Mixed reports for region’s primaries

THREE Borders primary schools were recently inspected by HMIe, writes Kenny Paterson.

While St Margaret’s Roman Catholic school in Galashiels was commended for a series of key strengths, HMIe staff said improvements in children’s learning were needed at Melrose.

And inspectors said they would request a report from Halyrude in Peebles in 12 months to ensure progress continues.

St Margaret’s, led by temporary manager of learning Barbara Adams, was praised for its hard-working students, staff’s positive relationships and ability to support children’s learning, as well as progress in pupil’s writing.

The leadership of Mrs Adams was also singled out by inspectors, as well as Robert Fairburn, chairman of St Margaret’s Parent Council.

He said: “This positive report makes excellent reading and reflects the fantastic work being carried out by all the staff at St Margaret’s. I was also delighted the inspectors chose to highlight the very effective leadership of Mrs Adams, who only arrived in August, but has been a major factor in driving the school forward with all her hard work and enthusiasm. She has been a breath of fresh air and the school has benefited enormously.”

Mrs Adams added: “We welcome this report as it strongly endorses the progress we have made.”

Among the areas of improvement was developing effective plans for the use of Curriculum for Excellence for learning and achievement and greater discussion with children on their strengths and weaknesses.

The quality of education was labelled as satisfactory at Melrose, with inspectors noting well-behaved children and a calm learning environment.

HM Inspector Noreen Phillips added: “We are satisfied with the overall quality of provision. We are not entirely confident that the school’s self-evaluation processes are leading to sufficient improvement, particularly in the curriculum. As a result, we will provide further support with the local authority.”

Chair of Melrose Parent Council, Rhona White, said: “The outcomes of the recent HMIe inspection at Melrose recognise that there is room for improvement.

“As a parent council we are confident that working with the headteacher, school staff and senior education officers at Scottish Borders Council, we can implement an action plan to address these outcomes in a positive way to take our school forward.”

HM Inspector Graeme Logan noted strengths at Halyrude in learning experiences and aspects of the curriculum.

He added: “As many of the other improvements have started recently, and the headteacher is in a temporary post, we will request a report, within one year of the publication of this letter, on the degree to which Halyrude Primary School is continuing to improve.

“Depending on the progress which has been made, we will consider whether or not to carry out any further visits.”

Interim headteacher Kate Brown said: “This report clearly recognises the hard work and effort of the whole school community towards improving the children’s experience at Halyrude.

“The report also gives a very clear steer on where our efforts should be focused in order to secure further and continued improvement.

“This is extremely helpful and, importantly, the school has already successfully implemented a number of the recommendations.”