Inspectors praise Fife school staff but concern over disruptive pupils

Staff at a Fife primary school have been praised by inspectors - but concerns were raised at the time being spent tackling incidents arising from pupils’ behaviour.
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The weaknesses and strengths of Cardenden Primary School were assessed in a recent visit, and inspectors have pledged to return within 12 months to see what progress has been made.

The report contained many positives with the staff’s commitment to pupils among them and learning and teaching, and securing youngsters’ progress all rated as good - one fifth of fifth of the children need additional support in their learning.

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The inspectors found leadership of change, and wellbeing as satisfactory, and pinpointed areas to be addressed by the school and Fife Council.

The inspectors will return to the school in 12 months.The inspectors will return to the school in 12 months.
The inspectors will return to the school in 12 months.

It noted the impact of lockdown on the school, when itl worked hard to provide home learning, stating: ”Not all families engaged, and for some home learning was not sustainable.

”The pandemic had a negative impact on children’s learning experiences, access to learning and continuity of learning. School leaders, teachers and support staff face significant challenge on a daily basis in achieving improved outcomes for the children in the primary stages.”

The inspectors said a “significant minority of children display distressed behaviour during the school day” and learning and teaching was continually disrupted.

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They noted: “Teachers and support staff are anxious that they have insufficient time to teach, are unable to meet learners’ needs. They spend too much time managing behaviours and incidents. This culture has a significant impact on the capacity of leaders to lead school improvement. The headteacher and PT are too frequently called to support individual children and remove them from class.”

But they praised the school for a staff team which “knows their children, their families and the community very well with staff across the nursery and the primary stages being committed to the care and wellbeing of all children.”

They added: “The school places a strong emphasis on wellbeing and positive relationships. Staff are very caring in their roles and understand children’s individual backgrounds and circumstances.”

Inspectors detailed a number of areas for improvement, and said it needed more support and time to make necessary improvements. They will liaise with Fife Council regarding its capacity to improve.

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Donna Shiels, headteacher said: “Cardenden is a very close community, and the school sits at the heart of that. We are proud of the links we have with our parents and the relationship we have with our children, and we are pleased that our commitment to the care and wellbeing of all of our children has been recognised as a key strength.

“We are very aware of the improvements that need to be made and have already taken steps to address these. We have an action plan in place, and we are in a good position to build on our recognised strength in order to bring about sustained improvements.

“I look forward to sharing the progress made with our school community and the inspection team when they revisit.”

Lesley Henderson, education manager added: “We are happy that the inspection team have recognised the key strengths of Cardenden Primary School and the strong focus on the care and wellbeing of all children. We are working with Mrs Shiels and her staff to support them to take forward the areas for improvement.”