Swinton delighted at school inspection report

THE pupils of Swinton Primary School have been described as “articulate children who engage thoughtfully with their learning,” by HM inspectors who visited the school in April and have since identified areas where improvement can be made.

Their report, published earlier this week, reads: ‘Across the school, almost all children are keen to learn and achieve.

‘In recent years, most children have achieved expected levels for their stage in reading and writing and in mathematics. In the current session most children, including those who need additional support, are making good progress in their learning.’

Two other important strengths of the school identified by inspectors were staff’s consistent emphasis on keeping children’s learning at the centre of all they do and the range of active parental support for the life and work of the school.

The school’s headteacher, Jayne Waite, was also praised for having ‘a clear vision for the school and a clear view of the school’s existing strengths and areas for development’, and inspectors were impressed with the work of teacher-led committees which aimed to improve different aspects of the work of the school.

On a scale ranging from unsatisfactory to excellent, Swinton Primary, which inspectors felt had a ‘welcoming and friendly ethos to visitors’, was rated good in terms of improvements in performance; learners’ experience; meeting learning needs and improvement through self-evaluation and satisfactory when it came to curriculum, which according to inspectors’ criteria for quality indicators meant the strengths just outweighed the weaknesses.

The curriculum at the school was described by inspectors as ‘suitably broad,’ but they added ‘overall, staff need to track all children’s progress more closely, focusing on each child’s next steps in their learning.’

The inspectors agreed a number of areas for improvement with the school and Scottish Borders Council. These are to: improve arrangements to track and monitor all children’s progress and achievement across all areas of their learning; improve coherence and progression within the curriculum to improve outcomes of children’s learning; develop further children’s role as active partners in their own learning and continue to develop self-evaluation to involve all stakeholders more fully.

Commenting, headteacher Mrs Waite said: “I am delighted that HMIE recognised that the staff in Swinton keep the children at the heart of everything we do and this allows them to make good progress in all areas of their learning and development. We also have strong parental support which enhances all areas of school life. We are now well placed to further develop curriculum for excellence.”

The Chair of the Parent Council, Avril Hamilton added: “We are pleased that the report highlights the strength of our whole school community – staff, parents and children – which in turn is reflected in the many positive comments about our pupils within the report in terms of both their academic and wider achievements.

“We are also pleased to see that, although our headteacher Mrs Waite has only been in the post for just over a year now, her positive contribution to the school in such a short space of time has been recognised. We are confident that Mrs Waite and her team are well-placed to take forward the recommendations of the report, within the context of Curriculum for Excellence.”