Orchard County Primary School’s involvement in a pilot inspection programme has led to a glowing endorsement of success in sustained improvement.
The traditional inspection process centres around a three-day visit every seven years. In contrast, the ETI (Education and Training Inspectorate) pilot scheme calls for a one-day analysis, with the focus on key areas put forward by the school.
As one of 20 schools connected to the format, Orchard has not received a formal published report but principal Stephen Blevins was clear in his praise for the revised approach.
“Having previously been graded so highly, this ETI ‘Sustained Improvement’ one-day pilot put the focus on ensuring that our progress has been maintained,” he said. “I am delighted that the ETI has again recognised the excellent work of our teachers.
“The process was different in that we had the opportunity to identify certain areas and ETI specifically wanted to assess our process for development planning and self-evaluation within those identified areas.
“We are blessed with a dedicated, hard-working staff and it is wonderful for them to be able to go off on summer holidays with such a positive endorsement.
“We are so proud of our pupils and it is so encouraging to have ETI officials recognise the fact that they are placed first in every decision we make.
“This is the third inspection report in four years that does our pupils, staff, governors and parents proud.
“Our ETI-confirmed progress and the queue to enrol here emphasises the fact that our pupils, parents, teachers and governors work brilliantly as a team.”
Orchard’s decision to incorporate lifeskills into the key areas of literacy and numeracy - for example, a look at financial capabilities - was put forward by the school to ETI as an area for particular attention.
The ETI report highlighted “the collegial approach to school improvement”, how “school development planning is rigorous” and that there is “clear progress in teaching and learning, producing work of a high standard”.
The children were considered “polite, engaged and having fun whilst learning” with the organisation “top notch and this rubs off on the children in terms of the quality of work”.