Borders school hailed as high achiever by inspectors

A Borders school has been praised by education inspectors for setting its sights high and succeeding.

Staff and pupils at Earlston High School celebrating being given the thumbs-up by Education Scotland.
Staff and pupils at Earlston High School celebrating being given the thumbs-up by Education Scotland.

Earlston High School has been given the thumbs-up in a report published by Education Scotland this week following an inspection carried out in October.

A spokesperson for the watchdog said: “Under highly effective leadership, teachers are using a range of approaches to improve learning, teaching and assessment.

“These approaches, linked to teachers’ ongoing professional learning, are beginning to lead to increasingly high-quality experiences for young people.

“Staff have high aspirations for all young people, and positive and respectful relationships exist across the school.

“The school is maintaining high levels of attainment for all leavers.

“Young people are benefitting from an extensive range of out-of-class activities that are helping them to develop their skills and attributes well.

“This includes them having increased responsibility as they progress through the school and being active participants in their local community.

“We are confident that the school has the capacity to continue to improve, so we will make no more visits in connection with this inspection.”

Some room for improvement at the 900-plus-pupil school, opened in 2009, was identified, however.

Teachers are being urged to ensure that assessment is used appropriately for pupils in years S1 to S3 so they can demonstrate their knowledge and skills effectively, and better tracking and monitoring of youngsters in that age group is also called for.

The report adds: “Whilst almost all young people are willing learners and attentive in class, they are too passive in their learning. They need to be encouraged and empowered to be more involved actively in the learning process.”

Justin Sinclair, the East End school’s headteacher for the last four years, has welcomed the report, saying: “I am delighted with this strong inspection report.

“I would personally like to thank our pupils, staff, parents, carers, partners and local community.

“We showcased our great school and are very proud of our achievements.”

Parent council chairperson Annabel Howell added: “This is a wonderful report thanks to all the young people and staff who live the school values and for whom learning and learning about learning is interactive, dynamic and fun.”

“The support of the wider Earlston High School community has been invaluable.”