A SYRIAN schoolgirl is set to fulfil her dream to train to be a doctor thanks to local secondary school Inverclyde Academy's pioneering personalised teaching.

Hasna Ayoub will benefit from a new qualification for 'New Scots' which has been introduced to bring young pupils like her up to speed and fast track English skills.

The 16-year-old refugee arrived in Inverclyde eight months ago, having left the city of Damascus at only nine years old when war broke out in her country.

After spending six years in camps in Egypt the determined, hard-working pupil is now making up for lost time.

She is one of the many pupils benefitting from head teacher Denise Crawford's belief that education should be tailored to meet pupils' own talents.

Praising Inverclyde Academy, fifth year pupil Hasna said: "I am enjoying my life here and at Inverclyde Academy although it is hard.

"I have a group of friends and I want to be a doctor because I want to help people.

"I would like to be a doctor here in Scotland.

"I am studying very hard in chemistry and biology.

"I am very hard on myself if I do not get full marks."

Hasna is joined by other pupils who are getting a whole new experience at high school.

Head teacher Mrs Crawford, working closely with her depute Sabrina McCready, says she was determined to ring the changes when she arrived at Inverclyde Academy.

She wants her school to be judged on more than just how many pupils attain five highers and is determined that they get the education that suits them best.

She said: "I always say we are measuring our achievements in inches when we should be measuring it in centimetres.

"The world has moved on and we need to do that too.

"We are not a factory, we are a school.

"I went to the pupils, to the parents and to the community and I listened to what they wanted from Inverclyde Academy.

"They wanted to have life chances and good jobs and for us to raise attainment.

"We then set about delivering on it.

"If studying for three highers and taking a placement suits my pupils better then that is what they will do.

"I have went round schools across the country and learned from their practices."

The school has used the government's pupil equity fund to introduce new experiences like a barista to train pupils.

Denise added: "There are a lot of jobs out there in hospitality and even our five-Highers pupils need a Saturday job."

The school also has a counsellor on board to help pupils of all ages and staff.

Denise added: ""The pupil equity fund has made all the difference, we can direct our funding where it suits."

Fifth year pupil Ailee Gray thought she was all set for drama and music but she discovered a love for engineering and is now doing a foundation apprenticeship placement at college as well as her Highers.

Ailee said: "The school are really keen to encourage girls into engineering.

"I discovered I really loved it the more I found out about it.

"The apprenticeship gives me the edge when I go to university because I have the practical experience.

"I wasn't sure at first but I am loving it now."

Sixth year pupil Ellie Morrison wants to be a midwife, so she is mixing her advanced Highers with a nursery placement.

She added: "I definitely have more confidence now.

"When you are at school you mostly deal with your teachers and friends but I am also building a great relationship with the children."

There are also fourth year pupils who are being fast tracked to sit Higher art, music and

Jamie Morris was the highest achiever in Inverclyde last year with three A grades at Advanced higher and has a place to study genetics at university.

But he has deferred entry after winning an apprenticeship with Kilpatrick Blane Services through the recruit programme.

Former pupil Jamie said: "This will put me in the fast lane for my degree course.

"I am learning more practical employability skills that will put me ahead when I graduate compared to others who will just be stepping into employment for the first time.”