15th August 2018
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Thumbs up for school

By ROSALIND GRIFFITHS

INSPECTORS who visited Brae High School in September were impressed by the school and the broad education given to pupils.

The HMIe inspection, the results of which were published this week, revealed many strengths, including the support pupils gave each other, the strong commitment of staff at all levels to the life and work of the school and its friendly and caring atmosphere.

It did, however, recommend there should be more PE for all pupils and that staff should pay more attention to areas for development, as not doing so had led to weaknesses.

The 366-pupil school, which has nursery, primary and secondary departments, was found to live up to its motto of “Wirk tagidder wi ean anidder”. Pupils in P7 have worked alongside S2 pupils to produce a newsletter, and senior pupils help younger ones with their learning. This support within the school was praised by the inspectors as a “key feature”.

Their report also noted the “caring ethos, in which children and young people are respected by staff, respect each other and are encouraged to achieve well”.

Exam results have consistently been above the national average, and lessons include activities in which pupils are encouraged to do their own research. Additionally young people are helped to take part in vocational courses, and children with additional support needs are making good progress.

Teachers were praised for being sensitive to the pupils’ needs and for having high expectations, and principal teachers were found to provide effective leadership.

Children, for their part, were deemed to be “very well behaved” and to respond to teachers’ expectations.

Although the school promotes healthy living and in particular offers a wide range of sports, the report said that ways should be found to make it easier for pupils who live at some distance from the school to take part in sports activities.

Staff should also work more closely with parents to set targets for individual children, the report recommended, and inspectors found that the activities in some subjects were too easy.

Although the suggestions of the primary pupil council had been acted upon, the secondary council did not feel its concerns had adequately been listened to.

Senior managers now need to take full account of this evidence of the school’s performance, it said, including views of pupils and parents.

The inspectors will remain in contact with the school to support improvement during the coming year and to make sure it is sustained through improved self-evaluation.

The school and education authority have agreed to the improvement plan and will inform parents about the school’s progress in improving the quality of education.

About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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