A FORMER Ayr Academy pupil is hitting back at recent criticism on the school after it was reported as one of the worst performing in Scotland last month.

The 18-year-old student who wishes not to be named was saddened to learn that the school she attended for six years had been ranked as low as 327 of Scotland’s 339 high schools.

The report published by the Times based the league table on the percentage of pupils achieving five or more awards at SCQF.

The former pupil, now a social science student, says it’s completely unfair to give Ayr Academy this bad image without looking at the deprivation in the areas that the school is mostly made up of. She said: “The catchment areas for Ayr Academy is mostly deprived areas. Unemployment levels are high, so it’s common for pupils to leave school at 16 to gain work and apprenticeships. This means we have less pupils to achieve highers in the senior phase.

“To make school grades some sort of ‘competition’ is completely degrading and ignores the hard work and efforts of pupils and staff. On top of this, these children face many social inequalities and personal issues - to ignore this is completely unacceptable.”

The pupil is full of praise for the teachers at Ayr Academy who go above and beyond in their level of support for pupils there. Part of her research now is evaluating how big an impact coming from a deprived area has on school performance which only goes to show how far her former teachers go to care for pupils.

She added: “In 2017/18 in deprived areas only 59 per cent of P7s met expected literacy standards. This shows the impact deprivation has on education in general, yet regardless schools are constantly bashed.

“Throughout my six years at Ayr I was completely supported and encouraged. In fact, I’d say Ayr Academy teachers are stronger than the average non-deprived school teacher. They deal with a lot of challenges and personal issues their pupils face - like a parental role.

“Many kids in Ayr Academy go to teachers to talk to, because they don’t have this at home. Whether they need support or comfort, I think it’s special that if a child needs to vent, or needs help, they have a trusted teacher they can go to. They are aware of pupils under unfortunate circumstances.

“I hope outsiders, parents and the media start to accept the stereotypes that surround Ayr Academy aren’t morally okay. These are children, not objects.”