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Aberdeen primary school’s digital creativity hailed “outstanding” as national inspectorate rank it best in class

15/03/16

An Aberdeen Primary school was hailed today as one of the best in the country after its pioneering head teacher transformed its curriculum for the modern age. 

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Outdoor learning, multi-media courses and film-making are all part of the curriculum for youngsters at Middleton Park School in Aberdeen's Bridge of Don.

Education officials at Aberdeen City Council said they were genuinely overwhelmed at the school's performance, reflected in the glowing report by inspectors of Education Scotland.

The school received an unprecedented Excellent in 11 out of 12 Quality Indicators, which determines the success in meeting the Curriculum for Excellence.

Head teacher Jenny Watson was praised for her forward-thinking approach to education and for putting technology and creativity at the heart of the school's vision for learning.

Innovative initiatives such as 'Live Learning' sees pupils create feature films and animations using the latest digital tech.

One feature – Macbeth in Mandarin - was shared with their partner school in China last week.

Their collection of over 200 films has had a total of 50,000 views in over 80 countries.

The school excelled in subjects including modern languages, history and maths, which is taught outdoors… when the weather allows.

Aberdeen City Council Leader, Councillor Jenny Laing, said: "The report released today is a testament to the leadership and vision of Jenny Watson.

"Digital and creative learning is not all about giving every child a tablet. Technology is, of course, important but a school without a clear strategy of purpose will not succeed no matter how advanced the resources.

"What we have seen here at Middleton Park is a game-changing approach to education and the results speak for themselves. The staff, pupils and parents, who have all worked together over the past year, should all be very proud of themselves. We are immensely proud of them."

She added: "What is really incredible in this report is that not only are our pupils striving academically – but a picture is also painted about how well-adjusted, confident and happy the children are.

"The emotional well-being of pupils in our schools is as important as their academic achievements – and this glowing report reflects that.

"The education of our young people is our top priority and we are committed to delivering the outstanding work being done at Middleton Park School across the city."

The report details particular areas where the school has excelled and mentioned that there is very high quality delivery of the curriculum and learning experiences. The Middleton Park pupils were writing at higher levels than would be expected, their attainment in maths was graded outstanding and the teamwork and partnership between staff, the head teacher and the community was hailed as "outstanding".

Head teacher Jenny Watson said: "Partnership is at the heart of our approaches to learning. And the live Learning has been particularly beneficial for the pupils, parents and staff.

"The children are excellent at making videos and it demonstrates that they understand the topics being thought in our classrooms.

"Teachers and pupils at the school have the confidence to try these things out. It's always about the children and giving them a rich learning experience."

Primary Five pupil Ellie Lang said: "Live Learning allows our parents to see what we are doing at school. Sometimes it means our parents can help us at home.

"All my friends get really excited when they are on Live Learning. It makes us feel really important and very special that our films are shown around the world."

Primary Six pupil Joe Esposito continued: "I like making the films with my class and that my Mum and Dad can see what I'm learning about in school. One of my favourites is our Space Film because it shared what the whole school was learning about."

The report from Education Scotland can be viewed here: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/inspectionandreview/reports/school/primsec/MiddletonParkSchoolAberdeenCity.asp

The report details the following areas of note:

  • Articulate and high achieving children who leading learning and play a key role in the life of their school and community
  • The outstanding use of digital technology to develop and share learning.
  • The outstanding leadership of the head teacher and teamwork of all staff
  • Education Scotland shall work with the school and Aberdeen City Council to record the innovative practice and share it more widely.
  • Primary children achieve exceptionally well in terms of leadership, citizenship. Teamworking, creativity and problem solving.
  • The standard of writing across the school is outstanding and many children are writing at higher levels than would normally be expected.
  • Children's attainment in Maths is outstanding

The school achieved excellent in 11 out of 12 quality indicators – the evaluation areas Education Scotland use to determine how good a school is.