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HMIe Report - Kinlochbervie High School

26th January 2010

The caring and supportive environment for learning was one of the three particular strengths highlighted by Her Majesty's Inspectors of Education in a report published today on Kinlochbervie High School.

Inspectors reported that in most classes, pupils were motivated and very willing to learn and that relationships between teachers and pupils were positive. Pupils were involved in reflecting on their progress, responded well to opportunities to be actively involved in their learning and acted responsibly and showed leadership in the community. The inspectors found that most young people felt safe and well looked after.

The contribution of staff to promoting young people's achievements in the community was also highlighted as a strength of the school. The report comments on pupils' participation in a wide range of activities to help them develop skills and confidence, including work experience and residential trips. Local groups and businesses contributed effectively to the curriculum and work experience programme. Inspectors felt that these skills and achievements could be better recognised through award schemes.

The third area of strength was the quality of learning support for young people with additional needs. Learning support staff were successful at identifying young people's needs and provided very effective support for pupils. The school worked well with parents, and other professionals to support young people's learning.

As well as highlighting strengths, HMIe outlined areas where the school could improve. While recent changes to the curriculum at S3 to S6 had helped to improve choices for young people the range of courses taken by young people in S3 was too narrow. Developing the curriculum in line with the principles of Curriculum for Excellence to ensure a broad general education for all pupils was agreed as an area of improvement

At S1/S2, most pupils make positive progress from their prior levels of attainment and by the end of S4 almost all young people achieved five or more awards at 'General' level or better. At levels beyond those attainment was not so consistent. Inspectors have asked the school to raise attainment by improving the consistency of learning and teaching across the school through sharing good practice on learning and teaching, expectations of pupil behaviour and effective use of homework.

Promoted staff will monitor and evaluate the improvements in pupils' learning and achievements brought about by these suggestions.

Rector Dr Ian Smith said: "This is a constructive report. I am pleased the inspectors have recognised some of the very many positive aspects of the school. The report especially praises all of the staff for their involvement in school and community activities that proved beneficial to pupils. As with all such reports on schools, the inspectors have highlighted areas for improvement. We have already started work on their suggestions and I will be arranging a series of meetings in each of the communities to share the HMIe finding s with parents and describe our plans for improvement."

Mrs Fiona Belbin, Chairperson of the School Board welcomed the HMI report and said: "I am pleased that the hard work of all staff and pupils has been recognized along with the vital contribution the school makes in the surrounding communities of North West Sutherland."

The negative aspects of the report were in some instances due to the small size and remoteness of the school. However, Mrs Belbin was confident that the issues highlighted by the Inspectorate will be addressed promptly and effectively by the Rector and his staff.

Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: "Many of the positive aspects of Kinlochbervie High School have been noted. I am confident that the school will be quick to address the identified areas for improvement, and agree that some aspects in the report were due to the size and remoteness of the High School."


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