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Education / Praise for Whalsay School after follow-up inspection

THE WHALSAY school has been praised by inspectors for its progress over the last couple of years.

The school was inspected in March 2020, just before the Covid pandemic struck, and a return visit took place last year.

While the initial inspection found many positives, there were some areas of improvement noted.

The follow-up inspection found that there has been “good progress” in the areas for improvement.

“Parents and carers have a shared understanding of the statements outlining Whalsay School’s vision, values and aims,” inspectors said.

They also noted that senior leaders and practitioners have “regular meetings with a focus on the children and the early level curriculum”, and that the depute headteacher provides strong leadership, supporting practitioners and building a trusting ethos.

There have also been improvements noticed in the early learning department.

“Overall, there has been steady progress in developing approaches to planning, observing and assessing children’s learning,” inspectors said.

During the Covid pandemic the school’s leadership team led effectively throughout and “responded with speed and efficiency to the many challenges that arose”.

As a result of the progress no follow-up inspection is planned.

Early years manager Samantha Flaws presented a report on the inspection at a meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee on Monday.

She said it shows the “hard work and commitment” of all those at Whalsay School.

Flaws noted that not only was there the Covid pandemic to contend with, but also an expansion of early learning and childcare which meant bairns had to be decanted into the local hall while work was ongoing.

Councillors had warm praise for the school – with Lerwick member John Fraser suggesting it was also reflective of the Whalsay community as a whole.

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