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Caithness News Bulletins February 2003
|February News Index||Caithness.org News 2002|
|Thurso High School||Thurso High School Web Site|
Inspection of Standards and Quality in Thurso High School, Caithness
A report by Her Majesty's Inspectors of Education on the 900 pupil Thurso High School, commends the good ethos, the high quality of the pastoral care of pupils, their positive approach to learning and their sense of equality and fairness.
The school has very good links with parents, with the School Board and with the wider community, including extensive links with local employers and other agencies. Arrangements are made for staff and pupils to take part in work placements with local industries. The good leadership of the Rector, John Inkster, and his management team is noted. His very good relationships with pupils, staff and parents and his exemplary teaching skills are highlighted. Also praised are the commitment of staff and the good use of the school budget to address the development needs of the school.
The promotion of good standards of achievement and the above-average attendance records of pupils were recognised. In most areas pupil attainment in national examinations was at or above national standards. The school is well resourced, with particular note being made of provision in the library and for ICT.
The report draws attention to a number of points for action identified during the inspection, including the need to increase the pace of learning for some pupils and to monitor programmes, progress and attainment more systematically. It recommends, for example, that the school ensure that all courses in S1/S2 cater more effectively for the full range of abilities.
The inspectors encouraged the school to review provision more rigorously by improving the process of self-evaluation and by monitoring more closely pupils' progress and achievement. Some of the accommodation and facilities required attention by the school and the Authority, particularly in areas where health and safety are concerned.
Commenting on the report, Mr Inkster said: "I am pleased that the report highlights the achievements and qualities of staff and pupils and sets the agenda for improvement. The challenge will be for all staff, pupils and The Highland Council to move this forward."
Tom Sayles, Chairperson of the School Board said, "In general, the Board is very pleased that the inspectors acknowledged the high standards of teaching and education at Thurso High School. The Board is also pleased that the inspectors have recorded their concerns over the current maintenance standards within the school, reinforcing the issues which have been expressed by the Board to The Highland Council over the past six years. I hope that, as a result of the report, the Council will now enhance the maintenance of those parts of the school requiring attention."
Councillor Roger Saxon, as a regular attendee of the School Board and former Board chairman, takes a keen interest in Thurso High. He said: "The report was thorough and has a great deal of detailed comment which the Rector and his staff will need to address. Thurso High School is one of the larger secondary schools in Highland and the quality of the staff and teaching is excellent. The inspectors commented on self review and the spreading of best practice which may be difficult to do but will improve pupil attainment in the school. The Rector has done a good job against a difficult year for school budgets and I will continue to campaign for greater devolved budgets for schools to spend according to local needs."