Mid Yell Junior High School received a mixed report from a recent government inspection and has pledged to do better.
Although Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education (HMIe) found many positive aspects to the school, they also identified some key areas for improvement. These include improving the way pupils’ learning is planned and monitored, and the need to set more challenging work to encourage them to achieve more.
Inspectors will come back to the school in a year’s time to monitor progress.
Shetland Islands Council has committed itself to improvement action for the school. Director of children’s services Helen Budge said: “We will work closely with the Mid Yell School community and HMIe to bring the quality of learning at Mid Yell Junior High School up to the highest standards, which is what we demand from all our schools.
“We are working closely with staff at the school to deal with the issues raised by the report and to build upon the examples of positive practice in the school.”
Mrs Budge stressed that as well as highlighting areas where action was needed, the HMIe report had identified many strengths.
Inspectors were impressed by the “well-behaved and welcoming” young people, the quality of staff care for the welfare of pupils and the partnership arrangements with a wide range of agencies which make a strong contribution to young people’s learning.
The nursery department was assessed as “good” in three areas: improvements in performance; children’s experiences; and meeting learning needs. Children’s positive learning experiences in this department and the arrangements staff make to ensure a confident start at P1 were praised.
Chairwoman of the education and families committee Betty Fullerton said: “Our young people are our future and while there is much to be proud of in the education provision at Mid Yell, there are improvements highlighted as necessary and these will be made. I can guarantee parents in Yell, and their children, that this will happen.”
Mrs Budge said that an action plan for the school was already being developed and put in place. Three issues are being addressed: firstly, to ensure that pupils have consistently high-quality and challenging learning experiences; secondly, to improve the curriculum to build more effectively on pupils’ prior learning; and thirdly to strengthen arrangements to monitor learning and achievement to ensure all pupils are making suitable progress.
Mrs Budge said: “This [action plan] will cover the three areas that we agreed with the inspectors needed to be improved between now and their follow-up inspection in a year’s time.”
Head teacher of Mid Yell JH School Mark Lawson said: “I thank the HMIe inspectors for their input as we look to improve the service we provide. Work has already started on addressing our action plan and with the ongoing support of our pupils, parents and community. I am confident that we can make the changes required to ensure all our pupils have the best possible learning experiences.”