Case Study 27, June 2001 Click for the next page!
Raigmore Primary School
Pupil Participation: Engagement in the Wider Community

This is the second and last Case Study in the final stage of our 2000-01 series that features pupil participation. The series has looked at pupils' involvement in their own learning, in the management and support systems of their schools and now, finally, in the life of the wider community, all integral to their education.
This issue features Raigmore Primary School, Inverness in Highland EA. Many of Scotland's schools have transient populations of children whose personal backgrounds have involved some degree of educational discontinuity - homeless families, travellers, asylum seekers and refugees, and international visitors who come to work or study. About 60% of Raigmore's school roll can be classified as transient, mainly children of Army families but also from nearby hospital staff housing. This Case Study illustrates clearly how all pupils, whether long-term or transient, can learn from, and contribute to, their wider community. Many of Raigmore PS's projects and partnerships have ecological and health-promoting emphases, with human and aesthetic overtones, but the school views it pupils' involvement in their local community as 'learning for life' in the broadest and most positive sense.

This Case Study was published by the Scottish Schools Ethos Network.

Raigmore Primary School
King Duncan's Road
Inverness IV2 3UG
Contact: Moira A Leslie BA(Hons)
Headteacher

Telephone 01463 234971

Introduction

Raigmore Primary School, built in 1966, is situated in the Raigmore Estate approximately one mile east of Inverness town centre. The catchment comprises two distinct areas Raigmore Estate, mixed local authority and owner occupied houses, and Wimberley Way, married quarters for families of Army personnel currently serving at Fort George. There is also a small transient population of families working at nearby Raigmore Hospital.

There are about 240 pupils including the Nursery but this fluctuates often as army families are posted elsewhere. Every 2 - 4 years the roll changes substantially as Regiments change over. Presently approximately 60 per cent of the school can be classified as transient.

There are 11 class teachers, two Learning Support teachers, five Learning Support auxiliaries, one clerical assistant, one janitor, one lunch-time supervisor, three classroom assistants and a pupil support teacher working in behaviour support in our school and other schools.

How and why did we start?

Building the foundations in school
We have worked hard to develop a positive ethos within the school but also outside. The frequently changing school population means that the school must be very welcoming in its communications with families and physically. A wide variety of pupils' work creates attractive, lively and informative displays around the school. New pupils and families must be able to 'settle in' to the school and its community quickly. Although this Case Study focuses on 'Community Involvement', we in Raigmore have gone through most of the other stages of pupil participation, encouraging pupils towards greater engagement in all aspects of school work and life. This has included the development of an active Pupil Council that allows pupils to appreciate that staff are sincere in listening and responding to their views and ideas.

 

Everyone gets their say - there's no one saying, 'No, you can't do that', and that's good.
Pupil Council Member
Background to our community involvement
The issues of target setting and raising attainment can be problematic for our school with so many of our pupils coming from, and moving on to, different education systems. We believe, however, that achievement can be enhanced through our strong commitment to community involvement. For many years Raigmore has been actively involved with the wider community. Initially individual classes and small groups got involved through class topics - sometimes to fulfil criteria for an award or competition - and although that may seem a relatively shallow reason it was often our best way of boosting not only our school funds but, more importantly, the school's profile and status in the community.

Quite quickly we realised that the benefits of community involvement went far beyond any short term financial or image gain. These initiatives raised our expectations of pupils who in turn raised their expectations of themselves and of the school. Pupils became more motivated, better informed and more capable of putting forward their own views and taking decisions. Parents showed an obvious pride in their children's involvement in the community, as their comments below indicate:

It's obvious that the kids really enjoy working outside the school and then being able to tell the others about what they have done - I wish I'd had the chance to do some of these things when I was at school.

I love coming into school to see what's new on the achievement board.

I think it's brilliant that the children have a chance to do all these things outside school.

We started to look for opportunities to become more involved and gradually moved towards a more proactive approach. Meanwhile, we continued to be responsive to requests for entertainment and fund-raising still an important part of our community links programme.

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