15th August 2018
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Inspector so pleased with Fair Isle school she stops halfway through

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A schools inspector was so impressed with standards at Fair Isle’s primary school and nursery that she stopped her evaluation after two days. It is the first school in Shetland and one of only 26 in Scotland to have achieved such an accolade.

The decision of inspector Lesley Allan to “disengage” is revealed in her report for Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools published on Tuesday, which gives excellent or very good grades in eight categories applied to both primary and nursery education.

There were 10 pupils in the school and nursery when the inspection was caried out last September. The head teacher is Lisa Bracken, who moved to Fair Isle from a large primary school (roll: 210) in London.

In summing up, the inspector reported the following strengths of the school to be: high-achieving, motivated and confident children who demonstrate leadership skills in school and within the community; the quality of relationships between children and all staff; very effective teaching which provides children with challenging and worthwhile learning experiences; the teamwork and commitment of all staff in providing a caring and stimulating environment for learning; partnerships with parents, support agencies and the wider community; the head teacher’s leadership of improvement through self evaluation.

School inspectors categorise their findings using a six point scale, which describes performance from “unsatisfactory”, at the lowest end to “very good” and “excellent” at the top end.
The categories of performance found at Fair Isle Primary School were:

• Improvements in performance: excellent;

• Learners’ experiences: excellent;

• Meeting learning needs: very good;

In the nursery class they were:

• Improvements in performance: very good;

• Children’s experiences: very good;

• Meeting learning needs: very good;

Aspects of the work of the school and nursery class were:

• The curriculum: very good;

• Improvement through self evaluation: very good.

Speaking on behalf of himself and fellow Shetland South councillors Allison Duncan and Jim Budge, Rick Nickerson said: “We would offer our congratulations to the head teacher, staff, parents and community on an excellent HMIE report. The report highlights the strengths and high standards of the school ranging over wide aspects of school activities.

“It was particularly pleasing to note that the Fair Isle Primary School was the first of Shetland’s schools to experience a disengagement from HMI during inspection, and this was only the 26th school in Scotland to experience it.”

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