PRESTONPANS Primary School "needs additional support", inspectors have found.

A team of inspectors from Education Scotland visited the school in May and, on Tuesday, they published their findings.

While the inspectors rated the school's 'self-evaluation for self-improvement' as 'satisfactory', they graded 'raising attainment and achievement' as 'weak'.

The school, which has a roll of 367 P4-P7 pupils, was recently the subject of a consultation over plans to merge it with Prestonpans Infant School – attended by P1 to P3 pupils. Councillors are due to consider the results of that consultation at a full meeting of East Lothian Council on December 11.

Following the inspection, the following areas for improvement at Prestonpans Primary were identified and discussed with headteacher Jonathan Revell and a representative from East Lothian Council:

  • Raise attainment in literacy and English language and numeracy and mathematics;
  • Led by the senior leadership team, staff should continue to improve approaches to self-evaluation to ensure rigorous and well-planned activities have an impact on children’s learning and achievement. Staff should work collegiately to make effective use of assessment information and data to improve children’s experiences and progress across the school;
  • To further develop a shared understanding of standards, expectations and levels of attainment and achievement. There is a need for staff teams to work collaboratively, within school and with partner schools in the community.

Meanwhile, the inspection team found the following strengths in the school’s work:

  • The staff team know the children and families well. There is a welcoming, caring ethos in the school;
  • The promotion of health and wellbeing, which is developed through a range of clubs, activities and opportunities for wider achievement which is accessible to all;
  • The friendly children who are proud of their school, in particular their accreditation in the John Muir Award.

An extract from the inspectors' report reads: "The overall quality of children’s attainment in numeracy and literacy is weak."

And on the children's listening and talking skills, it adds: "Across the first level, children, when given the opportunity to work in pairs or groups, find it difficult to remain focused on task.

"Children are reluctant to contribute relevant ideas and opinions when engaging with others.

"Children would benefit from calmer and more purposeful learning environments to support the development of skills in listening and talking."

In a letter to parents and carers, an Education Scotland spokesperson said: "As a result of our inspection findings, we think that the school needs additional support and more time to make necessary improvements.

"We will liaise with East Lothian Council regarding the school’s capacity to improve.

"We will return to carry out a further inspection of the school within one year."

A survey also showed that 57 per cent of staff respondents disagreed with the statement: "Staff at all levels within the school communicate effectively with each other."

Fiona Robertson, head of education at the council, said: “We are pleased that Education Scotland has recognised a number of positive initiatives that are ongoing to support children and the pupils’ pride in their school.

"We are committed to delivering the best educational experience and opportunities for all children in East Lothian. As such, we will be working closely with the team at Prestonpans Primary School to put in place the necessary actions to improve outcomes for their pupils and families.

“Improving children’s attainment and achievement is crucial, which is why we are considering moving to a ‘one school’ model for the Prestonpans community.

"We believe this move would improve attainment, embed consistent standards and offer a seamless transition throughout pupils’ primary school years.”

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, council cabinet member for education, said: “We are pleased that Education Scotland has recognised the work of the school in promoting children’s health and wellbeing.

"Raising attainment across all of our schools is one of the key aims for this council as part of our commitment to ensure children have the best start in life.

"The letter highlights a number of areas for improvement that the education service have, and will continue to, take forward with the school team.”