St Fergus’ Primary School in Paisley has been praised by inspectors for raising attainment levels among pupils and the commitment of staff to improving the life chances of children.
An inspection team from Education Scotland visited the new build Ferguslie Park school in May, and spoke with pupils, teachers and staff.
The school, which has around 150 pupils, achieved a ‘very good’ assessment for fostering wellbeing, equality and inclusion and a ‘good’ grading across three other key evaluations, including for learning, teaching and assessment and raising attainment and achievement.
Other strengths highlighted were the ‘can do’ attitude in children who were confident in taking on new challenges and also how they felt supported and encouraged by staff to achieve their best.
The report also detailed the work of staff in providing a bright and stimulating learning environment for children and their ‘very inclusive and nurturing approach’, which ensured children feel safe and cared for whilst at school.
The overall attainment in literacy and numeracy in the school is rated as ‘good’ and the report stated: “The majority of children, including those requiring additional support with their learning, are achieving appropriate Curriculum for Excellence levels and a few are exceeding these. Most children, including those requiring additional support with their learning, are making good progress from their prior levels of attainment.”
Overall, attainment in reading and writing is also good across the school.
The reports also praised the work in pupil’s leadership and stated: “The school is developing children’s leadership skills well across the school. Opportunities include house captains, head boy and head girl, digital leaders, eco committee, Spanish Ambassadors, Mini Vinnies, library monitors and buddies.
“Children increasingly have a voice in the school and generally feel that their views are listened to and taken on board.”
Digital handheld tablets have been introduced across the school and are being used to support and enhance pupil engagement, while in all classes, electronic profiling is used by pupils, which is motivating them to record, share and evaluate their learning.
A weekly ‘Pizza Reading’ programme provides parents with an opportunity to join their children on a weekly basis to read, learn and have fun together.
The wellbeing of children was also praised with staff and partners credited for creating an environment where ‘children feel listened to and secure in their ability to discuss personal and sensitive aspects of their lives.’
All children complete a ‘wellbeing web’ with their class teacher on a termly basis which means every pupil has the opportunity to talk about how they feel in terms of issues such as being safe, healthy, achieving, and included, both in and out of school.
The inspection team said: “The vision, values and aims promote respect in a very inclusive school, which strives to ensure that everyone feels that they are valued and treated fairly.
It added: “Positive relationships, built on mutual respect, are evident between staff and children and the wellbeing of every individual is paramount.”
Head teacher Mhairi McDonald said: “As the head teacher of St Fergus, I have always been proud of our school community. We work together to ensure that our children are given the best possible opportunities in education.
“The Education Scotland report has recognised the whole staff team’s hard work and commitment to our school. I’m delighted that inclusion and that the children’s health and wellbeing is at the forefront of the report because that is what we do daily in St Fergus.”
Education and Children’s Services Convener, Cllr Jim Paterson said: “I’m delighted that Education Scotland has recognised the wonderful work being done at the school by its committed team of staff, led by the head teacher.
“As well the commitment to and valuable work in raising attainment levels, it’s also clear that the health and wellbeing of children is at the very heart of the school with pupil voice playing an important role.
“I am confident that the school will build on this excellent inspection report and continue to provide a fantastic learning environment for all children that will allow them to reach their full potential.”