New inspection for Academy

MONTROSE Academy is set to be inspected for the second time in two years following a damning education inspector’s report.

Angus councillors have been advised that the inspection will take place following a report which heavily criticised some areas of teaching and pupil support at the school.

Some local officials have since refused to accept the findings within the report.

Education convener Peter Nield has confirmed that his department have taken the “exceptionally unusual” step of making a formal complaint to the education inspectorate about the feedback they received from inspector Ken McAra.

After the initial visit in June, Mr McAra reported that senior students “perform notably less well than those in schools which serve young people with similar needs and backgrounds” in national examinations.

The scrutiny and audit sub-committee were also told that the overall pace of learning at the school is “too slow”. The report also stated that many students are “unhappy about how staff deal with bullying and poor behaviour.”

Mr McAra’s initial report said: “At all stages, young people could attain and achieve more. In a few lessons, staff set tasks at the right level for individuals. However, this practice is not consistent.

“Most young people are not sure how much progress they have made and do not know how to improve their work.

“Overall, they can express their views confidently but have few opportunities to do so.

“Young people are capable of making better progress.

“The school needs to review the role of support of learning staff to enable the support service to meet the needs of all young people better.”

Now Mr McAra has arranged for a follow-up inspection for this year after helping headteacher Ronald Small to identify the key areas which need improving.

The scrutiny and audit sub-committee were presented with an action plan which has been devised by Montrose Academy to address the problems highlighted in Mr McAra’s report.

Progress made by the school will be monitored closely and subsequently a decision will be made as to whether a third inspection will be necessary.

Mr McAra said: “Senior managers need to ensure that planned improvements bring about positive changes to young people’s experiences.

“Young people are not sufficiently involved in evaluating the work of the school.”

Mr Nield has refuted what has been said in the report and claims that it bore “no resemblance to reality whatsoever.”

He said: “I know for a fact that this does not reflect what goes in the school.

“It is exceptionally unusual for a council to complain about the content of an HMIe report but we felt we had no other option in this instance.”