PUPILS from our most deprived areas are defying the odds to achieve educational success.

In some cases they have exceeded the national average while, in general, the attainment gap is closing.

This was revealed when attainment results for senior ­— S4-S6 ­— pupils were announced with East Ayrshire performing well.

Literacy and numeracy at all levels in S4, S5 and S6 was above the national performance and the educational attainment gap for pupils living in the authority’s most deprived areas is beginning to narrow.

Fiona Campbell, the council’s cabinet member for skills and learning, said: “Raising educational attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy, closing the poverty related attainment gap and improving positive destinations when leaving school are key priorities for us, in line with the Scottish Government’s National Improvement Framework for Education.

“With an increasing focus on attainment for each young person by the time they leave school, rather than on the individual year on year attainment, these results demonstrate that young people in East Ayrshire are well placed to progress into positive and sustained destinations beyond school.

“As a Scottish Attainment Challenge Authority, a major council priority is to improve outcomes and attainment of young people who live in the most deprived areas of East Ayrshire.”

Deprived areas are defined by a process which is part of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) and are graded decile one or two.

Ms Campbell added: “The attainment of S4 and S5 pupils living in decile two is above average and, in S6 the attainment gap has closed when compared with the previous year’s performance.

“The figures also show encouraging signs of improvement for pupils living in decile one and we’ll be working harder than ever to improve attainment there, as well as bringing forward a host of new and exciting initiatives aimed at giving all our pupils the right blend of qualifications, skills and experiences they need to succeed in school, work and life.

“I’d like to congratulate all of our young people whose hard work has led to these positive results.”