KILWINNING Academy is set to crack down on bullying after the issue was highlighted by pupils in a recent school inspection.

The latest Inspection Report from Education Scotland found the Academy had strong leadership and provides a nurturing environment.

But almost a quarter of pupils were unsatisfied with the school’s handling of bullying.

Some 24 per cent of the young people who responded to the pre-inspection questionnaire disagreed or strongly disagreed that the school deals well with bullying.

The report stated: “This was discussed with the school senior leadership. “Senior leaders are keen to explore the extent to which the perceptions of young people are well founded and address them.”

Kilwinning Academy’s Head teacher Tim Swan said: “We take all allegations of bullying very seriously as a school and respond to each one individually.

“Clearly if pupils are experiencing any issues of bullying then I would ask them to come and speak to myself or a member of staff. We also have counsellors who are also available to offer guidance and support.

“We are always looking for ways to make further improvements to what we do in our school. We will therefore be exploring the findings of the inspection over the coming weeks.”

The bullying issue aside, the Academy had an excellent report from the inspectors.

The report identified the leadership of staff and young people and the commitment to shared values as key strengths. It particularly praised the leadership of the headteacher and depute headteachers “in developing a culture of improvement”, adding: “They are all regarded highly by young people, parents, staff and partners”.

Praising the school’s commitment to its shared values, the report said: “This is reflected in its work to provide a nurturing and inclusive environment which results in young people and staff having a strong sense of belonging to the school.”

Two areas for improvement were identified and discussed with the headteacher and a representative from North Ayrshire Council.

It was recommended that the Kilwinning Academy involve young people, parents and partners more in shaping the school’s improvement.

It was suggested: “This could be through involving them in identifying priorities for improving the school.

“They could also be engaged in evaluating the progress made towards achieving the priorities set for improvement.”

It was also suggested that the school “continue to raise attainment whilst ensuring that by the time young people leave school they have achieved the best possible set of qualifications”.

It was stated that this could be supported through “continuing to develop systems for checking that young people are making the best possible progress, particularly those from S1 to S3”.

On the inspection report as a whole, head teacher Mr Swan said: “The exam results last year were historic for us in that it was the first time we had six pupils in fifth year who were able to achieve five ‘A’ passes in the higher examinations, “In fourth year, we had three young people who achieved six A passes in their national five qualifications.

“That’s all down to their hard work and the brilliant staff at the school.

“There is so much potential at the school and we are now seeing some of those results.

“There is lots more work to be done though, we recognise that, and we will continue to work together to find ways to improve learning and, ultimately, improve attainment.”