Implementing the National Improvement Framework (NIF)

Published 01/01/2017.  Last updated 12/06/2024

The National Improvement Framework, launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on 6 January 2016, is one of the most significant policy developments in Scottish education over the last 10 years. The 2024 National Improvement Framework (NIF) and Improvement Plan replaces last year’s NIF and Improvement Plan. Together with the National Improvement Framework Interactive Evidence Report (NIFIER), the NIF has improved the availability, quality and consistency of data, and extended understanding of what works to drive improvements for children and young people across all parts of the Scottish education system.

Scottish Ministers have a statutory duty, introduced by the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, to review the NIF and publish a plan on an annual basis. As part of the review, we provide education authorities, teachers, young people, and parents with the opportunity to express their views, and these have been taken into account in the  NIF and Improvement Plan. Following the review process in Autumn 2021, there was universal support for renaming some of the priorities and drivers of improvement. As a result of the review, changes were made to the vision of the NIF, the priorities, and drivers of improvement, retaining six drivers of improvement but increasing the number of priorities to five with the inclusion of the rights and needs of children and young people.

The Scottish education system values collaborative partnerships that engage all learners, the people who work within and with the education system, parents, and carers to ensure that all learners in Scotland matter . As of July 2024, the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Act 2024 ('the UNCRC Act' or 'the Act' for all references hereafter) will make Scotland the first country in the UK, and the first devolved nation in the world, to directly incorporate the UNCRC - United Nations Convention on the Rights if the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law and is a landmark piece of legislation ensuring that children and young people are at the heart of education in Scotland in making sure Scotland is the best place to grow up.

Achieving excellence and equity for learners

The Framework sets out a vision based on achieving excellence and equity for all learners:

Excellence through raising attainment and improving outcomes 

Ensuring that every child and young person achieves the highest standards in literacy and numeracy, as well as the knowledge and skills necessary to shape their future as successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and effective contributors.

Achieving equity

Ensuring every child and young person has the same opportunity to succeed, no matter their background or shared protected characteristics, with a particular focus on closing the poverty related attainment gap.

Key priorities of the National Improvement Framework

  • Placing the human rights and needs of every child and young person at the centre of education
  • Improvement in children and young people’s health and wellbeing
  • Closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children and young people
  • Improvement in skills and sustained, positive school-leaver destinations for all young people
  • Improvement in attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy.

The drivers of improvement

The drivers of improvement in the outcomes achieved by children and young people through education are:

  • School and Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) leadership
  • Teacher and practitioner professionalism
  • Parent/carer involvement and engagement
  • Curriculum and assessment
  • School and ELC improvement
  • Performance information

Implementing the National Improvement Framework

The Framework is delivered through a joint programme between Education Scotland, the Learning Directorate in Scottish Government and, in relation to specific key drivers, other national partners, including local authorities and the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

Evidence is collected from a range of sources including, national censuses, inspection and other evidence from local authorities and Education Scotland. The evidence is analysed by Scottish Government to inform Scottish Ministers and policy makers of the status of Scottish education and to support the identification of the next steps for improvement.

As part of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, the reporting procedures for the Framework have been placed on a statutory footing.

The Scottish Government reviews the NIF annually and publishes an Improvement Plan which is informed by priorities drawn from the regional, local, and school level improvement plans. The 2024 National Improvement Framework and improvement plan sets out the vision and priorities for Scottish education that have been agreed across the system, and the national improvement activity that needs to be undertaken to help deliver those key priorities. 

Further information on the drivers of improvement

Kerrie Laird, acting Headteacher at Milton of Leys Primary School in Inverness

Having previously participated in Education Scotland’s Excellence in Headship programme, I joined the Excellence in Headship Stretch programme beginning in 2020. This looked at an area of interest specifically related to systems leadership and how, through a collaborative enquiry, we would consider key areas of educational policy and theory and go on to shape the education system within Scotland. Through sharing common interests, we established a group of Headteachers from across Scotland to complete a collaborative enquiry based on empowerment, collaboration and system leadership. In doing this, we engaged in professional dialogue with current education theorists and researchers, and completed our own personal research working with Regional Improvement Collaboratives across Scotland and colleagues, both nationally and internationally. I developed my understanding of wider perspectives and the current and emerging developments in Scottish education. We created a ‘think piece’, presented our findings from our collaborative enquiry with our local authorities, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and other key stakeholders.

We also presented our work to the World Education Summit, to Canadian Congress and at various leadership conferences. In doing so, I was able to enhance my own practice and develop my confidence in presenting and communicating findings in a succinct and interesting manner. My involvement in Excellence in Headship Stretch has greatly impacted on my own leadership within my school. I have used many of the findings in my research to develop practice within my school and shared with colleagues in my local authority. All this work has supported my understanding of political awareness and engagement on a wider level with professionals across sectors while expressing opinions on difficult subjects in a way that is appropriate, professional, and respectful.

I was invited by colleagues in Education Scotland to attend a study visit in Washington DC hosted by the British Council with a focus on professional learning for Headteachers. All of this has helped me as I am now working with the Professional Learning and Leadership team in Education Scotland to co-design and deliver the Excellence In Headship programme for new participants. This has again put me outside my comfort zone to develop my practice in delivering professional learning, with a renewed interest in looking outwards. This work has kept me up to date with current research and helped me consider how to put theory into a way that can be taken forward to support positive change on the ground, for Scotland’s children.

During a time of considerable change and reform in education within Scotland, I am keen to continue to be involved in supporting ongoing improvement and provide a voice from schools’ perspectives. I am keen that we do not lose the importance of continuous professional development at all levels within schools and that change is manageable and appropriate.

Sgoil Àraich Chille Mhoire Kilmuir Primary School Nursery Class, The Highland Council - Using total immersion to promote and secure children’s confidence and progress in speaking Gaelic

Practitioners are making good progress in taking forward the Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education (2017) by providing 1140 hours of learning and play through total immersion in Gaelic. As a result, they are encouraging children to learn Gaelic from age three which helps put them on a path toward fluency as they move through the school. All staff are fluent Gaelic speakers. The curriculum they provide has a clear focus on the development of the Gaelic language.

The headteacher and practitioners recently reviewed the vision, values, and aims of the school and sgoil-àraich. They work together effectively to identify what is working well and how to improve practice. This strong teamwork is leading to all children in the sgoil-àraich experiencing high-quality play experiences and fluency in Gaelic.

Practitioners use total immersion approaches effectively in the playroom and outdoor environment. These approaches include commentary, songs, and role-play. Practitioners engage very well in adult-to-adult conversations to enable children to hear the language. They utilise routines at snack and lunch to encourage the children to use the Gaelic language that they are acquiring. All staff are making a strong contribution to increasing the use of Gaelic through their regular interactions with children and the range of language rich approaches they provide both indoors and outdoors. Children are curious, independent, and confident while learning through total immersion play.

Parents and carers are kept well informed about their children’s learning and progress through use of an online platform. They regularly contribute to their child’s learning journals. This supports children’s progress well. Practitioners are proactive in signposting parents and carers to Gaelic resources which can support Gaelic language development at home. They also support parents and carers in their use of core Gaelic vocabulary by including common phrases within the sgoil-àraich handbook.

Children are making very good progress in communication and early Gaelic language skills. They are understanding well the Gaelic used by practitioners as they engage in their play. These successes are encouraging practitioners to use their skills and begin to plan to provide regular play experiences for children across the early level. This will support children’s transition into P1 and enable then to interact more often in Gaelic as part of a larger group. A few practitioners work across nursery and primary stages. This ensures smooth transitions and allows for clearer progression within children’s learning at early level. It is also creating a sustainable future and increasing the number of children who use Gaelic fluently for communication.

Download

PDF file: Kilmuir Primary School and Nursery Class Summarised Inspection Findings - 2 May 2023 (65 KB)

New Abbey Primary School, Dumfries and Galloway Council - Effective partnership working with parents and carers

A range of well-planned, inclusive and creative approaches are successfully strengthening parental involvement and engagement at New Abbey Primary School. The headteacher and staff actively seek out and respond positively to potential partnerships with parents and carers. For example, parents, carers and residents are invited to contribute their time and talents to enrich the children’s learning experiences. They take part in outdoor learning and development of the school grounds.

The headteacher ensures that all parents and carers have appropriate opportunities to contribute their views and provide feedback on the work of the school through a range of questionnaires and focus groups. This helps the headteacher to gain a wide range of views on the school’s progress and next steps. Building on these approaches, the headteacher invited parents and carers to collaborate in creating the school’s vision, values and aims. Subsequently, parents and carers were asked to contribute to the development of the positive behaviour agreement linked to the school’s vision, values and aims. Parents and carers have been involved in developing the curriculum rationale and a skills progression framework encompassing skills for learning, life, and work. This has increased parental engagement with children’s learning.

The Parent Council and wider parent body are consulted on improvement priorities and other important decisions, such as the use of school funds and the school’s allocation of Pupil Equity Fund monies. Pupil Council members attend Parent Council meetings to discuss relevant issues and contribute to their decision-making processes. As a result, the whole school community has a collective understanding of the school’s improvement journey. There is widespread recognition by the school community of progress made and next steps.

Parents and carers receive regular communication about their child’s progress and the work of the school through a variety of media. They are involved in reviewing children’s progress and supporting identification of next steps. Parents and carers are encouraged to share information about their children’s achievements out of school using an online platform. This has strengthened home-to-school relationships as parents and carers feel encouraged to contribute to their child’s learning.

Download

PDF file: New Abbey Primary School Summarised Inspection Findings - 16 May 2023 (65 KB)

Grangemouth High School, Falkirk Council - supporting young people in the Additional Support Centre to attain and achieve

The Additional Support Centre (ASC) located within Grangemouth High School supports young people experiencing social and communication difficulties. The ASC aims to promote and develop young people’s self-esteem, trust, social skills and resilience from S1 to S6. The quality of relationships and support for young people in the ASC are leading to high levels of attainment, progress, and positive destinations. All young people have a key teacher who supports and monitors their wellbeing and progress closely. Teachers and support staff from the ASC provide direct support both within the centre and in mainstream classes. This ensures that appropriate and consistent approaches are used to meet learners’ needs within classes. As a result, almost all young people feel able to engage in a range of subject classes. Most young people attend mainstream classes and receive personalised and targeted group support within the ASC when required.

Staff in the ASC provide professional learning opportunities for mainstream staff to support their skills and confidence in meeting learner’s needs. Mainstream teachers warmly welcome the quality of support and advice they receive from skilled and dedicated ASC staff.

Almost all young people respond well to the small classes and individual support provided within ASC and mainstream classes. Young people’s progress is tracked systematically through regular visits to classes and discussions with colleagues. Staff adapt young people’s learning programmes to ensure that they maintain high levels of engagement and receive the right kind of help when they need it. As a result, the young people who attend the ASC are supported very well to attain and achieve. They benefit from a range of opportunities to develop personal, social and life skills. Most young people make good progress in literacy and numeracy, and a few make very good progress. Almost all young people at the senior phase achieve National Qualifications in an increasingly broad range of subjects including English, mathematics, music technology, design and manufacture, sciences and social subjects.

Download

PDF file: Grangemouth High School Summarised Inspection Findings -  7 March 2023 (76 KB)

Bright Starts Nursery , Perth and Kinross - approaches to improvement

The nursery was nominated for the ELC Improvement Programme by Perth & Kinross council, and they participated in Cohort two in 2021/22. At the time they were nominated they had not yet been inspected as a new service.

The nursery manager found that the opportunity to link with peers nationally and look outward in terms of practise was of great benefit. Touching base online, and the dialogue and support during sessions was particularly helpful, providing reassurance they weren’t alone in some of the issues facing the ELC sector. The manager’s biggest learning from the programme was 'the slowing down process'. This allowed for critical reflection and the beginning of robust quality assurance and self-evaluation processes to be embedded across the setting.

 The inspector commented that the key improvement identified was the approach to quality assurance and focused, planned self-evaluation.

'By developing a focused plan for improvement, and monitoring progress through self-evaluation, the whole team became involved and could see the impact on the service. Involving the team in this way greatly developed staff confidence and improved their motivation to learn.' (Inspector)

Reflecting on their training needs helped the team to identify and embrace the training on offer to upskill their knowledge. Reflection and looking outwards have been key developments across the team, resulting in their shift in practice which is now individualised and outcome focused, rather than task orientated.

'They wanted to succeed for the benefit of their children and families.' (Local Authority)

Since completion of the programme the manager had developed their coaching skills and approach to bringing the team along with them. The improvement process within the nursery was shared with the team from the start with the message 'you are all part of this journey.'

'As a whole team we learnt to 'see beyond the next inspection' and understand that sustained improvement takes time to embed.' (Nursery Manager)

The use of robust self-evaluation and quality assurance processes provided a safe boundary in which staff could evaluate and learn. The staff team have moved from a place of 'fear of failure' to one of critical reflection, with consistent evaluation in order to develop and improve.

'The light bulb moment for me was seeing all the processes come together and the impact it was having on the team and families as a whole, just like finding all the pieces to complete a jigsaw. This is when I felt I had a great understanding of the journey I was on and the outcomes I wished to achieve.' (Staff member)

'Both children and families were experiencing enhanced nurturing relationships and the positivity, commitment and motivation of the staff team was benefitting everyone within the service.' (Inspector)

There is now an ethos of continual improvement in the nursery, underpinned by an entire team evaluative, solution focused approach. As a team, they now understand the golden thread that sits behind all the quality assurance processes and the manager highlights this as 'the glue that holds everything together' and that '...it feels exciting again' (Nursery Manager).

St Ninian’s Primary School, West Lothian Council - robust analysis and use of data as a driver for improved outcomes

Having high expectations for every learner is at the heart of the school ethos. Multi-strand tracking and monitoring arrangements underpin this aspirational culture, providing robust information to ensure ambitious aims are achieved.

Extensive tracking and monitoring across the school enables teachers and senior leaders to measure children’s progress. This supports any necessary adjustments to teaching, resourcing and relevant interventions. An integral aspect of tracking arrangements are regular ‘excellence and equity’ meetings where staff and senior leaders discuss children’s wellbeing, progress, and support and/or challenge needs. This allows staff to identify gaps and plan responsive interventions for identified individuals and groups of children. Information from tracking meetings is used to inform allocation of resources, including deployment of support for learning staff in a responsive and needs driven way.

Staff monitor children’s wellbeing regularly, asking them to self-report against the wellbeing indicators, and check-ins are held with identified groups of learners. Staff consider information on wellbeing as carefully as that relating to attainment and achievement in planning for children’s continuous progress and ongoing improvements.

The whole school Continuum of Support overview contains a detailed and comprehensive record of each individual child’s journey of support. The progress of cohorts and groups of children are monitored, including those with additional support needs and English as an additional language. Senior leaders track the attainment of children living in different data zones to ensure progress towards closing povertyrelated gaps. This allows senior leaders to see progress over time and identify trends and areas of focus for improvement.

Staff hold conversations regularly with pupil focus groups. The feedback from these focus groups provides senior leaders with valuable perceptive data which informs approaches to teaching. Staff listen to and act upon children's views about what aspects of learning they enjoy most, whether learning is sufficiently challenging and what could improve children’s achievement.

As a result of these robust tracking and monitoring arrangements, children, including those with identified needs, are making very good progress. In this way, the very high aspirations encapsulated in the slogan ‘#stninianskidscan!’ are being realised.

School information dashboard information is gathered from all publicly funded schools in Scotland. This can help to raise attainment and ensure all learners have the best chance to succeed. The Scottish Government created school information dashboards to bring this information together.

The National Improvement Framework interactive evidence report has information and data on areas such as the assessment of children's progress, attendance and exclusions, Broad General Education (BGE), early years, improvement of child health and wellbeing, parental engagement, school improvement, school leadership, teacher professionalism and senior phase data.

Download

PDF file: St Ninian's Primary School Summarised Inspection Findings - 22 August 2023 (65 KB)

Implementing the National Improvement Framework (NIF)

Published 01/01/2017.  Last updated 12/06/2024

The National Improvement Framework, launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on 6 January 2016, is one of the most significant policy developments in Scottish education over the last 10 years. The 2024 National Improvement Framework (NIF) and Improvement Plan replaces last year’s NIF and Improvement Plan. Together with the National Improvement Framework Interactive Evidence Report (NIFIER), the NIF has improved the availability, quality and consistency of data, and extended understanding of what works to drive improvements for children and young people across all parts of the Scottish education system.

Scottish Ministers have a statutory duty, introduced by the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, to review the NIF and publish a plan on an annual basis. As part of the review, we provide education authorities, teachers, young people, and parents with the opportunity to express their views, and these have been taken into account in the  NIF and Improvement Plan. Following the review process in Autumn 2021, there was universal support for renaming some of the priorities and drivers of improvement. As a result of the review, changes were made to the vision of the NIF, the priorities, and drivers of improvement, retaining six drivers of improvement but increasing the number of priorities to five with the inclusion of the rights and needs of children and young people.

The Scottish education system values collaborative partnerships that engage all learners, the people who work within and with the education system, parents, and carers to ensure that all learners in Scotland matter . As of July 2024, the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Act 2024 ('the UNCRC Act' or 'the Act' for all references hereafter) will make Scotland the first country in the UK, and the first devolved nation in the world, to directly incorporate the UNCRC - United Nations Convention on the Rights if the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law and is a landmark piece of legislation ensuring that children and young people are at the heart of education in Scotland in making sure Scotland is the best place to grow up.

Achieving excellence and equity for learners

The Framework sets out a vision based on achieving excellence and equity for all learners:

Excellence through raising attainment and improving outcomes 

Ensuring that every child and young person achieves the highest standards in literacy and numeracy, as well as the knowledge and skills necessary to shape their future as successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and effective contributors.

Achieving equity

Ensuring every child and young person has the same opportunity to succeed, no matter their background or shared protected characteristics, with a particular focus on closing the poverty related attainment gap.

Key priorities of the National Improvement Framework

  • Placing the human rights and needs of every child and young person at the centre of education
  • Improvement in children and young people’s health and wellbeing
  • Closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children and young people
  • Improvement in skills and sustained, positive school-leaver destinations for all young people
  • Improvement in attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy.

The drivers of improvement

The drivers of improvement in the outcomes achieved by children and young people through education are:

  • School and Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) leadership
  • Teacher and practitioner professionalism
  • Parent/carer involvement and engagement
  • Curriculum and assessment
  • School and ELC improvement
  • Performance information

Implementing the National Improvement Framework

The Framework is delivered through a joint programme between Education Scotland, the Learning Directorate in Scottish Government and, in relation to specific key drivers, other national partners, including local authorities and the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

Evidence is collected from a range of sources including, national censuses, inspection and other evidence from local authorities and Education Scotland. The evidence is analysed by Scottish Government to inform Scottish Ministers and policy makers of the status of Scottish education and to support the identification of the next steps for improvement.

As part of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, the reporting procedures for the Framework have been placed on a statutory footing.

The Scottish Government reviews the NIF annually and publishes an Improvement Plan which is informed by priorities drawn from the regional, local, and school level improvement plans. The 2024 National Improvement Framework and improvement plan sets out the vision and priorities for Scottish education that have been agreed across the system, and the national improvement activity that needs to be undertaken to help deliver those key priorities. 

Further information on the drivers of improvement

Kerrie Laird, acting Headteacher at Milton of Leys Primary School in Inverness

Having previously participated in Education Scotland’s Excellence in Headship programme, I joined the Excellence in Headship Stretch programme beginning in 2020. This looked at an area of interest specifically related to systems leadership and how, through a collaborative enquiry, we would consider key areas of educational policy and theory and go on to shape the education system within Scotland. Through sharing common interests, we established a group of Headteachers from across Scotland to complete a collaborative enquiry based on empowerment, collaboration and system leadership. In doing this, we engaged in professional dialogue with current education theorists and researchers, and completed our own personal research working with Regional Improvement Collaboratives across Scotland and colleagues, both nationally and internationally. I developed my understanding of wider perspectives and the current and emerging developments in Scottish education. We created a ‘think piece’, presented our findings from our collaborative enquiry with our local authorities, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and other key stakeholders.

We also presented our work to the World Education Summit, to Canadian Congress and at various leadership conferences. In doing so, I was able to enhance my own practice and develop my confidence in presenting and communicating findings in a succinct and interesting manner. My involvement in Excellence in Headship Stretch has greatly impacted on my own leadership within my school. I have used many of the findings in my research to develop practice within my school and shared with colleagues in my local authority. All this work has supported my understanding of political awareness and engagement on a wider level with professionals across sectors while expressing opinions on difficult subjects in a way that is appropriate, professional, and respectful.

I was invited by colleagues in Education Scotland to attend a study visit in Washington DC hosted by the British Council with a focus on professional learning for Headteachers. All of this has helped me as I am now working with the Professional Learning and Leadership team in Education Scotland to co-design and deliver the Excellence In Headship programme for new participants. This has again put me outside my comfort zone to develop my practice in delivering professional learning, with a renewed interest in looking outwards. This work has kept me up to date with current research and helped me consider how to put theory into a way that can be taken forward to support positive change on the ground, for Scotland’s children.

During a time of considerable change and reform in education within Scotland, I am keen to continue to be involved in supporting ongoing improvement and provide a voice from schools’ perspectives. I am keen that we do not lose the importance of continuous professional development at all levels within schools and that change is manageable and appropriate.

Sgoil Àraich Chille Mhoire Kilmuir Primary School Nursery Class, The Highland Council - Using total immersion to promote and secure children’s confidence and progress in speaking Gaelic

Practitioners are making good progress in taking forward the Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education (2017) by providing 1140 hours of learning and play through total immersion in Gaelic. As a result, they are encouraging children to learn Gaelic from age three which helps put them on a path toward fluency as they move through the school. All staff are fluent Gaelic speakers. The curriculum they provide has a clear focus on the development of the Gaelic language.

The headteacher and practitioners recently reviewed the vision, values, and aims of the school and sgoil-àraich. They work together effectively to identify what is working well and how to improve practice. This strong teamwork is leading to all children in the sgoil-àraich experiencing high-quality play experiences and fluency in Gaelic.

Practitioners use total immersion approaches effectively in the playroom and outdoor environment. These approaches include commentary, songs, and role-play. Practitioners engage very well in adult-to-adult conversations to enable children to hear the language. They utilise routines at snack and lunch to encourage the children to use the Gaelic language that they are acquiring. All staff are making a strong contribution to increasing the use of Gaelic through their regular interactions with children and the range of language rich approaches they provide both indoors and outdoors. Children are curious, independent, and confident while learning through total immersion play.

Parents and carers are kept well informed about their children’s learning and progress through use of an online platform. They regularly contribute to their child’s learning journals. This supports children’s progress well. Practitioners are proactive in signposting parents and carers to Gaelic resources which can support Gaelic language development at home. They also support parents and carers in their use of core Gaelic vocabulary by including common phrases within the sgoil-àraich handbook.

Children are making very good progress in communication and early Gaelic language skills. They are understanding well the Gaelic used by practitioners as they engage in their play. These successes are encouraging practitioners to use their skills and begin to plan to provide regular play experiences for children across the early level. This will support children’s transition into P1 and enable then to interact more often in Gaelic as part of a larger group. A few practitioners work across nursery and primary stages. This ensures smooth transitions and allows for clearer progression within children’s learning at early level. It is also creating a sustainable future and increasing the number of children who use Gaelic fluently for communication.

Download

PDF file: Kilmuir Primary School and Nursery Class Summarised Inspection Findings - 2 May 2023 (65 KB)

New Abbey Primary School, Dumfries and Galloway Council - Effective partnership working with parents and carers

A range of well-planned, inclusive and creative approaches are successfully strengthening parental involvement and engagement at New Abbey Primary School. The headteacher and staff actively seek out and respond positively to potential partnerships with parents and carers. For example, parents, carers and residents are invited to contribute their time and talents to enrich the children’s learning experiences. They take part in outdoor learning and development of the school grounds.

The headteacher ensures that all parents and carers have appropriate opportunities to contribute their views and provide feedback on the work of the school through a range of questionnaires and focus groups. This helps the headteacher to gain a wide range of views on the school’s progress and next steps. Building on these approaches, the headteacher invited parents and carers to collaborate in creating the school’s vision, values and aims. Subsequently, parents and carers were asked to contribute to the development of the positive behaviour agreement linked to the school’s vision, values and aims. Parents and carers have been involved in developing the curriculum rationale and a skills progression framework encompassing skills for learning, life, and work. This has increased parental engagement with children’s learning.

The Parent Council and wider parent body are consulted on improvement priorities and other important decisions, such as the use of school funds and the school’s allocation of Pupil Equity Fund monies. Pupil Council members attend Parent Council meetings to discuss relevant issues and contribute to their decision-making processes. As a result, the whole school community has a collective understanding of the school’s improvement journey. There is widespread recognition by the school community of progress made and next steps.

Parents and carers receive regular communication about their child’s progress and the work of the school through a variety of media. They are involved in reviewing children’s progress and supporting identification of next steps. Parents and carers are encouraged to share information about their children’s achievements out of school using an online platform. This has strengthened home-to-school relationships as parents and carers feel encouraged to contribute to their child’s learning.

Download

PDF file: New Abbey Primary School Summarised Inspection Findings - 16 May 2023 (65 KB)

Grangemouth High School, Falkirk Council - supporting young people in the Additional Support Centre to attain and achieve

The Additional Support Centre (ASC) located within Grangemouth High School supports young people experiencing social and communication difficulties. The ASC aims to promote and develop young people’s self-esteem, trust, social skills and resilience from S1 to S6. The quality of relationships and support for young people in the ASC are leading to high levels of attainment, progress, and positive destinations. All young people have a key teacher who supports and monitors their wellbeing and progress closely. Teachers and support staff from the ASC provide direct support both within the centre and in mainstream classes. This ensures that appropriate and consistent approaches are used to meet learners’ needs within classes. As a result, almost all young people feel able to engage in a range of subject classes. Most young people attend mainstream classes and receive personalised and targeted group support within the ASC when required.

Staff in the ASC provide professional learning opportunities for mainstream staff to support their skills and confidence in meeting learner’s needs. Mainstream teachers warmly welcome the quality of support and advice they receive from skilled and dedicated ASC staff.

Almost all young people respond well to the small classes and individual support provided within ASC and mainstream classes. Young people’s progress is tracked systematically through regular visits to classes and discussions with colleagues. Staff adapt young people’s learning programmes to ensure that they maintain high levels of engagement and receive the right kind of help when they need it. As a result, the young people who attend the ASC are supported very well to attain and achieve. They benefit from a range of opportunities to develop personal, social and life skills. Most young people make good progress in literacy and numeracy, and a few make very good progress. Almost all young people at the senior phase achieve National Qualifications in an increasingly broad range of subjects including English, mathematics, music technology, design and manufacture, sciences and social subjects.

Download

PDF file: Grangemouth High School Summarised Inspection Findings -  7 March 2023 (76 KB)

Bright Starts Nursery , Perth and Kinross - approaches to improvement

The nursery was nominated for the ELC Improvement Programme by Perth & Kinross council, and they participated in Cohort two in 2021/22. At the time they were nominated they had not yet been inspected as a new service.

The nursery manager found that the opportunity to link with peers nationally and look outward in terms of practise was of great benefit. Touching base online, and the dialogue and support during sessions was particularly helpful, providing reassurance they weren’t alone in some of the issues facing the ELC sector. The manager’s biggest learning from the programme was 'the slowing down process'. This allowed for critical reflection and the beginning of robust quality assurance and self-evaluation processes to be embedded across the setting.

 The inspector commented that the key improvement identified was the approach to quality assurance and focused, planned self-evaluation.

'By developing a focused plan for improvement, and monitoring progress through self-evaluation, the whole team became involved and could see the impact on the service. Involving the team in this way greatly developed staff confidence and improved their motivation to learn.' (Inspector)

Reflecting on their training needs helped the team to identify and embrace the training on offer to upskill their knowledge. Reflection and looking outwards have been key developments across the team, resulting in their shift in practice which is now individualised and outcome focused, rather than task orientated.

'They wanted to succeed for the benefit of their children and families.' (Local Authority)

Since completion of the programme the manager had developed their coaching skills and approach to bringing the team along with them. The improvement process within the nursery was shared with the team from the start with the message 'you are all part of this journey.'

'As a whole team we learnt to 'see beyond the next inspection' and understand that sustained improvement takes time to embed.' (Nursery Manager)

The use of robust self-evaluation and quality assurance processes provided a safe boundary in which staff could evaluate and learn. The staff team have moved from a place of 'fear of failure' to one of critical reflection, with consistent evaluation in order to develop and improve.

'The light bulb moment for me was seeing all the processes come together and the impact it was having on the team and families as a whole, just like finding all the pieces to complete a jigsaw. This is when I felt I had a great understanding of the journey I was on and the outcomes I wished to achieve.' (Staff member)

'Both children and families were experiencing enhanced nurturing relationships and the positivity, commitment and motivation of the staff team was benefitting everyone within the service.' (Inspector)

There is now an ethos of continual improvement in the nursery, underpinned by an entire team evaluative, solution focused approach. As a team, they now understand the golden thread that sits behind all the quality assurance processes and the manager highlights this as 'the glue that holds everything together' and that '...it feels exciting again' (Nursery Manager).

St Ninian’s Primary School, West Lothian Council - robust analysis and use of data as a driver for improved outcomes

Having high expectations for every learner is at the heart of the school ethos. Multi-strand tracking and monitoring arrangements underpin this aspirational culture, providing robust information to ensure ambitious aims are achieved.

Extensive tracking and monitoring across the school enables teachers and senior leaders to measure children’s progress. This supports any necessary adjustments to teaching, resourcing and relevant interventions. An integral aspect of tracking arrangements are regular ‘excellence and equity’ meetings where staff and senior leaders discuss children’s wellbeing, progress, and support and/or challenge needs. This allows staff to identify gaps and plan responsive interventions for identified individuals and groups of children. Information from tracking meetings is used to inform allocation of resources, including deployment of support for learning staff in a responsive and needs driven way.

Staff monitor children’s wellbeing regularly, asking them to self-report against the wellbeing indicators, and check-ins are held with identified groups of learners. Staff consider information on wellbeing as carefully as that relating to attainment and achievement in planning for children’s continuous progress and ongoing improvements.

The whole school Continuum of Support overview contains a detailed and comprehensive record of each individual child’s journey of support. The progress of cohorts and groups of children are monitored, including those with additional support needs and English as an additional language. Senior leaders track the attainment of children living in different data zones to ensure progress towards closing povertyrelated gaps. This allows senior leaders to see progress over time and identify trends and areas of focus for improvement.

Staff hold conversations regularly with pupil focus groups. The feedback from these focus groups provides senior leaders with valuable perceptive data which informs approaches to teaching. Staff listen to and act upon children's views about what aspects of learning they enjoy most, whether learning is sufficiently challenging and what could improve children’s achievement.

As a result of these robust tracking and monitoring arrangements, children, including those with identified needs, are making very good progress. In this way, the very high aspirations encapsulated in the slogan ‘#stninianskidscan!’ are being realised.

School information dashboard information is gathered from all publicly funded schools in Scotland. This can help to raise attainment and ensure all learners have the best chance to succeed. The Scottish Government created school information dashboards to bring this information together.

The National Improvement Framework interactive evidence report has information and data on areas such as the assessment of children's progress, attendance and exclusions, Broad General Education (BGE), early years, improvement of child health and wellbeing, parental engagement, school improvement, school leadership, teacher professionalism and senior phase data.

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PDF file: St Ninian's Primary School Summarised Inspection Findings - 22 August 2023 (65 KB)