30 October 2012 Dear Parent/Carer

30 October 2012
Dear Parent/Carer
Bellahouston Academy
Glasgow City Council
Recently, as you may know, my colleagues and I inspected your child’s school.
During our visit, we talked to parents and young people and we worked closely with
the headteacher and staff. We wanted to find out how well young people are
learning and achieving and how well the school supports young people to do their
best. The headteacher shared with us the school’s successes and priorities for
improvement. We looked at some particular aspects of the school’s recent work,
including the focus on health and wellbeing, the range of learning and teaching
approaches used to improve achievements and the support given to young people to
help them achieve, including from partners of the school. As a result, we were able
to find out how good the school is at improving young people’s education.
How well do young people learn and achieve?
Overall, young people learn and achieve very well within an inclusive and caring
school community. Almost all young people engage very well in lessons and enjoy
learning at school. They feel they are encouraged to do their best and value the
range of experiences that help them develop skills for learning, life and work.
Relationships across the multicultural school community are very positive and young
people feel very well supported in their learning. Young people attending the
Glasgow School of Sport (GSOS) successfully combine their learning in school with
their work towards achieving excellence in their chosen sport. Across the school,
young people work very well together on tasks. They willingly share ideas and learn
from each other. Young people benefit from teachers’ clear explanations and
effective questioning. Teachers seek the views of young people to improve learning
and teaching. They also encourage young people to have confidence in themselves.
Young people contribute very well to improving the life and work of the school and
the wider community.
Young people are achieving very well in a range of sporting, citizenship and cultural
activities. Their involvement in a wide range of activities is developing their
confidence and self esteem. Significant numbers of young people attending GSOS
are successful in national and international events in their respective sports. Many
of them have been successful in reaching national training squads for their age
group. Many young people from across the school are involved in work to support
the local community. This includes recycling work, voluntary work in community
placements, community regeneration work, fundraising activities and “Bella’s
Garden” in Bellahouston Park. Young people attending GSOS provide support for
Education Scotland
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Transforming lives through learning
health and wellbeing activities to local clubs and primary schools. Across the school,
young people develop their understanding of global citizenship through various
projects linking with schools in Pakistan, Malawi, Italy and Germany. Young people
enjoy success at local and national level in a range of activities including sport,
drama and debating. The school recognises and celebrates young people’s
achievements well, including through the “Bella” Oscars, merits and local publicity.
From S1 to S3, most young people are making good progress in their broad general
education. From S4 to S6, at most levels, the school performs better than, or much
better than, schools which serve young people with similar needs and backgrounds.
Young people with additional support needs, including those for whom English is an
additional language, are making good progress. Most young people leave school
and go on to further study, employment or training.
How well does the school support young people to develop and learn?
Within its caring and inclusive learning community, young people across the school
are very well supported to develop and learn. Staff across the school know young
people very well and they have appropriately high expectations for all learners. Most
teachers plan tasks and activities well to meet the needs of young people. They are
skilful and resourceful in providing appropriate support for all learners. The needs of
young people attending GSOS are well met through a supportive coaching network
and flexible learning programmes. Staff involved in pastoral care, support for
learning and English as an additional language work very well together to meet
young people’s social, emotional and learning needs. They quickly identify, and act
to resolve, any barriers to learning. They offer valuable advice and professional
development opportunities to subject teachers. Young people with additional needs
are also well supported through work with partner agencies.
Teachers are making good progress in implementing changes to the curriculum.
New approaches and courses are in place across all curriculum areas in S1, S2 and
S3. In taking forward Curriculum for Excellence, the school needs to ensure that all
young people receive their entitlement to a broad general education. The curriculum
from S4 to S6 provides a range of courses which offer continuity and progression
and lead to certification at various levels. Health and wellbeing are given a priority
by all staff and support many aspects of young people’s learning. Increasingly,
teachers of all subjects are helping young people develop their skills in literacy and
numeracy. The school has effective arrangements to support young people when
they move into S1 from primary school and for those moving into employment and
further or higher education. Several departments have important links with primary
schools to help young people progress in their learning and the school is continuing
to build on this work.
How well does the school improve the quality of its work?
Overall, we are confident the school will continue to improve the quality of its work.
The headteacher provides strong direction and leadership. He is well respected by
staff, parents and young people. Staff feel well supported and are committed to
continuous school improvement. Faculties and departments have in place a number
of effective approaches to monitor and improve aspects of their work. Teachers
reflect on their lessons and share ideas to improve their classroom practice. They
take part in the numerous staff committees which are taking forward school
improvements. The headteacher and depute headteachers work with principal
teachers and faculty heads to analyse examination results and agree actions to raise
attainment. The school is committed to introducing more consistent school-wide
approaches to self-evaluation and improvement. In taking forward this work, it will
be important to give clear roles and responsibilities to all staff.
This inspection of your school found the following key strengths.
The ethos of the school as a multicultural community with mutually supportive
Young people who enjoy their learning and take pride in their school and
Staff who support young people to learn and achieve very well.
The arrangements to support young people attending GSOS in combining their
sporting and academic achievements.
The leadership of the headteacher.
We discussed with staff and the education authority how they might continue to
improve the school. This is what we agreed with them.
Further develop the curriculum with ongoing evaluation of courses and
programmes to ensure that the needs of all young people are met.
Ensure that all young people receive their entitlement to a broad general
Continue to implement a school-wide approach to self-evaluation for
What happens at the end of the inspection?
We are satisfied with the overall quality of provision. We are confident that the
school’s self-evaluation processes are leading to improvements. As a result, we will
make no further evaluative visits in connection with this inspection. During the
inspection, we identified an aspect of innovative practice which we would like to
explore further in order to share the practice with others. As a result we will work
with the school and local authority in order to record and share more widely the
innovative practice. We will ask the school, in discussion with the local authority, to
let parents know the outcome of the innovative practice visit(s).
Carol McDonald
HM Inspector
Additional inspection evidence, such as details of the quality indicator evaluations,
for your school can be found on the Education Scotland website at
Please contact us if you want to know how to get the report in a different format, for
example, in a translation. You can contact us
at enquiries@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk or write to us at BMCT, Education
Scotland, Denholm House, Almondvale Business Park, Almondvale Way,
Livingston EH54 6GA.
If you want to give us feedback or make a complaint about our work, please contact
01506 600200, or write to us at the above address or e-mail: