Inspectorate’s concerns over special schools in Motherwell, Uddingston and Coatbridge

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Three North Lanarkshire special schools have received harsh assessments from inspectors.

Education Scotland has published new reports on Clydeview School in Motherwell, Fallside School in Uddingston and Pentland School in Coatbridge.

Clydeview School,  hit the headlines last March as North Lanarkshire Council called in police to investigate allegations of use of improper restraint involving an autistic child. This resulted in four members of staff being suspended.

A number of changes have now taken place in the school’s leadership team and inspectors published an update which acknowledges a number of improvements have occurred but there is still a lot more to be done.

The report states said: “While some progress has been made since the original inspection, there are still areas where further significant improvement is required. We will liaise with North Lanarkshire Council regarding the school’s capacity to improve. We will return to carry out a further inspection of the school within nine months of the publication of this letter. We will discuss with North Lanarkshire Council the details of this inspection.”

Parents will be alerted to the outcome of this inspection.

An inspection report on Fallside School classed both assessment criteria: learning, teaching and assessment and raising attainment and achievement as “weak” the second bottom rating in its six-point scale.

According to the guide to this scale, “An evaluation of weak means that there are important weaknesses within this aspect of the organisation’s work. While there may be some strengths, the important weaknesses, either individually or collectively, are sufficient to diminish service users’, experiences in substantial ways. It implies the need for prompt, structured and planned action on the part

of the organisation.”

Although inspectors noted positive work by the head teacher and work with partners to improve learning experiences at the school, they also called for improvements to learning, teaching and assessment including better lesson plans and progress tracking and better attendance.

Inspectors will return to the school within a year to assess what progress has been made.

Pentland School was the subject of a follow-up inspection to check on progress made since March.

In the report from this further inspection they wrote: “A number of children display challenging behaviour as a result of their social and emotional needs. This leads to a significant number of incidents of conflict and disruption to learning on a regular basis. Staff’s approaches to promoting positive behaviour are not having an impact on improving relationships and behaviour across the school.”

Inspectors called for the adoption of alternative approaches to seclusion which has resulted in former seclusion areas being adapted for play to promote positive behaviour, but they feel too much use is still being made of physical interventions.

The inspectors noted additional staff training in areas such as understanding trauma and de-escalation approaches to challenging behaviour, and called for them to implement this into better support for the children.

Overall, the inspectorate feels “insufficient progress” has been made at this school and will carry out an additional inspection within six months.

A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council said: “We are working closely with each of the schools to develop action plans to address each of the points raised in the inspections.

“The action plans will be implemented alongside the recommendations of our comprehensive review into the delivery of Additional Support Needs across North Lanarkshire.

“The review sets out a radical approach that will fundamentally overhaul current practice leading to improved learning experiences for our young people while also providing a better service to their families.”