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Peterhead teacher ‘optimistic’ about improving school

A picture of cars parked in front of Meethill School
Meethill School, School Road, Peterhead.

A north-east head teacher remains “optimistic” his school will be able to improve attainment levels – having twice been told by inspectors to sharpen up.

Education Scotland visited Peterhead’s Meethill School in November 2019, branding work to improve attainment in literacy and numeracy as “weak”.

Coronavirus delayed a follow-up trip for school inspectors until last November – but while there, they found staff were yet to fully address the problem.

Multiple opportunities to make corrections

The primary school was ruled to “not yet have an established and consistent approach to improving attainment and achievement”, with staff urged to work together to improve youngsters’ learning experiences.

In a letter to parents, HM Inspector of Schools, Maria Spiers, said attainment remained “too variable” at the school in the south of Aberdeenshire’s largest town.

However, she conceded all schools had faced “significant challenges” during the pandemic. She praised the teachers and staff for the extra support offered to the community throughout “this difficult period”.

Committee asks for a progress report

Head teacher John Black was grilled about the situation by members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan Area Committee on Tuesday.

He told councillors that work to meet some of the 2019 recommendations had been acknowledged by returning inspectors, but that it was not “sufficiently far along the journey” in hitting targets.

Mr Black said: “We are moving to where we need to be, it’s just going to take a little bit longer than perhaps circumstances allowed.”

But he added that he was “confident” the school would meet its targets by the second follow-up visit of inspectors, expected in the next year.

“By the time inspectors come back they will be more comfortable that we have the capacity and the strategic direction to support our attainment being where it needs to be in a way that they aren’t just now.

“I think structurally and procedurally we will be and already are in a better place than we were.

“I am confident that the inspectors will be comfortable that we are now better equipped to take ourselves to where we need to be in terms of making further progress.”

Meethill School merger on the horizon

By 2025, Meethill is planned to be merged with nearby Dales Park School in a modern community campus at Kinmundy.

The state-of-the-art primary will be located alongside a new academy and replacement for the additional support needs Anna Ritchie School on the site.

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