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Golspie High School shows improvement but needs to raise standards further

By Staff Reporter

Golspie High School’s head teacher has been told he must “focus relentlessly” on raising standards at the struggling school.

There will be a follow-up visit by inspectors to Golspie High School next year.
There will be a follow-up visit by inspectors to Golspie High School next year.

The message to Mark Evans is contained in the latest Education Scotland report on the 243-pupil school.

Golspie High has been closely monitored since education inspectors visited in 2017 and it was deemed in need of extra support. A school improvement plan was put in place.

Inspectors re-visited the school in December and a report has recently been made public.

It was found many improvements had been made with more stability in staffing, thanks to increased funding. Systems had also been put in place to track pupils’ progress and to improve learning and teaching.

But inspectors felt there was still scope for more – particularly raising attainment and that the pace of change was not yet “brisk enough”. Teachers needed to have “higher expectations” of what young people were capable of achieving. According to the report almost all pupils achieved expected levels in listening, talking and reading by the end of S3 and “most” in writing and numeracy. But in S4-S6 there was an “ongoing need” for attainment to improve.

The report states: “Senior leaders are aware that too many young people are not receiving a qualification in a few subjects."

But inspectors acknowledged almost all pupils went on to a “positive destination”.

The report reads: “The head teacher now needs to ensure a relentless focus on raising standards in learning, teaching and attainment where a difference is still required.”

Education Scotland has said the school would continue to be monitored with a further inspection in a year’s time.

A Highland Council spokesman said: “There were a number of positives in the recent report. The inspectors recognised the structures and systems introduced to improve the school’s tracking and monitoring of pupils’ progress; the development of additional support needs and guidance support together with the learning and teaching classroom techniques.

“Education Scotland recognised these improvements, along with its continued work on the curriculum offer and increased support of pupils in choosing appropriate courses for their career goals, will further raise attainment.”

A spokesman for the school said: “The pleasing news is that Golspie High School has improved considerably its ratings in The Sunday Times’ listings of top schools.

“Referring to the percentage of pupils achieving five or more highers, the school has moved to 207th.

“Last year, it was ranked 261st. The school’s staff achieved this by doubling the percentage figure of pupils achieving this measure from 15 to 30 per cent.

“Although this is not the only measure relevant to a school, it does show that Golspie High School’s improvement agenda is moving in the right direction.”

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