Mid Yell school looks to the future after mixed report from inspectors

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.”


Add Your Comment
  • Cheryl Jamieson

    • August 23rd, 2011 22:22

    Where were the council’s quality assurance procedures? It’s a bit late for Helen Budge to step in now and “demand” they raise their standards. That’s surely what the quality assurance officers are getting paid a lot of money to do already. The buck must stop with the beurocratic nightmare that is Hayfield House.

  • phil kennerley

    • August 24th, 2011 17:12

    It dose not surprise me when I read it the press that mid yell junior high schools secondary department is one of the worst in Shetland. As I have been saying the same thing for the last four years with no one even attempting to do anything about it. Education in Shetland is a lottery if your children get the right teachers they will do well, but if they are unlucky enough to get one of the many incompetent fossils, or power hungry bully’s they may as well give up. I am also not surprised that it was the Shetland times that informed me of the results of my daughters schools HMIE report rather than the school its self. As I have felt for a long time now that the pupils and parents and community have no ownership of the school whatsoever .To some of the staff it is little more than a factory just a place to earn a pound .My commiserations to the handful of dedicated professional caring teachers that have the misfortune of being tar’d with the same brush .

  • Rosemary Couper

    • August 27th, 2011 19:02

    I wonder which school Phil Kennerley went to as it must have scarred him terribly. Could it be that if he had attended the maligned Mid Yell School his use of written English would have been slightly improved? He might also have learnt how to read what is written on the page rather than what is in his head. I hope that Phil’s daughter will gain a lot from her Secondary schooling despite her father’s bigoted and very negative views of the teaching profession.

    I agree with Cheryl Jamieson. The Education Authority need to up their game and work harder to support their schools. Until this happens Shetland will continue to suffer from increasingly negative HMI reports.

  • phil kennerley

    • August 28th, 2011 22:51

    An answer to some of rosemarys questions
    It was a school in England and it was ghastly, it didn’t scare me but the thought of my children going through the same tedium dose.
    It is possible that Mid Yells English department may have improved my communication skills , however I am severely dyslexic so my use of written English is only as good as Aston university specialist language department could manage
    (“ He might also have learnt how to read what is written on the page”) having read many hundreds of HMIe reports over the last ten years I have learned that reading between the lines is far more illuminating
    As far as being a bigot ………….. I suppose it is possible I will just have to keep an open mind on that one. Although someone that was so convinced that it was a lack of education that caused my written mistakes , that she would write about it on the internet with out any evidence should look closer to home.
    It may help you to understand why I felt qualified to comment on the report on the Shetland times website if you have some of my history .I have over the last fourteen years had children at school in Midyell and will have for the next twelve ,I was vice chair of the parent council ,I have been chair man of a different schools parent council, I have been a member, vice chair and chairman of a school board before parent councils were invented ,I have debated the merits of the new curriculum for excellence with the then minister of education for Scotland at a conference in Glasgow, bringing resources back to Shetland that were then used by hayfield house to promote the curriculum . ,and have had dealings with hayfield house dating back to Alex Jamison’s days . So when I say that Midyell secondary department has become stagnant and that it is betraying the trust that parents place in it, and it is just playing lip service to the curriculum for excellence I do so with many years of experience .It is still just an opinion .and I am not surprised that some people will disagree with it .However HMIe seem to agree .

    The education department has given so much help to Midyell over the last few years it is hard to see what more they could have done within the system they have to work with. I am no fan of hayfield house but this is one thing you can’t blame them for. And I fear that they will be power less to do anything about it. Most schools have some bad teachers in them and teachers do tent to stick together and tern a blind eye. When was the last time you heard of a teacher being told your services are no longer required because you can’t actually teach. Just one bad teacher will adversely affect many hundreds of children’s prospects .so getting Hayfield house to throw more money at the problem will do nothing . change will only happen when teachers them selves instigate it

  • Margaret Macrae

    • August 30th, 2011 7:42

    As a former headteacher in Shetland, I am very disappointed to find that nothing seems to have changed in the last 9 years.
    Cheryl Jamieson is quite correct. The problem lies in Hayfield House. Until Hayfield House becomes accountable and takes responsibility, things will be the same in another nine years.
    I asked this question nine years ago. It is time to ask it again. Are the personnel in Hayfield House actually capable of doing the job for which they are paid?
    How long will Sheland people accept the status quo?

  • George Smith

    • August 30th, 2011 12:32

    I rather fear that the last few years has seen a disconnect between what is required through Curriculum for Excellence and the priorities given to the staff in Hayfield House. The Blueprint for Education should have been the vehicle through which a vision for education from pre-school, through primary and secondary education, to further and higher education was developed. This should have embraced the requirements of the Curriculum for Excellence – a single educational system with smooth transitions at all times. Instead the Blueprint for Education became little more than a Blueprint for closing schools and making savings in school budgets. Instead of working out what was needed to meet the requirements of Curriculum for Excellence and then looking at the resources required, this authority started by working out how £5 million pounds could be saved. The result being a total disregard to an authority -wide strategic approach to Curriculum for Excellence. Instead individual staff in schools (and colleges) were left to work out their own approaches. This has resulted in a disconnect between schools and Hayfield with the sad fact being that while staff in Hayfield concentrate on the mechanics of making savings they have not been able to work effectively with school based staff to successfully implement Curriculum for Excellence. Hence the type of HMIe report received by Mid Yell. A closer examination of recent HMIe reports for schools in Shetland and elsewhere will show many authorites have moved ahead of Shetland in the eyes of HMIe.


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