Carnalbanagh PS delight at positive inspection report

Carnalbanagh Primary School council members Ruth Morrow, Cerys McFetridge, Rachel Hamilton and Chloe Robinson, who were elected by their fellow classmates.  INLT 08-602-CON
Carnalbanagh Primary School council members Ruth Morrow, Cerys McFetridge, Rachel Hamilton and Chloe Robinson, who were elected by their fellow classmates. INLT 08-602-CON

A LOCAL principal has vowed to continue striving for improvements after her school was praised for its high teaching standards.

Carnalbanagh Primary School’s latest inspection report deemed the quality of education to be “good” overall, emphasising that the school has “important strengths” in its educational and pastoral provision.

The children were described as being “enthusiastic, well-motivated and engaging actively in their learning”.

Pupils’ achievements in core subjects such as English and maths was singled out for particular praise, with the inspectors stating that the children “express themselves confidently and articulately, participate well in class discussion, read with a good degree of fluency and write competently.

“The children engage well in problem solving activities and use appropriate mathematical language to express their learning.”

The majority of teaching observed during the inspection was rated as “very good”, as was the arrangements for pastoral care. The use of ICT to support children’s learning in literacy and numeracy was also highlighted, with teachers effectively using whiteboards “effectively to engage and stimulate children’s thinking”.

The quality of leadership at the school was also praised as being “very good”, and the inspectors felt that Principal Elaine Ritchie had “a clear vision” for the future of the school. The report added: “She leads by example and successfully combines her teaching duties and leadership role, promoting a collegiate approach to decision-making within the school.”

The inspectors identified an area for improvement within the school, stating that staff needed to “self-evaluate to increase the level of challenge for the children and further raise the standards achieved”.

Mrs Ritchie, who has been in the post for two years, told the Times: “This is a very positive report and I am particularly pleased that the inspectorate has acknowledged our capacity for improvement. We are not resting on our laurels and we are constantly looking at how we can further increase the standards we have achieved.

“In recent years, the expectations of our staff and pupils has risen and we are very keen to ensure that becomes part of the school’s culture. Our aim is to ensure each pupil reaches his or her own potential, as each child has a different set of needs and goals.

“A C-grade could be a huge disappointment for one pupil, but by the same token it could be a great achievement for another.”

The report showed that the school, which has a capacity for 60 pupils, has suffered from decreasing enrolment over the past four years and currently stands at 39.

However, Mrs Ritchie pointed out: “Being such a rural school can work against us when it comes to attracting new pupils, but Carnalbanagh is a small school and it was designed to be that way.

“The school has strong links to the local community and we have an excellent Parent Teachers Association that makes a valuable contribution to the life of the school, organising a variety of fundraising events. We recently held our first school fair, which saw hundreds of people come from far and wide to help raise the tremendous sum of about £2,000.

“We also have a great school council made up of pupils who have been elected by their fellow classmates .We are a very close-knit school with fantastic kids who display a very positive attitude to learning,” Mrs Ritchie concluded.