HMIe Report on the Inspection of St Ninian’s RC Primary School

IMPRovements in the curriculum are needed at St Ninian’s Schhol, say school inspectors in a report published this week. The HM inspectors found polite children who were keen to learn and making good progress when they visited the school in May this year.

The report says: ”Children at St Ninian’s RC Primary School feel safe and happy, and have very good personal and social skills. “Children are enthusiastic, keen to learn and have positive attitudes to their work. They need to be given increased responsibility for setting their own targets for improving their learning. Children enjoy working together in groups. Children are developing a good understanding of health and wellbeing and the importance of making good lifestyle choices.

“Children are confident and show care and respect for others. Children’s achievements and out-of-school successes are promoted at assemblies and on displays around the school. Children are learning about citizenship and how to be responsible through involvement in the eco committee. They have achieved the Eco-Schools Scotland silver award. The recently appointed Headteacher has put in place plans to establish a pupil council.

“Children are making satisfactory progress in reading and mathematics. Children talk confidently and articulately about their interests and experiences. Children read with expression and understanding but are not confident in discussing how authors use language. Children need to write more often, for a wider range of purposes and at length. In mathematics, almost all children are accurate and confident in making written calculations from worksheets or textbook activities. Children would benefit from more opportunities to apply their mathematics skills in real life contexts.

“Staff are at a very early stage in implementing Curriculum for Excellence. They now need to develop this at a much faster pace. Teachers have made an initial start to connecting learning across the curriculum through the whole school interdisciplinary topic on ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Visiting specialists provide high-quality learning experiences for children in art and design, physical education and music.

“Staff know children and their families very well. Staff work well with the visiting support for learning teacher and a range of partners to help children learn. Children, who require additional support in their learning, including those with English as an additional language, are making good progress in their learning.

The Parent Council is very supportive of the school. The Headteacher has plans to work closely with the Parent Council to develop its involvement in leading school improvement. The school has a complaints procedure and parents feel concerns raised are listened to and, where necessary, appropriate action is taken.

“The school works well with partners, including the Active Schools coordinator, to enhance children’s learning about aspects of health and wellbeing. Staff meet regularly to discuss children’s needs as they prepare to move into P1. Children moving to Douglas Ewart High School are well supported. The school works closely with the local parish of Our Lady and St Ninian’s. Children’s understanding of equality is enhanced through their joint project to support a village in Malawi.

“Across the school, children are involved in sustaining and improving the environment. There is a strong and caring Roman Catholic ethos in the school. Older children take responsibility, for example, as buddies to help younger children. The new Headteacher recognises the need to work with staff to help them to evaluate the quality of children’s learning, progress and achievement, and to bring about continuous school improvement. She has also identified the need to ensure that children and their parents play a full role in helping the school to improve.

“Staff have high expectations of children’s welfare and behaviour. Children’s behaviour is very good. Staff need to track children’s progress and set realistic but challenging expectations so that all children’s learning needs are met.

“In her short time in the school, the Headteacher has identified its strengths and areas in need of urgent development. She has already formed an appropriate strategy to take the school forward, which recognises the need to improve the school’s work more quickly and effectively.

“HMIe will carry out a follow-through inspection visit within one year of publication of this report and will report to parents on the extent to which the school has improved.

“Director of Education, Colin Grant said: “We have agreed with HMIe Inspectors about the areas requiring attention and are already working with the new Headteacher on an urgent action plan to address the report’s key recommendations.

“HMIe have expressed confidence in the leadership of the new Headteacher and we will now support her to build on the school’s strengths and ensure that effective action is taken to address the school’s busy improvement agenda.”

Findings of the Inspection of St Ninian’s RC Primary School:

1 - Key strengths of the school

The key strengths of the school were identified as:

Well-behaved, polite and friendly children who are keen to learn.

2 - Main Points for Action

The school and education authority should act on the following recommendations:

Increase pace and challenge and develop opportunities for children to have more responsibility for their learning.

Improve attainment, particularly in writing.

Improve the curriculum more quickly by using Curriculum for Excellence.

Implement self-evaluation approaches that lead to school improvement, including by involving all staff, children and their parents.

3 - Evaluations for St Ninian’s RC Primary School

School

Improvements in performance -Satisfactory

Learners’ experiences - Weak

Meeting learning needs -Satisfactory

The following aspects of the work of the school were also evaluated.

The Curriculum - Weak

Improvement through self-evaluation - Unsatisfactory