St John’s Primary is situated in the east of Edinburgh and has a roll of around 400 pupils. The school has just celebrated its 130th Anniversary but everyone is now looking forward to August 2018 when they should be moving to a brand new building right next door. The Headteacher hopes to take some of the original fittings from the original St John’s when they move.
One of the main priorities at St John’s is to develop a close partnership between home and school and they decided the Partnership Schools Scotland model was a great way to help progress this. The team have had notable success in their first year. An Action Team for Partnership (ATP) comprising parents and staff was established at an early stage with a parent as Chair. The group worked effectively with the Headteacher to identify four goals which related to improvements in literacy, reporting, home learning and health and wellbeing.
Learning Goal: To increase the enjoyment of reading and develop core literacy skills to enable increased attainment for pupils.
A key outcome of this goal was the development of a paired reading guide targeted at P1 pupils and their families. The guide was trialled and received positive feedback from parents. The guide has now been included in the Induction Pack for prospective P1 parents with the aim of supporting them to practice paired reading with their child.
Learning Goal: To maintain a consistent approach to home learning to ensure manageable tasks for all pupils, taking into account different home circumstances.
This included a survey to pupils and staff to gather their views of homework; parents will be surveyed in the New Year. Extensive feedback was received and this formed the basis of a staff in-service training at the start of the school year, 2017/18.
Wellbeing Goal: To improve the health and wellbeing of the pupils by improving the school playground.
With the help of the Smart Play Network, the school now provides Play in a Pod for pupils to use at breaktimes. The Pod contains lots of loose materials including wood and plastic shapes for pupils to create their own play equipment or games. Staff and parents have observed an increase in positive behaviour and co-operation in the playground including different age groups working and playing together.
Partnership Goal: To ensure parents are involved in on-going discussion around their child’s progress, taking advice from national developments.
The key outcome has been the development and evaluation of a new approach to reporting pupil progress. Newly revised reports now integrate teacher, pupil and parent input with the aim of making them more meaningful and easier to understand. The school has received extremely positive feedback and constructive comments for the future; the school intends to continue with this approach.