1. Background Key strengths What are the views of parents and carers, pupils and staff? 1

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1 The Flora Stevenson Primary School City of Edinburgh Council 4 October 2005

2 Contents Page 1. Background 1 2. Key strengths 1 3. What are the views of parents and carers, pupils and staff? 1 4. How good are learning, teaching and achievement? 2 5. How well are pupils supported? 4 6. How good is the environment for learning? 5 7. Improving the school 6 Appendix 1 Indicators of quality 8 Appendix 2 Summary of questionnaire responses 9 How can you contact us? 10

3 1. Background The Flora Stevenson Primary School was inspected in May 2005 as part of a national sample of primary education. The inspection covered key aspects of the work of the school at all stages. It evaluated pupils achievements, the effectiveness of the school, the environment for learning, the school s processes for self-evaluation and capacity for improvement. There was a particular focus on attainment in English language and mathematics. HM Inspectors examined pupils work and interviewed groups of pupils, including the pupil council, and staff. Members of the inspection team also met the chairperson of the School Board, representatives of the parent-teacher association (PTA), and a group of parents. The school serves the Comely Bank area of Edinburgh. At the time of the inspection the roll was 562, including 105 children in the nursery class. The City of Edinburgh School for musically gifted primary pupils is integrated within the school. This provision had been the subject of previous inspection visits and was not included in this inspection. The proportion of pupils who were entitled to free school meals was well below the national average. Pupils attendance was above the national average. 2. Key strengths HM Inspectors identified the following key strengths. A positive ethos, based on high expectations and a sense of equality and fairness for all. Caring staff and high quality support to meet the needs of all pupils. Significant improvements in attainment in mathematics in recent years. Pupils very good behaviour, positive attitudes and relationships with adults. Well developed partnerships with parents and the wider community. The quality of leadership and management. 3. What are the views of parents and carers, pupils and staff? HM Inspectors analysed responses to questionnaires issued to a sample of parents, P4 to P7 pupils, and to all staff. Information about the responses to the questionnaires appears in Appendix 2. 1

4 Most parents felt that the school was well led and deserved its good reputation in the community. In discussion, those interviewed felt that their children enjoyed being at school and were well looked after. Almost all parents thought that teachers set high standards and provided them with good information about their children s progress. However, more than half had concerns about the quality of accommodation. Around a third were concerned about external communications, particularly in relation to the new report format. Pupils views about the school were more mixed. Overall, they felt very safe and happy in the school and thought that teachers listened to their points of view. Several expressed concerns in the questionnaires about bullying and pupil behaviour, but in discussion acknowledged that staff tackled instances of bullying and poor behaviour quickly and effectively. A few thought that they got too much homework. Others thought that they got too little. Staff enjoyed working in the school and were very positive about almost all aspects of its work. 4. How good are learning, teaching and achievement? Pupils learning experiences and achievements The school provided a broad and balanced curriculum at all stages. Staff effectively gave extra time to mathematics and English language in order to raise attainment. Teachers also gave additional time to expressive arts, religious and moral education and a planned programme of basic skills in information and communications technology (ICT). Visiting specialists provided valuable inputs in music, art and design and physical education. The school was also engaged in a number of environmental and enterprise activities. Teachers planned their lessons well. Almost all teachers introduced lessons clearly, sometimes with a review of previous learning. Some teachers shared the aims or learning outcomes as well as the activities to be undertaken, but this practice was not consistently applied by all teachers. They gave good explanations and used questions effectively. Most teachers used praise well and provided pupils with good feedback in jotters and workbooks. Staff made effective use of ICT in lessons and pupils showed confidence in using computers. However, such opportunities were restricted by limited access to computers. In mathematics, the use of interactive mental calculation activities was a positive feature at all stages. Appropriate homework tasks were set regularly in English language and mathematics. Pupils were very well motivated and well behaved in class. They started work quickly with little prompting, and many responded very well to teachers questions. Many were able to bring complex vocabulary and knowledge of, for example, scientific concepts to their work in class topics. They cooperated well when given opportunities to work in pairs or groups. There were too few opportunities in English language for paired or group work. Many pupils worked well independently and were prepared to take responsibility for their own learning, but there were too few such opportunities. The pace of lessons varied. Several teachers set time limits for tasks, but others spent too long in explaining tasks and these lessons were too slow. Pupils demonstrated effective teamwork. Pupils at P5 had created their own display board and pupils at P6 had taken full responsibility for organising a multi-faith assembly. At several stages, pupils had learned important enterprise skills. The existence of the music school within the campus was used by staff to encourage the 2

5 expressive arts and foster creativity. Many pupils, not just those attending the music school, had achieved well in music. Large numbers of instrumentalists had developed their skills through taking part in a recent education authority string concert and, at P1 and P2, the pupils choir had performed in the local church and in the community. Pupils had responded very well to the additional challenges provided for them in music, art and design and mathematics within the education authority s gifted and talented programme. Pupils had also achieved success in English language and literature. At P7, a group of pupils were producing a film on refugees, with assistance from Scottish Screen. Recently, 38 poems written by pupils from the school were published in a national anthology. Representatives of classes from P3 to P7 competed enthusiastically in the Fame Academy competition. Outwith the formal curriculum, many pupils enjoyed a wide range of sports and activities. The drama club, dance clubs, judo, cycling and athletics were well attended. The football team performed very well recently against older opposition in a local schools competition. In swimming, pupils had reached the finals of the Edinburgh schools championships. Following registration as an Eco School, pupils were learning about sustainability through undertaking a number of recycling activities. English language The overall quality of attainment in English language was good. In recent years, attainment in reading had remained stable, while there had been some improvement in attainment in writing. Most pupils had achieved appropriate national standards in reading and writing, with many pupils at all stages exceeding them. Most pupils were making good progress through their coursework. A few pupils, particularly in the middle stages, were making very good progress. Progress was not always maintained at the upper stages. Throughout the school, pupils were making good progress in listening and talking and were developing knowledge of audience awareness and skills in group discussion. At P7, pupils talked with confidence and could express their opinions on a wide range of subjects. At all stages, pupils enjoyed reading for pleasure and made good use of class libraries. Pupils at the early stages were making excellent progress in reading and writing under a very effective literacy programme. Across the school, pupils wrote well for a variety of purposes and audiences. There were many examples of very good quality writing throughout the school. Mathematics The overall quality of pupils attainment in mathematics was very good. In recent years, levels of attainment in mathematics had risen significantly and continued to improve steadily. Pupils were making very good progress in their coursework. At the early stages, all pupils were achieving appropriate national levels of attainment in key aspects of mathematics. Many had achieved these levels earlier than might normally be expected, and pupils at P1 had made a very good start to the development of their mathematical skills. At the later stages, most were achieving appropriate levels of attainment. They could use, organise and interpret information from graphs very well. They showed confidence in using computers to draw a variety of types of graph. Almost all performed well in written and mental calculations. Almost all pupils at these stages had a good understanding of symmetry and the properties of two- and three- dimensional shapes. Across the stages, pupils were able to apply appropriate strategies to solve a wide variety of mathematical problems. A group of P7 3

6 pupils was successfully undertaking very challenging activities in mathematics within the gifted and talented programme. 5. How well are pupils supported? All staff were caring and approachable, and showed strong commitment to ensuring pupils emotional and physical well-being. They knew their pupils well and were sensitive to their needs. There was particularly good inclusion of, and support for, pupils with additional support needs. All staff had been trained in child protection procedures in line with education authority advice. The school had appropriate care and welfare policies and pupils reporting accidental injuries or feeling unwell were looked after very well by all staff with whom they came into contact. The procedures for dealing with bullying were appropriate and effectively applied. The programme for personal and social development included appropriate sections on substance misuse and sex education. The school was registered as a health-promoting school. Provision included healthy eating options at lunch, fresh drinking water supplies and daily fruit for all pupils. The school met pupils learning needs very effectively. Tasks set were well matched to individual needs and groups had been organised to ensure appropriate support for pupils. Staff used grouping and team teaching very effectively to provide work for pupils in mathematics according to their prior attainment. However, a few lessons did not provide sufficient support or challenge for all pupils. Pupils with additional learning needs were very well supported by promoted staff, support for learning teachers and learning assistants. Staff from the education authority support agencies had provided specific support for pupils with physical and communication needs. The school had effective procedures to identify and assess individual needs. Staff had prepared clear and appropriate individualised educational programmes for pupils requiring additional support, including those with a Record of Needs. The arrangements to support pupils transferring from nursery to primary and from primary to secondary were very good. 4

7 6. How good is the environment for learning? Aspect Quality of accommodation and facilities Comment The overall quality of accommodation was good. Recent improvements to the fabric of the building included replacement of the roof and the refurbishment of some classrooms. One room had been converted to create a well equipped ICT suite. The authority planned soon to demolish the external dining hall and erect a new building, with a direct link to the main school, to house dining, games activities and the music school. The security of the grounds and building was appropriate. The condition of toilets was not good, even though some attempt had been made to improve them recently. There was limited play space outside, and no provision for disabled access. Climate and relationships, expectations and promoting achievement and equality Pupils, parents and staff had a strong awareness of the historical tradition of the school and identified closely with it. Visitors were welcomed to the school and there was a pleasant and happy atmosphere. Pupils and staff enjoyed good relationships and their morale was high. Pupils behaved very well. They had been fully consulted on a number of issues through the elected pupil council, and had driven forward several achievements and enterprise activities. Pupils in P7 took their responsibilities as buddies for P1 pupils seriously. At all stages, teachers set high expectations for pupils, and a culture of achievement was well embedded in the school. Staff used a well-established system for rewarding positive behaviour in all classes. There was a strong sense of equality and fairness. Pupils from a diverse range of backgrounds were fully integrated into the life and work of the school. The policies for racial equality, anti-bullying and support for pupils recognised the need for the promotion of positive values and attitudes. Regular assemblies featured the work of every class, addressed issues of concern and provided opportunities for religious observance and celebrating success. 5

8 Aspect Partnership with parents and the community Comment There were strong and effective links with the School Board and the PTA, both of which were very supportive of the school. The PTA raised funds for the school and various charities through a wide range of activities. Parents helped out in the school, and were encouraged to be involved in activities during and after school. Parents evenings were regular and well planned. The school had regularly consulted parents about aspects of its work, including the programme for relationships and sensitive aspects of health education. Staff communicated well with parents through regular newsletters, a comprehensive handbook and a school website. The new school reports provided comprehensive information about pupils progress and suggestions for improvement. The school had a very wide range of productive links with the education authority, other schools and agencies, and local businesses. Staff had established good links with local industry, including the Granton Waterfront development. 7. Improving the school Appendix 1 provides HM Inspectors overall evaluation of the work of the school. The Flora Stevenson Primary School provided strong pastoral care to ensure that all pupils were well supported to achieve their potential. Staff worked well together to enhance the range and quality of pupils learning experiences. Most pupils were making very good progress. Standards of attainment were improving, notably in mathematics. At all stages, pupils showed increasing confidence in the use of ICT. The headteacher provided strong and effective leadership. He showed a high level of professional competence and strong commitment to the school. He had a clear vision for the future direction of the school, including where further improvements were needed. His management style and personal qualities helped to encourage teamwork, effective delegation, and support for colleagues. He was well supported by a strong and effective team of depute headteachers. They worked well together to share information and plan improvements. Each had a remit which took account of their personal strengths and qualities. Senior managers and all staff were clearly committed to improvement, and together had developed a number of strategies for raising attainment. The school s procedures for self-evaluation were well organised, effective and embedded in practice. They included rigorous systems for monitoring pupils progress and attainment. The headteacher and his deputes monitored the quality of planning and classroom practice regularly and thoroughly. However, the impact of these strategies was inconsistent and staff were not yet sharing best practice effectively. Staff had audited practice and performance using national quality indicators. They had used the data gathered to produce an evaluative report on standards and quality and to 6

9 inform priorities for the improvement plan. The school was therefore very well placed for continued improvement. Main points for action The school and education authority should continue to provide high quality and improving education. In doing so, they should take account of the need to: continue to improve attainment in English language; improve pupils access to information and communications technology; and use monitoring more effectively to plan improvements and share best practice across the school. What happens next? As a result of the high performance, the strong record of improvement and the very effective leadership of this school, HM Inspectors will make no further reports in connection with this inspection. The school and the education authority have been asked to prepare an action plan indicating how they will address the main findings of the report, and to share that plan with parents and carers. Within two years of the publication of this report the education authority, working with the school, will provide a progress report to parents and carers. Jim Bruce HM Inspector 4 October

10 Appendix 1 Indicators of quality We judged the following to be very good Pupils attainment in mathematics Meeting pupils needs Pastoral care Climate and relationships Expectations and promoting achievement Equality and fairness Partnership with parents, the School Board and the community Leadership We judged the following to be good Structure of the curriculum The teaching process Pupils learning experiences Pupils attainment in English language Accommodation and facilities Self-evaluation We judged the following to be fair No aspects were found to be in this category We judged the following to be unsatisfactory No aspects were found to be in this category 8

11 Appendix 2 Summary of questionnaire responses Important features of responses from the various groups which received questionnaires are listed below. What pleased parents and carers most Their children enjoyed being at school and were treated fairly. Staff showed care and concern for their children s welfare. There was mutual respect between teachers and pupils at the school. Parents evenings were helpful and informative. The school had a good reputation in the local community. Staff made them feel welcome in the school. What pleased pupils most They enjoyed being at school and got on well with other pupils. Teachers were good at explaining things clearly and checked their homework regularly. The school helped them to keep safe and healthy. Teachers expected them to work as hard as they could and told them when they were doing well. Almost all pupils felt that teachers knew them well and listened to what they had to say. What pleased staff most All staff were very positive about almost all aspects of the work of the school. What parents and carers would like to see improved They did not think that school buildings were kept in good order. They felt they needed a clearer view of the school s priorities for improvement and the standards of work it expected from pupils. The school needed to consult them more on decisions which affected their child. They did not feel that school reports now provided them with helpful information. What pupils would like to see improved They had concerns about the behaviour of some other pupils. A few felt that the school needed to be better at dealing with bullying. They did not think that they got the right amount of homework. What staff would like to see improved A few had concerns about the effectiveness of communications amongst staff and about consistency in the standards set for pupils behaviour. 9

12 How can you contact us? If you would like an additional copy of this report Copies of this report have been sent to the headteacher and school staff, the Director of Children and Families, local councillors and appropriate Members of the Scottish Parliament. Subject to availability, further copies may be obtained free of charge from HM Inspectorate of Education, T1 Spur, Saughton House, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh EH11 3XD or by telephoning Copies are also available on our website If you wish to comment about primary inspections Should you wish to comment on any aspect of primary inspections, you should write in the first instance to Chris McIlroy, Acting HMCI, at HM Inspectorate of Education, Denholm House, Almondvale Business Park, Almondvale Way, Livingston EH54 6GA. Our complaints procedure If you have a concern about this report, you should write in the first instance to Hazel Dewart, Business Management Unit, HM Inspectorate of Education, Second Floor, Denholm House, Almondvale Business Park, Almondvale Way, Livingston EH54 6GA. A copy of our complaints procedure is available from this office or by telephoning or from our website at If you are not satisfied with the action we have taken at the end of our complaints procedure, you can raise your complaint with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman is fully independent and has powers to investigate complaints about Government departments and agencies. You should write to The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, 4-6 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NS. You can also telephone or More information about the Ombudsman s office can be obtained from the website: Crown Copyright 2005 HM Inspectorate of Education This report may be reproduced in whole or in part, except for commercial purposes or in connection with a prospectus or advertisement, provided that the source and date thereof are stated. 10

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