15 March 2022

'They are keen to lead and try new initiatives'

An Inspector has praised the positive relationships between children and staff at Aberchirder Primary and Nursery School.

HM Inspector Jackie Maley acknowledged the improvements made by Head Teacher Lisa Campbell and staff since the last inspection. She noted progress in meeting children’s learning needs, raising attainment and the promotion of more positive relationships.

The report said: “Senior staff and practitioners in the nursery class continue to drive forward significant and successful improvements. They work very well together as a team as they strive to provide the highest quality provision for children and families.”

Head Teacher Lisa Campbell and the school staff were praised too. “The head teacher is beginning to take positive steps to involve the whole community in influencing school improvement. Children participate in leadership groups to help improve aspects of the school’s work. The pupil council is currently working together to improve the playground and increase resources children can access outdoors. Staff are supporting the head teacher well to drive forward priorities for improvement. They are keen to lead and try new initiatives,” the report said.

The report added: “Staff have introduced a number of successful approaches to help create a more positive and calmer climate for learning. Children appear to be happier and more settled in classes, which is helping them engage better in their learning.”

The positive impact pupil support assistants were making by assisting individual children and groups was commended. The inspectors also acknowledged the complete refurbishment of the indoor and outdoor spaces of the school and nursery resulted in a more attractive and engaging environment for children to learn.

The Inspector was also pleased with how teachers planned and assessed learning as well as creating more opportunities for children to work in groups, which the inspector noted the children responded well to. She noted that across the school children benefitted from higher quality learning experiences. She added children experience greater breadth and depth in their learning through an improved curriculum.

HM Inspector Jackie Maley asked the council to provide Education Scotland with more information about the school’s progress by March, 2023. The education regulator will then work with the council on agreeing the next steps.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services Laurence Findlay said: “I am absolutely delighted that the inspector acknowledged the huge amount of positive work that has been undertaken by Aberchirder Primary and Nursery School since the previous inspection. Whilst there are a few areas the senior leadership team need to consider; this is a very positive inspection that everyone associated with the school can rightly be proud of.”

Vincent Docherty, Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Education, added: “It is really pleasing to see the efforts schools undertook during the Covid-19 pandemic acknowledged by Education Scotland in their inspections. This was an unprecedented time, so it is heartening that the inspector reflected the efforts Aberchirder Primary and Nursery School made in keeping in touch with parents and carers during this difficult time.”