Praise from inspectors for Falkirk’s St Francis Primary

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Many parents are said to be concerned at the “poor fabric” of Falkirk’s St Francis Primary School and nursery - but few can have any fears about the standard of education.

The school has just been handed a glowing report from 
Education Scotland inspectors, highlighting the “innovative, passionate” leadership of head teacher Tina O’Neill.

Together with what’s 
described as a strong team of staff, she has delivered high quality learning and teaching “in most classes” and excellent results in a significant number of lessons.

The 424 pupils get a good report too, and are described as “confident well behaved children who are enthusiastic about their learning and proud of their school”.

Staff are said to provide a range of highly effective support to help children who have barriers to achieve learning, and these pupils are said to have made good progress.

There are effective 
arrangements in place to plan learning, teaching and assessment across all curricular areas, and the level of attainment is “very good”.

The headteacher and depute headteacher are said to successfully ensure that every child’s progress in literacy, 
numeracy and wellbeing is carefully tracked.

Information from standardised tests, along with classroom assessments and teachers’ judgements, are used to inform and track 
expected progress.

The senior leadership team have regular discussions with each class teacher, focussing on children’s progress and discussing the most appropriate planned interventions.

This is credited with leading to children across the school making very good progress in their learning and improving their social and emotional wellbeing.

Further improvements to be made centre on the need to continue building on what has already been achieved, while nursery staff are asked to work together as a team while involving children, 
parents and the community.

Falkirk Council’s education spokesperson, Councillor Adanna McCue, said: “This is an extremely positive report for the school which recognises the hard work, commitment and dedication of the head teacher and her team.

“It is high praise indeed to receive such a strong inspection report and I’m confident the school will continue to provide a high quality learning environment for the whole school community.”

Tina O’Neill said: “We are very proud to have achieved such high praise from Education Scotland.

“Inspectors were very complimentary about our 
pupils and the pride they show in their school.

“Everyone connected to St Francis Xavier should reflect on how these children are thriving and are such a great credit to our community.”

The inspectors’ report concludes: “We are confident that the school has the capacity to continue to improve and so we will make no more visits in connection with this 
inspection.”