A group of eight pupils from primary five to seven at St Martin's Primary School, Tranent, had an exciting opportunity to feed back on a Scottish Government framework to improve education in Scotland.

Government representatives attended the school recently to consult pupils on the National Improvement Framework (NIF) – an approach to improve outcomes for all children with a focus on excellence and equity.

The framework has four key priorities:

  • Improvement in attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy
  • Closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children
  • Improvement in children and young people’s health and wellbeing
  • Improvement in employability skills and sustained, positive school-leaver destinations for all young people

The Scottish Government has been carrying out a statutory review of the NIF and St Martin’s Primary School was put forward to take part thanks to the work that staff, pupils and parents have been carrying out in relation to the framework.

Headteacher Stephanie McDonald said:

“The children in the school have the opportunity to volunteer to be a part of the School Improvement Plan (SIP) learning teams and work alongside the teachers and support staff to develop aspects of the curriculum and school. A group of eight children who belong to the SIP teams volunteered to be part of the group that would speak to the representatives from the Scottish Government and Education Scotland. I feel that it is very important that the children understand that the work that they are doing is valued. The children were very excited about the visit and it certainly made them realise that the work they volunteer for to support the school does make a difference to the experiences of everyone in the school and beyond. It was a very positive experience and it provided the children with an opportunity to show their wider work within the school.”

Some of the feedback given by the pupils included:

What do you think could make learning and teaching better?

  • We are involved in the planning of our activities so we feel that makes us more involved in what we are learning
  • If everyone listened to the teacher!
  • Have a friendly and tidy classroom environment
  • Respect all staff
  • Target setting – everyone has different targets specific to them which helps us make progress

Parents/Carers

How involved are your parents/carers in your education?

  • Parent Council is made up of parents that aim to help improve the school by being parent helpers, fundraising and buying us things that we want like last year the P3 got to grow chicks and the P7s also got a WW2 workshop into the school.

How could your school encourage parents/carers to get involved?

  • Our school is a happy place – we share this happiness by organising even more open mornings
  • Because parents work – perhaps we should be asking the wider family – gran / grandad / aunt / uncle / cousin
  • We have got our grannies in to talk about the topics that we were working on – gives us real life experience

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Education, said:

“It was a really great opportunity for these St Martin’s Primary School pupils to show the Scottish Government that they understand the importance of the NIF for the whole school community – and to showcase the work they have been doing towards meeting the goals in the framework. So much has been done, including the numeracy and maths learning team visiting another school to observe good practice, which enabled the pupils to see the value in what is being introduced in the school to support their learning. They will also be involved in auditing the resources the school has and also have a say in the purchasing of new ones to help develop their skills for life, learning and work. This all shows that St Martin’s Primary School and other schools across East Lothian, as well as parents and carers, are embracing this framework and working together to achieve the best possible outcome for our young learners.”

Published: Tuesday, 17th October 2017