Elgin primary school inspection reveals ‘significant gaps’

Moray Council – action required at primary school

Standards of attainment at an Elgin primary school have been described as being “too low” while literacy and numeracy skills were also below what should be expected.

That was the view expressed following an inspection of East End Primary school after which a report acknowledged that the school did provide a caring environment for pupils.

However, there were significant gaps in their mathematical skills, including mental calculation, while children who had additional support needs were not making enough progress.

The report said: “Across the primary stages, activities in English language and mathematics are not always suitably challenging or well matched to individual needs.

“Teachers need to use assessment better to plan learning experiences which build on children’s existing skills. Learning plans are in place for a few children with specific learning needs, but not for all children who need them.”

Amongst the issues discovered by inspectors was that the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence was well behind national timescales, with “no progressive programmes of study in place”.

The report added: “Staff have not yet planned how they will develop and assess children’s skills in literacy and numeracy and health and wellbeing across the curriculum. As a result, there are gaps in children’s learning.”

The inspection report said head teacher Gail McIntosh had recently taken up her post on a permanent basis and had carried out informal evaluations and had a general understanding of how the school needed to improve.

It said: “She now urgently needs to establish effective systems for evaluating and improving the work of the school and need to focus her leadership activity on driving improvement in learning and the curriculum.

“The head teacher and staff engaged fully with the inspection process and sought and implemented our advice, making some immediate improvements. They are very keen to improve the school and would benefit from support from Moray Council to develop their knowledge and skills.

“As a result of our inspection findings, we think that the school needs additional support and more time to make necessary improvements. Our area lead officer will work with Moray Council to build capacity for improvement and will maintain contact to monitor progress.”

The inspectors will return to the school for a follow-up inspection within the next 12 months.

On Tuesday Moray Council’s acting head of schools and curriculum development, Vivienne Cross, commented: “Officers have already met with the head teacher to discuss the plan for improvement.

“The school will benefit from a planned programme of support, including input from Education Scotland, in order that they secure the improvements necessary.”

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