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Melvich Primary School Reaps the Benefits of New Campus

11th December 2018

The Vice Chair of The Highland Council's Care, Learning and Housing Committee has congratulated Melvich Primary School near Thurso on their inspection report by Education Scotland.

Councillor John Finlayson said: "I would like to extend my congratulations to the Head Teacher Katherine Wood and her staff and all the pupils as well as the whole school community on what is a very positive outcome for them all."

In its inspection report published on Tuesday, 4 December 2018, Education Scotland made reference to a number of Melvich Primary School's strengths.

Melvich Primary School, which is part of the 3-18 North Coast Campus with Farr Primary School, Tongue Primary School and Farr High School, was applauded for the way the 3-18 North Coast Campus has developed since it was created in August 2017. The inspectors referred to evidence not only from the management team and staff but also from the parents who, although initially sceptical about the 3-18 campus, shared their enthusiasm about the educational benefits of their new campus and how being part of something bigger was having a positive impact on their children’s learning and development.

The Education Scotland inspection team summarised the schools strengths as follows:

The new arrangements for Melvich Primary School and Nursery Class as part of the North Coast Campus is popular with parents and staff.

Children benefit from the shared expertise of staff across all schools and early years classes.
The headteacher and depute headteacher provide clear leadership to the work of the school. They are well supported by the principal teacher and the committed staff. As a result there is a calm purposeful learning environment, at the centre of the community, where everyone works well together to improve outcomes for children.
Children who are well behaved and engaged in their learning. They are enthusiastic about the interesting learning contexts staff provide for them. Children appreciate having a voice and the sense of team work provided by the house groups.

North Coast Campus Headteacher Katherine Wood said: "We are very pleased with the findings and strengths highlighted in the recent inspection. Our leadership team is committed to ensuring that staff benefit from working with other schools in the campus to share good practice and moderate standards of learning. Campus working supports the curriculum where children from nursery to P7 benefit from subject specialist input and our children also have opportunities to work with similar year groups in other schools while our secondary pupils and staff benefit from the professional input of their primary colleagues. Most importantly, our families are feeling reassured that the creation of the North Coast Campus is truly about sustaining education in the area for years to come."

Councillor John Finlayson continued: “I was pleased that the inspectors noted very positive and respectful relationships as a strong feature of the school which has been a key focus of the work of the headteacher and depute over the last year. Staff are clearly committed to the school and community and local partners are also keen to support the work of the school. In our approach to sustaining schools one of our aims is to reflect the individual circumstances in each area which has been highlighted in this positive inspection of Melvich Primary School and underpins our core ambition to improve outcomes for all youngsters in a sustainable way.”

Melvich Primary School and Nursery is a small rural school 16 miles west of Thurso. For session 2018/19 there are 22 primary pupils and ten nursery pupils. In 2017/18 the school became part of the 3-18 North Coast Campus with Farr Primary School, Tongue Primary School and Farr High School. In September 2018, a team of inspectors from Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate visited Melvich Primary School and Nursery.

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