John Galt Primary School is a non-denominational school
serving mainly the Vineburgh and Redburn areas of the
town of Irvine. It has a pupil roll this session of
239 pupils who come from a wide range of socio-economic
backgrounds, abilities and needs. Our free school meal
entitilement is 41.2%, compared to a national average
of 20.2%. The school has a nursery class with a capacity
for 30 pupils in the morning and 30 pupils in the afternoon.
The school forms part of a New Community School Cluster
with its associated primary schools and Irvine Royal
Academy. The current Head Teacher has been in post since
last August. This session the teaching staff comprises
11.7 full-time equivalent with an additional .9 FTE
from the Better Neighbourhood funding. As part of the
Early Intervention Programme the school has a full-
time nursery nurse. The nursery staffing is a teacher
and two nursery nurses. There is an active School Board
and supportive PTA.
When the Community School 'roll-out' began, Irvine Royal
cluster was a pilot for the initiative in North Ayrshire.
Obviously working closely with parents and the wider
community became an even greater priority. Our Family
Club (see Section 2) was part of this development but
it was not an isolated 'add on'. Its very real success
was built on many years of essential but undramatic
work, building up our school ethos and ensuring that
the school community members all enjoyed positive relationships.
Nearly all visitors to the school comment on the friendly
atmosphere soon after they have passed through the doors.
This ambience would not be possible without the commitment
of a dedicated staff, teaching and non-teaching, to
a programme of raising self-esteem and encouraging our
pupils to achieve all they can in all aspects of their
lives. An ethos of celebrating success is embedded in
our school and is visually expressed through our 'wall
of fame' display of pictures of the children and the
certificates they have been awarded for achievement.
These are presented for educational and social successes.
Achievements in the community, e.g., a dancing trophy
or a Boys Brigade badge, are recognised by the receiving
of blue circles that are added to House Points. These
House Points are also allocated in class for good work
- attainment and/or effort - and are totalled at the
end of the session when the leading house celebrates
with a 'fun afternoon'.
A positive ethos, however, cannot exist without involving
the pupils in the wider work of the school. Our pupils
are encouraged to be respectful and supportive towards
each other as well as to staff and other adults and
also to become more able to manage their own work and
behaviour. One example of peer support is our P6-Nursery
pupils' Buddy programme. The P6 pupils introduce the
Nursery pupils to the P1 playground, playing with them
there in some of their break-times. As the Nursery children
move up into P1, the Buddies - now in P7 - continue
to scaffold the P1s' adjustment to being in the big
Working as a team and sharing the responsibility for
making progress is promoted partly through our well-established
pupil council (see Picture C). This consists of elected
members from each class in the upper school (P4-P7)
and our House captains - P7 pupils who are also voted
into their positions. Also elected from P4-P7 are the
pupil representatives on the eco-school committee that
has recently been formed. Our prefects have taken on
the responsibility of allocating the play equipment
at break times and ensuring its safe return. Last session
saw an election for Junior Road Safety Officers who
run competitions for our pupils and maintain a notice
board full of advice and ideas. The number and diversity
of roles, and the fact that school council and eco-school
committee membership are mutually exclusive, mean that
larger numbers of pupils have a chance of being a representative.
Aspiring representatives have to put forward their case
in a mini-speech to the electorate (P2 through to P7).
The elected representatives certainly do not comprise
a fixed elite although they do come from the upper school.
The engagement of younger pupils in the listening and
voting processes ensures their participation and enables
them to volunteer as they become eligible later. Finally,
the whole school population is consulted as to its views
on how progress is being made towards our School Development
Like so many schools, we believe in working in full
partnership with our pupils' parents to enhance the
'value added' atmosphere of the relationships in our
school. Our formal parents' meetings and induction visits
are always well attended, regular newsletters keep parents
informed about the life of the school and we welcome
parents to our assemblies and concerts. We have deployed
volunteer parent helpers on outings and in classes and
led various workshops for them to explain our teaching
A and B: The very ordinary exterior
of our school currently and a young
pupil's drawing of how it may look after
some school ground development (see
Our Pupil Council comprises elected
representatives from P4-7 and the House
captains, also elected.