Nicolson is “not well led,” say majority of staff

A recent investigation was conducted by HMIEA recent investigation was conducted by HMIE
A recent investigation was conducted by HMIE
​A survey conducted among the teaching staff of the Nicolson Institute has shown an overwhelming majority of them don’t believe the school is well led or managed.

The startling indication of internal and widespread dissatisfaction within the island’s main school is contained in additional information which was presented as part of the recent Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education report.

While overall the school’s academic attainment was in line with the Scottish average, the investigation highlighted particular weaknesses, such as in meeting the educational needs of those pupils requiring additional support.

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While HMI made no public comment on the results of the survey conducted with staff, the data provided within the “additional information” to the main report will make for worrying reading.

Asked whether the school is “well led and well managed”, 43.48 per cent disagreed and 23.91 per cent disagreed strongly. Only 17.39 per cent agreed that it was well led and 2.17 agreed strongly that it was well led.

The teacher survey also correlates with the HMI report’s main findings on deficiencies in terms of dealing with additional support pupils, which has recently seen a change of policy following a budget cut.

Asked if “the school has effective strategies to support children and young people with their learning, including those requiring additional support”, 34.78 disagreed and 32.61 strongly. Only 23.91 agreed and 2.17 per cent strongly.

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Recently the school was subject to complaint in terms of how it handled bullying. That came from an unnamed parent who escalated their concerns to the local authority as they were unhappy with how the complaint was handled.

The survey found that over 40 per cent of teachers believed bullying issues were not dealt with effectively and over 30 per cent that it was. The rest indicated they didn’t know.

The Stornoway Gazette has approached Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for comment as the appropriate authority on the school.

A spokesperson said: ““It is important that we recognise and address the areas of development highlighted in the report including the concerns raised in the staff survey. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will continue to engage with Education Scotland and school staff to ensure that the necessary improvements are put in place to address the identified areas in need of improvement. This work will be undertaken with the primary aim of improving the educational experience of all Nicolson Institute pupils.”