Bad weather is just another learning opportunity at Dunbeath school. (20/04/10)

Pupils learning from making an igloo during very cold winter weather demonstrated to HMIe how staff at Dunbeath Primary School are increasingly providing opportunities to learn through practical activities in line with the new Curriculum for Excellence.

Improvements made to the curriculum, teamwork among staff, and joint working to support pupils along with the Head Teacher's clear view of the strengths and priorities for the school were acknowledged as strengths in the latest report published today (20 April 2010) on the Caithness school.

Inspectors reported that pupils enjoy school.  They are motivated by their learning, have gained confidence and self-esteem from taking part in cultural and sporting activities and are enthusiastic about promoting sustainability and the importance of healthy living.  Children throughout the school, including those with additional support needs, are making appropriate progress, achieving standards in line with national expectations, though they need to develop further their use of ICT and skills for discussion to help them become more independent in their learning.

Staff know children well and work together to ensure that activities build on children’s learning.  They also have productive links with staff in local schools and work closely with other professionals to meet the needs of children with additional support needs.  While staff work closely with the Head Teacher to improve children’s learning and achievement, the pace of progress, in some instances, could be greater.

Parents' views are surveyed on the work of the school.  They are welcome in the school and pleased with arrangements for reporting on their child's progress.  The Parent Council is supportive of the school and has helped in developing the school grounds.

HMIe concluded that the school is well placed to continue to improve under the guidance of its well respected Head Teacher.  They have agreed the following areas for improvement with the school and education authority:

  • Ensure all staff are trained fully on child protection.
  • Continue to implement Curriculum for Excellence and extend opportunities for younger children to learn through play.
  • Ensure pace and challenge meet the individual needs of all children.
  • Increase the involvement and impact of staff, parents and children in evaluating the work of the school.

Chairperson of the Parent Council, Dorothy Lyon, said: “The Parent Council is very pleased with the Inspectors report. A small school like ours offers a unique and challenging environment for both staff and pupils but we benefit greatly from excellent teaching opportunities and the support we get from the local community. We are confident that the areas highlighted for improvement will be addressed accordingly.”
 
Head Teacher Mrs Carol Grant said: “I am very pleased with the report and staff have already acted on some of the recommendations. There has always been a caring, family atmosphere within Dunbeath Primary School and the staff work exceptionally well as a team to provide positive learning experiences for the children.”

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