STRATHAVEN Academy has been given a glowing report by Her Majesty’s Inspectors.
In their report published last week, they awarded the school an “excellent” evaluation for improvements in performance – the best evaluation possible – and “very good” for both learners’ experiences and meeting learning needs.
The inspectors noted six particular strengths of the school, namely:
l Pupils’ outstanding achievements.
l Confident and respectful young people who are motivated to learn.
l High-quality learning experiences which are often imaginative and innovative.
l Staff’s enthusiasm and dedication to enhancing experiences for young people.
l The very strong working relationships with external partners.
l The outstanding and inspiration leadership of the head teacher.
Under examples of good practice at the school, the inspectors noted in particular the technical education pre-vocational club set up by staff to increase motivation and enthusiasm of young people about to sit Standard Grades; the use of information and communications technology to provide innovative learning experiences; and the strong partnership the school has with Strathaven Rotary Club.
The inspection was carried out in October – just two months after the opening of the new school.
HM Inspectors reported they had found almost all young people at the school were motivated to learn and engage very well with each other and their teachers. They responded very positively to the caring and supportive atmosphere provided by staff and they engaged confidently in class and group discussions, listening attentively to each other’s views and opinions.
Almost all young people in the school also engaged enthusiastically in an outstanding range of activities that encouraged wider achievement. Staff strongly contributed to wider achievement through a range of in and out of school activities and educational visits. This included activities involving Fairtrade, charitable fundraising with the local Rotary Club and international visits, as well as sports, arts and music.
HM inspectors found performance had been consistent over the past three years. At S4 to S6, pupils attainment in national qualifications was above or well above the national average and the school was progressing very well with plans to improve attainment even further.
The school provided pupils with a very caring and nurturing environment. and the Parent Council was very supportive and encouraged parents to play an active part in their children’s learning and wellbeing. Parents were kept well-informed about school issues.
Young people were confident, respectful of each other and very motivated to learn. They were now learning in a bright and stimulating environment with a very caring and supportive staff.
Head teacher Mrs Elspeth Banks had a very clear vision for the school and was very successful in inspiring and motivating staff. She provided outstanding leadership for learning and all staff and pupils felt highly supported and valued by her. The senior management team supported the head teacher very well and all staff had a clear sense of the school’s direction and were fully involved in taking this vision forward.
As a result of the very good quality of education provided by the school, the HM inspectors said they would make no further visits in connection with the inspection.
They made just two recommendations of areas for improvement with the school and education authority – that staff continued to develop the ongoing curriculum initiatives across the school. And that they continued to build on the existing strong practice in self-evaluation to ensure continuous improvement.