Page last updated at 11:53 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

School among 'best in Scotland'

Dalziel pupils and rector
The school was visited by inspectors back in June

A secondary school in North Lanarkshire has been given an outstanding report by inspectors.

The headteacher at Dalziel High School in Motherwell said it was one of the best ever achieved by a secondary in Scotland.

It was one of the first schools to be reviewed under a new model being used by HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIe).

The school received three "excellent" ratings and two "very good" in the five areas reviewed by inspectors.

Dalziel was visited in June 2008 as part of a pilot of the new "lighter-touch" inspection process.

Previously schools were rated in 17 quality indicator areas but that has been reduced to just five.

Dalziel was described by inspectors as a "lively school which is committed to learning" with "high expectations and high levels of achievement."

This report is among the best ever for a Scottish school and recognises the tremendous amount of work that goes into creating a quality teaching and learning environment
Christine Pollock
Learning & Leisure Services
Headteacher, Brian Miller, was recognised for "outstanding" leadership.

He told the BBC Scotland news website: "This report basically endorses all the things we have been doing over the past few years and says Dalziel is outstanding in every respect.

"I am so proud of the staff, the pupils and the parents. We have all worked very hard to get to this level and long may our success continue."

Examples of good practice outlined in the report included the tutor support system, the school's work with community and the War Memorial Trust to develop and run sporting facilities and the extensive programme of extra-curricular activities.

'Caring ethos'

Mr Miller said: "We have a very caring ethos at Dalziel. The staff really do care about the children and we work together to create a good atmosphere in which everyone can flourish.

"It's a great place to work and a great place to come every day."

The school was praised for its work with young people who need extra help and for its "buddy" support system where S1 and S2 pupils are partnered up with older pupils.

Sixth year pupil and school captain, Cameron Walker, said: "The teachers encourage us to push ourselves a bit further and our guidance teachers are always asking what extra-curricular activities we are involved in.

"As school captain I feel I have a duty to make sure we maintain the good standards the report has recognised."

Dalziel pupils and rector
Nealry all Dalziel pupils leave school and go on to further education or a job

Vice captain, Ruth Penny, said: "I think it is the people that make Dalziel such a great school.

"The teachers are very committed to us and it is a very close community. In the corridors everyone says "hi" to each other.

She added: "I feel proud to wear my Dalziel blazer."

Dalziel was one of the first schools in Scotland to put pupils forward for their Standard Grade examinations a year early, allowing them an extra year to study for their Highers.

This resulted in a doubling of the Higher pass rate.

The report said almost all pupils went on to university, college, training or a job.

'Responsible citizens'

Christine Pollock, director of Learning & Leisure Services at North Lanarkshire Council, said: "This report is among the best ever for a Scottish school and recognises the tremendous amount of work that goes into creating a quality teaching and learning environment; a school where young people can flourish and develop into responsible citizens of tomorrow."

Motherwell and Wishaw MSP Jack McConnell said: "Dalziel High School is an outstanding example of the best of Scottish education.

"The staff, pupils and parents all work very hard to achieve these standards and they deserve this successful result."

Inspectors outlined a number of areas where the school could improve its performance.

They included providing religious and moral education for S5 and S6 and further developing links with the local primary schools.

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