Schools inspection reports released

Two inspection reports have been returned for isles schools, providing mixed results.

Whalsay School has been classed as good in four quality indicators following an inspection by Education Scotland.

However, its nursery department was described as weak in two areas – leadership of change and learning, teaching and assessment – and satisfactory in one – securing children’s progress.

But the inspection found the nursery to be good at ensuring wellbeing, equality and inclusion.

Areas for improvement are:

•  A need to continue refining the “clarity of the vision, values and aims” as the foundations of the school’s work. Staff are being asked to increasingly work across the different stages of the school.

• The report also highlights a need to increase the pace of improvements to the curriculum and consistency in high-quality learning and teaching.

• The report calls for an improvement in the use of self-evaluation across the school, particularly in the nursery department, as a basis for improvement planning. It’s hoped that will ensure priorities are identified which “enhance” outcomes.

• The nursery is being called upon to  develop approaches to planning, observing and assessing children’s learning. Senior leaders are being asked to work with practitioners to ensure children make the best progress.

Strengths included a “positive influence” shown by senior leaders, well-behaved children who were keen to learn, effective support for children and close collaboration with the wider community.

Chairman of education and families George Smith said the school was “well placed” to address areas where improvement was required.

“Overall this is a good inspection report for Whalsay School,” he said. 

“It highlights the positive ethos, effective support for pupils, good links with partners and the island community as well as the qualities of the pupils themselves. 

“The report identifies areas for improvement, including in Early Years practice and the school is well-placed to address these, with the nursery extension also nearing completion and recruitment moving forward to support the expansion of hours. 

“I want to thank school staff for their hard work and I am sure they will continue to improve the quality of the teaching and learning they are providing.”

Meanwhile, Dunrossness Primary School has returned a “good” report in both primary and nursery.

The inspection team highlighted as a strength the leadership of the head teacher and the respect she had gained from staff, parents and the wider community. 

They also welcomed the teamwork among staff and their success in supporting children in their readiness to learn. 

Children were said to be proud of their school, their achievements and showed support and empathy for one another. They were motivated to learn and very well behaved 

 Areas for improvement were identified. The school is being asked to continue to share good practice and ensure consistency in learning and teaching across the school and nursery.

Staff are also being asked to further develop approaches to tracking children’s progress to clearly inform planning for learning in the nursery setting. 


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