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HMIe Inspection of Castletown Primary School (19/01/10)
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 Castletown 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 Castletown Primary.
In the report HMIe highlighted as strengths the happy and confident children, the positive ethos of the school and the children’s attainment in mathematics. Commendations were made of the commitment of the staff to improving children’s learning and the contributions to the life of the school made by support and janitorial staff.
HMIe noted that, in the nursery, children are happy, settled and developing friendships. Children speak confidently to staff and each other and work well together. Nursery children are making satisfactory progress in their learning and development; they listen well to stories and are good at expressing their ideas. The nursery staff provide a broad curriculum and encourage children to be creative in art and to take part in energetic play.
Primary children achieve success both inside and outside the classroom raising money for several charities and showing an awareness of their environment. At all stages children can explain what they need to do to keep healthy and they participate well in sport as well as performing in the Caithness Music Festival. Primary children are making very good progress in mathematics and good progress in English language; most children are attaining appropriate national levels in English and almost all in mathematics. Children successfully take on a range of responsibilities around the school from acting as ‘buddies’ to younger children to helping to improve the school through the Pupil Council, they are confident and active learners.
Primary staff plan a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the learning needs of children well. The curriculum is enriched by visitors to the school and school trips both locally and further afield for the children. Inspectors also commended the support and janitorial staff who play an active role within the school to enhance the learning environment. Children and staff are proud of their school, they show care and respect for each other and the children said that they were happy and confident in school. It was also noted that the Head Teacher has a clear vision for the school and gives a high priority to supporting children and staff. Inspectors were confident that the school with the support of the authority is well placed to continue to improve and do not plan to make any further visits in relation to this inspection.
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 enhance children’s experiences in the nursery class by offering children more opportunity to plan their own learning and making more use of the outdoors to extend the children’s learning. The school needs to strengthen attainment in writing, continue to develop its curriculum and use self-evaluation to maintain improvements in the standards of education for all the children.
The school is well supported by the Parent Council who’s Chairperson, Kate Sutherland-West said: “I am pleased to note all the many positive aspects of the report. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the teachers and support staff at the school for a great report. The Parent Council will support the school in helping meet the recommended improvements over the coming year.”
Sheila Malcolm, Head Teacher of Castletown Primary School said: “I am delighted that our caring ethos, hard work and commitment to improve the education of our children has been recognised and valued”
Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: “This is a good inspection report for Castletown Primary with both pupils and all staff being commended by HMIe for their approach and commitment to learning. There is still work to do and improvements to be made but the school is well placed to rise to the challenges.”