Lochgelly South Nursery and Primary School is set in
an area both of deprivation and of regeneration. It
has a roll of approximately 200 pupils - seven single
stream classes, plus morning and afternoon nursery classes,
both with 18 pupils. Every pupil has distinct strengths
and needs. We have a non-teaching Head Teacher but no
management team or Principal Teachers. Our free school
meal entitlement is 24.1 %. The school forms part of
a nine school Cluster Group which is made up of Special,
Nursery, Primary and the feeder Secondary as well as
an Integrated Community School Cluster. Once a thriving
mining town, Lochgelly now has a high level of unemployment.
Our school had a Standards and Quality Inspection by
HMIE in May/June 2001 which outlined significant failings
and difficulties across the school, ranging from the
quality of accommodation to delivery of the curriculum.
The only noted positive aspect was that the standard
of teaching was generally good or, in some cases, very
good. However, staff morale was, despite individual
teaching strengths, extremely low, as were the overall
expectations of both pupils and parents. Community involvement
was minimal. These findings were reported in a national
newspaper unsympathetically, exacerbating an already
unhappy situation. HMIE planned to return for an interim
review of progress in one year and to follow this with
the return inspection six months after that.
The challenge then facing the school and its Head Teacher,
appointed just prior to the Inspection in April 2001,
was straightforward but huge. The HMIE audit set out
a framework of expectations that the school had to be
turned around to meet in order to support the raising
of achievement/attainment and the development of confident,
articulate and appropriately skilled pupils, taking
responsibility (as they now do, see Picture A). HMIEs
and the Head Teacher agreed that the development of
a positive ethos would both help generate these developments
and that ethos itself would in turn become more positive
as progress became evident.
to succeed we would need to construct a rigorous and
dynamic Action Plan, underpinned by professional development.
This would not only address the main points for action
in the HMIE report but would also foster positive relationships
and collaboration between staff, pupils and parents.
Community collegiality was in, isolated action definitely
We also decided to try to address all the HMIE targets
before the interim review only one year ahead, for the
sake of the pupils and hopefully obviating the need
for a return inspection. This decision was an extra
incentive but, with hindsight, also a further stressor
for staff (see final section).
The Process of change:
Lights, Camera . . . Action!
The Action Plan
2.1.1 The key points in our Action Plan were:
unsatisfactory aspects of the accommodation to be
resources, including staffing, to be provided to
deliver an appropriate curriculum and enable high
programmes to be put in place to raise pupil attainment
and build consistently on earlier learning. Each
programme should provide agreed practical advice
on standards, approaches, resources and assessment.
plans for Nursery and Primary classes to identify
clearly what was to be learned, how progress would
be assessed and what pupils' next steps in learning
school to ensure that pupils with special educational
needs were carefully assessed and supported across
the curriculum, with appropriate input from parents
and outside agencies.
school to provide parents with relevant information
about its provision and to strengthen opportunities
for parents to support their children's learning.
When constructing the Action Plan we were aware that
this was an imperative in relation to the HMIEs' return
visit. However, the longer term and bigger picture of
pupils' holistic development and of school life after
this made it even more important. The school Action
Plan was therefore 'dovetailed' into the Lochgelly Area
Action Plan, the Lochgelly New Community Schools (from
Summer 2001 they became Integrated Community Schools
[ICS]) Action Plan, Fife Council's own priorities and
lastly, but not least, the National Priorities, thereby
addressing key issues at school, area, Fife and National
Maintaining, monitoring and resourcing progress
Each Action Point of the School Action Plan was sub-divided,
with clear targets in every section related to:
(adhered to strictly)
staff development/resources required
With Quality Assurance firmly in mind, two aspects were
crucial to ensure progress:
defined success criteria
cumulative report was maintained, recording each term
progress relating to all of the sub-aspects of the Action
Since the areas that required to be addressed were wide
ranging, this necessitated real trust in, and very substantial
effort from, the staff team. Our key resource within
the school was the staff. Only with their professional
development and effective teamwork could the school
change, collaborate effectively with pupils, families
and external partners and, ultimately, thrive.
A: We ensure that every child has opportunities
to undertake specific responsibilities.
These youngsters with badges and hats
are our current taskholders.