SECONDARY schools across East Lothian are celebrating this week after they saw the best pass rate in Higher exams in five years.

East Lothian Council said that pupils across its six secondary schools improved their performances, with the number of Highers passed going up to 79.1 per cent, taking it above the national average of 76.8 per cent.

Higher pass rates in English at an A-C grade were also well above the national average with 81 per cent of pupils gaining the top marks, compared to 75.9 per cent nationally.

More than 10,682 awards were certified for 2,302 candidates across the county.

National 5 pass rates at an A-C grade fell from 78.5 per cent to 75.4 per cent; however, the local authority said that this was affected by the removal of monthly assessments which made up a percentage of the final mark.

The percentage of young people achieving Grade A awards in English and mathematics at Higher level is also at its highest rate in five years.

In maths 37 per cent of pupils received the top grade, while in English 31 per cent did – both going up by four per cent on last year.

The percentage of S6 pupils gaining one or more Advanced Highers increased by 1.5 per cent in 2018 to 22.1 per cent and showed an overall improved trend in East Lothian since 2014.

Fiona Robertson, East Lothian Council head of education, said: “These results provide a clear indication of an improving trend across our secondary schools.

“It is testament to the hard work of the students and teachers that this year has resulted in the highest level of achievement in five years. I would like to add my congratulations to all students who have received results.”

Shamin Akhtar, cabinet spokesperson for education and children’s services, said: “Congratulations to all our young people on the success they have achieved in their SQA results. Our schools have improved their performance in SQA Higher Courses, with the pass rate at their highest in five years. And pass rates at grade A in Higher maths and English also at their highest level in five years.

“These are great results for our young people and they will really help to set them up for the next phase of their journeys. For this effort I would like to thank all our teachers for their hard work and to all our parents and carers for their continued support.”