Hermitage Academy has been classed as ‘satisfactory’ in three categories by Education Scotland inspectors, but ‘weak’ in its leadership of change.
Published today, the report comes weeks after Education Scotland produced a highly critical report of Argyll and Bute Council’s education department as a whole.
The Hermitage Academy report is more positive than that, but reveals that most parents are not satisfied with the school, which made national headlines in 2015 over its approach to exams.
Patricia Watson’s report says the school is satisfactory in its learning, teaching and assessment; raising attainment and achievement; and ensuring wellbeing, equality and inclusion.
It says the school has ‘a welcoming ethos’ and pupils’ behavior is ‘exemplary’, praising clubs and activities as well as the Hooked on Hermitage programme, which helps pupils make a smooth transition from P7.
It says there has been an improvement recently in tracking pupils’ progress in S4 to S6, with higher attainment in literacy and numeracy at these stages.
But it says the headteacher and council should: “Improve strategic leadership and leadership at all levels to drive change which is underpinned by robust self-evaluation.
“There is a need for increased collaboration across the school community to ensure all stakeholders have a good understanding of the school’s strengths and improvement priorities.”
The report includes surveys of pupils, staff and parents – 77% of parents said their child liked being at the academy, but only 37% of parents were satisfied with the school and 64% said their views were not taken into account when changes were made.
A council spokesperson said of the parents’ responses: “We are currently working on a number of options on how best to improve communications with pupils and parents across the school community.”
The council said that the report praised the school’s relationship with parents, adding: “In responding to the agreed areas for improvement, these have already been included in the school’s improvement plan and a number of changes have already taken place. These include:
“Continue to develop partnerships with local businesses, colleges and training providers, to ensure that our young people are equipped to secure and sustain positive destinations and achieve success in life.
“Increased the senior phase options, with the inclusion of early education and childcare, maritime and rural skills, in addition to the existing courses already on offer through the school’s partnership with Argyll College.
“Increased support for pupils where needed and continue to assess their individual learning needs through monitoring and tracking.
“We want the same success for our young people as parents do. We have hard working staff, and pupils to be proud of, who together are achieving often award winning success. Together we will work to make our vision happen – ambition, excellence and equality for all.”