Council responds to criticism over reaction to HMIE report

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Argyll and Bute Council has defended its response to two damning reports on Campbeltown Grammar School by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE).

It insisted this week steps have been taken to improve the situation.

Calls for the education authority to ‘take whatever measures necessary to ensure that the current trend of poor results is reversed’ were made last month when a league table in The Times placed the school 334th out of 240 for pupils who left school with five Highers.

In a report dated April 24 2018, CGS was rated weak in three out of the four inspection categories, and a follow-up report, on January 21 2020, stated the school had made insufficient progress against the points for action.

A statement from Argyll and Bute Council released this week says the education authority has taken action to improve in particular areas identified in the original inspection, including in the learning centre.

‘As a result, HM Inspectors were able to find out about the progress the school had made and how well the improvements were supporting young people’s learning and
achievements,’ it continued.

‘Progress was outlined in a further letter provided by HMIE in January 2020 which noted: ”The head teacher continues to demonstrate his commitment to improvement and in so doing is taking account of the actions identified by HMIE and working to overtake these.”.’

The statement, which can be read in full at campbeltowncourier.co.uk, continued to outline in detail the areas of improvement that had been made adding: ‘Performance data shows improving trends in both qualifications and positive destinations reflecting further progress with improvement priorities.’

While the document has been welcomed by many former Grammar School pupil and member of the community Tommy Macpherson remains concerned over the council’s ‘lack of transparency’.

Mr Macpherson met the council’s Louise Connor, chief education officer (learning and teaching), and executive director Douglas Hendry last week to press for a statement to be issued.

‘ABC has overwatch for local education. Six weeks ago my single goal was to get an informed statement of fact from the Education Services,’ he told the Courier.

‘Why the delay; where is the transparency and accountability of our council? Communication is key in such matters impacting on our community.

‘The lack of engagement by our elected ward councillors has been absolutely shocking.’

Argyll and Bute Council has also laid out its intention to continue to work on the improvements and states that it will respond to the Scottish Government’s implementation plan, which will be published in September, based on recommendations from an independent review of Curriculum for Excellence, which has been conducted and reported upon by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.