Education Scotland review transition process in Kirrie

Pupils during lessons
Pupils during lessons

The academic transition process in Kirriemuir was subject to a review by Education Scotland in the 2015/16 school year.

The review was one a new range of approaches by Education Scotland, and explored how well the arrangements for transitions from one setting to another are supporting children and young people in their learning and helping them to achieve as highly as possible.

Following the inspection, a spokesperson for Education Scotland said: “We have confidence that, in the Kirriemuir neighbourhood, most of the transition arrangements are ensuring continuity in learning for children and young people as they progress from early years through school and beyond. We found interesting practice which we have highlighted throughout the report.

“Our Area Lead Officer will maintain contact with Angus Council to monitor progress on addressing the aspects for development identified in this report.”

Inspectors looked at various aspects during their review in June 2016, including ho well children and young people are supported to learn and achieve in this neighbourhood; how well the curriculum supports learning and achievement; and how well transition arrangements support progression in learning.

In the report, published this week, inspectors found that the transition arrangements ensuring continuity in learning in Kirriemuir.

Under the first question, the report stated: “Arrangements for the pastoral transitions for children starting nursery and then moving on to primary are strong overall across the cluster of schools and early learning and childcare (ELC) settings.”

Discussing the transition to secondary school, the report noted: “Parents and children are positive about how well the particular needs of children rural schools are met at times of transition and the range of steps taken by teachers at Webster’s High School to support them. In all primary schools, children benefit from meeting the secondary school guidance teacher prior to moving into S1. Effective transfer of information on individual children supports this transition well.”

However, the report outlined that there is not a “clear enough understanding” of learning progress from S1 to S3.

For pupils at secondary school attending college programmes, the report highlighted the good working partnership between Webster’s and D&A College. It said: “There is effective practice in support young people who attend college programmes. Pastoral care staff from Webster’s High School visit young people in the college, offering support and developing their own understanding of what young people are gaining from their college experience.”

The report also noted that transition out of Webster’s for S4 to S6 pupils are “well organised”, with the school providing events like university open days, college taster days, work experience and careers conventions.

Inspectors noted that better provision for travel form school to college would help transition, noting: “Young people from Webster’s High School, in the early few weeks of their course, are disadvantaged by the distance they have to travel and the summer bus timetable.”

For the question on how the curriculum supports learning and achievement, it was noted that at ELC classes that are part of primary schools, there are good opportunities for shared learning.

However at a primary level, the report said: “All schools are using the Angus Council progression pathways and standards to support planning for the curriculum in such a way that allows children to build on their previous learning. However, the approach to curriculum planning is at different stages of development across the primary schools. This is leading to inconsistent experiences for children across the cluster of primary schools.”

At secondary level inspectors said: “Webster’s High School has identified the need to review the curriculum from S1 to S3 to ensure it meets the needs of all learners. Staff have identified the need to develop learning pathways for different groups, including the lowest- and highest-attaining young people.”

Under the question of arrangements support progression in learning, the report noted that in early learning establishments, the arrangements are “effective”, but private and voluntary partner providers need more support.

For primary levels, in the best practice across the schools visited, inspectors found “very effective approaches to ensure children build on prior learning”.

The report also suggested that primary schools and Webster’s continue to establish links between subject departments and primary schools to “ensure a shared understanding of expectations around children’s and young people’s levels of attainment”.

The full report can be found on www.education.gov.scot/what-we-do/inspection-and-review under ‘Neighbourhood Review.