22 January 2013
East Dunbartonshire 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 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 approaches to raising attainment, involving partners in the learning process and staff development and its impact on learning and teaching. 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?
Young people learn and achieve exceptionally well. They have a very positive attitude to their learning and demonstrate a strong work ethic. Young people relate very well to each other and demonstrate a maturity in the way they engage in self and peer-assessment, providing each other with well-considered and constructive feedback. They are clear about what they are learning and the standards of work expected of them. Young people are developing their skills for learning very well and engage regularly in reflecting on, reviewing and evaluating their learning. Most are clear about their strengths and what they have to do to improve. They work very well together on a range of activities and in a range of contexts, working well in pairs and in groups. They participate very well in discussions demonstrating respect for other people’s opinions, taking time to make thoughtful contributions, express their ideas and explore their understanding. Young people take responsibility for their learning and can work independently. They use the range of information and communications technology available to support their learning well including using the ‘Glow Meets’ in the evenings where they can engage with teachers about their work. Young people know that their views are valued and taken account of and respond very well to the many opportunities to bring about change in the school and community. Young people enjoy their learning, feel happy, safe and secure within a supportive and stimulating learning environment. They are very clear that the school is helping them become more confident with high aspirations.
Young people are developing a wide range of skills and attributes extremely well to prepare them for life and work. Through learning and working collaboratively in a vast range of contexts including cultural and sporting activities and in the community,
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Transforming lives through learning
young people achieve success in local, national and international competitions and awards. They are thinking creatively, solving problems and developing a wide range of literacy, communication and numeracy skills. Team-working skills are very well developed. Young people are able to link and apply a range of skills and different kinds of learning in a range of situations. They take on a variety of roles and responsibilities with ease and are developing leadership skills well including through the Youth Philanthropy Initiative and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award schemes.
Young people are developing their values and citizenship skills very well including through international education and the ‘Partners of the Future’ link with Germany and network of schools around the world. They demonstrate awareness of the needs of others including through an extensive range of charity work, and through volunteering work in the community such as the ‘Silver Surfers’ club. Young people supported through the Language and Communication Resource (LCR) are included extremely well in the life and work of the school. Challenging tasks are a strong feature of learning in the LCR and young people achieve very well including being successful in the school talent show.
Young people from S1 to S3 are making very good progress across their broad general education. They demonstrate a sound awareness of the literacy and numeracy skills they are developing in a range of meaningful and engaging contexts across the curriculum. In Gaelic, young people’s fluency is developing well. They would benefit from having more opportunities to use Gaelic in and beyond the classroom. Young people achieve extremely well in national qualifications. The school has a range of very effective and inclusive approaches which have led to very significant improvements in young people’s levels of attainment.
How well does the school support young people to develop and learn?
All staff share a common understanding of their collective responsibility for addressing learners’ needs. The range and quality of support across the school is outstanding. Staff take positive and proactive steps to meet the learning, personal and social development needs of all young people. They place a high priority on supporting young people’s mental and emotional wellbeing and have developed a culture of ambition and achievement for all young people. Across the school, staff have a strong focus on ensuring individual learners are developing and progressing well through appropriately challenging learning, with well planned and targeted support. Notable features of practice include the school’s highly effective mentoring programme, the extensive supported study, the systematic approaches to monitoring and tracking young people’s learning, the contributions of the librarian, the support for learning team and the extended pastoral team, as well as the very effective action taken by all staff to ensure all young people achieve their best.
The curriculum is designed to provide young people with the opportunity to develop skills and achieve and attain highly so that they can learn in the future and take their place in society. Staff plan a range of motivating and engaging experiences that provide young people at all stages with opportunities to progress across all aspects of their learning in and out of school. The school has engaged parents extremely well as it has taken forward improvements in line with Curriculum for Excellence.
The broad general education from S1 to S3 provides relevant and challenging learning contexts for young people with strong emphasis on the development of
literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing across learning. Staff across the school are increasingly providing exciting projects which allow young people to link and apply their learning across a range of contexts. Young people at S4 have the opportunity to study a good range of vocational courses. At S4 to S6, young people benefit from a wide range of subject choices, including options to study a second modern language and Gaelic. The school’s innovative approaches to developing literacy across learning, enterprise and employability and international education have been recognised through Scottish and international awards. Strong and effective partnership contributions enhance the curriculum and play a key role in enterprise, citizenship and promotion of equalities.
How well does the school improve the quality of its work?
Self-evaluation is carried out very effectively across the school, and has a clear impact on improvement in all areas of the school’s work. Staff carry out a wide range of evaluative activities resulting in a deep, shared understanding about what works well and where improvement is needed. Staff are highly committed to professional learning and make good use of internal, local authority and external training events to enhance their practice and improve learning and teaching.
The school seeks and acts on the views of young people regularly, through a range of
“pupil voice” initiatives. Leadership is very strong at all levels resulting in a culture of ambition and achievement, and consistent and highly effective practices across the school. The senior management team bring energy and ideas to the school and together provide clear leadership for innovation. The headteacher provides outstanding leadership, a very clear sense of direction, empowering and enabling staff to demonstrate initiative and take responsibility.
This inspection of your school found the following key strengths.
The inspiring and outstanding leadership of the headteacher.
Confident, articulate young people with aspiration and ambition.
The commitment and dedication of staff to school improvement and innovation.
The quality and improvement in attainment.
The range of learning experiences in and out of school including those delivered through strong partnerships.
We discussed with staff and the education authority how they might continue to improve the school. This is what we agreed with them.
Continue to involve partners further in planning and self-evaluation.
What happens at the end of the inspection?
We are very satisfied with the overall quality of provision. We are extremely 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 aspects 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).
Additional inspection evidence, such as details of the quality indicator evaluations, for your school can be found on the Education Scotland website at http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/inspectionandreview/reports/school/primsec/Bis hopbriggsacademyEastDunbartonshire.asp
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