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Best in Scotland accolade at Beeslack High

OUTSTANDING, very good and good are the three most-quoted descriptions of classroom action at Beeslack Community High in Penicuik after the Midlothian secondary received one of the most favourable reports yet from HMI.

In a rare departure for a secondary, the inspectors have only one point of action: that authority and school ensure the high standards are maintained.

Of 21 quality indicators, 18 are classed as very good and three good. The overall quality of lessons was very good in 48 per cent of observed classes and good in 52 per cent.

Peter Boyes, Midlothian's education spokesman, said: "My understanding is that this constitutes the best-ever report on any secondary school in Scotland."

Inspectors describe the leadership of Dick Staite as "outstanding". Since taking up his post almost 20 years ago, the headteacher "had sustained a clear vision for the school as an inclusive community, maintained an energetic involvement in the daily life of the school and had built up a very strong team spirit among staff".

Guidance is listed as "outstanding", while the quality of the curriculum, learning and teaching is "very good". Principal teachers are commended for departmental leadership. Even attainment in S1-S2 - HMI's traditional bugbear - is rated very good in mathematics and science and good in several others.

Moving round the 980-pupil secondary, inspectors comment: "The pupils were very well behaved. The absence of litter and graffiti and the high levels of pupil participation in the school's extracurricular programme reflected pupils' pride in their school."

As part of HMI's new regime of leaving quality alone, there will be no follow-up inspection.

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