Education Scotland's inspection report on Howdenburn Primary published

A row of children's art work are hung across a window.

Published: Wednesday, 20th June 2018

The Education Scotland inspection report on Howdenburn Primary School and Nursery released on 19 June has acknowledged a number of key strengths across both settings.

During their visit to the Jedburgh school in April this year, the team of inspectors spoke to parents, carers and children and worked closely with the headteacher and staff. 

Key strengths found

The inspection team found a number of strengths in the school’s work:

  • the acting headteacher and depute headteacher were providing clear leadership and direction and made an effective leadership team, providing clarity and support to staff while also raising expectations
  • children were seen to be well behaved and enjoying being in school
  • there was a warm and welcoming atmosphere in both the school and nursery
  • staff in the nursery were committed and enthusiastic and working well as a team and involving parents in the life of the nursery setting.

Some areas for improvement

A number of areas for improvement were identified across both settings. There were also five recommendations identified in relation to the nursery setting.

These have been discussed with the headteacher and the Council and action plan developed to ensure that all issues raised are taken forward as a matter of priority.

The Council will continue to work with the Inspectors regarding the school’s capacity to improve and a follow up inspection will be carried out within 12 months.

Acting Headteacher, Morag McCreadie

“We are very pleased that the Inspection team has recognised the journey that we have begun here at Howdenburn, and the progress made to date. The children are a delight to work with and are enthusiastic to learn which is also recognised by the entire team. 

“The year ahead will give us time to embed the changes we have introduced, and an opportunity to develop our children’s learning in a number of ways across all levels of the nursery and school. The support of our families in the year ahead will ensure we can achieve our goals, and share that progress with the Inspection team when they return.”

Parent Council Chair, Diana Hickson

“I am pleased that the Inspection team found a warm and welcoming school full of well-behaved children at Howdenburn, which reflects the happy children who willingly attend the school and always make us proud.

“The Parent Council works with the school to support it to drive forward and is pleased by the many changes taking place to work towards constant improvement. It is exciting to see these changes and the effect they are having on our children’s experiences and education. 

“We will continue to work closely with the school to ensure this continues and that all pupils achieve their full potential.”

More information

  • HM Inspectorate of Education is the national body responsible for supporting quality and improvement in learning and teaching from early years to adult and community learning.
  • The Summarised Inspection Findings are available on the Education Scotland website

The areas for improvement identified for both settings were:

  • Continue to develop ways to encourage consistency in learning and teaching. At the early level, in the nursery and school, ensure all children are fully engaged and that their learning and developmental needs are fully met.
  • Improve the curriculum and assessment to ensure children receive a broad general education, which allows them to build on their knowledge and skills as they move through the nursery setting and school.
  • Raise attainment in literacy and numeracy. Staff should continue to work with other schools and use the National Benchmarks to ensure assessments are accurate and that staff have high expectations of what children can achieve.
  • Continue to improve the schools approaches to how they support children with additional needs. There is a need to improve how they set targets for children’s learning and track their progress over time.
  • Across the school and nursery setting, staff should now make better use of national guidance and frameworks to plan for improvements. In the primary stages, staff should take the opportunity to lead developments to ensure continued improvement and an increased pace of change.

The following improvements were recommended for the nursery class:

  • The inclusion of next steps and records of learning intentions within each child’s learning journal would assist staff with planning a more targeted approach to promoting their development.
  • Care plan records should reflect the targeted work planned and taking place. This would help ensure consistency for children and ensure that all staff can follow plans and review effectiveness of actions.
  • Written medication procedures should be reviewed in order to ensure staff are well informed and have the information they need to administer medication correctly and safely.
  • The use of the rooms, areas and the resource provision should be reviewed and evaluated to ensure that there is limited disruption for children, the environment and resources excite children of all ages and stages to become curious and experimental, and play areas remain clean and safe for children use.
  • To further support improvements and the development of the nursery provision as identified within this inspection, management and the nursery team should work together with a range of guidance and framework documents to reflect on the provision and agree steps for improvement.