Praise and plenty of passmarks for Kelso High

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HIGH levels of attainment and achievement by pupils at Kelso High have been highlighted in a report from government school inspectors, writes Mark Entwistle.

The HM Inspectorate of Education’s (HMIe) verdict on the school was released this month and acknowledges positive relationships, high levels of achievement by motivated pupils, and the positive contribution by the school to its local community.

With better-than-average performance by students in examinations, almost all school leavers progress into further education, higher education or work.

The inspection took place in November and inspectors identified several important strengths of the school. These were the high levels of attainment and a wide range of achievements in sporting and cultural activity; young people showing confidence, enjoyment and interest in their learning; positive relationships between hard-working staff and learners; the school’s positive contribution to the life of the local community; new headteacher Ruth McKay’s clear vision for involving all staff and partners in taking forward an agreed improvement agenda.

Mrs McKay said the inspection had proved to be a positive and supportive experience.

“The resulting report has highlighted the strength of the relationships between staff and learners within the school and the contribution the school makes to the wider community,” she told us.

“The report acknowledged the hard work of staff and the very wide range of sporting and cultural activities on offer. I am very pleased that the achievements of young people in Kelso High School have been recognised.

“Confirmation was given that the priorities for development which we have identified will continue to improve the quality of education on offer in Kelso High School. We look forward to working together to take forward our planned developments and address the recommendations made during the inspection.”

Parent council chair Ian Fingland added: “It is very reassuring for parents to have received positive feedback from the recent inspection and it gives us continued belief in the future of our children’s education at Kelso High School.”

However, inspectors did flag up some areas where they felt improvements could be achieved. They agreed with the school and Scottish Borders Council education department that work needed to be done to ensure all staff work together, in collaboration with partners, to agree and implement a clear programme for continued school improvement, with ongoing evaluation of the progress being made. They also recommended continuing improvement to the curriculum, taking account of the Curriculum for Excellence, to ensure that the full range of young people’s needs are met.

In a letter sent to parents, inspector Grant Mathison stated: “We are satisfied with the overall quality of provision. We are confident that under the direction of the new headteacher the school’s self-evaluation processes will lead to further improvements.

“As a result, we will make no further visits in connection with this inspection. The local authority will inform parents about the school’s progress as part of the authority’s arrangements for reporting to parents on the quality of its schools.”