Document 13110759

23 April 2013
Dear Parent/Carer
Carnoustie High School
Angus 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 view of its successes and priorities for
improvement. We looked at some particular aspects of the school’s recent work,
including the progress young people are making across S1 to S3 and the impact of the
school’s work on raising attainment and enabling young people to be active in their
learning. We also considered the effectiveness of the school’s arrangements for
communicating and consulting with you, young people, and staff. 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 in the school have a positive learning experience. In almost all
classes, relationships between young people and staff are good. Young people are
generally attentive and respond well to staff. There are increasing opportunities for
young people to assess their own work and the work of their peers, and to reflect on
their learning and progress. Where this happens, young people are clear about what
they are learning and what they need to do to improve. This good practice should be
adopted more consistently across the school. In a good range of classes, young
people benefit from regular opportunities to work together in pairs or groups. When
given the opportunity, young people collaborate well and support each other effectively
in their learning. In some lessons across the school, young people’s learning is too
passive. In these lessons, there are fewer opportunities for young people to be
independent and take responsibility for their learning. In some S3 classes, young
people were less well motivated, particularly where whole-class tasks did not engage
all learners well.
Young people are actively encouraged to take on leadership roles and develop their
citizenship skills. Sports leaders from S6 are responsible for all aspects of the planning
and delivery of the P7 transition day event at Crombie Park. The school also provides
a wide range of activities that enable young people to be active and engaged as global
citizens. This includes very strong links with Rwanda and fund-raising for local and
national charities. Young people have access to good opportunities to extend their
learning in a range of out-of-class activities both in the school and the local community.
They achieve well in these activities, particularly in sport and music. Young people
Education Scotland
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Transforming lives through learning
from the school have represented Scotland and Great Britain at both individual and
team events in a range of sports. The school needs to consider how it can give more
recognition to young people’s achievements in the community. There is scope to
improve the progress young people make across S1 to S3. Across S4 to S6, young
people generally perform above the national average in national qualifications.
However, despite some recent improvements, they do less well than schools which
serve young people with similar needs and backgrounds. In a range of measures, girls
achieve notably better than boys. When they leave school, almost all young people
move on to positive destinations.
How well does the school support young people to develop and learn?
Overall, young people are encouraged and well supported in their learning. Staff are
working very well together to support and meet young people’s health and wellbeing
needs. Young people are increasing their levels of physical activity and their
knowledge about nutrition and healthy eating through whole school working and
collaboration between departments. The school runs lunchtime health drop-ins that are
well attended. The school has very effective arrangements for supporting young
people with additional support needs and they make good progress in their learning.
Support teachers work very successfully with mainstream teachers across several
subject areas. Support for learning assistants provide a range of helpful support for
young people. In most classes, tasks and activities meet the needs of most young
people well. This is particularly the case in senior classes.
At S1-S3, the curriculum has been planned to provide young people with a broad
learning experience. The school should continue to review its arrangements at these
stages to ensure that young people build on their prior learning and achievement and
make appropriate progress by the end of S3. The current curriculum across S4 to S6
provides young people with a wide range of opportunities for developing their skills and
gaining appropriate qualifications, particularly in S6. The school is making good
progress in developing young people’s literacy and numeracy skills across their
learning. It engages well with a wide range of partners who make positive contributions
to young people’s learning in and out of school. Across S1-S6, the school allocates a
significant proportion of the week to tutor time. The school should improve these
arrangements to ensure tutor time provides effective support to young people.
How well does the school improve the quality of its work?
The school has a good range of approaches for improving its work. Teachers plan and
track young people’s progress carefully. Promoted staff use this information well,
particularly with targeted groups in S4. They have focused one-to-one discussions that
help young people improve their learning and achievements. This work has recently
had a positive impact on raising attainment for this group. There is scope to extend
these processes further. Teachers and senior staff regularly visit lessons to observe
young people’s learning. Teachers have started to work very effectively together on
improving learning and teaching and sharing good practice across the school. This
work is proving particularly effective where staff are working towards enabling young
people to be more active in their learning. Some departments have developed highly
effective approaches to improving outcomes through self-evaluation. These
approaches are leading to high quality experiences and outcomes for young people in
these areas. Each department produces an annual report on its work. The school also
provides parents with an annual report on its work. Taken together, these reports
provide a fair and balanced account of the work of the school and departments and set
clear improvement priorities. The school uses a range of methods for communicating
and consulting with parents, staff, and young people. Despite these processes, a good
number do not feel that these approaches are fully effective or that the school takes
sufficient account of their views.
This inspection of the school found the following key strengths.
Overall quality of young people’s experiences in the school.
High-quality support for young people who require additional support with their
Impact of the work of staff to support young people’s health and wellbeing.
Achievements of young people in a range of activities such as sport and music.
Impact of highly effective self-evaluation in some departments.
We discussed with staff and the education authority how they might continue to
improve the school. This is what we agreed with them.
Increase the pace and challenge in young people’s learning across the broad
general education to the end of S3.
Improve the effectiveness of tutor time.
Continue to raise levels of attainment across the school, particularly for boys.
Improve the effectiveness of the school’s arrangements for communicating and
consulting with parents, young people and staff.
What happens at the end of the inspection?
We are satisfied with the overall quality of provision in the school. We are confident
that the school’s self-evaluation processes have the capacity to lead to improvements.
As a result, we will make no further visits in connection with this inspection. The local
authority and school will inform parents about the school’s progress as part of their
arrangements for reporting to parents on the quality of the school.
Chris Webb
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
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.