Standards, Quality and Improvement Plan for James Gillespie's High School












Standards and Quality Report for session: 2007-2008

Improvement Plan for session: 2008-2009

Table of contents




Section title



Standards and quality report



School Values




School in Context




Issues Affecting the School over the last year




Priorities from the current session











Audit section




Other achievements



Improvement plan




School priority improvement table




Three-year audit programme




SQIP Synopsis





Action page






Standards and Quality Report

1.    School Values



This school, as a community, will provide a welcoming and secure learning environment in which individuals can fully realise their potential in a climate of mutual respect.



We are committed to ensuring that the James Gillespie’s High School community is one in which:




We demonstrate a commitment to improvement


We trust and respect each individual


We respect and care for each other and value the diversity which exists among people and will challenge all barriers to equality and social justice


Students develop responsibility for themselves and a sense of self worth which is strong in success or failure


We work in partnership with parents/carers and the school community


            There is a commitment to education as a life-long experience for all stakeholders


There are high and realistic expectations of success


Learning experiences fully meet the learning needs of all people


There are stimulating learning experiences of the highest quality


There is a positive attitude to progress, change and improvement


We develop skills, knowledge, confidence and self esteem


All members develop an awareness of their social responsibilities


            All members have opportunities to work towards improving the environment, both locally and globally


            Emotional Intelligence is recognised and valued





Entitlement of James Gillespie’s High School Stakeholders


Students can expect of James Gillespie’s High School

1.    From teachers and Pupil Support staff personal, social and vocational support

2.    Help in organising, forward planning and thinking skills.

3.    Training in learning skills and strategies

4.    Help in self-evaluation approaches which assist an understanding of learning styles and multiple intelligence’s

5.    A Home Study programme

6.    To have a voice in decision-making


Parents can expect of James Gillespie’s High School

1.      A planned process of support to enable students to acquire and develop skills and strategies

2.      Regular homework based tasks, which include parental involvement

3.      Consultation evenings with teachers

4.      Clear information on Consultation evenings with teachers at all stages throughout the school, the content of courses and methodologies used

5.      Essential information on assignments and revision required for national examination demands

6.      Timely communication from teachers on student progress

7.      To be part of a strong partnership with the school


Teachers can expect

1.    Parental support in home study activities

2.    Opportunities to communicate concerns to parents

3.    Students to behave appropriately in school and to adhere to the values of the school and to personal targets

4.    To be listened to and to be part of the school’s decision making



2.    School in Context


James Gillespie’s High School has, for many years, welcomed students from different countries and cultures.  Our school is a multiracial one, where we value all our students equally, believing that school is a reflection of society itself and that good relationships within the school can help promote harmony outside in the wider community.  We have many years experience in multicultural education and are able to give specialised help to those with language problems.  We encourage all parents to come and discuss areas of difficulty, language or otherwise with us, believing that education must involve parents as well as students.


We work hard to ensure that our school provides an ethos of achievement and attainment.  Children thrive when they have the challenge of developing their intellect and their social relationships in a community which is caring and secure.  Equality and respect for cultural diversity is fundamental to our values.  Support for learning is given a very high priority for all students.


A wide variety of learning situations within the school curriculum and the informal curriculum are an essential aspect of our life.  Our aim is to create an organisation that will create opportunities for students to develop the skills which will enable them to leave us with the capacity for fulfilment of potential, social competence and personal happiness in adult life.  The importance of intellectual challenge and academic study is recognised in the full range of academic subjects offered, many of which lead to Advanced Higher Grade presentation, and in 3 subjects to ‘A’ Level presentation.


Establishment of a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for all students is our objective.  Our Integrated Support system is student-centred and offers opportunities for individual counselling where needed.


Parent involvement and partnership is vital to ensure students achieve what they are capable of.  Parents are encouraged to visit the school to discuss individual students’ progress and development.


High standards of behaviour are maintained since this is essential to ensure effective education.  We have a view that certainty is more important than severity and that positive encouragement is more valuable than negative sanctions.  The Inspectorate report from 2002 said the following; “The school’s ethos was very good.  Cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity was recognised, valued and celebrated.  The school has taken a number of steps to ensure that pupils were valued equally and treated fairly.  Pupils and staff were proud of the school.  Relationships between teachers and pupils were very positive and moral was high.  Almost all teachers set appropriately high expectations for pupil’s levels of attainment and behaviour.  Pupils were generally well behaved and polite.” Praise from the HMIe continues and we are currently the subject of a “Journey to Excellence” case study.


The school roll was 1074. There are 66 classrooms, well-equipped Design & Tech and Art & Design areas, 10 science labs, 4 computer rooms and a PE Department with a dance studio, spacious games hall, swimming pool, Astroturf and small practice area near to the school.


We have a newly refurbished library and a large Assembly Hall and stage in need of modernisation. Our grounds are very attractive with mature trees, bushes and grassed areas. We have numerous picnic tables and beautiful landscaped areas, hanging baskets and a peace garden designed and created by staff and students. Most recently we have opened a memorial garden in memory of Alisa Laidlaw, a former student and teacher. The money for this was raised by the Development Officer of the JGHS Trust.


The teaching staff is 94 plus 6 probationers. The Head Teacher has no formal teaching commitment although he is overall in charge of S6. He is also very involved in the delivery of the Senior PSE programme and attends all Student Council meetings. There was also one non-teaching Deputy and four others with a part teaching load and various whole school strategy responsibilities. There is an Integrated Support System with six P.T.’s Support for Pupils, 1 P.T. Support for Learning and 2 Support for Learning teachers, 9 Learning Assistants and 1 English as an Additional Language staff.


Our School Council has been very active and the James Gillespie’s Trust is very supportive of school improvement. These two organisations are highly valued by us and we work in close partnership.





3.    Issues affecting the school over the last year










4.    Priorities from the current session [1]



Developing People and Partnerships 9.3

Improvements in Performance

Learning and Teaching ICT 2.1, 5.3

Curriculum for Excellence 5.1 – 5.9

Key Priority

August 2008 – June 2011










5.    Consultation


With staff


All departments submit Standards and Quality summary statements prior to completion of whole school document. Formal consultation is also an integral part of SMT [2] Link meetings. The Improvement Plan is an agenda item in forward planning meetings.  We now have a School Improvement Plan Group who are core to the whole process.


With students


There are student members on the School Council when discussions take place on Quality Assurance and who contribute to the final document. We now have a very active student council who take part in all decision making and are consulted about priorities. They also manage a budget.


With parents/carers


Our consultation with parents/carers has improved considerably over the past year. The Parent Council has wider representation and is very active in offering support and challenge over budget curriculum, ethos, etc.


With community


This remains more limited but is improving.





6.    Evidence


Š    Subject link meetings feature attainment issues, school plan progress, ethos etc

Š    Analysis of national Assessment data

Š    Review of SQA results

Š    All forward planning minutes are received for BoM [3] overview

Š    Professional Review meetings

Š    Staff development Sessions e.g.  Learning and Teaching, AifL, [4] Enterprise, Emotional Intelligence

Š    Support for Pupil - extended meetings

Š    Principal Teacher Meetings

Š    Duty head informal classroom visits and support

Š    Shared classroom experience visits ( Formative assessment focus/involvement by Learning and Teaching group staff)

Š    External feedback from Learning and Teaching Scotland, HMIe good practice visits, QDSR [5]

Š    Visitor comments ( students, parents)

Š    Working Group evaluations and feedback

Š    Informal interviews with senior staff on focus issues

Š    360° Evaluations

Š    School Council meetings

Š    Parent Forum meetings



Audit section



Overall the curriculum is very good. The curricular matrix is appropriate to school and individual needs and where possible changes to reflect the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence and other local or national priorities have been introduced.



Awareness of curriculum for Excellence Initiatives continued with a degree of curricular de-cluttering and the embedding of AifL approaches. The DHT [6] Learning and Teaching led a number of in-services on the four capacities, menu driven staff development was provided to encourage the exchange of good practice and our work was positively noted by the Quality Development School Review, [7] published in April 2008.


The Values, Purposes and Principles of the curriculum for Excellence Action Plan were very successfully integrated with Forward Planning meetings and Link Meetings devoting agreed time to discussion and monitoring to support CAT [8] times devoted to this area. Each department produced a Departmental Action Plan.


There remain some concerns related to the vagueness in terms of the level of autonomy at Department Level in relation to CfE syllabus construction but this is a national rather than a local concern.



What are we going to do next?


Š      Continue to develop work on CfE [9] methodology and assessment

Š      Complete Department Action Plans

Š      Set up working groups as required using a Distributive Leadership approach

Š      Create a cluster plan for enhanced transition

Š      BoM will review curriculum architecture to find opportunities to best meet the aims and principles of CfE.




Attainment is very good. SQA Results and A-Level Results continue to be impressive. The reduction in the percentage of grade E in writing and Mathematics is attributable to a change of catchment area with a higher proportion of students entering S1 with lower levels than previously.




The school’s current performance in relation to national 5-14 attainment is: [10]
























The school’s performance Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) attainment was as follows: [11]


Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Key:


Level 7:

Advanced Higher A-C

Level 6:

Higher at A-C

Level 5:

Intermediate A-C; Standard Grade 1-2

Level 4:

Intermediate 1 at A-C; Standard Grade at 3-4

Level 3:

Access 3 Cluster; Standard Grade at 5-6






% S4 roll gaining 5+ awards at level 3 or better by end S4




% S4 roll gaining 5+ awards at level 4 or better by end S4




% S4 roll gaining 5+ awards at level 5 or better by end S4




% S4 roll gaining 1+ awards at level 6 or better by end S5




% S4 roll gaining 3+ awards at level 6 or better by end S5




% S4 roll gaining 5+ awards at level 6 or better by end S5




% S4 roll gaining 3+ awards at level 6 or better by end S6




% S4 roll gaining 5+ awards at level 6 or better by end S6




% S4 roll gaining 1+ awards at level 7, by end S6






Our de-cluttering of March led to improved results in the SQA examinations in a number of subjects particularly at SG. [12] The work done by the Senior Team in mentoring under-achieving S3 students led to improvements in attitude, attendance and performance.






Attainment (and achievement) have been features of CPD [13] and Subject Link meetings throughout the year. An extract from the QDSR [14] document about the English department exemplifies the work we feel is done throughout the school:


“The English department has consistently maintained high standards of attainment for learners as shown in all national measures. For example, attainment in 5-14 reading and writing has significantly improved on a three year trend: at Standard Grade and Higher, English has shown a strong positive pattern over the last five years and at Advanced Higher, where the level of entries last session was well above the national pattern, there was also a strong positive trend over the last five years…


“Overall, learners in the English department were successful and confident. Many students participated in a range of competitions at local and national level, particularly in creative writing.” [15]


Another extract from the Design and Technology S&Q Report is also pertinent and not confined to one department:


“Pupils in all certificate classes (S3 – S6) are provided with coherent time lines of work and clear success criteria, allowing success at all levels. Pupils are able to progress at their own pace with an achievable minimum level/pace clearly outlined in the time line. Open access at lunchtimes and after school on Fridays provides time for hitting the timeline targets.


Fully embedded self/peer evaluation techniques across the junior and middle school allow individual pupils to identify development needs and areas of strength.


Large numbers of pupils use the department outwith class time to progress to a higher level or simply catch up due to absence.


Annual examination results continue to be excellent with the majority of certificate classes achieving ratings within the top 20% of comparator schools, particularly in Graphic Communication where excellent results were achieved by Mrs Croll’s class. Almost all pupils gain their top or top equal award in our subjects.” [16]



Suggested actions The City of Edinburgh Council, Quality Development, School Review, Action Plan:


Š      By June 2008, the depute head teachers’ monitoring, evaluation and reporting will evaluate impact of the new reporting system and the new quality assurance policy on reporting, and provide advice designed to further improve consistency of reporting on the basis of this evaluation.


Š      By October 2008, further in-service on sharing best practice in reporting will take place.


Š      From March 2008, the principal teacher leadership inset time will be designed in order to facilitate development of common approaches to planning learners’ experiences and assessment approaches.


Š      The learning and teaching policy and the assessment policy will be updated as appropriate by October 2008.


Š      From January 2008, collegiate activity time (CAT), and forward planning meeting time will be used to ensure staff are aware of improvements to planning and assessment approaches. Link managers will monitor progress with departments.







What are we going to do next?


Š    we will continue to raise standards of attainment over time

Š    we will set up improved monitoring and tracking systems

Š    we will further develop mentoring systems for under-achieving students

Š    we will maintain Attainment as a focus of Forward Planning and Link meetings

Š    setting policy will be aimed at optimising learning opportunities for all

Š    continue to develop Strategic Learning approaches to maintain our high quality results

Š    investigate support mechanisms for the larger number of S2 students below level

Š    review work done with under-achieving S3 and encourage use of individual mentoring



Learning and Teaching


Overall Learning and Teaching is very good. As reported in our most recent QDSR: [17]


“The school provided learning and teaching of a very high quality. In the departments reviewed, almost all pupils were well focused, responsive and on task. Learners were motivated and enthusiastic about their learning experiences and settled quickly into lessons. The spoke with pride of their achievements within and outwith the school and these were celebrated widely. Almost all pupils strongly agreed that teachers set high expectations, explained the purpose of lessons clearly, outlined progress and provided positive feedback for success. There was an effective home study programme and opportunities for study support.


“… For example, in the English department pupils were given the chance to lead learning for others and in PE and design and technology students worked cooperatively, providing feedback to other students.


“All teachers encouraged learners to think and express their views…


“The learning climate in all the departments visited was stimulating and there was a high degree of learner motivation…”




The DHT leading Learning and Teaching in the school was very successful in the last year in delivering high quality in-service training, in working with the Learning and Teaching group to share good practice and in developing an updated Learning and Teaching Policy. Every department produced a departmental policy liked to the school Policy. An emphasis on shared classroom experience fostered further development of innovative learning and teaching strategies and the widespread use of formative assessment approaches lead to continuous improvement in methodology.


The early development of ICT [18] skills through S1 PSE [19] provided students with a good foundation for further work using computers and the purchase of a number of smartboards led to a significant number of staff in all subjects reviewing lessons and introducing new ideas. The Gifted and Talented framework heightened awareness of the need for challenge. For instance, the English department introduced Reading for Gold across the board and the S2 Writers’ Group for very able young people. These were a great success and strongly valued by parents.


A significant number of new appointments were made both at class teacher level and Principal Teacher levels which injected enthusiasm for new approaches and a high level of review of syllabuses and curriculum.


Pupil self-evaluation peer assessment, profiling and target setting became more widespread and as student ownership of a partnership in learning increased so did motivation. Enterprise money was also used to encourage the development of creativity in Learning and the Health and Eco initiatives led to more inter-disciplinary co-operation.


The school website continued to provide a range of opportunities for home learning whether it was recipes in Food Technology, listening opportunities in Modern Languages ‘geogblog’ links or revision materials in Modern Studies to name but a few. The development of the website by the webmaster in the Art Department is a jewel in the Gillespie’s crown and provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and is a significant motivator in numerous areas across the school.


Many course outlines were revised, team teaching in areas such as P.E. further developed and ICT suites in Art and CDT [20] even more effectively used. In terms of support for student learning the work of the SfL [21] department and the effective deployment of Learning Assistants has also allowed more creative approaches to students with needs or different learning styles. The widespread use of revision packs, study support sessions and web provision led to increased student security in learning in a wide range of areas. The Home-study Policy has been completely updated in partnership with parents.


JGHS has an excellent teacher-student relationship model. Behaviour is generally excellent and disruption of learning minimal. The fact that our “Best Practice Document” has been adopted by the Learning and Teaching Quality Improvement Officer is an indication of our commitment in this pivotal area.



What are we going to do next?


Š      We will continue our work in shared classroom experience and sharing best practice

Š      The CAT programme for 2008-2009 has a number of sessions devoted to learning and teaching

Š      Our new Learning and Teaching policy will be implemented

Š      Learners will develop portfolios of achievement and increased personalisation and choice

Š      The school will promote real partnerships with parents

Š      The Cluster Gifted and Talented Framework will be implemented

Support for pupils


Overall support for pupils is very good. The review of the vertical system was completed and the changes were generally very well received by students, staff and parents.




The Integrated Support Team approach continues to be highly effective. The Support for Pupils team are all very skilled in what they do, valued by the students and although often over stretched are very good at prioritizing work load to provide support for all. They deliver PSE to their community cohorts and support register teachers on a daily basis.


SfL provide class-based support, group work for dyslexic youngsters, one to one tuition and manage an excellent Learning Base for students with a wide range of difficulties with the mainstream curriculum. The large number of Learning Assistants is managed very well by the PTs and provides significant support for the class teacher. ASPs are written for all who receive them. The EAL [22] provision, although limited by resource constraints is also an integral part of our provision.


The DHT Support for Pupil runs very effective community meetings, manages an excellent PSG and leads the team well. We have excellent relationships with outside agencies and have a very highly regarded counselling service directed by one of our own staff.


At department level, encouraged by the excellent advice provided by SfP and SfL, a range of provisions, behavioural, methodological and relationship based exist. A restorative justice climate is encouraged and all support team members have been trained in these, cascading this approach to the English department for example.




In terms of subject based learning support the following approaches give a flavour of what is in place:


Š      Alphasmarts for the least able writers in English

Š      “Reading for gold” motivates reluctant readers

Š      Learning logs encourage student responsibility

Š      Pupil evaluation handbooks have been introduced to Maths in S1 and S5

Š      A range of materials aimed at different learning styles have been developed in Drama and Media

Š      In Design and Technology timelines and success criteria have been highly developed allowing for success at all levels

Š      A number of departments provide lunchtime study support and Geography, for example, run a S4 residential “grade booster”

Š      The P.E. department use a tutorial support system


Behaviour support is provided throughout the school by a Duty Head system, referral procedures are clear and our Assembly programme consistently emphasises the importance of learning, peer support and the celebration of achievement at all levels.


What to do


Š      the befrienders scheme has been reviewed and we hope  will be more effective than ever

Š      regular CAT briefings on vulnerable students will be further developed

Š      the development of ASP and IEPs will be seen as a priority

Š      DHTs have been appointed Community Discipline Heads

Š      The lunchtime club has been renames the “Junior Common Room” and will make more use of peer support



Overall ethos is excellent. Our ethos is praised by all our stakeholders and visitors and has been commented on by the recent QDSR [23] Team, Learning and Teaching Scotland and the HMI (e.g. the following extract from The City of Edinburgh Council’s Quality Development School Review, 2008):


Commendable features [24]


Š    The success of staff in establishing a very purposeful environment for learning, in setting high expectations and in promoting achievement.

Š    The manner in which the school celebrates diversity is sector leading and noted as an area of excellence.

Š    Well-behaved pupils who were enthusiastic and motivated in their learning.




Our already strong Ethos was furthered and strengthened by the Eco developments, including a set of Principles, and our commitment to moving towards to Health Promoting School status, Stage 2. These developments were led by a DHT and staff working groups and involved widespread consultation with the student and parent bodies. Involving the Student Council in discussions about the desired climate and culture of the school has proved very beneficial and our South Africa Project has led to our students reflecting on and acting upon what it means to be a global citizen.


Key features in creating our positive ethos are found in our commitment to holistic learning, respect for the individual and the encouragement of collegiality at all levels. The celebration of achievement is a cornerstone of our work whether through our Sports Achievement Evening, the Carol Concert, Rock Night or Diversecity. Students and staff know their contributions are valued. That is absolutely explicit. Value statements on the walls are not tokenistic. The year past provides lots of evidence of responsibility taken and care for each other demonstrated whether through the fundraising for the soup-kitchen in Zwelibanzi, the S6 party for local old-people, the befrienders’ work, the Eco group work or the marvellous work led by a Biology teacher in creating an attractive environment throughout the grounds. The work of the JGHS Trust led by a Development Officer, herself a former parent, is also indicative of a real sense of commitment by current parents and former students to the continued development of the school. The Oral History Project, the Alumni database and the glorious memorial garden recently opened and dedicated to a former student and teacher, Alisa Laidlaw, all demonstrate the strong sense of identity and belonging to our school and its varied and wonderful history.


Throughout the whole school, and departmentally, a wide range of curricular inserts, ways of working, and different approaches, contribute to the maintenance of our ethos:


Š      Sessions on Emotional Intelligence during inductions and PSE

Š      Assembly topics

Š      The discrimination unit in Drama

Š      S1 sustainability unit in Geography and the departments contribute to international awareness of socio-cultural appreciation

Š      The relationships created during excursions and activities in P.E. such as dance

Š      The role of former students as team leaders or local, national, or global ambassadors

Š      Departmental standards and expectations

Š      The creation of informed attitudes and empathy in Modern Studies

Š      Extra-curricular activities (e.g. MUNGA, visit to Anne Frank exhibition)

Š      Celebrate of success postcards in Science

Š      The wonderful variety of activities in the Alternative Timetable (e.g. “Hatwalk”, environmental improvement, Barcelona trip, etc.)

Š      Increased number of self-referrals to pupil support

Š      The low stress, high challenge approach in computing


Finally, the following quotation from the QDSR, [25] which was directed at the English department, in my view applies across the school.


“There was a positive working environment within the department and a strong sense of shared responsibility. The atmosphere within the department was open and mutually supportive.” [26]




Overall resources remain poor.




Accommodation and Facilities

Despite some work being done to improve heating in one of our buildings, and some improvements in corridor appearance, the overall condition of the buildings remains poor. Most classrooms look jaded and are not appropriate for 21st century learning. We remain concerned about energy wastage and would reiterate the worries articulated in last year’s report.


We are, of course, pleased that the City was able to fund some improvements and recognise the commitment to find money for a new school. The much improved library is an indication of what could be achieved.


Our School Council remain determined to push for improvements through the Wave 3 agenda. I would like to record our talks for the persistence and loyalty of this body for their determination to bring about improvements in the learning environment.


Provision of Resources

We have invested in ICT technology and the number of smartboards has increased substantially. Our per capita allocation remains constrained by budgetary considerations and the need for a disproportionate amount of money being retained for repairs and maintenance for what is fully recognised as buildings which are close to unfit for purpose.



Organisation and Use of Resources and Spaces

As per last year all spaces in the school are fully utilised for teaching proposes. They are not all appropriate, e.g. the Assembly Hall. Pressure was put on us by the reduction of class sizes in English and Maths and subject teaching is not always possible in subject areas so that a number of staff are peripatetic.


Given the constraints we operate under we do an excellent job in maximising use of what is available.


Staffing and Deployment

Our current staffing level is very good although we have had to cut staff in key areas to meet budget reduction demands. This has resulted in at least one subject without a P.T. and curricular reduction to facilitate the transfer of “surplus” staff. Our cover provision is extremely tight and important temporary contacts (e.g. Library Assistant) have been terminated resulting in increased pressure on staff in certain areas.


New appointments, on the whole, have been excellent and re-energising, and our support staff remain exemplary.


The nature of the school geography and rooming layout continues to mitigate against the most effective location of staff in the office, support for pupils area and most critically the Senior Team. This inability to centralise reduces opportunities for increased co-operation and effectiveness.




However, we continue to work in a positive manner (optimism is our best resource) and the following improvements have been achieved:


Š      11 new smartboards and data projectors

Š      A computerised reporting system

Š      A Studywiz pilot

Š      New editing software in Media Studies

Š      A “Wall of Fame” in the P.E. block

Š      New printers have been purchased (e.g. Business Studies)

Š      The Library is a much improved and extended learning space

Š      An audio visual room has been relocated in the Art Department and a CAD-ICT lab set-up

Š      A booking system for the use of computing rooms has increased subject access.


These improvements indicate the motivation of staff to continue to develop in the face of adversity. Some issues such as the need to replace the games hall floor, the appalling ventilation in the hall and the across the board shortage of high quality textbooks and materials remain outwith our current scope.




Management, Quality, Leadership and Assurance (MQLA)


Overall MQLA is very good. As stated in the most recent QDSR under commendable features: [27]


Š      The very effective leadership of the headteacher

Š      The development of leadership for learning throughout the school, and the effective work being done by staff at all levels to implement innovative approaches

Š      The commitment of staff to continuous improvement enabled by the culture of distributed leadership and the effectiveness of the DHT, with responsibility for learning and teaching.




We continue to see the development of a highly emotionally literate staff as a priority and a very successful in-service was provided by one of the staff concurrently the school counsellor, demonstrated our commitment to a distributed leadership model. Our programme of classroom visits, subject Link meetings and Forward Planning meetings is strongly coordinated and coherent, being linked effectively to targets, the SIP plan and a Monitoring and Evaluating calendar.


We embarked upon a programme of 360° evaluation starting with the Head Teacher, followed by the BoM, the PT’s Subject which demonstrates the sophistication of our self-evaluation approaches and the time and energy which has been committed to training. The 3 probationers were mentored well by the appropriate DHT and PT and the 12 student teachers had highly enjoyable, well managed experiences. All staff know how to seek support should they need it and updated handbooks in all departments provide a comprehensive information bank for procedures, polices, etc. Quality Assurance procedures are robust in all areas of operation (e.g. Assessment and Reporting).


We have received as indicated before high praise from the City QDSR for our approaches to MQLA and we have recently applied for the Quality Standard.


At department level several new systems have been introduced to improve Quality Assurance such as clearer course outlines and timetables. Department organisation remains generally speaking highly effective and the monthly PT leadership meetings and weekly briefing meetings provide forums for debate, dialogue, exchange of good ideas and opportunities for Monitoring and Evaluation or Quality Assurance check out. There is a self-evaluating, quality assurance mindset at both whole school and department level.



What are we going to do next?


Š       All recent polices (e.g. Learning and Teaching, Gifted and Talented, Quality Assurance) will be quickly reviewed to ensure consistency

Š       The distributed leadership model will be further enhanced by the presence of 9.3 Developing people and partnerships from HGIOS 3 in next year’s SIP

Š       Parent and student opinion and comment will continue to be sought to ensure we are providing what is most needed by all




Improvement Plan





Reminder of Priorities from the Current Session [28]



Developing People and Partnerships 9.3

Improvements in Performance

Learning and Teaching ICT 2.1, 5.3

Curriculum for Excellence 5.1 – 5.9

Key Priority

August 2008 – June 2011










Action Page


Priority To progress the implementation of the  principles of Curriculum for Excellence during this “Year of Preparation”

Key area

Delivery of Education

Impact on Learners

Quality indicator(s)

2.1, 5.1-5.3, 5.5, 5.7

Outcomes and impact on learners

  • Learners will be able to demonstrate that they are successful, confident and responsible
  • Learners will experience personalisation and choice in their learning
  • Learners will develop portfolios of achievement
  • Learning experiences will be designed to motivate, challenge and encourage participation
  • Learners will make good progress from prior attainment levels
  • Staff will have clear, shared values and understanding of what is involved in providing a high quality education for learners which will have an impact in the classroom
  • The school will successfully promote real partnership with parents and students
  • The school community will demonstrate improved physical and emotional health
  • P7 students will experience improved curricular links during transition

Resources (including CPD)

  • CAT programme will commit 16 hours (from 27.5 whole school time) to CfE awareness raising/sharing good practice
  • CfE will feature as a standing item at departmental forward planning meeting agendas
  • CfE will be the focus of a PT leadership meeting each term
  • Link meetings will feature CfE as a standing agenda item
  • Working Parties set up as follows: CfE Steering Group(with a representative from each link faculty); Numeracy Group (one period each week allocated to driver); Literacy Group (One period each week allocated to driver. Groups will meet twice each term after school for one hour); Health Group (one meeting each month); IT in Learning Group (twice termly led by PT)
  • CPD opportunities will be offered as twilight sessions in using IT in classroom

     (4 over the session)

  • Hard Copies of Draft Outcomes/Building the Curriculum 3 to all departments
  • Journey to Excellence Parts 1-5

Monitoring and evaluation of impact

  • Sharing Classroom Experience by teacher colleagues, PTs and senior team
  • Curriculum Focus Group of students and parents led by DHT Learning & Teaching
  • Feedback from Departmental and Faculty Link meetings
  • Feedback from PT meetings; sampling by staff interviews/questionnaires
  • Health Focus Group of students & parents led by DHT Staff
  • Reports by working groups


Overall responsibility

DHT Learning & Teaching

Priority timescale

From August 2008 - August 2010

May 2009 check date for Year of Preparation activities










  • Whole staff meeting to raise awareness, review current progress and set out next steps


  • Departments complete summary of progress to date and set out next steps in action plan for 2008/9


  • Working groups established by distributed leadership



  • CfE Steering group meet to establish school strategies/priorities and assist planning


  • CfE working groups meet to plan changes


  • Cluster CfE plan established for enhanced transition


  • Inset session for all cluster staff on numeracy; secondary staff also on literacy


  • SMT review curriculum architecture to find opportunities to best meet aims, capacities and principles of CfE


  • Departments to make changes to courses so that learning programmes best meet the aims, capacities and principles of CfE



  • Monitoring of the implementation of strategies through forward planning and sharing classroom experience


  • Further raising of student and parent awareness through assembly programme, PSE and meetings with focus groups


  • Implementation of new Student Achievement profile in PSE



  • Further enhance classroom methodology through providing inset opportunities for IT through CAT programme, CPD sessions.


  • Work towards Health Promoting School Status Level 2. This will involve an audit of Health Education; 6 action plans and monitoring reports agreed with parents, staff and students


  • Review progress, share and agree next steps on CfE



By whom












Steering Group







All cluster staff



















DHT L & T; PSE team








DHT Staff









Aug 2008



By 5th Sept



By 5th Sept 2008



Twice termly



Twice termly


August 2008


October 2008



By Oct 2008




On-going. Complete by May 2009



By May 2009







By Oct 08




By Oct 2008





By June 2009





By June 2009





Action Page


Priority To improve the integration of ICT in teaching across the curriculum.


Key area(s)


Delivery of Education


Quality indicator(s)

5.1, 5.2, 5.3

Outcomes and impact on learners

Š        Students’ learning experiences will be enhanced through increased use of ICT.


Š        Students will benefit from staffs’ improved IT skills.


Š        Students will become successful independent learners.


Š        Students will be motivated by the teaching approaches applied in the classrooms.


Š        Students’ attainment will improve.


Š        Students will find the learning experiences stimulating, challenging, relevant and enjoyable.


Š        Students’ skills as active, independent learners will be developed.


Š        Full and effective use will be made of a wide range of ICT to enhance students’ learning.

Resources (including CPD)

Š        CPD courses identified through CPD directory.

Š        In-house ICT  CPD for whole staff (2 early CAT + Inset day 2 hours)

Š        Sharing good practice on four occasions at planned activity twilight sessions.

Š        Studywiz paid for by school

Monitoring and evaluation of impact

Š        PTs will monitor ICT as party in departmental forward plans and include feedback at forward planning meetings

Š        Shared Classroom Experience encouraged to focus on ICT

Š        IT in Learning & Teaching group to monitor feedback

Š        Pupil questionnaires will be issued to School Council representatives by DHT in May 2009.

Š        A sample of pupils will be interviewed by the Depute Headteacher L & T during term three.


Overall responsibility



Priority timescale

From August 2008 to August 2009




Internal to school


Priority To improve the integration of ICT in teaching across the curriculum.



Š        Deliver staff briefing in-service on ICT and agree programmes and expectations of staff for the session


Š       Establish new IT in Learning & Teaching Group. Led by PT


Š       IT in Learning Group meet to plan IT training (CAT session 2; CPD twilight) and support; agree meetings.


Š       Group meetings to carry out agreed tasks ( including feedback & evaluation)


Š        Implement the new ICT procedures/expectations set down in appendix to Learning & Teaching Policy



Š        Plan shared classroom experiences




Š        Plan departmental and/or peer shared classroom experiences




Š        Plan next steps based on Group feedback


















By whom







PT-led Group














PTs/peer teachers




DHT L & T with PT leader


August 2008



By 5th Sept 2008



Sept 2008




Twice termly







October 2008




Complete by May 2009



May 2009

Action Page


Priority: To implement use of SEEMIS for recording attendance, and to explore curricular tracking and attainment tracking.


Key area

Key performance Outcomes


Quality indicator(s)


Outcomes and impact on learners


Š       Students will be supported by a more efficient form of monitoring lateness/attendance

Š       SfP staff will be able to spend more time offering student support as a result of reduced workload on attendance monitoring

Š       SfP staff will be able to support students more effectively as a result of  comprehensive, up-to-date feedback on progress of students

Š       Support staff will benefit from more efficient recording of attendance (e.g. EMAs)

Š       Staff will be able to focus more on supporting learning as a consequence of reduced administrative duties

Š       Students will receive prompt, early feedback if they are going off track across the curriculum

Š       Student attainment will improve as departments will be able to monitor progress more effectively

Š       Vulnerable students at risk of missing out will have raised attainment

Š       Parents will receive more comprehensive and timely feedback on student attendance and progress when required


Resources (including CPD)


Š       Inset opportunity for all staff on SEEMIS registration procedures ( Aug 2008) Costs of SEEMIS training

Š       Access to IT laboratory for SEEMIS training

Š       CPD available to SMT staff involved in designing tracking systems

Š       Three days for two DHTs staff to set up tracking systems in Term 3

Š       CPD available to departments involved in piloting tracking approaches during 2008-9

Š       SEEMIS software on all machines used for registration

Š       Whole staff inset ( part of IT review time in Term 3) to review progress and identify departments who wish to be involved in 2009-2010


Monitoring and evaluation of impact


Š       Improved accuracy of  registration/latecomer records; reduction in lateness/truancy

Š       Evaluation by SfP staff

Š       Feedback from pilot departments on impact of the tracking pilots; including information obtained from student questionnaires

Š       Feedback from support staff on impact of new system

Š       Improved attainment levels compared with baselines in pilot departments

Š       Monitoring of pilot project by relevant  DHTs

Š       Evaluation by IT Advisory Group


Overall responsibility

DHT Teaching & Learning/DHT Systems

Priority timescale

Š      Introduce registration/Period registration; pilot attainment tracking 2008-2009

  • Extend attainment tracking pilots to other departments 2009-2010; introduce whole school curricular tracking in 2009-2010





Š      Staff training in use of SEEMIS for morning and period by period registration


Š      Training for DHTs in curricular/attainment tracking; training for PTs in pilot departments


Š      Establish systems for supporting registration using SEEMIS (include systems for cover staff)


Š      Set up attainment tracking strategies in pilot department


Š      Review progress of all aspects of implementation


Š      Set up whole school system for curricular tracking in consultation with IT Advisory Group


Š      Identify departments willing to explore attainment tracking opportunities in 2009-2010


Š      Evaluate implementation and plan next steps





By whom








Pilot PTs
















DHTs; PTs of pilot; IT Strategy Group



Aug 2008



By Sept 2008



By Aug 2008



By Oct 2008



By Dec 2008




By Jan 2009



May 2009



May 2009



Action Page


Priority: To develop leadership capacity in the school community through developing people and partnerships


Key area



Quality indicator(s)

9.1, 9.2 , 9.3


Outcomes and impact on learners


Š       Many staff, at all levels, will be undertaking distributed leadership roles

Š       Our consultative and collegiate approach will be improved

Š       Opportunities for initiative will be increased for staff and learners

Š       There will increased evidence of partnership working and team development

Š       We will make increased use of learners’ views

Š       The collective knowledge, interest and experience of staff will be used towards improvement

Š       A sense of responsibility to ensure success and achievements for learners will permeate throughout

Š       Working relationships will be built on trust and a genuine concern for all stakeholders

Š       There will be an increased atmosphere of collective responsibility and mutual support

Š       Management, learning and support structures will build positive relationships

Š       Team performance will be regularly evaluated

Resources (including CPD)


  • CPD (CAT - 2 hours) for all staff
  • CPD Staff section in Learning Resources Centre
  • Working Party systems and structures for CfE provide opportunities for developing leadership capacity
  • SMT acceptance of use if CPD time for leadership
  • Emergent costs for developing student leadership to be met from St Andrew’s Day fund through Student Council

Monitoring and evaluation of impact


  • Evaluation strategies through Student Council
  • Staff with distributed leadership roles to take part in coaching interviews in order to measure impact and personal development in leadership capacity
  • Staff and student questionnaires

Overall responsibility



Priority timescale

August 2008 – August 2010

Review progress and planning August 2009








Š       Staff briefing on leadership capacity Action Plan


Š       In service on what leadership means for JGHS


Š       Provide opportunities for increased distributed leadership opportunities in CfE, L and T, management of PT meetings, etc.


Š       Develop an even more effective student voice through the Student Council


Š       Continue to provide opportunities for consultation and participation


Š       CPD time will be devoted to leadership development


Š       Developments will be reviewed










By whom























June 2008


Aug. 2008



From Aug. 2008



From Aug. 2008





3rd October and ongoing



Ongoing and end pt in May 2009


[1] Progress on each of these priorities will be reported within the audit section.


[2] Senior Management Team.

[3] Board of Management.

[4] Assessment is for Learning.

[5] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008.

[6] Depute Head Teacher.

[7] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008.

[8] Collegiate Activity Time.

[9] Curriculum for Excellence.

[10] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008 page 3.

[11] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008 page 3.

[12] Standard Grade Level.

[13] Continuing Professional Development.

[14] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008.

[15] Edinburgh City Review, November 2007.

[16] Design & Technology, Standards and Quality Report, May 2008.

[17] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008 page 5.

[18] Information Communication Technology.

[19] Personal Social Education.

[20] Craft and Design Technology.

[21] Support for Learning.

[22] English as an Additional Language.

[23] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008.

[24] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008 page 9.

[25] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008.

[26] CEC Review, section 9.3 Developing people and partnerships.

[27] The City of Edinburgh Council Quality Development School Review, James Gillespie’s High School, April 2008 page 9.

[28] Progress on each of these priorities will be reported within the audit section