Better marks for St Joseph’s school says HMIe inspector

St Josephs RC Primary School in Selkirk.
St Josephs RC Primary School in Selkirk.

St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Selkirk has made a number of improvements since its 2014 HMIe visit, but there is still a lot of work to be done ‘as a matter of urgency’.

That is the conclusion of HM Inspector Moira Cummings, who visited the school for the third time in October.

In a letter to the pupils’ parents, Mrs Cummings said she was pleased with how children took some responsibility in school for their own learning and that the majority work well on their own.

She also praised the school’s head teacher Karen Gray, who had been off work since the last inspection, and had recently returned.

The inspector said: “She continues to show strong leadership and recognises that the school has not made sufficient progress since the last inspection.

“However, despite this being outwith her control, she is already taking steps to improve children’s learning experiences and their behaviour and attitudes towards each other.”

The inspector concluded: “As a matter of urgency, Scottish Borders Council needs to work with the school to ensure improvements in children’s learning, achievement and progress. Our area Lead Officer will work with Scottish Borders Council to build capacity for improvement, and will maintain contact to monitor progress.”

Another inspection will be made within a year from the date of the letter, issued this week.

Head teacher Karen Gray said: “We welcomed this visit from the inspectors as it validates our own evaluation of where the school is.

“We are delighted that they support our vision for the school and the improvement journey we are undertaking. The school has had an unsettled few years where staffing has not been stable and this has, in the past, affected the pace of our improvements.

“However, we now have a permanent teacher who is working both within the team and with parents to support each individual pupil on their learning journey.”

Colette Willison and Claire Boyle of St Joseph’s Parent Council said: “The Parent Council continues to support the school and work with staff to make improvements for the pupils.

“We are particularly pleased that we now have permanent staff in place as this will provide the stability the school needs.”