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Making critical skills count

I refer to your report (TESS, March 5) on the recent inspection of Monikie primary in Angus which states that the school "turned in one of the best-ever HMI rankings".

As you also rightly reported, much of this "raft of outstanding judgments" is due to the inspirational leadership of headteacher Trish Torz. And another important factor has been the commitment of Angus Council to Critical Skills Programme training which Trish and her staff undertook last year and which enabled them to develop the "remarkable blueprint on how to run a school" that you report.

The Monikie report also mirrors similar inspections from south of the border. Here are just two examples:

* From an Ofsted inspection of Challenge College, Bradford: "The leadership and management of the headteacher and senior staff are outstanding . . ."

and the comment of Gareth Dawkins, the Challenge College principal: "There is no question that our commitment to Critical Skills Programme training has been a major factor in helping us to make the improvements we have over the past two years."

* From an inspection report on Laisterdyke High, Bradford :"The school's involvement in the Critical Skills Programme has made a significant contribution to improvements in the quality of teaching."

Trish Torz and her teachers are taking further Critical Skills Programme training in May of this year. I leave it to your readers to judge the significance of this.

Colin Weatherley Critical Skills Programme Gullane, East Lothian

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