Glencorse Primary School: consultation

Educational benefits statement

Summary

There is a range of educational benefits for pupils if this proposal is implemented, detailed on this page:

  • There are benefits for the development of peer collaboration and cooperation, of social and emotional skills, as well as the educational benefits of a more diverse curriculum. 
  • The learning environment in Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools offers children the opportunity to participate in a wider range of active learning strategies, using larger atria, and dedicated expressive arts and PE spaces. 

  • The ability for children to participate in a broader range of learning experiences, to learn within a wider peer group at their age and stage, and to have parity of access to learning and opportunities, are significant and will better meet their educational, social and emotional needs.

  • The one negative aspect is the children now attending Glencorse Primary School having to travel further to school. However we consider the positive aspects of the proposal outweigh this.

Assessment of Likely Educational Benefits on Pupils

The Educational Benefits Statement for this proposal has been prepared having regard to the guidance and explanatory notes published by the Scottish Government in association with the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.

‘An education authority shall endeavour to secure improvement in the quality of school education which is provided in the schools managed by them; and they shall exercise their functions in relation to such provision with a view to raising standards of education.’

As required by the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 this Educational Benefits Statement is written from the perspective of benefits, should the proposal be implemented. Additionally the self-evaluation tool provided by Education Scotland is used to ensure compliance with the amended procedures now in place from the Act.

If this proposal is implemented, the Council believes that there will be considerable educational benefits arising from this. These centre around:

  • Learning and teaching;
  • Meeting learners needs;
  • Broadening the range of opportunities; and
  • The environment for learning.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) sits at the heart of what Midlothian Council is committed to achieving in terms of raising attainment and achievement, and improving educational outcomes for all children. CfE is intended to nurture successful, effective, confident and responsible children, able to learn and utilise learning in a way that helps them reach their full potential and to respond to the increased variety and pace of change in today’s and tomorrow’s world. The principles of Curriculum for Excellence recognise the professionalism of teachers and the importance of this in exercising the freedom and responsibility associated with broader guidance. This means that schools are able to design their curriculum to meet the specific needs of their children and community while delivering their entitlement to a broad general education.

Glencorse Primary School is a small school situated in the Penicuik settlement, with only a few of the 78 pupils residing in the Glencorse catchment attending the school from the start of the 2020/21 school session.  Most of the pupils who have chosen to attend elsewhere, attend either Mauricewood or Roslin Primary Schools and continue to benefit from education in a locality familiar to them, and still relatively close to home.

The Education Service of Midlothian Council recognises the quality of education provision offered at Glencorse Primary School. However it considers that the very small number of children attending the school would benefit more from the wider range and breadth of learning experiences available to them within other learning environments and within a wider peer group at their age and stage.

Building the Curriculum 5 states that:

  • ‘the purpose of the curriculum at the primary stages is to promote children’s development and learning across a broad range of contexts in order to develop their thinking and learning and their physical, personal and social growth. Primary education, whether for those in school settings or those not in schools, should support children to develop and mature as independent and cooperative learners who contribute actively across a range of learning and social situations.’ 

The implementation of this proposal would ensure that the children have this breadth of experience and have parity of access to learning and opportunities offered within larger establishments.

The co-location of Early Learning and Childcare and the primary classes at Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools enables a strong transition process between Early Learning and primary school.

Learning and Teaching

The curriculum includes a broad range of experiences which are planned for children and young people through their education, to help every child and young person to develop knowledge, skills and attributes for success in learning, life and work. In Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools, children are encouraged to be eager and active participants, who are engaged both individually and cooperatively in groups, resilient and highly motivated during their learning. Children know that their views are sought, valued and acted upon.

The learning environment encourages high levels of achievement, providing a wide range of opportunities for children to achieve their full potential within the four contexts of learning. In Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools children may be taught in classes composed of children from more than one year group. Children benefit from being part of a social context in which they can build relationships with different groups and individuals, develop social skills, meet challenges and exercise responsibilities as members of a social group. They are able to interact and socialise with groups of children, take part in team activities and move with their peers to secondary school.

At Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools, staff are challenged and supported through a range of continuous career long professional learning opportunities gained by working and learning with a range of colleagues. Both schools are part of the Beeslack High School Associated School Group, which means that staff can collaborate readily across sectors, moderation and tracking of pupil progress is robust, and staff can more easily support a wide range of needs across age and stage appropriate groups. This includes support for those working towards individual milestones.

Colleagues within Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools are able to support and challenge each other on a daily basis, moderating their planning and learning experiences with colleagues working with children at the same level, thus ensuring appropriate support, challenge and progression. The whole staff team is able to bring a range of talents and skills to benefit outcomes for learners.

Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools encourage nurture and positivity. One aspect of this work is a successful Buddy System. Children from different stages work and learn together. This vertical support is particularly evident on sports day and in the dining room when groups of children are together in a social context. This system develops and benefits both the ‘buddy’ and the ‘buddied’. This system works well and benefits the wide range of children in the school.

Meeting Learners’ Needs

Through the Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) practice model, meeting the needs of every child continues to be a priority and teachers carefully plan and assess to ensure each child has the opportunity to reach their potential. Careful tracking and monitoring procedures are in place to evidence pupil progress. At Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools this includes professional dialogue with teachers, learning discussions with children, classroom observations, assessment and looking at pupil work.

The schools also have planned meetings and discussions with parents. These discussions between home and school improve parental engagement whilst focussing on next steps for learning. Where appropriate, interventions are put in place, while working effectively with other agencies and parents to ensure the needs of each child are met, including for those working towards individual milestones. In the primary classes, standards of attainment have been maintained over the last three years. Almost all children are achieving national expectations in reading, writing, listening, talking and numeracy.

The staff, parent body and partner groups also bring opportunities for increased collaborative working. This applies both in terms of the wider curriculum and within aspects of the curriculum that may be enhanced by staff individual expertise e.g. PE, language, science, expressive arts teaching.

A ‘Respect Me’ policy is built into class lessons and permeates the whole school ethos through assemblies and collaborative class work on rights and responsibilities.

Broadening the Range of Opportunities

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) helps our children gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century. The development of skills is integral to supporting our children to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors (the four capacities). The range of skills and attributes that children develop should provide them with a sound basis for their development as lifelong learners in their adult, social and working lives, enabling them to reach their full potential. 

These skills should be developed across all curriculum areas, and are embedded into the Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes, requiring teachers to plan opportunities to develop them in a variety of ways, including engagement in active learning, interdisciplinary tasks and to experience learning in practical contexts. A critical part of all of this is learning in collaborative and cooperative situations with peers and age and stage appropriate groups.

Children at Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools are offered a range of active, planned experiences which help them develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes which they need for their mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing both now and in the future.

This is in line with their entitlement to a broad general education.

There is also a strong transition planning process between Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools and Beeslack High School, which involves opportunities for children to participate and to make new connections.

Children at Glencorse Primary School would benefit from a variety of experiences to develop their sense of responsibility, independence, confidence and enterprising attitude, as well as teamwork experiences, which are provided at Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools through work with larger cohorts of children of the same age and stage, and working at the same level.

Across Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools children are engaged with learning and contribute well in lessons. Staff promote positive relationships at all levels, the impact of this being that children enjoy good relationships with their peers. They also have opportunities to support each other in their learning through cooperative and collaborative peer experiences.

Environment for Learning

Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools are suitably-equipped and well supported schools, situated on either side and within 2.1 miles of Glencorse Primary School.

The buildings are well maintained. Mauricewood is rated satisfactory (B) for condition and Roslin is rated good (A) for condition.

Both school sites are large enough to provide a full range of facilities, including Early Years provision. The buildings have facilities for pupils and visitors with special access needs.

Assessment of the effects of the proposal (if implemented) on other users of the school

Implications for staff

If this proposal is implemented:

  • the staff in Glencorse Primary School will all be offered positions in other schools or settings.
  • there will be no new implications for teaching and support staff in Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools.
  • the Council does not envisage any adverse effects from the proposal in respect of staffing. Should issues arise however, these will be mitigated through the Council’s Educational Leadership Team support structure.

Assessment of likely educational benefits on any children who would be likely to become pupils at the school within two years of the publication of the proposal paper

Children who may live in this catchment area in the future will benefit from the broad range of educational opportunities which are presented through this proposal, as detailed above.

Pupils who would otherwise have attended Glencorse Primary School, would benefit from daily interaction in a larger peer group and from improved educational arrangements as described above. Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools are larger schools that are able to support a wider range of social and extra-curricular activities. Pupils attending Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools will have more shared experiences and opportunity for friendships. This will enhance their confidence and ease their transition to secondary school. Larger year groups make the provision of specialist services more viable and provide enhanced opportunities for school trips. Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

Assessment of the effects of the proposal (if implemented) on other pupils in the Council area

The cost per pupil of operating Glencorse Primary School is relatively high compared with other Midlothian primary schools due to the low number of pupils attending. The reduction in school operating costs which would be achieved by the closure of Glencorse Primary School means that this is a saving to the Council.

There are no other significant impacts from this proposal on other pupils in the authority or who attend other schools, in a negative way. Council may decide that the saving that will be made if this proposal is implemented would be retained in the Education budget to the benefit of pupils across the learning estate.

Placing requests

This proposal will not affect the right of parents to request that their child attend a school of their choice rather than the designated school in whose catchment area the family lives as provided by the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.

Consideration of how to minimise or avoid any adverse effects of the implementation of this proposal

The main adverse effect from this proposal would be an increase in the length of the journey to school for children who live in the Glencorse Primary School catchment area.  The longest distance from home to Glencorse Primary School for pupils currently residing in the catchment area is 1.4 miles.

Should this proposal be implemented, for the catchment pupils currently attending Glencorse Primary School the distance from home to school, based on whichever of Mauricewood or Roslin is closer, would range from 0.9 miles up to 1.7 miles. On the same basis, the longest distance from home to school for all pupils currently residing in the Glencorse catchment would increase to 2.1 miles.

The effect of this would be minimised by providing funded school transport for pupils where there is no safe walking route to school and/or the distance from home to school is more than two miles.

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