Staff, pupils and parents integrate well at Colliston

COLLISTON Primary School was recently inspected by Education Scotland (formerly HMIe).

Throughout the visit the inspectors talked to many parents and children and worked closely with the headteacher and staff. They wanted to find out how well children were learning and achieving and how well the school supported children to do their best.

Mrs Lorna Higgins, headteacher, shared with the inspectors the school’s successes and priorities for improvement. The team looked at some particular aspects of the school’s recent work including partnerships with parents, Moving Image Education and how well the school supports children at points of transition.

As a result, they were able to find out how good the school was at improving children’s education.

Key strengths identified in both the nursery and school included:

* Staff work well together to provide a positive and caring climate in which children can learn.

*Well-behaved children show respect for adults and each other.

* The wide range of activities enrich children’s experiences.

* Strong partnerships with parents support children’s learning

The inspectors found that the children learn well in classes. Relationships between staff and children are very positive. Children feel safe, and know that the school helps them to make healthy choices. They work hard, behave well and help each other, for example by acting as buddies and reading partners.

Children and teachers use mind maps to plan learning together and children enjoy sharing these with their parents. The school extends the children’s learning very effectively by inviting visitors into school and arranging visits to places of interest. Children have worthwhile opportunities to experience success, for example in sport and music. Most children could tell the inspection team about their learning and how the school helps them to achieve.

In the nursery, children enjoy listening to stories and most children can read their names. They are developing their counting skills well through play. They particularly enjoy playing and learning outdoors. At the primary stages, almost all children talk confidently in groups and to wider audiences, for example at school events. The school has introduced a wide range of ways to develop children’s skills in reading and writing.

The inspection team thought that staff know the children very well and provide a supportive environment. The close links parents have with the school, including the nursery, provide worthwhile support for the children’s learning.

Children who require additional help with their learning are very well supported, particularly those children who have individualised educational programmes.

Teachers have successfully implemented initiatives such as Moving Images Education and Bounce Back. They have made improvements to the support they give children when they transfer from the nursery to P1 and from P7 to Arbroath High School. Staff work well together to make sure children’s learning experiences have not been compromised during times of change.

The school has some effective approaches which improve the quality of its work. The recently appointed headteacher understands the need to extend these approaches. All staff are committed to improving learning and teaching and developing their own practice, and are now well placed to do so.

Children lead improvements in their school. For example, they have improved their playground and have helped the school gain an Eco-Schools Scotland Award.

Parents have welcomed the recent opportunity to comment on the work of the school. Many parents provide effective help in school or with fund-raising. Overall, the inspection team is confident that staff, parents and children will continue to work together to benefit the children at Colliston Primary School.