LARGS Academy's departed head teacher has been hailed as the driving force behind it being named as one of the country's top 50 schools.

Councillors this week credited recently retired Heather Burns as the main reason behind the secondary's top marks that saw it reach 47th position in the national rankings.

The table is determined by the performance of pupils, with schools ordered on the percentage of children passing exam criteria.

It also takes into consideration the number of pupils who got two Advanced Highers or five or more National 5s.

The statistics for individual schools were released by the Scottish Government.

Councillor Alan Hill said the result was testament to the hard work that went into building the new campus after the move from Flatt Road.

He said: "This proves what Heather Burns always said, that when teachers had first class facilities, the pupils would rise to the occasion - and this has been reflected in terms of the exam results.

"The other thing that does not necessarily show in these results is the strides the school has made in other ways, not just in an academic sense. That is one of Heather Burns' lasting legacies.

"The pupils are also to be congratulated. The introduction of Clearer Minds and the mental health ambassadors have been fantastic initiatives."

Cllr. Alex Gallagher added: "It is great news that Largs Academy has been recognised as one of the top 50 secondary schools in Scotland.

"Well done to everyone at the school and former head teacher Heather Burns, who played a pivotal part in the school's success.

"The council has been very strong in the support of the school and is very much supportive of the Clearer Minds project.

"Mental health is a big issue and I am very pleased that is now being rolled out to all secondary schools in North Ayrshire. Each will have a school counsellor and Largs Academy led the way in that, thanks to Corrie Shephard.

"I can reveal that we are also planning to put mental health counsellors into primaries six and seven classes throughout the region."

Cllr. Tom Marshall said: "Well done to Largs Academy for getting into the top 50.

"I understand a new head teacher has been appointed from outwith the authority area and under his guidance I look forward to the school moving even further up the rankings.

"The move to the new campus must have caused some difficulties so these results are even more impressive considering the transition."

Cllr Ian Murdoch added: "I would like to congratulate the pupils, teachers, the parent council and the support staff.

"I think it speaks volumes for the whole process behind the way Largs Academy works.

"Credit should go to the outgoing head teacher Heather Burns, and the outstanding achievements of the Largs Academy pupils. Corrie Shephard is a shining example of that."