Her Majesty’s Inspectors [HMIe] recently completed an inspection of Avoch Primary and found the following key strengths:
- The quality of children’s learning experiences in the nursery;
- Well-behaved and friendly children
- The progress made by the headteacher and staff in improving the ethos of the school;
- Staff’s teamwork and willingness to take additional responsibilities to improve the school.
The inspectors said that children in the nursery were making very good progress in their development and learning. They stated that they showed enjoyment for learning and, as a result, were developing a range of skills including those in early writing and mathematics which they use in everyday activities. Children in nursery were offered a broad range of quality learning experiences which took good account of their interests and views. They noted that the outdoor environment was used very effectively to promote physical activity.
Children in the primary stages have developed a range of personal and social skills and, as a result, almost all behave well in school. HMIe felt that children in the middle and upper stages were developing skills as leaders although there was a need to develop these skills in pupils at the early stages. Most children in the primary stages demonstrated a positive attitude to learning with activities being offered across a broad curriculum. Consequently, most had attained appropriate standards in reading and mathematics and were able to demonstrate the ability to read fluently and with good understanding and to perform mental and written calculations accurately. Whilst attainment in writing had declined over recent years, there were promising signs of improvement with pupils being able to write for a variety of purposes.
HMIe also found that staff in both nursery and primary knew children well and showed care and concern for their welfare. They felt they had high expectations of pupils’ behaviour and attendance. Children have benefited from the strong support provided by parents to the school and to their learning.
Inspectors noted that senior managers had provided a clear sense of direction for the school. They had worked well to improve the ethos, the school’s environment for learning and pupils’ achievements. They had promoted better team working within the staff community. Teaching staff were committed to improving the school’s work and that almost all had taken on additional responsibilities in this regard. They had accurately identified areas where the school needs to improve further. As a result, HMIe are confident that the school, with the support from the education authority, has the capacity to improve further.
Some recommendations were made by the inspectors and these included: the need to ensure that all children have consistently high-quality, challenging learning experiences, the need to develop the curriculum to meet the needs of all children and to strengthen arrangements for monitoring children’s learning and achievement to ensure that all make suitable progress. These areas for action will be the core agenda for development within the school over the next two years.
HMIe will make no further visits in connection with this inspection. The school and the education authority will inform parents about the school’s progress through the annual Standards and Quality Report.
Head Teacher, Miss Kirsti Paterson, said: “I am encouraged that the recent HMIe Inspection recognised the efforts of the whole school team and our community links. This is evidenced in the high quality learning and teaching experiences in the Nursery, the ethos and learning environments, the staff teamwork, the caring support staff, positive pupil relationships and achievements and the clear sense of direction for continuous improvement.”
Avoch Parent Council noted with pleasure areas within the school which are doing really well, such as the Nursery. They look forward to working closely with the Head Teacher and Staff in taking the necessary steps to achieve the most for the School and its pupils and ensuring the parents are kept fully informed as stakeholders in their school.