Inspection team’s praise for school in latest report

Staff and pupils at St Matthew’s Academy in Saltcoats are celebrating after the school achieved ‘very good’ ratings in a recent inspection report by Education Scotland.

Andrew McClelland, Head of Service for Learning, Teaching and Curriculum for North Ayrshire Council, said: “We are delighted with this report and would like to congratulate everyone at St Matthew’s Academy on achieving such a positive result.


“To receive ‘very good’ ratings shows both the dedication of staff and the commitment of pupils and is to be commended.”


The team of inspectors, who visited the school in January, praised the strong leadership of head teacher Stephen Colligan, adding that he is supported well by the senior leadership team.


Together they provide “clear strategic direction for the school and prioritise what is best for young people”, with the school’s values being described as “strong, visible and well-embedded.”


The document highlights the fact that teachers and young people have been active participants in the development of a learning and teaching strategy, with evidence that this is having a positive impact on learners’ experiences and achievements. The strategy is also described as being the main factor in raising attainment at the school.


Inspectors praised the school for using Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) to ensure targeted provision in literacy and numeracy for identified young people.

The high quality of relationships between young people and staff across the school is noted as another important strength in the school.


Teachers are said to work collaboratively with a strong and shared sense of purpose, creating a positive climate for improvement. They provide high quality learning experiences and demonstrate care, concern and ambition for young people in their daily interactions, with a high value placed on the rights of young people.


Three areas for improvement were identified in the report, with a recommendation that the school “continue to look outwards at other practice nationally, to help staff develop further their understanding of national standards and expectations for the achievement of a Curriculum for Excellence level across all curriculum areas.”


The school should also continue to develop young people’s skills in digital technologies and plan for more regular interactive opportunities to develop and apply these skills, and continue to focus on improving flexible learning pathways in the senior phase to further raise attainment and meet the needs of all young people.


Stephen Colligan, Head Teacher at St Matthew’s Academy, said: “This report reflects extremely well on the work of Saint Matthew’s Academy.


“All members of our wider school community can be pleased to note that Education Scotland have evaluated our school as ‘very good’ in two key quality indicators.


“I am also pleased to see that, with regards to areas of improvement, we have been asked to continue with the work already under way. This shows our priorities are appropriate and will lead to further improvements in the years ahead.


“I am grateful to all members of the wider school community for their ongoing work which contributed to St Matthew’s Academy being recognised in this fashion."

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