HMIe Inspection of Brora Primary School
20th April 2010
An HMIe report was published yesterday (20 April 2010) for Brora Primary School as part of the inspectorate's ongoing strategy for evaluating the educational provision of local authorities. The report is based on an inspection visit which was carried out in February 2010 and comments on the quality of education at the school.
In the report HMIe highlighted as strengths the progress and confidence of children in the primary classes in using information and communications technology, the impact of the teamwork and commitment of staff on improving children's learning experiences and the involvement of all staff in taking responsibility for improving important aspects of school life.
HMIe noted that children in the nursery class are happy and settled; almost all are motivated and engage in their learning particularly well when they choose their own activities. Almost all children are developing friendships and cooperate and share well with each other. Children are developing their early language and number skills well. They listen well in group activities and talk confidently with their adults and peers and are developing their understanding of numbers.
Across the primary classes, most children are motivated and keen to learn, they work together well and are actively involved in their learning. In the primary classes, attainment in reading, writing and mathematics has improved over the last three years and most children achieve appropriate national levels. Children talk confidently and clearly, are developing good reading skills and write well for a range of purposes. Children achieve success in and outwith the classroom and are developing a good knowledge of living things in science as well as developing a good understanding of global issues through the school's link with Rebone School in South Africa.
In the nursery class, the curriculum is beginning to reflect children's interests while across the primary stages children experience an appropriately broad curriculum covering a range of activities from art and music through to two hours of high quality physical education each week including swimming lessons. Staff plan activities which help children to make links across learning effectively. In the nursery and primary classes, staff know children well and provide a very caring and nurturing environment for them, almost all children feel safe and cared for at school.
As in all reports, HMIe suggest ways in which the school might sustain its agenda for school improvement and identified that the school needs to improve the behaviour and listening skills of some children, improve the coordination of support for children who need this, involve staff, parents and children more in evaluating the quality of learning and achievement within the school and increase the pace of implementation of the new "Curriculum for Excellence".
The school is well supported by the Parent Council and HMIe noted that parents willingly assist the school in a variety of ways, for example through developing the school grounds and helping with after school activities but that there is scope to involve parents further in their children's learning. They should be consulted more about how to improve the school.
Parent Council Chairperson, Catriona Whitfield said: "We are very pleased that Brora Primary School has received a good report and that the school's strengths have been recognised; we are particularly pleased that this has been achieved in the light of the recent staffing instability and we greatly appreciate the hard work that has been put in by the acting head teacher, staff and pupils at the school in order to achieve this outcome. The staff, pupils and parents are keen to work together to address the suggestions made by the inspector."
HMIe also recognised that the Acting Head Teacher, Dawn McKenzie, is highly regarded by all in the school community and that she has quickly gained the trust and support of staff and parents during a period of staffing instability. Dawn said: "The staff, pupils and parents have made a great contribution to a positive report. We will strive now to follow the advice given by HMIe to further improve things at our school. I look forward to working with parents, pupils and staff to this end and would like to thank everyone for their continued support."
Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: "This is a good inspection report for Brora Primary, many strengths are noted as well as some areas for further improvement to work on. It was pleasing that the inspectorate noted how well the Acting Head and staff had worked together in preparation for the inspection."
The full report is available online at www.hmie.gov.uk/ under - Reports - Primary Schools