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Shetland shows how it can be done

The story of Uyeasound primary in Shetland is one of the latest to demonstrate the success of current arrangements for supporting struggling schools.

An HMI report two years ago found only two of the 20 indicators used to judge quality to be very good; six were rated unsatisfactory, including leadership of the school. Half of the lessons inspected were regarded as unsatisfactory oronly fair.

By the time inspectors followed up their initial findings, published a fortnight ago, they reported that the headteacher had been replaced, the school was making very good progress in acting on HMI's recommendations - including "significantly enhancing the school's capacity for improvement" - and HMI was sufficiently satisfied that it would be paying no further visits.

Ironically the local authority, which had been praised for effectively supporting the school, now plans to close it and transfer the pupils elsewhere after another HMI report (on Shetland Islands Council) found the authority had not done enough to deliver best value for its education service.

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