School of Ambition


 Photo of students with head teacher

“St. Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch is one of Scotland’s first Schools of Ambition.

Twenty secondary schools across Scotland have become the country’s first Schools of Ambition.

Each school chosen has committed to radical programmes of development to secure significantly improved outcomes for their children.

The schools will each receive substantial resources to meet their plans plus possible further support from the private sector. The schools are a mix of already high performing schools wanting to reach even higher, those that need to improve after poor inspection reports and those that recognise they can move their performance up several gears. The money will be used by the schools to drive up their own performance and to help set new national standards of excellence.

Schools of Ambition are a major innovation at the head of wider education reforms. They represent everything schools are about - aiming high, stretching, challenging and inspiring their pupils. Schools need to have high expectations and ambitions for each and every one of their pupils, they need to offer every pupil the opportunity to recognise their talents and achieve their full potential.

St. Ninian’s High School is delighted that it has been successful in its bid to become part of the Schools of Ambition programme. The school and the council, working together, put a lot of effort and thought into producing a strong bid and is very pleased that its hard work has been recognised.

Although the focus of the bid has been on Modern Languages, our achievement in reaching this stage is a reflection on the commitment of the whole staff to providing the best possible education for every pupil in St. Ninian’s.

Our involvement in the programme will allow us to build on the excellence that already exists in the Modern Language Department in St. Ninian’s and to take this excellent model onto another level.

In particular we will broaden the ambitions of our pupils and ensure that the quality of their learning experience is conducive to the formation of respectful, respected and responsible citizens who will become effective contributors to society.”





“Our School of Ambition (SoA) programme is well under way. The programme is managed at school level by myself, with strategic responsibility and Miss Laura Reynolds, Principal Teacher, SoA, who deals with operational matters.

A Steering Group consisting of parents, pupils and staff meets every 2 months and parents are welcome to join at any time. SoA funding has been used to employ more staff to, for example, enhance our Modern Languages Primary-Secondary Liaison programme and to allow our Computing staff to provide in-house training to familiarise teachers with the range of new IT equipment we have purchased.”




The Focus of our Plan
  • To extend the uptake and attainment in the Modern Languages Department.
  • To extend the good practices used in Modern Languages to all other departments.
  • To extend IT provision.
Wider Targets

Include the improvements of:

    Supported study uptake
    Involvement in charitable events
    Uptake of Modern Languages

Addressing the issue of increasing pupil confidence

In April 2006 we completed the benchmarking of pupil confidence in S1-S4.
Using the Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing we will re-examine pupils at regular intervals to try to assess the impact of SoA initiatives on pupil confidence.

SoA initiatives to improve pupil confidence include

Learning Game activities for S1-S6;
Increased use of IT in Modern Languages but also throughout the school;
Embedding and extending Formative Assessment techniques throughout the school;
“Events” such as the S1 Modern Languages Day using Modern Languages undergraduates from
Strathclyde University;
Increased e-mail and video conferencing projects with other schools in Scotland and abroad;
Joint working group - PT SoA and Psychological Services have produced 10 S2 PSE lessons on
promoting confidence and accurate optimism to be rolled out.

How we intend to measure the success of our programme

uptake of Modern Languages - especially Higher, Advanced Higher;
increased attainment in Modern Languages;
increased use of IT in Modern Languages;
increased attainment in whole school;
increased use of IT in whole school;
reduced absences;
reduced exclusions;
reduced gap between boy/girl attainment;
increased use of Formative Assessment techniques;
more links with the business community;
measurable increase in pupil confidence and self-esteem with impact on achievement;
increased e-links with other schools at home and abroad.

Initiatives so far:

Formative Assessment
North Atlantic Symposium 21 - 26 May 2006
Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing
Leadership Training
Joint Published Writing  with Catalonian School in English, French and Spanish
French Exchange 2005 in conjunction with Douglas Academy (8-15 June and 7-15 October)
Barcelona - Strathclyde University summer school for S5 and S6 pupils
Euroscola 3-10 November 2005
Modern Languages Enterprise Challenge
French immersion film-making weekend
S1 Languages Day 21 April 2006
Partners in Excellence (Modern Languages)
Modern Languages & Work Training Day 15 May 2006
SCILT Conference 3 June 2006 Presentation
Homestays from Japan
Link-up with Morgan & Stanley

IT Provision

In-house provision of IT training
Studio Code Pilot - video based self-evaluation tool
Best quality sound equipment to support school show
Video-conferencing with cluster primaries
Film and animation club
School Website
Extension of Smartboard facilities.

S1 Languages Day 21 April 2006

A team of mentors from Strathclyde University assisted in this full day event. All S1 pupils succeeded in creating a written record of the day which also encompassed IT, drama and design.

Schools of Ambition North Atlantic Symposium

Staff and pupils participated in this unique conference at sea. The aim was to share knowledge and ideas about current ICT practices and to focus on developing new resources aimed at improving pupils confidence in all areas of  the curriculum, e.g Macromedia Captivate.


School of Ambition May 2007 Progress Update