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Positive follow-up inspection for Banff Primary School

By Kyle Ritchie

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Banff Primary School has been praised in its latest follow-up inspection report.

The online meeting of the Banff and Buchan area committee assessed the findings of the visit, which took place in March.

The school was initially visited in September 2017, when HM Inspectors of Education outlined a number of areas that needed improvement that were agreed by the school and Aberdeenshire Council.

Since then inspectors have held follow-up visits in June last year and the latest one in March.

Banff and Buchan councillors have scrutinised the latest follow-up inspection report for Banff Primary School.
Banff and Buchan councillors have scrutinised the latest follow-up inspection report for Banff Primary School.

In the report that went before councillors at the meeting it said: "During their visits, they talked to the children and worked closely with the headteacher and staff.

"They heard from the headteacher about the steps the school has taken to improve in the specific areas that had been identified in the original inspection and other aspects of the school’s work.

"As a result, they were able to find out about the progress the school has made and how well this is supporting children's learning and achievements."

Strengths that were highlighted included the headteacher Laura MacKay is now well placed with staff and the depute headteachers to take forward the improvements needed; staff have taken part in a range of professional learning to improve learning in classes; the leadership team has now streamlined the approach to assessment, with most teachers now use a variety of assessments to identify children’s progress; and the leadership team has continued to provide progression pathways for all curriculum areas, which are linked to the national benchmarks.

Areas of improvement that were highlighted were continuing to develop support for children who find being in class challenging; ensure the pace of learning is right in all classes; and for staff continue to build on linking assessment more to planned learning.

The report added: "From their findings the inspection team advised the headteacher and Aberdeenshire Council that they are confident the school has the capacity to continue to improve and so will make no more visits in connection with this inspection."

Headteacher Ms MacKay addressed the meeting and outlined to councillors the improvement work that had been done.

She said: "There were many positive messages during this particular visit for the school that were shared by the inspection team both through staff and the senior leadership team through feedback sessions.

"In particular inspectors were impressed with the strengths now of both the wider staff team and the senior leadership team in leading change and also the greater shift in the positive nurturing ethos within the school from when they had even visited six months beforehand."

She added that Covid had meant the plans going forward have had to be adapted slightly.

"At Banff Primary School we know our improvement journey is ongoing and it needs to both reflect and adapt to the needs of our children, families, the wider community and certainly now the world we are presently living in."

Banff and District councillor Glen Reynolds said: "This is a huge step forward on what you have described as the recovery journey.

"It's very positive and you've had to work under the most incredibly difficult circumstances. It's very much to be commended."

Fellow ward member councillor Michael Roy said: "It has been a struggle to get where we are now and I'm absolutely delighted that you've managed to achieve that and wish you all the best in the future."

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