11 February 2014 Dear Parent/Carer on your child’s school. We

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11 February 2014
Dear Parent/Carer
Montrose Academy
Angus Council
In September 2010, HM Inspectors published a report on your child’s school. We
subsequently returned to the school to look at how it had continued to improve its
work, and published a letter to parents in June 2012. Recently, as you may know,
we visited the school again. During our visit, we talked to young people and worked
closely with the headteacher and staff. We heard from the headteacher and other
staff how the school has continued to improve. We looked at particular areas that
had been identified in June 2012 and at aspects of the school’s work, as proposed
by the headteacher. As a result, we were able to find out how well young people are
now learning and achieving and how the school is continuing to support them to do
their best. This letter sets out what we found.
How well do young people learn and achieve?
The quality of young people’s learning experiences across the school has improved.
In almost all classes, relationships between staff and young people are positive and
the ethos in classes is now more purposeful and focused. In most classes, young
people are active and engaged in their learning. Partners in the community make a
strong contribution to young people’s learning experiences. Young people now have
higher levels of motivation and respond positively when given opportunities to work
together. At the senior stages, young people are more motivated as a result of the
improved arrangements for monitoring and reporting their progress, which include
setting agreed individual learning targets. More young people now feel that staff talk
to them regularly about how to improve their learning, particularly during tutor time.
Staff should continue to develop their arrangements for monitoring young people’s
progress from S1 to S3. There remains scope to improve the quality of young
people’s learning experiences in a few subjects.
The school has increased the range of opportunities for young people to achieve
through a wide range of planned activities within the school and local community. All
young people at S1 are now working towards Dynamic Youth Awards and a sizeable
number of young people are participating in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. These,
and other out-of-hours activities, are helping young people to develop a broader
range of skills, including public speaking and working in teams. Many young people
experience success in sporting, cultural and other activities. School captains and
prefects are developing leadership skills and act as commendable role models for
their younger peers. The school has begun to collect information on the range of
Education Scotland
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Transforming lives through learning
achievements that young people gain within and outwith school. By the end of S4,
young people’s attainment in examinations has improved over the last two years and
is now in line with national averages. Over recent years, the school has successfully
started to reduce the gap between its own attainment and that of schools serving
young people with similar needs and backgrounds. At S5/S6, there have been some
important improvements in attainment over the last three years. Staff acknowledge
the need to continue to raise attainment and have identified areas where there is
considerable scope for improvement.
How well does the school support young people to develop and learn?
Staff have continued to improve the curriculum in line with Curriculum for Excellence,
taking into account local and national guidance. At S1, young people make very
good use of their P7 profiles during tutor time to help them build on their earlier
learning. There is a clear rationale for the curriculum and young people from S1 to
S3 benefit from a broad range of courses. Staff have recognised the need to review
the curriculum at these stages to ensure that all young people can make a confident
and well-planned move into S4 and beyond. From S4 to S6, a wide range of
partners, including local and global businesses, help to enhance young people’s
learning experiences and develop their knowledge of the world of work. Overall,
parents feel that they have been kept well informed about recent changes to the
curriculum. Young people’s learning needs are now met more effectively. In most
lessons, teachers set work at a suitable level for young people and the pace of
learning has improved. Support staff are now deployed more effectively and there is
better sharing of good practice across the school. Young people who require
additional support in their learning are identified at an early stage. Staff are
developing ways of ensuring that all young people make suitable progress in literacy
and numeracy. We have asked staff to continue to improve approaches to
establishing clear learning targets for young people with individualised educational
programmes.
How well does the school improve the quality of its work?
The school now has a more positive ethos and clearer sense of direction.
Increasingly, staff take more responsibility for important aspects of school life. They
have recently developed some very promising approaches to tracking, monitoring
and reporting young people’s progress from S4 to S6. Almost all staff are positive
about the opportunities which they have to develop their own professional skills.
Staff are now clearer about the need to raise young people’s expectations and
attainment. Annual reviews, in which young people’s performance in national
examinations is evaluated, are now carried out more rigorously and this is leading to
improvements in attainment. The headteacher, supported by his deputes, has led a
number of important improvements during his time in post. Senior staff, with
continued support from Angus Council, should now address the underachievement
of young people in a few subject areas. Most parents are happy with the school.
Staff should continue to develop arrangements for gathering and taking account of
parents’ views.
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What happens next?
Under the headteacher’s leadership, and with the continued support of Angus
Council, the school has now developed the capacity for further improvement. We
will make no further visits in connection with the report of September 2010.
Alistair Brown
HM Inspector
If you would like to receive this report in a different format, for example, in a
translation please contact the administration team on the above telephone number.
If you want to give us feedback or make a complaint about our work, please contact
us by telephone on 0141 282 5000, or e-mail:
[email protected] or write to us addressing your letter to the
Complaints Manager, Denholm House, Almondvale Business Park, Livingston
EH54 6GA.
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