HMIe report for Inverness Royal Academy. (18/12/12)

An inspector’s report on Inverness Royal Academy published today (18 December) has highlighted a number of the school’s key strengths, including high levels of attainment in a number of areas and self-motivation of pupils, along with the skill and commitment of staff.

HMIe, who visited the school in October, praised broader achievement outwith the classroom and remarked on pupils’ friendliness, good behaviour and positive attitude towards learning.

Among recommendations for improvement are a need for more rigorous self-evaluation of the school’s work, including the monitoring of pupil progress and improving arrangements for meeting the needs of all young people.  An accompanying letter to parents states that the inspectors are “satisfied with the overall quality of provision” at the school.

The report recognises that many pupils achieve success at local and national level through the school’s wide range of sporting, cultural and community activities.  The school will now continue to monitor pupils’ progress in their wider achievements as well as their attainment so that they have a clear view of young people’s progress within the broad general education.  In S5/6 young people perform well in national examinations. The number of grade A awards at Higher in S5 is significantly above the national average with almost all young people going on to further study, employment or training on leaving school.  The school will now look towards developing attainment for pupils at all stages.

The inspection team also praised the inclusive ethos and quality of relationships between young people and staff.  Pupils reported that they feel well supported by guidance staff and that if they raise concerns they will be helped.  Support for learning staff, including learning assistants know the young people they work with well.   There is further scope to share the skilful practice of some teachers in planning stimulating learning experiences more widely across the school.

An action point identified by inspectors was to improve the curriculum to meet the needs and entitlements of all young people more fully.  In order to do this the school will continue to build on work that has already started to ensure the broad and balanced curriculum already on offer evolves in line with national and local advice.

The school and senior management team, supported by the education authority will now develop consistent and rigorous approaches to self-evaluation which will build upon the work the head teacher has started towards developing a more reflective and evaluative culture across the school.  This will involve parents, young people and partners more fully in improving the work of the school.

In response to the report, Rector Alastair McKinlay said: “I am pleased that the report has recognised the many strengths that exist here at Inverness Royal Academy. Positive relationships between staff and pupils as well as our supportive and inclusive ethos have been highlighted and these are key to a quality learning environment. Our dedicated and hardworking staff have also received praise as has the good behaviour of our pupils.

“On the whole I feel the report reflects our own evaluation of where we are and also gives us clear direction as to the aspects of our work we need to prioritise for improvement going forward.

“I would like to thank pupils, parents, staff and our partners for their continued support and look forward to working with the school community to take forward the improvements recommended in the report as we move towards the new building in 2016.”

Janet Hackel, chair of the Parent Council said: “I feel the report was fair reflection on the school community, and the Parent Council looks forward to continuing our work alongside the Head Teacher and staff of the school.  We are very excited about the replacement school, but of course it’s what goes on inside the building that is most important.”

Inspectors were satisfied with the overall quality of provision at the school and will maintain contact with the local authority to monitor progress.

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