central Kilmarnock including one area of multiple deprivation.

The associated primary schools are Hillhead Primary, Kirkstyle Primary and Loanhead Primary.  Witchhill Special School is a member of the Kilmarnock Academy Learning Partnership.  The associated pre-five establishments are Cairns Nursery, Hillbank Nursery and Family Centre, and Riccarton Nursery.

The school is a mainstream comprehensive, serving pupils in the age range of 11 - 18.  The predicted roll for session 2008/2009 is 707.

During session 2002/2003 Kilmarnock Academy embarked on East Ayrshire’s Learning Partnership project and worked closely with primary, pre-five establishments, social work, health and community personnel.  The Learning Partnership work has continued in session 2007/2008.

The staffing complement is approximately 60 f.t.e. teachers.

The school had an active School Board which has been be replaced by a Parent Council.


Aims and Priorities

The school aims were agreed by pupils, parents and staff.

  • To educate pupils to their full potential
  • To provide a broad, balanced curriculum which will cater for the needs of all pupils
  • To create an atmosphere of mutual respect, care and support for every pupil
  • To provide a range of extra curricular activities
  • To treat all pupils as individuals, valuing the contribution each can make to the life of the school and the wider community.
  • To prepare pupils for responsible citizenship.


In session 2007/2008 the agreed development plan aimed to build on the identified success and progress of previous sessions.

The plan focused on

  • Improved standards of literacy
  • Implementation of Curriculum for Excellence
  • Raising attainment
  • Review of behaviour unit
  • Improved outcomes for vulnerable pupils


See Appendix II

How do we know

The evidence

In auditing last session’s improvement plan and in arriving at this session’s, the school measured progress against the HGIOS indicators.  The audit process involved all staff, pupils, parents and particularly the improvement planning committee.  In addition, the lengthy health check process conducted by QI has provided much information of value.

Delivery of education

The curriculum is under constant review in departments.  Across the school as a whole a number of areas are under development.  The HMIe categorised the curriculum as very good and since 2002 we have maintained as appropriate a curriculum as we can deliver.  The Curriculum for Excellence initiative is influencing developments to a greater and greater extent.

The 5-14 programme has been implemented for a number of years, and is now evolving in the light of Curriculum for Excellence.  The literacy programme has been acknowledged nationally, winning the Scottish Education Award for Raising Basic Standards.  We have continued with our literacy approaches including a Closing the Gap initiative which has achieved very positive results.  We introduced broad banding in S1and S2 four years ago and are happy that this system is providing additional support where it is most required

Standard Grade courses and Intermediate/Access courses are fully in place where appropriate.  College courses have been continued in Hairdressing, Childcare, Construction, Painting and Decorating, Electrical Skills and Motor Vehicle Maintenance.  Classes following these courses also pursue a course in Enterprise.  In several subject areas – Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Home Economics, Art – Standard grade has been replaced by Access/Intermediate courses.  The relative merits of these courses are scrutinized and changes made where necessary.  The Prince’s Trust xl club continues and a number of pupils follow individual college courses in addition to those offered in the option columns.

The National Qualifications programme of courses is now fully in place.  Continued refinement of option choices has been undertaken on an annual basis to meet pupil need.  Very skillfull timetabling and imaginative use of staff allows us to offer a wide range of Advanced Higher courses, often difficult in a smaller school.

Future developments

Curriculum for Excellence
Emphasis has been on broadening pupil experience – maps on all classroom walls, a time line will be created throughout the school, a school calendar of course topics created to allow for greater co-operation between subjects.  A formal homework system to be introduced from August 2008 to promote literacy, study skills and emphasise presentation of work.  A Mathematics curriculum and a Modern Languages curriculum have been agreed with the associated primary schools.  This will be extended to Science during session 2008/2009.


More use to be made of cognitive test results.

Replacement of S grade with Access/Intermediate courses will extend to further appropriate subject areas.  Changes to qualifications will be closely monitored to allow necessary adaptations to courses.  More use to be made of cognition test results.

Refinement of the delivery of National Qualification courses continues.  A greater emphasis on the use of Scholar will be introduced.

Enterprise activity will continue to be enhanced for all year groups including a whole school Finance Week  An audit of activity, based on HMIe documentation, has influenced the areas for development.  Currently all year groups are involved in whole school activities and departmental activity is rising.


Key performance outcomes and impact on learning

Achievement in S.Q.A. examinations is summarised in Appendix III and 5 - 14 National Test results are given below. 

The school concentrates its attention on results at S grade or Intermediate/Access levels since these provide the most comprehensive, objective set of data and these are the most reliable predictor of future pupil achievement.  Attention is focused at departmental level with each PT agreeing a plan in conjunction with the HT.  We have succeeded in reducing the no award figures, particularly with LAAC pupils, by dint of a comprehensive individualised programme.  This programme was runner up in the Scottish Education Awards in the category Education for All.

5-14 Percentage achieving level E or above in S2












































Our 5-14 results are internally consistent with S grade and Intermediate/Access results.  We are now introducing a tracking system using CAT scores to assist in raising attainment.

We continue to place great emphasis on attendance and use a computerised phone system to contact parents of absentees.

Future developments
In English the concerted attack continues on improving writing skills.  The literacy programme across the school will continue.  A raising attainment group will work to devise strategies of further monitoring appropriate to each year group.

The school has in place a policy on teaching and learning, with the focus on consistent practices across departments.  This continues to be reviewed in the light of research findings, our own evaluations and initiatives such as Assessment is for Learning and Curriculum for Excellence.

Principal Teachers monitor individual teacher performance in delivering the curriculum, and the results obtained by pupils.

Guidance staff, Learning Support staff and teaching staff working in the educational support base monitor individual progress, and develop strategies for improvement.  All pupils in school have a Personal Learning Plan and a small number have IEPs.  The ASN log is in place and regularly reviewed.  Staff are continually involved in monitoring the progress of pupils in the log.

Assessment and reporting procedures are under constant review as we refine our computerised tracking and reporting system.  Comments from parents on our reports are very few but generally complimentary.  All comments are passed to the HT for information and/or action.

Future developments
The dissemination of good practice should continue to improve the quality of teaching and learning across the school.
The tracking of pupil results including the greater use of cognitive test results should continue to shed light on areas where improvements could be made.

There are a number of mechanisms in place to support pupils in school.

The guidance staff operate a timetable of individual interviews to monitor and support pupil progress, and deal with individual pupils when referred by staff, parents or other pupils.  The school implements East Ayrshire’s IAT/SAT/CAT procedures and ASN systems.

The P.S.E. programme is designed to promote positive approaches to school, to health issues and to issues outwith school.  Where possible this is delivered by guidance staff, and the programme is reviewed regularly.  Progress on the programme is closely monitored.

Curricular choice and vocational guidance are included in the P.S.E. programme, and use the services of the careers officer, outside speakers, open days and conferences.

The curriculum is supported by means of appropriate visits and trips, such as the annual Higher French trip to Paris, the cultural programme for S1/S2 pupils and curricular trips and visits.

Learning Support staff use primary school information and a testing procedure to identify difficulties and areas requiring support.  As pupils move through the school staff monitor progress of individuals with difficulties, and liaise with departments to identify strategies which will minimise problems for pupils.  All pupils have Personal Learning Plans.  IEPs and ISPs are in place where appropriate.

The 2008 SQA audit of procedures to identify and verify special arrangements for pupils in SQA examinations was very positive.

LAAC pupils are closely monitored and supported with individual programmes.

The lowest achieving 20/25% in each year group has been identified and is monitored.  This information is updated twice each year.  IEP targets are monitored by the Principal Teacher of Learning Support and relevant Depute Head Teacher.

We have in place a Social Work Support Assistant, a School Nurse and a Community Link Worker who contribute to individual support programmes for pupils and to whole school developments.  Groups of vulnerable pupils receive support in the nurture group or girls’ group, for example. The school finances individual support workers for particularly vulnerable pupils.  At all stages communication is maintained between staff, parents and outside agencies.

Future developments
The greater use of tracking information from cognitive testing should improve individual and departmental progress.  The literacy work will continue and the extensive programme for LAAC pupils.

Impact on staff and the community

Staff aim to produce a caring, supportive ethos for pupils and a number of initiatives are designed to promote this.  The involvement of parents and the community is encouraged at all levels.

The introduction of an Assertive Discipline system has resulted in a reduction in minor disciplinary incidents (punishment exercises) and in exclusions.  This involves staff in working collectively to improve behaviour and attitude.

The Triple ‘P’ award system – Promoting Positive Performance - rewards pupils for good behaviour and conformity to school regulations.  The pupil council meets regularly to discuss issues of relevance to pupils and the school as a whole.  Its minutes are discussed with the Parent Council.

Parents are kept informed of school events and activities by means of regular newsletters and an excellent website (www.kilmarnockacademy.co.uk).  This draws in former pupils and creates a sense of community in school.

The school environment has been improved following suggestions from the Environmental Committee.  The school has achieved a bronze award in the Eco School programme and has achieved Health Promoting School status.

The school actively seeks support from outside agencies and has strong links with a number of organisations.  Local businesses contribute to a number of events and activities, and are becoming more involved in curriculum activity.  For example, Diageo is working with pupils in Technical Education.

Future developments
The school environment is under constant review to improve our surroundings for pupils and staff.  The Kilmarnock Learning Partnership will continue to implement the assertive discipline system and engage with parents.

Partnerships and resources

Accommodation in Kilmarnock Academy is very tight and there is little scope for flexibility.  In particular, there are no indoor social areas for pupils and this is a very unsatisfactory situation.

Classroom resources are allocated on a formula basis, agreed by staff.  Extra resources for particular initiatives are allocated in response to departmental bids. 

Use of resources and space is subject to constant review by the SMT.  Departmental budgets are also monitored.  All processes are transparent and staff involvement in decision making is encouraged.

The school fund is managed by a committee.

Kilmarnock Academy maintains good relationship with associated establishments and East Ayrshire’s Quality Improvement team.  There is a strong relationship with Woodstock School, involving a pupil buddy system, and with St Joseph’s Academy, in the form of a joint brass band.

Management and support of staff

Staffing is available according to East Ayrshire’s formula, and allocated to departments on the basis of pupil numbers and subjects.  Problems with the availability of supply staff are increasing.

Staff are involved in the staff development and review process.  In addition, staff development requirements emerge from staff questionnaires and discussion in departments.  They are involved in the QA process and in improvement planning.  Staff discourse is open and welcome;  SMT members are approachable and available.

Future developments
The focus for staff development in session 2008/2009 will continue to be a Curriculum for Excellence, enterprise and literacy.

Policy development and planning, and Leadership

The school operates a formal Q.A. system.  Each department uses a customised document to ensure regular, systematic review of procedures and outcomes and the information feeds into the planning process.  This process is monitored by link SMT members.  There is a whole school monitoring system including a regular review of QIs on a rolling basis.

The improvement plan arises from an audit of the previous plan, QA issues identified from the above process, staff, pupil and parental questionnaires, and local and national priorities.  A committee considers all these sources and creates a draft document for staff comment.  The resulting plan is therefore comprehensive and firmly based on the strengths and development needs of the school.

The plan is reviewed throughout the session to ensure that implementation is proceeding.

The SMT members have a clear and agreed role in departments and present a unified view of the school’s aims.  Similarly, within departments, Principal Teachers are aware of their responsibilities. 

Policy developments are generally discussed by working groups, at whole school or departmental meetings.  There is wide consultation, including parents, before policy is finalized.

Future developments
Remits will alter to accommodate changing personnel and the needs of the school. The new documentation Journey to Excellence will be further incorporated into the school QA system.


Achievements and Successes

The school is proud of its reputation in the community as an institution which supports pupils and parents, and delivers a high quality education.

Examinations results are closely scrutinized and developments are designed to improve those.  Pupils and staff are to be congratulated on the quality of work achieved.

The range of extra-curricular activities on offer is impressive, and pupil participation in concerts, shows, charity events, sports and other activities is at a high level.

All S4 pupils are involved in a Young Men’s or Young Women’s Health Day and S1 pupils participate in a Health Fair.  The school organised healthy eating promotions throughout the year, such as Healthy By Half, when healthy options are offered at half price in the dining hall.

The school is involved in many initiatives and staff participation is at a very high level.

Our nurture group initiative has been identified by SEED as an example of good practice.

The joint brass band with St Joseph’s Academy has been recognized nationally as an example of good practice. 

Our S4 course, Enterprise through Craft reached the finals of the Scottish Education Awards, as did our work with LAAC pupils.


Future Priorities

The school priorities for session 2008/2009 are

  • continued emphasis on literacy
  • raising attainment at all levels
  • extension of work on a curriculum for excellence
  • review of SDR process and development opportunities for staff
  • issues as identified by extensive survey of pupils, parents and staff.
(Note - The Appendices referred to are available from Reception.)