Failure grade over PE and leaky roofs

14th June 1996 at 01:00
Neil Munro summarises the Inspectorate's verdict on the nation's schools.

HMIs were not impressed by school accommodation. A quarter of primaries had "important weaknesses" such as leaking roofs, inadequate storage, unsafe vehicle access and parking, poor maintenance of play areas, and limited facilities for PE in small schools.

Accommodation was classed as unsatisfactory in 4 per cent of primaries with PE particularly restricted in a tenth of schools.

Secondaries had "important weaknesses" in 35 per cent of schools. The most common areas of concern were "a general need for refurbishment" as well as leaking roofs and inadequate social areas for pupils. Accommodation was unsatisfactory in 4 per cent of departments. The most common problems were dispersed rooms, lack of work bases for teachers and unsuitable storage spaces.

The report adds: "In some schools, pupils' work was affected adversely by inadequate classrooms and poor facilities for physical education. Accommodation for guidance was unsatisfactory in some 10 per cent of schools due mainly to inadequate rooms for interviews with parents and pupils.

"Accommodation was managed carefully by senior management in most schools, sometimes under circumstances of heavy demand. In almost all schools, teachers made effective use of general and specialist areas for learning and teaching. Few departments, however, made imaginative use of display to attract interest and help learning.

"In addition few (secondary) schools took full advantage of their public areas for display or recognition of pupils' achievements."

* Staffing standards met or exceeded national guidelines in all primary and secondary schools. Secondaries rated less well in some aspects with only 65 per cent having good or very good staff development programmes.

The deployment of learning support teachers was considered acceptable in just over 60 per cent of secondary schools.

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