15 December 2015 Dear Parent/Carer ’s school. During

15 December 2015
Dear Parent/Carer
Lochgelly High School
Fife 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 the
school’s employability programmes, its approaches to improving health and wellbeing
and how it is developing opportunities for personal achievement. 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?
Most young people across the school are confident and motivated in their learning.
Young people are proud of the school’s improving ethos and spoke positively about
how school uniform is bringing pride to the school community. Most young people feel
that they are getting on well with their school work. They also say the school is helping
to build their confidence, that they enjoy learning and that staff encourage them to do
their best. Young people would welcome a greater say in how they learn. There are
examples of highly effective teaching and learning in a few subject areas and staff
should aspire to deliver this quality of experience more consistently across the school.
A minority of young people feel that some staff could deal more effectively with the
poor behaviour of a few pupils.
Almost all young people across the school are involved in a wide range of activities
within and beyond school. Young people develop a range of skills through
participation in active citizenship activities. For example, young people in S2 took part
in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative and the winning group performed their drama
to raise awareness of and support for Fife Women’s Aid. In S5 and S6, young people
are leading activity camps for younger children through the active schools
ambassadors’ programme. A few gain qualifications, for example, in lifeguarding.
Young people in the Department of Additional Support (DAS) are very positive about
their school. They have very strong relations with staff and feel very well included in
all aspects of the school. Across the school, young people are developing their
creativity skills very well in a range of musical events and through performing in bands
and orchestras. Recently, the young people took responsibility for organising a highly
successful production of the musical ‘Hairspray’. The Scottish Rugby Union school of
Education Scotland
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Transforming lives through learning
rugby is having a positive impact on developing confidence, improved physical health
and relationships of S1 to S3 pupils. As a result, their attitude and behaviour is
improving. Young people in S3 and S5/6 gained insight into careers in aeronautics
through a gliding scholarship with an international airline and the Air League. The
school has begun a process of recording the individual achievements of young people.
They now need to build on this to support young people to reflect on their progress
and develop further their skills.
Overall, young people, including those attending the DAS and others who require
additional support in their learning are making appropriate progress from S1 to S3.
This progress is, however, variable across the school. The school has begun to
assess the progress that young people have made in their attainment in literacy and
numeracy across learning in S1 to S3. In recent years, the attainment of young people
in S4 to S6 in national qualifications has varied across a range of national performance
measures with few clear signs of year on year improvement. There is scope for
improving attainment at all qualification levels and across a range of subjects. Overall,
in most measures, young people perform in line with other young people from across
Scotland with similar needs and backgrounds. Attainment in literacy and numeracy
has been improving in recent years. In the past five years, almost all or most young
people have left school for a positive destination in education, training or work. Over
this period, the percentage leaving school to enter further education was significantly
higher than the national figures.
How well does the school support young people to develop and learn?
The school is good at supporting young people to develop and learn. Across the
school in most lessons, tasks and activities meet the needs of most young people well.
However, there is scope for some teachers to tailor tasks more closely to individual
needs. A strong emphasis is placed on providing high quality pastoral care for young
people. Guidance staff know the young people in their care very well. Working
effectively with a range of partners, support for learning staff, including those working
in DAS, provide well-targeted support to young people with additional needs. The
school is tracking closely the attainment of young carers and young people who are
looked after. During tutor time all young people meet regularly with a teacher who
knows them well. They are beginning to use learning journals to help them reflect on
and record their progress. Young people have helpful discussions with staff who
support them to consider their next steps in learning. Effective arrangements with
local primary schools ensure that all young people in P7 are supported in their move to
high school. With support from Fife Council, the school’s approaches to physical
education, physical activity and sport is having a positive effect on the health and
wellbeing of young people.
The school has developed the curriculum in line with Curriculum for Excellence. The
curriculum strongly reflects the needs of the young people and the local context. In S1
to S3, young people receive their entitlement to a broad general education including
two hours of high quality Physical Education. Courses and programmes reflect
national advice. The development of health and wellbeing is a priority for the school.
Staff plan the content of many courses very well with partners. In some cases these
partners, for example Community Learning and Development and the National Health
Service, help to deliver the courses. Young people in S5 and S6 have also been
helping to deliver a project on alcohol and sexual health and relationships to the young
people in S2. Teachers are aware that they now need to plan further their approaches
to developing young people’s literacy and numeracy skills across all curriculum areas.
Staff have taken positive steps to improve the aspirations of young people. The
school’s approaches to developing young people’s employability skills are a real
strength. Almost all young people in S4 achieve a qualification in employability. There
are currently partnerships with 30 employers and more than 40 quality work
placements tailored to the needs of young people. In the senior phase, young people
are able to attend college or take part in valuable wider achievement programmes two
afternoons each week. In reviewing the curriculum in the senior phase, we have
encouraged the school to consider how it might build stronger provision for modern
languages in S4 to S6.
How well does the school improve the quality of its work?
The headteacher has a strong vision for improvement which has been supported by
almost all staff. She has helped to bring about a number of improvements with drive
and determination. The headteacher is supported by five depute headteachers who
have all been appointed in the last three years. The deputes all link effectively with
specific departments across the school. There are highly effective processes in place
to improve how the school evaluates its work. Staff are committed to improving the
outcomes for young people. They reflect well on their own practice. They engage
enthusiastically in professional learning with colleagues in their own and other schools.
The school uses a variety of approaches to evaluate its work including parental and
pupil surveys, visits to classes by senior staff and discussions about young people’s
performance. There is greater scope for young people’s opinions to be heard and
acted upon. Currently, the young people are unsure about how effective the pupil
parliament will be in helping to bring about improvements. Through its processes for
improvement, the school has had recent significant successes in improving young
people’s attendance and reducing exclusions. Working with partners, there have been
some important initiatives in health and wellbeing, for example, providing a free
breakfast and soup for all young people. Senior managers have gathered and used
information well to improve the structure and delivery of S1 and S2 courses and
programmes. Young people in these year groups now meet with fewer teachers
allowing stronger relationships to develop. The headteacher and senior leaders now
need to work collectively with all staff to help realise further improvements and build on
their recent successes.
This inspection found the following key strengths.
Partnerships with local employers and agencies which are helping young people to
move on to positive destinations.
The development of a curriculum which is highly relevant to the needs of the young
people, including those in DAS.
The drive and determination of the headteacher and staff to improve the school.
An inclusive ethos and high quality work with partners to support young people
most at risk.
We discussed with staff and Fife Council how they might continue to improve the
school. This is what we agreed with them.
Building on recent improvements, continue to raise attainment.
Improve the consistency of learning experiences for young people across the
Increase the opportunities for young people to express their views and lead on
school improvement.
Build on the school’s recent successes in promoting positive relationships and
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 visits in connection with this inspection. As part of its arrangements
for reporting to parents on the quality of education, Fife Council will inform parents
about the school’s progress. Our Area Lead Officer will maintain contact with Fife
Council to monitor progress.
Gary Johnstone
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
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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 0131 244 4330, or e-mail: [email protected]
or write to us addressing your letter to the Complaints Manager, Denholm House,
Almondvale Business Park, Livingston EH54 6GA.