Damning report after 10-year delay

17th November 2006 at 00:00
The headteacher at a Moray school has been replaced following a damning report by inspectors.

Tomintoul Primary, which was last visited by inspectors in 1995, was judged "weak" or "unsatisfactory" in all but one of 14 quality indicators used by HM Inspectorate of Education.

Jane Murray-Smith, who had been head for 10 years,Jresigned and moved to another school in the area at the end of the summer term.JSheJwas replaced by acting head, Nancy Fraser, the head at Glenlivet Primary. Three other staff members who were in post at the time of inspection have been replaced.

Moray Council said the school, which had 64 pupils at the time of inspection in June, was improving and that the acting head had its full confidence. The report stressed that it had experienced "significant" staff changes before inspection.

According to the report, teachers were often unclear about what they wanted pupils to learn and relied too heavily on textbooks or worksheets. Too many lessons lacked structure and did not systematically build on pupils'

previous learning. Pupils were too passive in their learning and too many lacked motivation, while most parents felt the school had a poor reputation.

The school's key strengths were in physical education and staff's use of its large grounds for learning and play.

The report said that all teaching staff had taken up post within the previous 12 months and all had fewer than three years of teaching experience. The head had returned in 2005 following a one-year secondment and had been on sick leave from November to December 2005.

Council education director Donald Duncan said: "This is a disappointing report, but not unexpected. Tomintoul has been through a difficult time over the past year and a half but was being supported by the authority and was on the road to improvement. Clearly, during the week of the inspection, that improvement was not obvious to HMIE."

Meanwhile, inspectors have raised concerns about the overall performance of pupils in Dundee. They describe it in a report as "weak", although improving. HMIE found that one in six pupils left school without basic qualifications in English and maths. In most key measures of secondary schools, figures were below the average of comparable authorities, and the gap had increased. Most primary pupils were reaching appropriate national levels in reading and maths, and the proportion doing so had risen in the past five years.

The authority was praised for its pre-school services and the achievement of many pupils through arts, music, drama and sport. Its willingness to respond to young people's views was also commended.

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