HM Inspectors revisited Portree High School in April 2008 to assess the extent to which the school was continuing to improve the quality of its work, and to evaluate progress made in responding to the main points for action in the initial report of 2006. A follow through report published today (Tuesday), states that the school has made very good progress in two of the action points and good progress in the other three.
The report noted that attainment overall in the school had improved. The school now performed better or notably better than similar schools on most measures. In terms of corporate leadership, the report recognised that a new head teacher, Catherine MacDonald, had been appointed in November 2007. She had made a very effective start to implementing her clear vision for the school. The depute h head teachers had continued to play a strong role, both as individuals and as a team, in taking the school forward.
The Inspectors recognised that the quality of learning and teaching had improved overall, and was more consistently effective. As a result of the improvements made, pupils were now being taught more effectively and their learning experiences were better. The school now had effective arrangements in place for evaluating and improving the work of the school. The report states that staff now implemented a clearer and more rigorous system for evaluating the work of the school, which now had the capacity to consolidate existing improvements and improve further.
In the area of climate and relationships, very good progress has been made. With the support of her Senior Management Team, the head teacher had improved communication between senior managers and staff. As a result of the improvements made, relationships within the school were better and morale was higher.
The new school building – built at a cost of £28 million and ready for occupancy in August - had been designed to meet appropriate, modern standards for security and access for people with mobility difficulties. The building had been planned as a high quality learning environment with increased provision of ICT for use in learning and teaching.
Head Teacher Catherine MacDonald said: “This is a very good report for Portree High School and recognises the hard work and effort by staff at all levels. It reflects the positive ethos in the school and is a very good starting point for our aim to make Portree High School one of the very best schools in Scotland. This report is only the beginning and we must now use this, and our new school environment, to push through our vision of a truly excellent curriculum- enhanced and enriched by our local environment, which has a partnership of pupils, staff, parents and the local community.”
As a result, HM Inspectors will make no further visits to the school in connection with the Inspection report of August 2006.
Parent Council representative, Donald MacDonald, said: “The HMIe follow through report makes very encouraging reading. Due to the hard work of the staff and Senior Management Team of Portree High School, and the changes they have implemented, significant progress has been made in a relatively short period of time. “There is a new found confidence and optimism within the whole school community and we anticipate that with the excellent learning and teaching environment the new school building will provide that further progress will be made. This is an exciting and challenging time for Portree High School as it strives to deliver an educational experience of excellence for all its pupils.”