TWO weeks ago, an East Lothian Council committee approved over half a billion pounds worth of new housing. People want to move here for the quality of life.

Our council boasts of a high-quality education in schools.

A typical ELC report says: “Note that the East Lothian [exam] results represent a continuing good profile in comparison to the national and comparator grouping averages.”

Developers will pay thousands per new house to expand these schools.

Having attended the council’s education committee for the last 18 years and read their reports, you would think parents, pupils and developers are all getting a sweet deal. But are they?

The boast of being above the Scottish average rings hollow when you examine the detail.

Comparison with Angus and North Ayrshire is self-serving and misleading. Our county is much more like East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire.

But whereas all their high schools are top-performing, only one of ours is.

There may be no ‘sink’ schools here, but the performance of many is mediocre and hidden behind aggregate statistics. This presentational fight for political reasons damages the prospect of many of our youngsters.

Though exam statistics are not the sole arbiter of a good school, they seldom lie.

Looking back over 10 years (as ELC never does) shows some 200 more passes in Highers, Level 7 and stay-on rates in North Berwick High as its roll grew.

But over the same 10-year period, Ross High and Preston Lodge record fewer passes, despite growth rates similar to NBHS. Such disparities are not recorded in reports to committee.

While once demographic disparities and areas of multiple deprivation might have explained these differences, waves of middle-class homes built all over the county have made it much more homogeneous.

This becomes even less explicable when you factor in a decade of early years intervention for precisely the catchments these high schools cover.

Yet, 10 years on, we are failing those same early years pupils as they reach senior school.

The deception continues even after school.

The council’s most recent report praised ‘positive destinations’ for leavers reaching 93.5 per cent. But this hid that the fact that while North Berwick High reached 97 per cent (with the missing three on gap year), Ross High could only achieve 84 per cent.

Neither falling achievement nor 16 in 100 ‘on the burroo’ is because youngsters around Tranent and Prestonpans are any less capable than elsewhere.

It is cheating them of their future. This is a disgrace.