Lowest grade for neediest pupils

7th March 2008 at 00:00

A school in Glasgow catering for the most troubled children teachers have to face has had a damning report from inspectors. The head has been moved to another job.

Cartvale School in Govan, which deals with 10- to 14-year-olds who have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, was found to be "unsatisfactory" in its pastoral care, accommodation and facilities, the leadership of the headteacher and self-evaluation. This is the lowest category in HMIE's evaluation scale, indicating "major weaknesses".

The school was judged to have largely failed in its raison d'etre: pupils were not making sufficient progress in their social and emotional development. Lessons were often disrupted and most pupils lacked enthusiasm for learning, working hard in only a few classes.

Ten areas, including the structure of the curriculum, climate and relationships, equality and fairness, and pupils' learning experiences, had important weaknesses. Only four areas were judged to be "adequate", the best the school could manage. These were its teaching process and pupils' attainment in English, technology and social studies.

Further criticisms were levelled at the building which was "not fit for the purpose of educating pupils with additional support needs". In addition, staff morale was low and turnover high.

Although the education authority had provided some support over the past two years, the school had made little progress with an agenda for improvement.

Inspectors reported that some parents were not confident that the school would act if they raised a concern. They also felt their children's behaviour had not improved as a result of attending the school.

Some pupils said they did not feel safe and well looked after. Just over half felt that staff were good at dealing with bullying, and around two- fifths did not think they were treated fairly.

The staff themselves agreed with the pupils: they thought that standards set for behaviour were not consistently upheld and about two-thirds thought the school did not deal effectively with bullying.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said Cartvale's head had been "deployed to other duties". Another experienced headteacher has been seconded to run the school.

Gordon Matheson, the council's executive member for education and social renewal, described the findings of the report as "clearly not acceptable". He added that the council had taken "immediate and robust action" to improve the teaching, learning and pastoral care at Cartvale following the inspection in November.

A team of quality improvement officers, an educational psychologist and an additional support for learning officer had spent some considerable time carrying out an assessment of every pupil's needs.

Maureen McKenna, head of education services, said the council planned to model its multi-agency support for Cartvale on the separate learning centres for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties it is creating in each of the five strategic planning areas in the city, although the school is not included in that three-year pound;2 million funding plan. The first centres will open in August at Ladywell School in Partick for secondary youngsters, and Greenview School in Possilpark for primary children.

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