Supported learning initiative helps raise attainment at Wallace High School

Funding from the Scottish Attainment Challenge is helping to raise the attainment of pupils at Wallace High School in Stirling through innovative learning and a supportive environment.

Attainment Advisors from Education Scotland have been working in schools across Scotland to support the delivery of the Challenge since it launched five years ago. They play a strong role in linking the work of Education Scotland, Scottish Government and Local Authorities to improve educational attainment and to reduce the attainment gap between children from the least and most socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

Wallace High School has developed the Wallace Hub, with funding from the Scottish Attainment Challenge, to help young people who are facing a range of issues which prevent them from attending school.

Two Family Link Workers have been recruited by the school to support the child and their family, and help them overcome any barriers and obstacles to returning to school.

On return to school, a pathway for some children is to attend the Wallace Hub for a maximum of 17 periods a week where a teacher supports them back into school life with a personalised timetable of learning across the curriculum, and a focus on attainment and wellbeing.

The Wallace Hub has proven to be a great success so far, with each of the 12 young people who attended last year achieving qualifications.

In total 70 National Qualifications were gained by Hub pupils in the last session and each of the Hub pupils have gone on to positive destinations. For example, out of the last session, pupils have gone on to gain places in college, gain full-time employment or return to the Hub to work towards achieving additional qualifications.

Scott Pennock, Head Teacher at Wallace High School, said:

“With the Wallace Hub we have worked hard to create an aspirational and accessible space for young people who have genuine barriers to learning in the wider school. Our Family Link Workers connect to home for a number of our young people and act as a bridge to build relationships with Hub staff and thus break down barriers to learning. This has resulted in improved engagement, attendance and achievement for these young people.”

Julie Christie, PT Pupil Support and Wallace Hub Lead, said:

“The Hub has become part of the fabric of Wallace High School and its positive culture is making a significant difference to the lives of the young people it supports. Our established markers of resilience, self-confidence and academic achievement have all improved as a result of the hard work of Hub staff and pupils’ commitment. It has been a privilege to have been part of the journey of the individual hub pupils and witness their success and achievements.”

A pupil who has had support from the Wallace Hub commented:

“The Hub staff help me cope with my anxiety and they show they care. They talk to me about what I can do if I am not coping. I stopped coming to school because I couldn’t cope. Now I know I can get my National qualifications.”

Another pupil commented: “In the Hub I can focus on my work and I fly through the work. I really struggled to be in a class. The Hub has helped my mental state and it has given me time to think about what I want to do with my life. I would be leaving school with no qualifications without it. Now I will have my National 5 and National 4 Qualifications and I have applied to college. I am extremely grateful to the Hub.”

“The Hub has made me realise that the school still cares about me. I stopped coming in for a long time but I really want to do well and get some qualifications. I thought no one would bother about me but now I know they do care,” commented another pupil.

Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive at Education Scotland, said:

“Over the past five years our Attainment Advisors have seen a lot of really positive progress being made through the Scottish Attainment Challenge and it is hugely encouraging to see the impact this work is having on the lives of young people across the country. The Wallace Hub is an excellent example of how schools can help improve attainment by identifying and removing the barriers young people may face to achieving their full potential. Closing the attainment gap is vital for a modern, successful Scotland and everyone involved in Scottish education must continue to focus on reducing the impacts of deprivation on educational outcomes.”