South Scotland

'Swift action' vow over Berwickshire High School report

Berwickshire High School Image copyright Graham Robson
Image caption Inspectors visited the Borders secondary school earlier this year

A secondary school headteacher has said "swift action" has been taken to tackle issues raised in a critical report.

Inspectors rated Berwickshire High School in Duns as "weak" in three quality indicators and "unsatisfactory" in the remaining category.

It followed a visit to the site in February when they talked to parents, carers, pupils and staff.

Headteacher John Clarke said they were "disappointed" with the outcome but had already started to make changes.

The Education Scotland team found a number of strengths at the school during the visit.

'Very effective'

These included its enhanced provision department which was "very effective" in meeting the needs of young people with severe and complex additional support needs.

The well-designed facilities were also praised for offering "strong opportunities to develop creative learning activities".

However, inspectors said there was an "urgent need to improve leadership at all levels across the school".

They also found the quality of learning, teaching and assessment was "too variable".

Their report said many young people did not feel respected by their peers and a "considerable number" of staff and young people did not feel safe in the school.

"In addition, a majority of young people and staff do not feel that the school deals well with bullying," it added.

'Further improvements'

Mr Clarke said: "We are disappointed with the inspection outcome and how this reflects on the fantastic young people in our care.

"We have taken swift action to address a number of the priorities and have a strong plan for working with stakeholders over the coming months to ensure further improvements are made, and at pace."

Fiona Morris, who chairs the school's parent council, said they continued to back the efforts taken to address the issues raised.

"We fully support the leadership team and the staff, and are encouraged by changes that have already taken place," she said.

Since the inspection, the school said it had introduced a range of new systems and structures to more effectively support learners and to ensure a "calm, purposeful learning environment for pupils and staff".

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