Rhins primaries show gaps in learning, says HMIe report

A RECENT HMIe report of Sandhead Primary School has highlighted the good relationship between staff and pupils but said not enough is being done to improve literacy and numeracy skills.

The report also picked up that not enough is done to develop and support children in learning and that although children are known to staff individually, not enough is known about the current learning levels.

The report said: “Children approach their chosen tasks with enthusiasm and are gaining success in their learning. They enjoy learning and feel they are treated with respect. “But they do not have enough opportunities to work together. Children do not practise their skills often enough in literacy and numeracy. This affects how well they are doing in reading, writing, mathematics and essential skills for life.”

The report continues: “Staff are at the very early stages of developing Curriculum for Excellence. Areas of the curriculum are not covered well enough. Children do not build upon their earlier learning in other areas of the curriculum such as the sciences, technologies and drama. Although staff know children as individuals, they do not know enough about where children are in their learning and what they need to learn next. Tasks and activities that are planned for children do not build on what they have learned before and what they should learn. Information to help staff support children needing additional help with their learning is not clear enough. As a result, tasks and activities planned during classwork do not meet their needs.”

It was also mentioned that the partnership arrangements, led by the headteacher, between Sandhead Primary School and Drummore Primary School are beginning to make a positive difference to the way the school improves its work.

Of Drummore Primary, which also underwent an inspection, inspectors said: “There are some strengths in the way children learn and achieve. However, more needs to be done to help children learn better and achieve more.

“They are not confident in discussing their learning or knowing what they are good at and what they need to do to improve. There are too many gaps in their knowledge.”

It added: “Partnership arrangements across the schools has helped staff share good practice and introduce new ideas to help children learn. There is a need to continue to build on this positive start. The headteacher needs to develop the leadership skills of all staff and children to focus on making a positive difference to learning. The school needs support from the education authority to continue to improve.”

Allan MacMillan, Quality Improvement Officer at Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “Authority officers have already met with the headteacher and promoted staff of the above partnered-schools following publication of their draft respective HMIe letters and agreed a number of actions which will begin to take forward key recommendations.

“The authority recognises that there is work to do in order to bring about the necessary improvements, but is confident that each school can build on its identified strengths to achieve this. An action plan has now been prepared by school management and this will be supported and closely monitored by officers.”