Head teacher's leadership acknowledged by inspector

An Aberdeenshire head teacher and his staff have been praised by Education Scotland in a letter after a follow-up inspection of Craigievar Primary School.

Head Teacher David Birch had been in post for five weeks following an inspection in May 2018 which rated the school as weak for leadership of change, learning teaching and assessment, ensuring wellbeing, equality and inclusion, whilst raising attainment and achievement was considered satisfactory. Education Scotland followed it up recently and the situation could not be more different.

In her letter to parents, Jackie Maley, HM Inspector said: “Since the original inspection the headteacher has driven forward improvements in a planned and measured way. He has provided strong leadership and direction to bring about necessary improvements within the school. Leadership of change has been brisk and has involved the whole school community. Children, staff and parents clearly articulate the school’s learning journey and the impact of new developments and initiatives. The headteacher and staff have made considerable improvements to a significant number of areas which were identified in the original inspection. As a result, children are making better progress across their learning and benefitting from a more appropriate learning environment. Staff recognise there remains work to be done and time is needed to fully embed new developments.”

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “I would like to offer a hearty congratulations to Head Teacher David Birch and the staff at Craigievar Primary School for the work they have done on implementing the recommendations of the previous inspection. I am delighted that their efforts have been so wholeheartedly acknowledged by the inspector.

“It is especially pleasing to see that innovative teaching methods, the headteacher’s desire to learn from outside organisations and Aberdeenshire Council’s role in providing professional learning for mathematics teachers has all been acknowledged in this inspection. I hope that this report will give all those connected to the school a huge confidence boost to continue to carry on their good work.”

Committee vice chair, Cllr Mark Findlater, said: “This inspection report makes for hugely pleasing reading. I too would like to say a big ‘well done’ to all who contributed to this fantastic outcome. I am thrilled to see that the collaboration between the teachers, children and parents has been noted in the report. It is especially enjoyable to read that parents are expressing satisfaction with the current headteacher and that the Parent Council is playing a supportive role in the running of the school.

“Whilst there is still some work to be done and we must guard against complacency, I hope that this inspection inspires the school community to go from strength to strength.”

The inspector said that given the progress made at the school, it will receive no further visits in connection with the previous inspection.