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Two rural primary schools impress inspectors

by Alastair Hamilton -

Two small primary schools in Shetland were recently highly praised by Education Scotland and the rating of one of them places it among the best in Scotland.

Ollaberry Primary School, which serves part of the north mainland, received the very highest accolade, with all five of the quality indicators rated as “Excellent”. Fetlar Primary School, on the island of that name, received a “Very Good” in all five indicators.

The inspection report describes Ollaberry as “a dynamic school that is continually improving”. The inspector found that the children were making excellent progress in their learning and achievement. She also described the staff as meeting children's needs “exceptionally well”, providing a nurturing and supportive learning environment. Key strengths include “confident, happy children” who can “play a key role in the school and achieve in a wide range of school and community activities”. The curriculum is “stimulating and well-planned” and there is “very effective support for learning which takes account of each child's specific needs”. “Highly-effective self-evaluation” is focused on improving outcomes for children. The report concludes that, under the head teacher's “outstanding” leadership, a strong culture of team working has been established and all staff, parents, children and community members are involved in evaluating and improving the school. Ollaberry is one of just five primary schools in Scotland ever to have achieved five "excellent" ratings.

The inspector who visited Fetlar Primary School praised the school for providing “a high standard of education in a caring, family atmosphere.” She reported that the children are making very good progress in their learning and that they are developing their skills in a wide range of areas, including information and communications technology, research, mathematics, and the application of their knowledge. The children are very well supported in their learning, and the school successfully provides a broad range of fulfilling and challenging experiences. She also recognises that “staff involve the local community well in developing children's skills and confidence.” The inspection report says that Fetlar Primary School staff are ambitious, reflective and work hard to improve the school and their own work.

Vaila Wishart, the chair of Shetland Islands Council's Education and Families Committee, said: “These latest reports underline the fact that our schools are of the highest standard and are testament to the hard work of teachers and staff, pupils and parents in both schools.”

The reports for Ollaberry and Fetlar are online (in pdf format) and there's lots more information about Scottish education on the same Education Scotland website. You can also find out more about education in Shetland on this website.

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