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  • Writer's pictureAyrshire Daily News

Inspectors praise leadership and learning at island primary school and nursery

The headteacher of an island primary school and her team have received a

top-class report from inspectors.

Education Scotland inspectors visited Cumbrae Primary School and Nursery,

in Millport, on the Isle of Cumbrae, in January.

The glowing report’s findings include:

• There are positive nurturing relationships between all staff and children

in the school and nursery. Children are confident, secure and engage very

well in learning and

• The quality of experiences including outdoor learning, community

projects and learning through play is high and learning is well planned and

effectively supported by a range of partners.

The report describes Headteacher Julie McAleese as “highly respected and

aspirational”, stressing that she is “supported very well by an effective and

resilient staff team” which is improving children’s attainment, experiences and


Ms McAleese said:

“I am privileged to work with such a fantastic team, who

are devoted to giving our pupils the best start possible in life.

“We work very closely with parents, families and – of course – the children

themselves to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to reach their full


“This positive inspection report is a testament to the hard work that is done all

year-round by the teaching staff, support staff and pupils.”

The report also states that Ms McAleese has worked hard to ensure the

school, which has 51 pupils, is “very much at the heart of the rural island

community” and one example of this is pupils meeting older people through an intergenerational group called Warm Wednesday to play games together.

It praises the fact that children take part in various committees, including

digital technology sustainability and health. There is also a committee that

focuses on The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child


The UNCRC ensures that all children’s rights are respected and that they are

free to learn, play and develop. Awareness is currently being raised

among North Ayrshire Council staff to ensure that everyone knows about their

ongoing responsibility to protect the rights of our children.

In the school, all four quality indicators - leadership of change; learning,

teaching and assessment; Ensuring well-being, equality and inclusion and

raising attainment and achievement – were gauged as “very good”.

The same four indicators in the nursery class were described as “good” and

inspectors found that Ms McAleese’s leadership supports the nursery well in

integrating with the school.

Andrew McClelland, the Council’s Head of Service for Education, added:

“I was delighted to read this inspection report. This is a clear reflection of the

fantastic work being done by the whole school community.

“The staff, pupils and their families should be rightly proud of the outcome of

this very strong inspection.

“I would like to thank our staff teams, under the leadership of Ms McAleese,

for their hard work and commitment to improving outcomes for our learners.”

In line with all inspections, specific areas are identified that would lead to

further improvements. Examples of potential improvements for Cumbrae

Primary include: children being provided with further opportunities to lead their

learning; development of the nursery environment – indoors and outdoors –

continuing play and development of learning experiences in the nursery

continuing to ensure pupils are engaged and challenged in their learning.


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