Formative assessment, including students routinely offering feedback to improve the learning and teaching process are embedded throughout the school. This better meets the needs of learners thereby raising attainment.
Through our Learning Teams, SELS reports, SMT and Peer Observation, Internal Departmental Review, Parental Focus Group, Student Council, ELC Validation visits and informal HMIe visits it is clear that we have made an impact in this area. At a recent visit by HMIe to the school to look at the impact of the School of Ambition programme, inspectors commented very positively on the fact that AifL was clearly embedded in classes visited. The fact that we were invited by HMIe to make a best practice video on Opening Up Learning, featuring our self evaluation cycle of improvement are testament to the impact we have made in this area.
The Head Teacher and others have been asked by HMIe to speak at national conferences on this area of our work and this is further evidence of how far we have come. The Head Teacher has also been asked to speak at l’ÉSEN (Training establishment for French Head Teachers and Inspectors) in France on self-evaluation and ethos.
The school was also invited to participate in the creation of a best practice resource to support A Curriculum for Excellence, by digital media company, Learning Curve Education.
- Learning Curve video
Our view is that the SOA programme has accelerated our progress in learning and teaching and the development of the Transformational Plan, now subsumed into our own Improvement Plan has help build all stakeholders’ capacity for improvement.
ICT is used consistently to enhance learning and teaching and develop highly skilled staff and students who are confident to apply this to support wider personal and community activities.
Through School of Ambition alongside and windfall funding, we have ensured that all teaching areas have a computer and digital projector and in many cases an interactive whiteboard, too. All English and Maths rooms have Promethean Boards, which have impacted greatly on the development of new approaches to learning and teaching. There have been a considerable number of in-service opportunities on recent research, methodologies and their application to ensure that staff are trained to the highest possible level. Perhaps inevitably, experience has shown that real progress only happens when staff have regular access to their own board. Those members of staff who are already skilled to a high level offer training as part of our Internal CPD programme.
Staff, students and community members have new skills ensuring the sustainability of the programme.
The increased level of skills adopted by staff to deal with teaching and learning in the 21st Century is evident in lessons throughout the school. We continue to develop further through the delivery of our Risk Task and Learning 2 Learn pilots and the dissemination of lessons learned to all staff.
Improved curriculum, including an extended range of prevocational courses and certification, assists improved learner destinations.
The fact that we are able to account for all of our leavers’ destinations is a matter of great pride for us but also evidence of the importance that we place on this. We have introduced a Skills for Work course – Rural Skills – as part of our Enhanced Curriculum Course
A source of some disappointment is the fact that we would have liked to introduce more vocational qualifications into our senior school. While we have introduced Sound Engineering and Dance, this falls far short of what we would have liked to have in place by this time. Reduced budgets have hampered this area of development to date but it is hoped that the redevelopment of our curricular structure that will allow students access to a variety of prevocational courses. The Community Experience programme introduced 2008-2009 has proved successful with all stakeholders and has added value to our S6 experience which was often seen by students who already had university entrance qualifications as lacking in challenge.