Rural school recognised for improvements made during pandemic

A rural school has been praised for how it handled the challenges of lockdown during the Covid-19 crisis.

Sandness Primary School has received a positive follow-up report, following an earlier pre-pandemic inspection in May 2018.

Back then, inspectors found a number of strengths at the small West Side school, but identified other areas which required to be addressed.

A follow-up inspection was delayed by the Covid crisis.

Education Scotland suspended school and nursery inspections in March 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

But last year, inspectors agreed to resume “a programme of scrutiny activities”, taking account of Covid-19 and supporting recovery and improvement.

Speaking during today’s [Monday’s] education and families meeting, quality improvement manager Robin Calder highlighted the findings of the virtual follow-up, which took place in November.

“The inspection team were very positive about how the school had supported children and young people, and families in general throughout the pandemic,” he told councillors.

He said inspectors had recognised the “tailored approaches” which had reflected the “rural context” of the school – as well as the real emphasis on the wellbeing of children following the return to in-class lessons.

“It was also an endorsement of children’s services over-arching support to families throughout the pandemic,” he added.

Chairman George Smith said it was good that inspectors had been able to connect with the school to have the necessary follow-up conversations.

“All credit to the staff in the school, and to the wider children’s services, that that progress has been made, and continues to be made, in really challenging circumstances.”

However, members heard that inspections had once again been paused on 3rd December, due to the ongoing Covid situation.

A number of isles schools are still awaiting follow-up visits or discussions.


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.