In an HMIe report on Melvich Primary School published today (Tuesday 19 December), several key strengths were singled out for particular praise.
- The commitment of teaching staff during a period of discontinuity.
- Approaches adopted by the new headteacher and staff to improve pupils’ learning experiences.
- Productive relationships between staff and parents, and the important part played by the school and the local community.
They also commented on the commitment of all staff, the hard working and motivated pupils and the very good support and pastoral care offered to them.
In the report, the inspectors judged that most aspects of the work of the school represented good practice. They recognised the good performance in mathematics and the good quality of teaching. Parents felt welcome at the school and were happy with the work of the school. The parent-staff association made a significant contribution to raising funds.
The inspectors found staff to be very positive and noted their important contribution to creating the supportive climate that encouraged pupils in their learning. Staff also work well together to promote positive behaviour, a very caring ethos and good pastoral care.
Teachers set high standards for pupils’ attainment and provided an appropriate range of quality learning experiences. They planned and organised their lessons well, taking into account prior learning. They worked well with pupils who were hardworking and motivated.
Most pupils were found to be achieving or exceeding appropriate national levels in English language, with pupils able to read fluently and with expression. Most were also achieving the appropriate national levels in maths with some pupils achieving levels earlier than might normally be expected.
The report highlighted pupils’ positive relationships with staff and also noted that mutual respect between pupils had contributed to the majority of pupils being well behaved, happy and confident. The school was commended for its effective and mutually supportive links with parents, the school board and the wider community.
The team effort of the support for learning staff was recognised as was the close working relationship with external agencies.
The authority has been asked to address aspects of the school accommodation and facilities, including security issues and improvements to the school grounds. The inspectors also made a number of recommendations, which included further improving the quality of pupils’ learning. The school was also asked to improve procedures to monitor attainment.
Commenting on the report, Mrs Margaret Ferguson, headteacher said, "I am pleased that the inspectors acknowledge the good work of the school in the community. We have already begun to address the recommendations in the report.”
Mr Graham Cameron, chair of the school board, said: “I was pleased to read in the report recognition of the dedication and commitment of the teaching staff. This has contributed to the maintenance of standards during a difficult period. It is also clear that the headteacher is playing a key roll in building on the strengths of the school”
Mr Bill Couston, Area Education, Culture and Sports Manager for Sutherland, said: “I am pleased that HMI recognises the work of staff during an extended period without the leadership of a headteacher. We were pleased to be able to appoint an experienced headteacher to the post just prior to the inspection. Mrs Ferguson has worked hard to move the school forward in a number of ways and has already begun to address issues raised in the report. The authority will continue to offer their support to her.”