The City of Edinburgh Council by HC120913103753


									  Standards, Quality and Improvement
   Plan for Dalmeny Primary School

                             P       S

                    Learning Adventurously

Standards and Quality Report for session: 2010 -2011
Improvement Plan for session: 2011 - 2012

Table of contents

Section         Section title                                                           Page
Standards and quality report

1               Purpose of the report                                                              4

2               School aims                                                                  4&5

3               The school in context                                                              5

4               Improvement plan priorities 2008-2009                                              6

5               Success and achievements                                                           6

6               Work and life of the school                                                        9

7               Vision and leadership                                                            12

Improvement plan

8               Key areas for school improvement                                                 14

9               Three-year audit programme                                                       15

10              Action pages                                                                     17

View from on High:
Four five years we have worked to make the Values of CfE a part of our life.
Last session we looked at the Principles of CfE.
This year that approach is embedded and we begin to look at developing the Four Capacities. We will
deal with outcomes and experiences as we work on individual policies.

Standards and
Quality Report

1.       Purpose of the report
To indicate how the school will manage necessary and or desirable improvement over
the coming session using its own initiatives and also responding to Authority and
National Initiatives.
To show what action was carried out over the past session to maintain standards and
also to attempt improvement where this was felt necessary or desirable.
To highlight achievements.

2.       School aims
                                  Our Educational Aims
We encourage all pupils to achieve their highest potential and we aim that pupils should

     Sound in basic skills and able to apply these.

     Appreciative of the Arts and able to express themselves creatively.

     Increasingly aware of and able to understand Health and Personal Safety issues, confident
      in their own physical and emotional abilities.

     Scientifically literate and competent to tackle scientific and technological problems.

     Increasingly able and motivated in Personal Search of Religious and Moral values.

     Motivated, self disciplined, responsible and caring individuals.

We aim to provide a professional service:

     To continually reflect on and develop our expertise.

     To understand children’s needs and be sensitive to these.

     To work in partnership with parents and the community.

     To work as a team.

     To take care to communicate fully and with a high standard of accuracy, clarity and

     To create learning opportunities for children, which are increasingly interdisciplinary where
      appropriate, and which challenge their thinking about the world around them.

We aim to fulfil the above in an atmosphere of security, care, respect and

We aim to foster positive attitudes towards each other in school, community and
the world at large.

We aim to foster positive attitudes towards the environment.

We aim to provide a positive and happy school experience for our pupils where
staff and children look forward to school each day and want to learn.

3.    The school in context

Dalmeny is a City of Edinburgh non-denominational primary school, which takes boys
and girls from Nursery through to Primary 7.

Set on the edge of Dalmeny village just to the South of the Forth Rail Bridge and
adjacent to the A90, the building is around fifty years old, single storey, and has five
class teaching areas for P1 to P7. The Nursery is in a modern purpose built unit,
separate but adjacent to the main building and in the school grounds. There is a small
well-equipped Gym, a large outdoor assault course, a large school field, a mini Nursery
assault course and also, a large community woodland the school has helped create
and maintain which is now the focus of weekly – year round - Forest School work by
various classes. An area of the woodland adjacent to the school has been named ’The
Secret Garden’ and is the subject of a bio-diversity and Play initiative. Grounds for
Learning, a National UK Charity have paid for a walkway from the school grounds into
the woodland; ‘The Bridge to Infinity’ which will be completed in July 2011 by Army
Engineers. This then opens the bio-diversity area to children at Lunch times for
supervised free play. Hedges have been planted to define both this area and the
Eastern limits of the community woodland.

The school has a very well equipped library, a stage area which doubles as a dining
room, admin office, Headteacher’s office, medical room and various stores including a
dark room for photographic work. There is a staff base and a parents' room. New
classroom furniture, new smartboard projectors and some new carpets have been
provided in the past couple of years.

4.     Improvement plan priorities 2010-2011
To develop the whole school use of Glow.

To develop the whole school use of Seemis for SFL

To develop a curriculum for Science and Social Studies

To adjust the curriculum for Language especially through self evaluation by pupils using
Literacy Circle P5 to P7 and Literacy with more active Learning Nursery to P4

To improve staff self evaluation

To put into place new medical procedures.

To develop a sustainability policy

5.     Successes and achievements
How are we doing? / How do we know?

This session we were unable to use 5-14 tests as had been suggested by the previous
QIO, but we were also unable to set targets for pupils using the Curriculum for
Excellence Levels since there was insufficient guidance to enable us to do so. In the
end, after my attending meetings and being a member of the City of Edinburgh Pilot
group on assessing CfE the only guidance I received was to use professional judgment
about whether a child was at ‘Secure’ level, ‘Consolidating’ or ‘Developing’. Since CfE
is a three year programme of study and since we are in the first year of this, it is difficult
to see how a professional judgement can be made on experience and outcomes that
might not have been covered. One possible method, used by some schools is to map
each experience and outcome back to its most likely counterpart in the old curriculum.
The objection to this method, which I have not seen countered are:

The 5-14 curriculum was not assessed by individual outcome but by an holistic end of
study test. Therefore it would be difficult to say whether any one outcome had been
achieved. (This was one reason why 5-14 was felt to be weak in comparison to CfE)

The mapping process is long and complicated. This would have taken time away from
our very productive work on Literacy and other targets. We felt that this session we
achieved a great deal.

I have asked to be shown any school where there is a successful method of
assessment in the first year of CfE – I have been offered no suggestions. I have voiced
my doubts publicly in front of HT colleagues, some of whom have privately supported

In the next session it will be necessary to find a successful method of assessment in
the new curriculum and return again to setting individual targets.


Our ASPs and IEPs are living documents, known to relevant staff and used on a daily
basis and our success with SfL is clear from the tracking records.

Our attainment in teaching a foreign language had been set back following a unilateral
decision by a couple of cluster schools to drop German as a second language in Upper
classes and concentrate solely on French. This perhaps caused the High School to
need to drop German as an option. At the time of that decision Dalmeny possibly had a
higher ratio of trained MLPS German Language staff than any school in Edinburgh and
none trained in French, but some of our teachers voluntarily undertook re-training in
French and in doing so far exceeding expected personal development targets. We had
been supported in this change with financial help from the High School for a couple of

Work in Writing has continued to be strongly directed to helping pupils understand their
next steps and perhaps uniquely this school dedicates a great deal of effort and time
towards editing skills. It has not neglected motivation and a great deal of written work is
taken from cross curricular sources. Commercial ideas such as VCOP have been
looked at and a couple of good ideas have been taken from these since they were
thought useful. Our improvement priority in science in the past session has linked
science to writing and has attempted to take the idea of self evaluation by pupils a step
further, into pupils writing their own reports. This appears to have been successful in

that the reports have been written and are clear but this experiment awaits evaluation
by parents.

Reading has been developed by using ‘Literacy Circle’, an idea in wide use but taken
on to excellent levels in Abbeyhill PS. Since a member of teaching staff with
experience at that school joined us we have been able to use LC to develop stronger
reading in two upper classes initially, and we are now extending this to younger
classes. LC is an approach that has been around for a few years now, needing both
very strong classroom management /leadership and a good level of maturity of
behaviour and experience amongst pupils to justify the time given over to it. The quality
of work from increasing numbers of our pupils here at Dalmeny is clear evidence of

Our Science improvement priority has led to a continued good level of enjoyment of
science by staff and pupils and this is a first in my (Headteacher) experience. Whether
this has also improved attainment awaits future evaluation. There has been a high level
of cross curricular work and a great deal of Activity Learning. LTScotland has included
the method we are using in its science pages on the website. Following my visit to
Sweden last December to look at their approach to sustainability I have decided to
rewrite the science curriculum to give it a thorough grounding in Sustainability.
Meantime the school has resources to allow the active approaches to science teaching
to continue, though these resources ‘Primary Connections’ are unavailable to other
schools. Only Dalmeny has permission from the Australian authors,

Our Forest School improvement priority work has continued with one or more of the
three trained leaders plus class teachers. Pupils carry out Forest School work each
week unless strong winds or storms make the area too dangerous. There has again
been a sustained high level of motivation and this has led to successes in
achievements for pupils in team work, use of tools and awareness of nature. We now
have a Sustainability Policy and have created a bio-diverse area within the woodland.

Pupils run a pupil council and help run an eco committee, both of which meet regularly
and are very effective in taking the school forward – witness the minutes from these

There continues to be a very strong anti- bullying ethos in the school and whilst there
are no school rules, every child in the school is aware of the meaning of the four
Values of Scotland. There have been no exclusions from this school over the past five
sessions although several families during this time have felt that the school might be
over strict in its ethos as described by the values and have accordingly moved their
children away. The school has been given a replica Mace (from the education unit in
the Scottish Parliament) and supported by the Scottish Youth Parliament, this was
formally presented to the school by our MSP in June 2010.

What are we going to do next?

At a meeting of staff together with their new Headteacher Laura Brandon it was
decided to:

Develop closer links between P1 and Nursery.

Improve the Staff Awareness of Building the Curriculum 3 especially developing a
common understanding of Interdisciplinary Learning, Collaborative approaches and
Active Learning – all of which are in use but need a common whole school

The shared classroom experience which has been developed should be embedded.

Assessment (see above) requires a great deal of work so that individual targets can
again be set for pupils.

Glow should be developed and encouraged so that the very good work presently being
carried out in this area is seen by all staff and good practice emulated.

The Cluster development plan should become realistic and have a positive impact on
the school.

There should be commonly agreed useful planning for the new curriculum

Numeracy and Health and Well being need to be tackled in the same way as Science
and Literacy – in depth. This may be nothing more than translating the present
excellent work into CfE terms.

6.     Work and life of the school
Our school work and life has for years now been defined by the four Values of Scotland, which
have also been taken up as the Values of CfE. We also aim to fulfill our mission statement, -
‘Learn Adventurously’ and we achieve this in so far as we can in a culture of collegiality.

The four values: Compassion, Integrity, Justice and Wisdom replaced our school rules years
ago and we have never looked back. This school may well be unique in expecting every
member of the school community to live by these values and to demonstrate actively that they
are doing so. Pupils who do not manage or who slide away from actively working within the
values are offered a contract, which is in effect a temporary return to the old school rules. Both
the parents and pupils are asked to sign an agreement to work towards regaining the values.
Exclusion from some activities that the school takes part in: Residential Activity, Visits, Extra
Curricular activities, Clubs etc, would all need to be re-considered for any pupil who does not
live by the Values of Scotland since all the aforementioned involve risks which require a level of
responsibility by pupils themselves and on behalf of pupils by staff or volunteers. Eventually, if
support for a pupil to regain their agreement to follow the Vales fails then exclusion will certainly
be looked for. Every member of staff is expected to try to support any child on a contract
towards getting off that contract and back to the Values. Any parent not agreeing with the
school policy has the right to seek support from the Authority for their case but some parents, a
very small number, have instead over the past few years removed their children from the
school rather than support school policy. The vast majority of parents do support this system
and we are confident that all our pupils as they develop from Nursery to P7 increasingly
recognize what bullying is and that bullying or anything similar is simply not acceptable.
In evidence of that bold statement – we will offer official visitors the opportunity to ask
any child, who has attended this school for more than a few days, how bullying is dealt
with in this school. The answer will not only be clear but will also we think, be a positive
statement of that pupil’s understanding of how bullying is dealt with here at Dalmeny.

The Mission Statement of the school is: Learn Adventurously. This has meanings at
several levels.
We are a Forest School and thus we take children out into the local woods to learn to
use tools and to take care of and learn from Nature. Sometimes, we cut down trees,
sometimes we build fires and cook food, we use saws, knives and secateurs and we
intend to continue to develop this area of active learning, learning how to make
charcoal for example, coppice, plant and grow hedges. The Risk Assessments involved
in such an enterprise are thorough but instead of being a hurdle, such Risk
Assessments are a key to being able to take children further, adventurously yet with
Our Science is ground breaking, using methodology possibly unique in Scotland it
derives its strength from empowering children to discover for themselves often using
home made equipment. Our methods can be very unusual, we have in the past set off
real chemical rockets at Dreghorn Firing Range in Edinburgh and have not repeated
this simply because we are also a ‘Green’ school and we can investigate the forces
involved in rocketry using ecologically safe chemicals. Should occasion arise however
that once again requires a large powered rocket, then our mission statement will lead
us to use it. We have ambitions to use Hi-Wire walking to demonstrate centre of gravity
and we will use commercial strength pulley systems in our Forest School. However,
what is most important about our science teaching is its constructivist method, based
on well founded American and Australian research and increasingly used now in
countries across the world.
We have a school kitchen built with school funds and for use by classes so that
cookery can become a part of our learning.
Our after school clubs are: Guitar, ‘Play to Learn’, Football & Science”
We have a dark room where pupils have learned to develop photos they have taken
with home made cameras and a member of staff with Expressive Arts remit uses this
resource and others to motivate both staff and pupils to take a wider look at Art.
We take pupils out on trips as often as possible. In this five class + Nursery School we
had last session an average of 10 trips per class per year and that is in addition to local
In all the above we are taking children away from textbooks and away from the ordinary
classroom using the wider environment to learn.

Learning adventurously also means widening the curriculum. We are active learners
not simply active in a physical sense, though we are strong in that area: two of our
pupils winning the National Volleyball Pair cup, our football team being strong, every
class able to do two hours of physical activity and some doing more, some classes
involved in virtual walks, homework includes physical options, every child in the school
has been given swimming time for years now, there are after school clubs in Physical
areas four times a week. but we are active also in the very important sense that
learning is based on children’s needs actively discovered. Teachers use formative
teaching methods in everyday work, they give clear guidance to pupils about expected
outcomes and the teachers assess whether these are being achieved. But the
outcomes are flexible too, pupils have a voice and can help define what is being learnt.
In early lessons in a project and in almost every lesson in Forest School the leaders are
on the look out for children’s interests and then in their planning look to take these
interests forward. This is common practice of course in any good Nursery, but is
developing practice in the Primary classes at Dalmeny.

Learning adventurously finally, means thinking outside the box when it comes to
school development. The word ‘Unique’ has appeared a few times so far in this report
and at Dalmeny we are proud that we will consider a wide range of ethical means to
improve our work. What we cannot invent ourselves we will happily borrow. Our superb
type of Literacy Circle we took in its present form from AbbeyHill Primary School, our
Science from Australia, our Voluntary Homework is home grown,

Our Aims are thoroughly thought out and don’t simply list aims for pupils but aims for
staff as well and conclude with: We aim to provide a positive and happy school experience
for our pupils where staff and children look forward to school each day and want to learn.

Our Collegiality is ongoing and vibrant. Staff are expected to make their mark and not
to let others decide for them. Staff meetings have rotating chairs and minute takers and
the agenda is set by any member of staff. This part of the SQIP will have been looked
at by staff who will have added or adjusted it before deciding on what ‘Next Steps’ are
necessary or desirable and then, with whatever time is left after satisfying Authority
needs, the new Improvement Plan will be drawn up.
This is a small school and it is our hope to continue to be involved in the spirit of
collegiality that is now taking root in our Cluster. Just as next steps can be understood
by pupils when they themselves are able to self evaluate, so teachers in the cluster are
beginning to be encouraged to improve their art of self evaluation by working across
schools. The head teacher, through e –community work within Glow is also expecting
and hoping to develop his abilities in self evaluation.
Our collegiality is extending more and more to include the pupil voice. This process
requires a level of maturity and expectation of and from pupils that can only be
achieved over time. Our aim however is to empower learners more and more. Our

collegiality extends to parents who when they are willing to take the time, can become
involved more and more in helping the school go forward.
What are we going to do next?

7.    Vision and leadership

7. Vision and Leadership:

Parents play an active part in the school and are encouraged to communicate with us.
We have an open door policy, which means that appointments are not usually
necessary unless a class teacher or the headteacher is teaching or has other work in
hand. The head’s timetable for the week is displayed around the school so that parents
and staff know when the head is available. If an urgent case arises then the head tries
to free himself or another teacher to meet with any parent.
Parents are encouraged to attend the twice termly Forum meetings where any issues
not relating to a specific individual can be raised. A summary of this SQIP is given out
in September and updates are made regarding progress in the twice termly newsletters
and via a headteacher’s report to each school forum meeting. The school website is
kept up to date.
Pupils are members of the Eco Committee and the Pupil Council. They meet regularly
and communicate their findings with the school through a display board.
Staff meet regularly in meetings where they set the agenda, and where all staff take
turns in chairing and taking minutes. The McCrone agreement is agreed by all teaching
staff (with a separate McCrone agreement for Nursery) and this agreement gives a
good amount of flexibility that allows and expects each member of staff to make an
individual contribution to the school.
Full Staff reviews are carried out annually. At these meetings staff make decisions
about their contribution to the school plan and suggest ideas for extending or changing
the plan.
The head teacher encourages participation and initiative. In the present improvement
plan staff will have contributed their suggestions for improvement and parents have
been invited to do so via the Authority’s questionnaire sent out early in 2010. Parents
will also be given a summary of the draft SQIP for comment. Pupils make their
contribution through their councils.
The head teacher monitors classwork and makes regular classroom visits. Staff feel
that he has a very good awareness of pupil progress. He is the Support Coordinator for
the school and therefore has regular meetings with staff to discuss ASPs and IEPs. He
also meets regularly with the Support for Learning teacher. The headteacher presently
keeps track of each pupil’s learning and their support needs through the stage tracking
sheet and he summarizes their SfL history using the pathways log which was devised
fours years ago by this school and Queensferry High School for use in this cluster, but
is now only used at Dalmeny, however is preferred by our parents to the replacement
transfer sheet which is similar to the one that Pathways replaced.
There are regular management meetings between HT and PT. The Business manager
is also invited to these twice a term. There is a weekly meeting between the
administrator and HT and a daily briefing between Janitor and HT.
We have established valuable working relationships with: Dalmeny Estate (Forest
School) Queensferry Glen (Forest School), The Haven in Queensferry where pupils go
each week to make breakfast for pensioners, and Ferry Clean Up.

8.      Conclusion
We do not seek to continually ‘improve’. We do seek to maintain standards where
these are very high and to improve them when we can see a reasonable opportunity for
success. Hence this Quality Report and Improvement Plan is as hype free as we can
make it. We do not know if our pupils know more science this year than last, but we
suspect, from the enthusiasm shown by both staff and pupils that this is likely. We do
not know if Forest School with its emphasis on active learning is really improving the lot
of the participants, but again we suspect that the experiences and the skills learned will
form lifelong positive memories for more than a few children.

We take little heed of statistics for our pupil population since such statistics in a school
this size obscure the real picture. In the past the only statistic we really paid attention to
was how close were are to achieving 100% of projections and how fair yet challenging
those projections were.

Our school staff and pupils all work in as supportive an atmosphere as can be created,
not because this sounds good, but because this is a healthy and ethically good way to

We keep things simple. No school rules, only say what we can really achieve and say it clearly. Say what
hasn’t been achieved and why. Communicate. Listen, listen some more. Act adventurously.

    Improvement Plan

Key Areas for school improvement

August 2010 - June 2013

Key Priority   2010-2011   2011-2012   2012-2013

GLOW                       xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   -xxxxxxxxxxxxxx    xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Use of Seemis for SfL      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Science and Social         xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    xxxxxxxxxxxxxx    xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Studies CfE

Literacy CfE               xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Literacy Circles P5/6/7
Active Learning P1/2/3/4
Numeracy CfE               xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    xxxxxxxxxxxxxx    xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Health CfE                 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    xxxxxxxxxxxxxx    xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Reporting to Parents       xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

                                                                HGIOS 3
                                                                 CATC 2

                               Audit Programme
Focus Area: Attainment and achievement
  No Quality Indicators                       2010-11 2011-12 2012-2013
 1.1 Improvements in performance                                 *
 5.5 Expectations and promoting achievement   √8                 *
 9.1 Vision, values and aims                                     *

Focus Area: Learning and teaching
  No Quality Indicators                       2010-11 2011-12 2012-2013
 1.1 Improvements in performance                        *
 2.1 Learners’ / children’s experiences       √1        *
 5.2 Teaching for effective learning          √1        *
 5.3 Meeting learning needs                                       *
 5.4 Assessment for learning                                      *
 9.2 Leadership and direction                                     *

Focus Area: Support for Learners / children
  No Quality Indicators                       2010-11 2011-12 2012-2013
 1.1 Improvements in performance
 5.3 Meeting learning needs                   √2
 5.6 Equality and fairness
 5.8 Care, welfare and development            √67
 9.3 Developing people and partnerships

Focus Area; Leadership for learning
  No Quality Indicators                                   2010-11 2011-12 2012-2013
  1.1 Improvements in performance                                   *
  2.2 The school’s / centre’s success in involving        √8        *
      parents, carers and families
  3.1 The engagement of staff in the life and work of the                     *
      school / centre
  9.3 Developing people and partnerships                                      *

Focus Area: Curriculum for learning
  No Quality Indicators                               2010-11 2011-12 2012-2013
 1.1 Improvements in performance                                 *
 5.1 The curriculum                                   √345       *
 8.3 Managing and use of resources and space for      √2349      *
 9.2 Leadership and direction                                      *

Focus Area: Continuous improvement
  No Quality Indicators                               2010-11 2011-12 2012-2013
 1.1 Improvements in performance                                         *
 5.9 Improvement through self-evaluation              √10                *
 9.2 Leadership and direction                                            *
 9.4 Leadership of improvement and change             √                  *

Curriculum for Excellence : Cluster Implementation Plan

Curriculum           2011-2012            2012-2013         2013-2014

Technologies       Health and Wellbeing   Social Studies    Technologies
                   Literacy and English
Expressive Arts    Numeracy and Maths        Science           RME

Social Studies      Modern Languages      Expressive Arts
Modern languages


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