Primary concern of Pittenweem

Pittenweem Primary School.
Pittenweem Primary School.

A PROGRAMME of improvements at Pittenweem Primary School is being put into place following a less than favourable HMIE report.

Inspectors visited the school earlier this summer, where they assessed how well it was improving children’s education.

But, despite praise in certain areas, the visiting inspectors highlighted several serious concerns.

Bluntly, the report said the overall quality of learning in classes “needs to be improved” and described the standard as “too variable”.

Fife Council, though, has acknowledged the need for improvement and says measures are being implemented to ensure pupils are given the best start.

John McLaughlin, area education officer for north east Fife, told the Mail: “Since the report, we’ve worked with the school to secure some staff changes on a voluntary basis.

“The headteacher has drawn up a programme for improvement following on from the key points of the report and is enthusiastic about taking up this challenge.

“We’ve had some pretty frank meetings with the parent board and now we’re focusing on providing the best education for the children of Pittenweem.”

Areas for improvement include the approaches used to monitor and track children’s progress, raising the expectations of what children can achieve across all aspects of learning, and improving the quality of learning which meets children’s needs.

Inspectors found that children are developing citizenship skills well through links with the local community and that the pupil council, buddies and the eco-club provide good opportunities for them to exercise responsibility.

As well as this, inspectors highlighted the caring ethos across the school which as a result of the positive relationships between staff and children.

Headteacher Elaine Paterson said she was pleased the inspectors noted the positive aspects – but remained aware the report is not one the school would have hoped for.

“Most of the areas for improvement were ones we had already identified and were working on improving,” she said.

“We have a robust programme in place to make sure that the necessary changes are made to ensure that all our children are given the best learning experience possible.

“We are all keen to build on the good work which is already taking place and we will do all we can to make sure that, by the time the inspectors return, they will see the kind of school that we all want for our children.”

In a letter to parents, Education Scotland outlined exactly what had been discussed between the school and inspectors.

It said it recommended the school was given additional support and time to make improvements, and that it would return within one year to evaluate education provision again.

A spokesperson from the parent council added the group was glad the report recognised the happy atmosphere of the school and the good relationships that existed between pupils and staff.

“However we are disappointed that the quality of learning and teaching at the school has not been as high as it should have been,” they added.

“We have been assured that a robust action plan will be put in place to tackle all the issues highlighted by the report.”