Inspectors praise Larne High’s ‘positive learning climate’

LARNE High School has been commended for meeting the needs of all pupils and creating a “positive climate” for learning across the school.

Principal John Armstrong welcomed the findings of a standard inspection carried out recently by the Education and Training Inspectorate.

“This is a rigorous process that takes place periodically in every school and is a necessary process to ensure that our young people get the best education to meet their needs,” the head teacher explained.

“The inspection identified and highlighted the strengths of the school and judged that these outweighed the areas where we can and need to develop and improve,” he added.

The Inspectorate acknowledged a “high proportion of pupils who have varying degrees of special need and who are educationally challenged”, as well as “significant numbers” of pupils with complex behavioural difficulties.

“Larne High was praised for our efforts in meeting these needs and challenges and creating a positive climate for learning across the school. They stated that almost all our pupils are ‘well motivated, articulate and present their work to a high standard’,” said Mr Armstrong, who was recently appointed to the principal’s post after a period in an ‘acting up’ capacity.

He added: “The particular success in the past year of doubling the number of C grades or better in mathematics was cited. The school’s ongoing progress in raising the percentages of external examination results was noted, but we also accept that this improvement can be even better with determination and a focused effort by all.

“The hard work of the teaching staff was commended and the Inspectorate noted that three-fifths of the lessons they observed were of a ’good’ or ‘better’ standard. Larne High accepts the challenge that all our lessons reach this level and this will be one of our aims for development.”

The Greenland school’s Learning Support Centre, which caters for children with Statements of Special Need, was singled out for particularly high praise.

The Inspectorate also recognised that a team ethos was evident throughout the workings of the school, including a shared commitment from teachers, non-teaching staff, governors, parents and pupils to provide a secure and happy learning environment.

“As principal, I accept the findings of the inspection and I will do all in my power to ensure that the areas for development are addressed,” Mr Armstrong promised.

“The most important aspect for me were the high levels of praise for our pupils in terms of their pleasant, friendly and well-mannered attitudes.

“The inspectors stated that our Head Boy and Head Girl could be placed in the same roles in any school in the country.

“Yes, exam results are important and I want our pupils to succeed in life. Great store is given to statistics and percentages, but for me personally, every child can succeed and fulfil their potential if treated as individuals and genuinely cared for.

“For some, this may well be attained by achieving exam success: for others, being recognised as a fine young person is just as important,” the principal added.