Falkirk education: Slamannan Primary praised by inspectors after improvements

A school criticised in a previous inspection report has been praised for improving its maths and literacy results.

Slamannan Primary School was also applauded for working with the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The school and nursery received a poor inspection report in 2018, which said that pupils were not being challenged enough and older pupils were not being prepared for high school.

The inspectors returned in 2019 to see what progress had been made – but a further inspection was delayed due to the pandemic when Education Scotland paused all inspections.

Inspectors were impressed by improvements a Slamannan Primary School

However, members of Falkirk Council’s Scrutiny Committee heard that officers from Children’s Services and Education Scotland continued to provide support to the school and nursery.

The latest progress report, in November 2021, was much more positive.

It praised the fact that throughout Covid-19 the staff, children and their families worked well together to overcome the challenges of remote learning.

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Rhona Jay, Falkirk Council’s acting head of education, told the committee: “We were really pleased to see that a school that had experienced quite a lot of difficulty with community relationships before were able to work together to support families through the pandemic.

“They did a really good job of their online learning and they were creative in ways that they could help families transition to nursery.”

She told the committee that the work done in the school has led to a reduction in exclusions and improvement in attainment, with marked improvements now being seen in literacy and numeracy.

Ms Jay said: “We are really pleased to report that attainment went from being in the 50s [per cent] for P1, P4 and P7 for literacy in 2020 and by 2021 it was sitting at 74 per cent for P1 and 61 for both P4 and P7.

“So, even in all of this pandemic they still managed to work hard together, use their partners and their support and get children’s attainment up for literacy.

“In numeracy, it was the same – it went from sitting in the 40s and 50s in terms of percentages for Primary 1, 4 and 7 to 83 per cent for Primary 1, 70 per cent for P4 and 61 per cent for P7.

The inspection report highlighted that the school’s leadership has been working effectively with partners such as the home school liaison officer, educational psychologist, speech and language therapist, inclusion and well being officer and Active Schools coordinator.

Ms Jay said: “That whole package of supporting for learning and working with partners and those there to help them has really made a difference for children.”

The report said it was important to keep improving learning and teaching across the school, ensuring an appropriate level of pace, challenge and differentiation for pupils.

Members also heard that staff in the early learning child care team are enthusiastic, growing in confidence and are keen to continue to improve.

Ms Jay said she was confident that the ongoing work would mean that the school would not have to face a follow-up report from Education Scotland.

Members of the committee thanked staff for their hard work in making the improvements.

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