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HMIe Inspection of Pennyland Primary School (12/01/10)
As part of the inspectorate’s ongoing strategy for evaluating the educational provision of local authorities, a report is issued today on the inspection by HMIe of the quality of education at Pennyland Primary School. The report is based on an inspection visit which was carried out in November 2009 and comments on the quality of education at Pennyland Primary.
In the report HMIe highlighted as strengths the motivated children who are keen to learn. The report also noted that the children respect others including those with additional learning needs. Commendations were made of the staff that are developing their teaching skills successfully and providing activities that help children to think for themselves and become more independent learners.
HMIe noted that, in the nursery, children enjoy the broad range of learning activities provided and most are making good progress in their learning and development. The majority of nursery children are confident when talking about personal experiences and are beginning to make effective use of new technologies. The nursery children are also developing an awareness of the environment and are making good progress physically by taking part in energetic activities both in the hall and outside.
Primary children have also gained a good knowledge of environmental issues and most children are confident and competent in using the internet. Some children benefit from involvement in the Pupil Council and Eco-group. In Primary the majority of children achieve appropriate national levels in reading, writing and mathematics. By Primary seven most are able to give reasoned opinions and justify their views in lively debates and the majority write well for a range of purposes. In mathematics most children are confident and accurate in mental and written calculations, in the middle and upper stages most children tackle problems effectively. Most children feel safe and fairly treated and almost all children respond positively to teachers’ high expectations of behaviour.
The work of the school staff was commended and it was noted that staff contribute to the positive atmosphere which supports and values all children. Teachers interact well with children and both teachers and support staff provide effective help to groups and individuals, parents appreciate the fact that teachers are quick to address concerns and almost all parents are happy with the work of the school.
As in all reports, HMIe suggest ways in which the school might sustain its agenda for school improvement and identified that the school needs to involve both children and parents more in discussing the way learning is delivered, similarly both nursery and support staff need to be involved more in improvement activities. It was recognised that the Head and Depute have established a staff team that want the best for the children at Pennyland but that they need to take a stronger lead in taking school improvement forward. HMIe recommended the following improvements: the need to raise attainment in reading and writing; to be more effective in meeting the learning needs of all children; improve leadership and ensure that planned improvements are making a difference to the achievement of children.
HMIe acknowledge that the school and staff team have the skills, capability and commitment to make the necessary improvements and plan to return in a years’ time to evaluate progress.
The school is well supported by an active Parent Council whose Chairperson Mrs Lesley Wilson said: “I am pleased to note the many positive aspects of the report. I’m sure the Parent Council will endeavour to support the school in helping meet the recommended improvements over the year.”
Paul Hagan, Head Teacher of Pennyland Primary School said: “All the school staff are looking forward over the next year to meet the challenges laid down by the inspectorate. We are confident that working with our school community of pupils, staff and parents we will meet these challenges.”
Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: “It is pleasing that HMIe noted the commitment of staff and the keen and motivated children at Pennyland. Clearly there are improvements to be made at the school and it is important for the Head Teacher, depute and the Authority to drive these forward before the inspectors visit again in a years’ time.”