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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Castlebay school

It looks like the Comhairle has a lot of work to do to persuade the Barra parents that the quality of education in Castlebay school is up to the correct standard....

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HMIe Follow-Through Report


The Parent Council of Castlebay Community School is extremely disappointed to note that the HMIe has for the third time identified issues with the quality of learning at the school, stating in its latest report that pupils "still experience too much variability". An identified strength of the school is the "achievements beyond the classroom" but within the classroom "standards of reading, writing and mathematics" have fallen.

There have been staffing issues in the English department that have remained unresolved for the last year, and the HMIe states that "the needs of those studying English ... are not being effectively met". Since the inspection, the Art department also has a staffing issue. The support for learning base, which had been a strength is now "not appropriate for all supported learning activities". Due to the continuing issues, the HMIe will conduct a third follow-through visit within a year.

The Parent Council has had a number of issues with the school and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in the past, mostly relating to the lack of consultation and the lack of improvement. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar must resolve the re-occurring issues of the HMIe reports with urgency to restore the confidence of parents

The Parent Council continues to look to the school and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to act upon the three HMIe reports to plan and implement rapid improvements so that the children of Barra can achieve their full potential.

Th HMIe report states that "in the majority of lessons the range of tasks and activities are still too limited", and that "too many young people drop subjects or are entered at lower levels in examinations". Two years have passed since the initial HMIe inspection, and whilst there have been improvements, the pace of change is too slow for many parents. For the pupils, any delay is simply too late.
Contact:

Joint Chairs
Parent Council
ccs_parent.council@yahoo.co.uk
Notes to editors:

1. The three HMIe reports are:
1. Inspection report of January 2008 which identified a number of weaknesses.
2. Initial follow-through report of February 2009 which reported some improvement.
3. Second follow-through report of March 2010.
2. The Parent Council had a mass resignation over the appointment process of senior staff in 2008. Details are available at: http://www.heraldscotland.com/11-parents-quit-posts-as-school-s-deputy-is-promoted-1.838311
3. HMIe reports for Castlebay Community School can be found at: http://www.hmie.gov.uk/ViewEstablishment.aspx?id=8248&type=3
4. The contact details for Castlebay Community School can be found at: http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/education/schools/barra.asp
5. The details of the Education and Children's Services Department of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar can be found at: http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/education/directorate/organisation.asp

164 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Barra Bhouys were always charming in personality but incredibly thick- witness one Angus Brendan MacNeill

Anonymous said...

There maybe a job for ABM there when he gets thrown out in May.

Watch him squirm to the Comhairle then looking for a job.

Apparently he has been quoted as saying at a meeting regarding the school that he could not comment as he may be looking for a job there soon.

Anonymous said...

ABM is not thick,he has taken the thickos for a ride getting them to elect him,which they duly did.

Anonymous said...

neglect, sheer bloody neglect. I heard cllr. munro on the radio this morning....how does she know what's going on down here?...they've been failling us for years, even after 3 hmie reports telling us what we all knew about our childrens educuation, they still peddle the same myth....if we, the CNES, tell you it's ok you'll believe us.....well we don't. It's time they fixed the problems in the school and that flawed incompetent education department, and made us proud of our school instead of embarassed. Anywhere else we'd have pulled the children long ago.....SOMEONE HELP OUR CHILDREN

Anonymous said...

"Due to the continuing issues, the HMIe will conduct a third follow-through visit within a year." Is this a record?

Parents and pupils in this school should sue the education authority for failing them.

Anonymous said...

The parents have been complaining about the education in Castlebay school for years!!
We stupidly welcomed HMIE as we thought that they would help our children!!(Many parents went to them for help to no avail.)
Unfortunately HMIE have treated us the same way as our council, so who do we turn to now?
Meanwhile the losers are our children!!!
ps. Why has Heb News not run this story?

Anonymous said...

As a parent, anyone know the name of a good lawyer? they have failed my children....again

Anonymous said...

Angus, don't encourage them! You must realise that complaining and backbiting are part of the staple diet for Barra. Anything to do with the Comhairle, the Health Board, CalMac, HIAL, HIE or any other public agency is rubbish. If they didn't have something to gripe about and form action groups, who knows what kind of other unsavoury activity they'd get up to .... or at least do more of it than usual.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what was said earlier regarding Cllr. Munro. I too heard her speaking on the radio this morning telling everyone how the council is working hard with the school, the parents and the pupils, yet we are still waiting on a better education. As a pupil in this school, i have often felt that we are not credited as a strength to the school, but rather a burden. It seems to me that the Education Department is spending more money on paying off teachers and giving them packages because of their incompetence rather than trying to improve our learning in the school. I only have a year or two left in this school, but i have a younger sibling who has all this ahead of him and i just hope that the school and cnes will finally acknowledge this situation and stop trying to kid themselves so that they can make this school a much better place for other children.

Anonymous said...

Forget Cllr. Munro and ABM, it is the pupils who go to the 'school' day in day out that people need to start listening to! Cllr Munro and AMB have no idea of what goes on in there. I would be surprised if either of the two knew that the higher English students of Castlebay School have an English teacher for 3 out of the 5 days of the school week. Do we have any hope in our students passing higher English when their previous English teacher continually failed to turn up to her lessons without a pen? Something has to be done!!

Anonymous said...

i wonder if cllr. munro would like to come to Barra and meet the parent and pupils and explain her interpretation of the HMIe report that's in my hand, i am not reading the from the same report she quoted from this morning on the radio.
where's our own cllrs support!!!!

Anonymous said...

HMIe report 22 January 2008.

Key strentgh * The high levels of motivation and interest in learning which pupils brought to the school.

HMIe follow up report 24 February2009
Key strentgh * The high level of motivation and intrest in learning Which children and young people bring to the school.

HMIe Follow up report March 9 2010
Partcular strentgh of the school
*Young people's positive attitude to learning and relationships with each other.

All Above were the First Comments made.

Yet HMIe continue to write comments like The school still needs to deal with young people perception that they are not being treated fairly. (March 2010)

MOTIVATED, INTRESTED & POSITIVE ATTITUDES. all adjectives describe the pupils, so what is the issue ????????????????

why do they feel that they are being failed?

And as a council tax payer who is not doing there job.

Maybe Sueing is the only way forward ?

Anonymous said...

'You must realise that complaining and backbiting are part of the staple diet for Barra. '

Correct me if I appear to be wrong, but I think after 5 years of hell in that 'school' I have a right to express my concerns. You have no idea of what goes on in there or how un-professional some of the staff are when they have to roll their eyes and make gestures for the pupils to have a clear understanding of what they think of other members of staff. Also, can we please focus on the problems of Castlebay School and not ABM’s future.

Anonymous said...

I am a pupil of the school and I must stress that I have never felt so embarrased in my whole entire life. I am ashamed when going to university and college interviews when I have to tell them what school I go to. At one particular interview I got the response 'Oh yes, I seen that school on the news last week'. Its the same old story time and time again. Follow through report here, inspection there. Yet no change at all has been observed. To be honest with you, in my opinion it is getting worse (if that is possible!). I can only feel sympathy for those who follow me in their years of secondary. I cannot apply for the course I want to do at college/university due to being failed by the English Department. Something needs to be done now because really things cannot get any worse.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine the public outcry if this was the Nicholson Institute. Wonder what councillor Munro would have to say then!!!

Anonymous said...

I am a pupil in Castlebay Community school and i think the people on this blog should talk to those that go to my school as mentioned previouly. These people who like to say that the school is improving ought to have an inside view on how some of the teachers conduct themselves infront of the pupils and how they seem to think that the only way forward is to oppose more rules on us such as; the standard of our uniform, and where we sit during break and lunch times! Should we not be paying more attention to what is going on in the classrooms? Or is that too much to ask for?

Anonymous said...

Can someone ask the council why 4 English teachers are being paid in our school for approx 100 pupils?? No one our school can answer this question.

Anonymous said...

8:41 PM

I finished the Niccy only a few years ago and you don't want to know the horror stories I have from my time there.

Ruined my life, ruined my education.
Thanks a lot CNES education authority.

They quite clearly have incompetents in their ranks and are a reason why many on these islands have turned to drink after being failed by the education system and having few opputunities.

Anonymous said...

It actually makes my stomach churn to read of a pupils embarrassment at one of the most important interviews of their life! That just sums everything up!

'Oh yes, I seen that school on the news last week'.

When is CNES going to sit up and take responsibility for the mess this school is in?

'Ruined my life, ruined my education.'

After so many bad reports for Castlebay School, i am surprised that those in the CNES Education Department are still in their jobs. Do they not realise that their incompetance is the cause of so many failing children?

The HMIe report clearly states that pupils are not being stretched to their ability and that they are entered at lower examination levels.

Every child has a dream to become succesfull. Some want to become doctors, others want to become pilots. How can children live these dreams when the CNES struggle to get decent English teachers and achieve the neccessary grades.

Anonymous said...

4 english teachers......
one suspended?? since May
one restricted to non certificated classes
one brought in from highland council only teaches 3 days a week
one poor probatationer dragged into the mess
Where else would this happen??

No recruitment of an art teacher, though the old one retired. hell mend the student sitting exams.

primary supply teachers babysitting secondary classes including certificated classes.

that's before you get to the quality of the education and management right through the system.

but everything is fine don't worry the cnes have improved their ability to fail our future.

roll on inspection number 4...cnes knows no shame

Anonymous said...

When is someone going to listen to the cries of all worried about this school!!!
After reading all these commments, I would be surprised that even if you didn't have a child in this school, you would be alerted by what has been written.
Unfortunately, these chidren do not have the time left for HMIe to come back next year.

Anonymous said...

Just checked "press release" and "whats new" on the cnes website.
Surprise, surprise, no mention of HMIe follow up report for Castlebay School.
Well, does that not prove how much(or little!) the council care about the children in Barra????

Anonymous said...

Theres one answer - vote them out! But this never happens, why? Because change is scary? Because no-one else could do any better? Because 'our' councillor is the exception but all the others are useless?

No they are all one and the same, sticking together, making up policy in closed meetings and towing the party line, even if it heads over as many cliffs. When do we ever hear of some real dissent or even debate from that monstrosity of a council? Note that on the rare occasions some-one does speak up these days, they are whipped back into line by some winging appeal for unity or the fat pump jockey throws a shaker.

Anonymous said...

What else did anyone expect when they employed an incompetent old primary teacher to do the job that they needed a professional to do.

Thank god I got out of there while I still had a hope.

However, what baffles me is why the HMIE don't follow up with any of the pupils that have left the school... I'm sure they'd be shocked to discover the true reasons.

someone needs to take the shovel of them...

Anonymous said...

Bernard Chisholm, depute director of education. "The department has confidence in the process and in the appointment." - on the appointment of the current "headteacher" in November 2008.

They should have listened...

Everyone now knows how bad the school is in the western isles AGAIN. Maybe it's time to shame the school and the CNES nationally!

Anonymous said...

Shocking comments -really feel for the pupils who attend this joke of a school - maybe they need advice about how they can take this forward - ombudsman? Audit Scotland? I am not sure really & anyway that would all take time.
I thought my school was bad with the teacher who stands on ur toes to ensure you listen to them telling u off (still does the same trick in class I am told) or the one that lears at the girls & gives smutty comments - well the ones he 'likes' which is know to the head teacher but nothing done. oh or of course being sent to the library when a teacher has something else she needs to do during 'guidance'. I suppose at least within this I got an ok education.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone able to help these children?
Do we just accept this time and time again?
How many generations have the CNES education department now failed?
Why are so many families with young children leaving our Island?
Just out of interest are the employees of the CNES education department properly qualified to do the job they are paid to do? Who checks up on them, I wonder!
In fact who would employ them?
Meanwhile our children are failed by this useless CNES department, heads need to roll now surely? Is incompetence not a good case for dismissal, legal action etc. etc.?

Anonymous said...

"or the fat pump jockey throws a shaker."
First time I have heard any critism of Mad Manford on this blog thought he could do no wrong for barra.

Anonymous said...

In Castlebay school just now we have a please take from a retired primary teacher and we aslo have the same one for next period, and this from a student who is doing her Standard Grade Exams this year

Also i have only had a year being taught in English not knowing half the stuff i need for my exams, And having a Proper English teacher who has just come out of Uni is a year too late for all my English class.

Anonymous said...

Apparently a senior prefect was spoken to by the headteacher and guidance teacher today for "breaking" an English teacher. There was a minor issue with homework and appearently the teacher said that she was humiliated infront of the class and that she doesnt think that she would be able to teach the Int 2 class again. I thought the prefect was kidding at first -but they were deadly serious. That just shows you what kind of "school" the people of Barra attend everyday.

Anonymous said...

Why are the CNES have not even botherd to advertised for the art or english department and the new head teacher is not even better than the last one, So what happened to making Castlebay School a better place and give our children a better education?

-The School Uniform is awful and none of the children want to wear it
-The english department is going down along with the maths
-The teachers complain about the children haning out in the foya or the coorider, Why are they worrying about were the children are hanging for break at lunch why not bother with there education and what you are going to do next to help the children with there exams

Anonymous said...

As a pupil at the school i think its awfull. The headteacher is less than inadequate and quite unsociable, shes not even qualified to be a secondary teacher, so how in gods name is she the headteacher of one ?

Anonymous said...

The education system is failing the pupils at Castlebay Community School.

There are some very serious problems within the school and the council does nothing to help.

How many of these problems actually lie directly with CNeS and the way they treat valid parent and pupil complaints with total lack of respect and total lack of action.

Valid complaints are squashed and are never dealt with.

At the end of the day its not about pointing fingers at individuals BUT the fact that the pupils are being failed by the system.

There are so many parents who are trying very hard to work together to bring problems into the open and to help find solutions and yet each time these issues are squashed and the problems continue regardless.

There is a total lack of communication in the majority of instances and issues are just not dealt with.

If in the end the council comes down to Barra for a meeting, the response is just lies, as is revealed by the passing of time.

There needs to be an accurate independent logging system that records complaints and the results so that these can be monitored and audited.

Quite clearly the HMIe has not even touched on the problems within the school.

There are very real problems and the pupils can tell the stories and should be allowed to - so that things can be improved.

If there was not intimidation and so much bullying going on then the real stories would come out!

The truth is that the HMIe has not even touched on the problems and why is that?

Is it because they do NOT actually speak to anyone or that they don't take note of what they hear.

Their report does not even come inline with the definitions they use - certainly there are NONE of the definitions supposed used in the HMIe report i.e. excellent, good, unsatisfactory etc - it that because education delivery IS SO POOR that it cant even be described - other than to say that it is improving???

A follow-up in a year means nothing if the problems are not being dealt with. There is not even an accurate list of the problems in the HMIe report to deal with.

In the meantime nothing is being done to make improvement and monitor problems, and pupils are losing valuable years of their lives - THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE.

What is actually going on, in the classrooms? The children are NOT getting an education.

Look at the reasons for this, many are given on this blog comments section:

4 teachers on the payroll for English (Why?) and still the children are not getting sufficient hours.

No art teacher and then a primary art teacher for secondary pupils

Primary supply teachers for secondary pupils

What is the quality of maths and english tuition in primary - is this monitored by anyone and how?

Are the children actually being taught what they need to know or are teachers absent too much, talking on the phone, busy with other things, busy in conflict with each other.

The truth must come out and be dealt with.

Its not about critising people but CLEARLY the education system is NOT WORKING.

Captain Swing said...

Having read all the comments to date am I the only one who thinks that the vast majority of the whinges are from one person? I'm not suggesting that there isn't a problem at this school, clearly there is, the comments just look a bit similar.

I also read that quite a lot of emphasis has been placed on the lack of proper English tuition and the author(s) of these comments ably demonstrate how lacking they are in spelling and grammar, or is this just a wind up and I've taken the bait?

Either way it looks like our Council is yet again the orchestrator of a monumental cockup. Surely good education cannot be that difficult, I mean lots of Councils have Education Departments and they manage alright!

Perhaps we should look to what is proposed in England where poorly performing schools will be taken over by the management of schools that are performing well. What a great idea our schools will be run by a management team from off island!

There is one thing that I am definitly glad about and that is I'm glad my children are well past their education, I certainly wouldn't have wanted them to have to go to a school like Castlebay if half of this is true.

Anonymous said...

Headmistress and Depute Headmistress see fit to disrupt a whole Higher Geography lesson to condemn the school canteen. After eating the macaroni, the Headteacher expresses her disgust to the pupils - mostly prefects - about how burnt it was. So, could she tell us why she ate it all, and, in fact, scraped her plate?! Depute Head forbids pupils to bring ANY food in from outside the school, and tells canteen staff to monitor this. Canteen staff are BLAMED for the rule. Management are portrayed as heroes for disbanding it!

HIGHLY PROFESSIONAL! Or professional liars? Incidentally, are our lunchtime habits affecting our learning, and even any of their business?!

The previous headteacher also had a not-so-successful management team. In his team was our current headteacher - Depute Head of Primary, at the time. Do tell us, HMI, why that failed system has been shuffled so that an under-qualified, eccentric, ignorant and highly disrespected woman is trying to solve the problems which she originally helped to create.

I also know of some confidentiality issues the school faces - someone clearly finds it difficult to keep her mouth shut! I attended a function for Eoligarry Primary, where a young pupil expressed to me his knowledge of MY progress in a particular subject. Needless to say, I lost interest in that subject a LONG time ago! I'm taking this further, aware that there will be nothing about it! So why bother? HELP US!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Captain Swig, those spelling mistakes are real.
One of them was written by a silly little, idiotic girl in S4 - trying to act smart but failing.

However, I do think there are some serious issues in the school...

The maths dept. is definetly not going down - that's just one persons view of their class. And I should know, I AM a pupil there. If anything the maths dept. is one of the best in the school.

For the english dept. Yes, there were serious problems, and I agree that having one teacher here for 3 days a week is inadequate. However, I think it's unfair for them to be taking the blame for something they didn't cause in the first place.

In my opinion, the school cares more about our uniform and reputation than our education. It all comes down to the headteacher. She was obviously chosen out of favoritism when it came to deciding who was best for the position of headteacher.

Anonymous said...

Sad to say this blog is not all the work of one person and as a parent I can identify with most of the comments and all the above is true :-(
We have tried for years to give our children a happy environment to be educated in to no avail.
Last years record of achievements sent home in August 09 was all about singing, dancing and drama, not one mention of the SQA result or any employment achievements as these were not worthy of a mention in Castlebay Schools Record of Achievement. Please read the reports and you will understand. The only improvement is in the staff morale but most of them have left since the last report honour among and all that!!!!!!!!!!

Captain Swing said...

Anon 6:10pm

I'm intrigued to know how you know it's a silly little, idiotic girl in S4 - trying to act smart but failing are you all sitting around the same PC concocting these posts?

I hope you are not because if you are you might be doing more harm than good.

Rather than whinge to a rather remote part of the Blogsphere (sorry Angus) you ought to be taking your complaints to the Education Secretary. Failing that a mass demonstration of civil disobedience, a sit in, or strike, or even better a combined Parent Pupil demonstration, but this is no good if the Press, and by Press I mean the BBC and national papers, not the Gazette (a complete waste of a piece of paper)are not in attendance. It's your and your childrens education, in many ways you only get one shot and if the system is failing you then kick up a fuss, and do it NOW.

You clearly believe you have been failed the ball is in your court.

Anonymous said...

I don,t know why some one has posted something abour AB on this site, this is for school comments only surely. On that subject why are the poor kids that use the BASE on display for all to see and hear, behind some curtains I believe, although I also heard that the curtains are coming down(because the HMI told them) and they are putting up perspex or glass or something, I presume that this is for everyone in the entire school and library to see all who need learning support, why not sell some nuts and bread and get the public to feed the kids behind the screens. Pity the headteacher or management teams kids don,t use the BASE, me thinks things would be different. Stop putting these kids on display and treat them like human beings, put them back in the office where they were before and find a soltion for the guidance team, why not use the headteachers office she,s never there anyway, she,s always in the primary dept where she belongs.

Anonymous said...

CNES what are you going to do about these allegations regading Castlebay School. Shame on those councillors who appointed the headteacher, they were told that they let the wrong candidate go but did not listen as usual, I think they will have lost lot of votes for that, I KNOW THEY HAVE LOST MINE.

Anonymous said...

Since first HMIE

COUNCILLORS,MP, MSPs, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION(both), HMIE, NEWSPAPERS(national and local), HOLYROOD EDUCATION COMMITTEE, PHYCOLOGISTS, EDUCATION HELPLINES, BLOGS, and i believe the local Parent Council have even tried to direct the matter to the EDUCATION MINISTER....everyone is always shocked but nothing happens, our all powerful Comhairle are the only ones able to fix it is all they tell you.
..nobody wants to take responsibilty, as they all know and have ignored the problems for 10, 15 years....they'll go away, we'll get tired....NOT THIS TIME.

Someone out there must have a conscience, we'll eventually find that person and the ball will roll.

Anonymous said...

My daughter and several of her friends have, several times, worked out in Africa during their summer break from university.

After reading both the HMI report and the subsequent tirade of anonymous comments I am somewhat depressed.

Unfortunately most people only realise how well off they are in terms of social infrastructure when it is lost. At the moment there is a reasonable school building, a staff that are trying their best for the pupils, and a council education department which serves one of the most scattered communities in Scotland.

Look to the positives and build on them, not to the negative and self destruction.

The photos and reports that I have seen of some of the village schools in Africa - no windows, floor, or roof, and zero resources - makes me cringe at how little respect or appreciation we have for our comparative wealth of talent in the education departments throughout the islands

Anonymous said...

Whilst I appreciate the previous comment. Only two years ago my family hosted children from South Africa in our house on the island of Barra a conversation took place about the importance of education. Our visitor could not understand the little respect that the children had for their education system. A conversation took place out with the home. On return visitors comment was “Now I understand”. whilst pretty building are a privilege, human needs such as education are not and in this developed country the writer of the previous comment must respect the comment from HMIe with regards to enthusiastic children thriving for the need to be educated. Please readers of this blog do not undermine the severity of this problem.

Parent awaiting a fourth HMIe inspection in four years, know is that norm?

Anonymous said...

With regards to the post which states that "the maths department going down, being only one persons point of view" - perhaps you should actually read the HMIe report.

The HMIe report reads as follows:

...within the classroom "standards of reading, writing and mathematics" have fallen.

This means that standards of mathematics have fallen.

That is NOT one persons opinion!

This is the opinion of the HMIe inspection and combined with reading and writing is a VERY SERIOUS statement, if read correctly!

It is also the opinion of several pupils and parents.

(Educated and well researched statements make better impact).

Anonymous said...

10.35 Yes we are extremely lucky compared to the majority of people on the planet, which to my mind is exactly why people should not 'take the p**s' to put it bluntly.

Adequate funding is (or was) there to provide Barra with a school on a parr with any other. Indeed it is worth considering that across the UK schools, which are located in areas with deprivation beyond the imaginings of people on these cozy islands, and pupils bases of thousands, with multiple first languages are managing to do quite well thank you.

So why are we having such difficulty running tiny schools with relatively very well behaved, eager children and supportive parents that many schools can only dream of. This should be a walk in the park. The fact that it isn't can only reflect one thing - the incompetence or negligence of those in charge.

I would find it little consolation, finding my children in a failing school which may disadvantage their career prospects for life, to reflect on how they are better off than people in a developing country that has no real education system, health care, or economy. Personally I would like mine to be educated in 21st century developed Europe.

Anonymous said...

Comments about ABM and derogatory remarks about Barra people have no place on this topic.

This topic is about CNeS and school staff serving a community and the complaints about a lack of quality education for the children in the community for the past 15 years.

These are pupils who have dreams about their lives, who aim to achieve in their lives. Pupils who may want to become doctors, artists, musicians, poets, authors, lawyers, athletes, scientists/biologists etc.

These children are just as important as children anywhere on the isles or in Scotland or the UK as a whole, yet they are not getting the same opportunity.

Yet they have been stuggling here with an inferior, ineffective school for 15 years.

It may be improving but its not good enough or fast enough. There are children who have lost years of their lives in this and it has affected the quality of their whole lives. It has affected and ruined their future.

Their futures have been ruined because of issues that remain unresolved not the least of which has been teachers bickering with each other and openly conflicting with each other on a regular basis in front of pupils and not getting down to providing interesting and stimulating lessons so that the children can delight in learning.

For those who attempt to downplay this, you are obviously unaware of the number and seriousness of the problems within this school.

Yes some people are trying very hard, but the school does still NOT meet the minimum requirements of an effective education facility in the UK.

For that matter Barra is not treated, the same as the rest of the isles or Scotland for that matter and that goes for the school as well, so its the pupils who are suffering and their education and their future.

The amount of lying that goes on in CNeS and the school, by staff is shocking. The excuses made for situations, changes in their excuse stories from meeting to meeting, with total lack of regard that minutes are taken.

The common tactic is to separate complainants and divide them into groups of 2 parents to take up issues on behalf of all the parents and then those parent representatives are just walked over and told all sorts of things that are not substantiated. In the end after much time and effort the topic/problem is squashed and not dealt with.

At the end of the day, the parents are taking up issues on behalf of pupils and not for their own gain.

The pupils and children are the future - give them a chance.

The lack of communication, lack of consultations, lack of transparency, lack of consideration for pupils and their parents is unbelievable.

The lack of planning, lack of permanent teachers, lack of secondary supply teachers, lack of honesty is a huge problem.

This is NOT one persons opinion this is proven fact and if the parents and pupil comments sound similar then that shows they are speaking with one, united voice.

It means they all agree with each other.

It means there are serious problems that need to be dealt with both by CNeS and the school staff.

It means that there needs to be an effective independent 'watchdog organisation' for education where concerns and problems can be taken to and be resolved.

Dealing with the CNeS does not help and neither does dealing with the school. Nothing changes!

Anonymous said...

captin swing!

to answer your question : I'm intrigued to know how you know it's a silly little, idiotic girl in S4 - trying to act smart but failing are you all sitting around the same PC concocting these posts?

the reson we know it was a 4th year girl the wrote that comment is becuse she was sitting in class with bout 20 others when she had posted it, this was because we did not have a teacher for a standard grade subject ! when we have SQA exams this time next month !!!


no joke !

Anonymous said...

Whichever way you look at it, something is very wrong at Castlebay School – wrong for the pupils, wrong for the parents and wrong for the staff. Small schools will present their own problems, but small classes of mostly well-motivated pupils would be a joy for most teachers. It is quite clear that the most important people are not being listened to – and I mean the pupils and the parents. Do you think that anywhere else in the British Isles there is a secondary school with a head teacher who is primary trained and with no secondary experience? I think not. So why is it good enough for Barra?

Maybe the school needs a good secondary head with wide experience imported for at least a year to get pupils and teachers motivated to improve educational attainment all round; there is no reason why the standards being achieved in other secondary schools, mainland or island, should not be achieved in Barra.

And then, a head with good secondary experience can be appointed.
The appointment has to be ‘ best for the job’ – being born and bred in Barra and currently living there is not a criteria for appointment. This is not saying that Barra cannot produce good teachers or a good head teacher, but again, appointments have to be ‘best for the job’. There is no shame in re-advertising if an appointment cannot be made first time round.

And if there’s no movement, maybe the parents should consider a class action against CneS for failing their children?

Anonymous said...

Having left the school within the year I know fine well the state Castlebay School is in and has been in for atleast the last 6 years.

The only way to describe the school is that it was a complete joke.

Although it did have many strengths and classes that were able to produce 'A' grade pupils, to which I am thankful because without said classes I would have no chance of getting into University, this does not excuse its many flaws.

Maths, English and Science have been awful in the last 3/4 years when you consider Grades achieved from now to back then, compared to grades achieved before the 3/4 years.

An example of silly little mistakes which have ruined this school is Craig Whalley (former P.E. Teacher) gaurenteed the school he would stay teaching for 5 years minimum but he was replaced by Ben Hartley who stayed at the school for only a year then left. Leaving a Higher P.E. class without a teacher for half the year and was taught by a retired teacher who had never taught Higher before for the other half a year.....Might i also mention he only taught 3 days of the week. That was a little confusing but any way. Absolute Joke!

The appointment of the current headteacher....Somebody with no experience of running a Secondary School, especially one in the state Castlebay School is in. Absolute Joke!

4 English teachers on pay-roll for a school of around 100 pupils whilst there is a teacher needed for Art. Absolute Joke!

I think we can all see a pattern forming here so I will move on. Any pupils reading this at the moment I would like to have it known to you all that your opinion means nothing to the school or the comhairle so to the girl in S4 there's no point in protesting, I'm not going to listen to your pathetic complaints about how the school worries about the uniform too much so keep them to yourself, there is more important matters at hand.

Now to the comment about education in Africa....We have to take into account that this is a developed country and one of the prime characteristics of a developed country is a DEVELOPED educational system. Now how is it right that every other region in the UK have a successfully run school when Barra have been left in the gutter even though the state of the school was known by the HMIe for the last 2 years. As mentioned already, if this was the Nicholson Institute it would be a completely different matter.

Have to leave work now so there's not much else I can say about the school apart from although it does have some strengths, a combination of incompetancy, errors in important choices and the fact that the Isle of Barra has never been an important subject when taken into account by the comhairle (generally speaking) has turned it into a joke of an establishment.

(also sorry for spelling mistakes ;))

Anonymous said...

I take it that the person who thinks that all the Barra people are incrediably thick switches off the BBC News when either Raymond Buchanan or his brother Michael come on the screen.

I take it he doesnt travel with Calmac for fear a Barraman may be at the helm. And the poor man will only be able to fly to Barra when it isnt the Pilot from this Island.

The potential has always been there in Barra, Unfortunately in recent years it has not been nutured.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:47pm

Unsupervised access to the internet during classes to add to the list of problems at this school, now that is quite alarming.

Anonymous said...

2.47pm Funny that following your comment, it has suddenly gone all quiet out there .... or is that the sound of Cllr Munro's feet stepping on to a plane to take it all in for herself. I guess seeing it for ones self has the desired effect or at least it should!

Come on, these kids are the next generation, we owe them a proper education and a proper shot at the world. CnES get a grip!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh come on all of you. You are in Barra!!!
It's not as if any of you will have a job at the end of your education anyway.
You will just end up being fishermen or housewives with a houseful of kids and on the social.
The alcoholism problem is optional.
Cut out the middle man (education) and just do what you do best.

Anonymous said...

As an outsider, can everyone associated with Castlebay School (not the pupils as they are the ones already willing,ready and motivated to learn) not see that the only way is forward and up and that EVERYONE must work and pull together(this is the key)to producing the goods for the pupils?? At the end of the day, that is what everyone(teachers, support staff,QIOs,) are paid to do and that is produce the goods. Leave all the negatives behind, work on the positives, even after the third visit from hmi,because there are very much positives. Address the main priorities to be dealt with, through the School Improvement Plan and that these ares of improvement be identified by all STAFF, PARENTS AND PUPILS, and show really that Castlebay School is and can be a thriving learning community, and that hmi will not need to return a 5th time! Change is a great thing but accept that change can take time.

Anonymous said...

This may help you lot!!


The Education Law Unit is Scotland's expert legal resource in the field of school education, with a particular focus on tackling discrimination, promoting human rights and the rights of disabled pupils and pupils with additional support needs.

The Education Law Unit works in partnership with schools, education authorities, parents' groups and charities across Scotland to make pupils' rights and parents' rights in education a reality.

Govan Law Centre (GLC) is an independent, charitable community controlled law centre operating in Scotland.

Telephone: 0141 445 1955
Textphone (Minicom): 0141 445 1955
Fax: 0141 445 3934
Email: equality@edlaw.org.uk,


Education Law Unit
Govan Law Centre
47 Burleigh Street
Glasgow

G51 3LB

Anonymous said...

What a big issue regarding the school in Barra IF the pupils are not getting educations the parents should go to school with them say five parents a day for a month and take notes what is happening (or not) get the press involved get them to seat in to, its YOUR school you have rights they can't turn you away !!!

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you ask for!..

Anonymous said...

Problem Pupil? or Problem Teacher?

An educational psychologist is asked to see a pupil who draws all his pictures with black and brown crayons. He talks to him. Nothing obvious. He gives him projective tests. Nothing shows up.

Finally, in desperation, he gives him some paper and a box of crayons.

'Oh goody, 'says the boy, 'I get an old box of crayons in school and only the black and brown were left.'

Anonymous said...

25th January 2008
Murdo MacLeod, Director of Education repies to the Gazette on how the school would be brought up to CNES high standards

"There are various ways that that can be done. What happens next is that the school will have to produce an action plan about how the main points are going to be addressed, and then share that plan with parents. We will be overseeing the plan and approving it."

Any parents seen the plan in action??

Mr MacLeod further explained: "In the first instance, we will have to sit down with the school management and examine the action plan. During that process, we will have to give them as much support as we possibly can. At the end of the day, improvement can only take place on the ground, in the school.

Ah, a plan!


The Comhairle had recently completed its own evaluation of the school when the inspectors came in; Mr MacLeod explained that the timing did not allow them to solve the problems before the inspection began.

SO they had a plan??? Hmie just reinforced what they knew. Well done!

"In Castlebay, we conducted our own school evaluation and identified the areas which they had to address, and indeed we gave the school considerable assistance in doing that. Very shortly after, along came the HMI - it was Castlebay's turn, as it is every six or seven years. On the evidence of our own assisted self-evaluation, the problems we found were largely consistent with the Inspectorates' report; so from that point of view, it demonstrates at least that our own procedures are accurate."

CNES ARE THE BYSTANDERS WHO WATCHED THE CHILDREN BEING ROBBED OF THEIR EDUCATION.
THEY SEEN THE CRIME BUT TURNED THEIR BACK

Captain sensible said...

Why is none of this in the tabloids, come on parents get a move on and stop the moaning on this blog it pointless being too scared get a good group of you'se together and send it to the big papers even BBC 1 Shonnag MacKinnon where it WILL make a DIFFERENCE, thats when something WILL have to get done

Anonymous said...

Answer to captain swing, the silly wee girl is infact a true reflection of what is taught or should I say Not taught in castlebay school, the simple basics, GRAMMAR, thats how pathetic things are up there. you cannot blame the silly wee girl or any of the children up there for their spelling and grammar the blame lies with the profesionals(the teachers)if the kids are'nt getting taught properly who's fault is that?, and who is supposed to notice all of these mistakes? I think it could be someone who gets paid 50+ grand a year, thats right the headteacher.
We cannot let kids be babysat in classroom by retired teachers or older kids cause they do not learn anything. What are we to doo???????????

Anonymous said...

THIS IS A FACT:
It would be cheaper to send all the Castlebay pupils to EATON.
The per capita cost of educating a pupil in the Western Isles far exceeds the cost of sending a pupil to Eaton.

Something wrong somewhere?

Anonymous said...

Hi,
As a famly of seven (now eight!) we were forced to sell our family home, and relocate to Ross-Shire. This was purely on account of a, totally unwarranted, three year "Denial of Service" by Castlebay "COMMUNITY" School and the Comhairle Directorate of Education. Their justifications and reasons; although never clarified, could quite simply be distilled, in essence, to nothing less than irrational and unbridled Sectarianism, Xenophobia and Racism.
All intervention at a Political level was, as per usual, totally ineffectual; the local MSPs and MPs being "in the pockets" of their respective communities, and further neutered by political aspiration and the "Masonic" influence of the "Free Church".
Following a two year investigation by the S.P.S.O (Case No: 200701741), every aspect of our complaint was upheld.
Let this report (http://www.spso.org.uk/investigation-reports/2009/october/comhairle-nan-eilean-siar) be a cautionary tale to all large families, considering a move to this impoverished and moribund extremity of the British Isles.
In conclusion, our sad, and ultimately quite traumatic, experience will hopefully provide an illuminating insight into the shameful provision of education that prevails on Barra to the present day.

Anonymous said...

I do feel for the teachers,(not the management). They like us can only complain to the same useless bodies we have too, i am sure to no avail.
They should group together and stand united then they'd get the parents support for change.

Anonymous said...

Now considering this topic is being moderated, how can this be deemed reasonable for publishing.

"Oh come on all of you. You are in Barra!!!
It's not as if any of you will have a job at the end of your education anyway.
You will just end up being fishermen or housewives with a houseful of kids and on the social.
The alcoholism problem is optional.
Cut out the middle man (education) and just do what you do best."

Now whilst we're trying to deal with a serious situation you're, making up s*** that you obviously have no idea about.

Anonymous said...

We have taken our children out of the primary school only to have to return for secondary. We have told the press. The ombudsman and the CNES and HMIE have seen for themselves so yes somebody some where HELP.

Anonymous said...

With 3 primary schools already closed and talk of Eoligarry being on the short list for closing, this leaves this islands parents with a choice, a bad education or move off the island. CNES may actually be doing SNH's work of ethnic cleansing for them.

Anonymous said...

I think it is absolutely appalling that the children of Barra are expected to settle for second best. I am someone who has no connection with the island at all but they should be given the same opportunites as every other child in the Western Isles. Stornoway must realise that there are many different schools in the Western Isles, not just the Nicolsen Institute

Anonymous said...

Does the person banging on about working together think that we, as parents, have not tried to do this!!!
I take it this individual does not have children in the same school as 61 people are taling about!!
Unfortunately, our children dont have the time(nothing to do with patience!)to wait for all these wonderful, very highly paid officials to sort this mess out!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well well 12:17 PM, pot kettle and black spring to mind!

Anonymous said...

Previous blog from ex Barra family now resident on the mainland (Ross-shire) makes ref to their complaints to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, and the outcome, upholding all of their complaints:

SPSO Case No. 200701741

21 Oct 2009


Case 200701741: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Summary of Investigation

Category

Local government: Education; policy and administration

Overview

Mr C complained on behalf of his son Child A. Child A was being home-educated. Mr C had asked Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (the Council) about access to exams. After discussion, it was agreed Child A could attend the nearest school (School X) for specific classes so that he could sit exams in those subjects at the end of the school year. Child A attended school but teaching staff objected. Child A was sent home. Mr C complained to the Council and was unhappy with the delay in their response and the response itself.

Specific complaints and conclusions

The complaints which have been investigated are that the Council:

(a) failed to honour a commitment to admit Child A to a class at School X (upheld);

(b) acted unreasonably in refusing to consider enrolling Child A in individual classes (upheld); and

(c) handled a complaint about these matters inadequately (upheld).


The Council have accepted the recommendations and will act on them accordingly.

Finally, the Ombudsman notes with concern that the Council’s handling of complaints has now been criticised on a number of occasions (see paragraph 24 and paragraph 58) and he will be requesting an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council to discuss his concerns and seek reassurance that Ombudsman recommendations are being implemented.

Much more on

http://www.spso.org.uk/webfm_send/2363

Anonymous said...

through the grape vine, meeting between pupils and Bernard Chisolm on Wednesday...

Walk out planned for Thursday...

Anonymous said...

12.17 The appalling experience you have had is not restricted to Barra. I know two families who had similar treatment up here, one eventually accepted defeat and left.

Captain Swing said...

Anon 2:12

I took that post to be satire, you know as if spoken by a Lewis Councillor. If you read it as such it is quite amusing.

As to your main point about the blogs moderation and whether this comment should have been published, are you advocating censorship? This is a free speech blog even if these comments are really what the author believes he/she has the right to express them, just as you have the right to critise it.

Anonymous said...

As a parent, I feel that I have at least a joint responsibility with the school to ensure that my children reach their maximum potential.
I ensure that they read as much as possible and that we play games which improve their literacy and mathematical skills. I regularly have informal discussions with their teachers if I believe that they aren't being stretched or need support in a particular area.
I have on occasion needed to formally write to the school as I believe that there are issues which are not being addressed appropriately.
My children have had teachers who, I believe, weren't as good as I would have liked but we all made the best of it. I ensured that during those school years, my children received more support at home with their learning.
My children do not watch soap operas, reality tv shows or any of the general crap that blows from the boxes every day. They eat very healthily, sweets and crisps are a rare treat, are put to bed at a reasonable time each evening and are well travelled. If they ask a question they are encouraged to find the answer in a book, hundreds of which are available in our house.
My point is that whilst the children of Barra are being let down by some of their teachers, there are still other options available to them that means they don't have to fail. Parents should be prepared to provide more support than they usually would and if the child is motivated at home and encouraged to take control of their own destiny, then they should succeed in whatever they want.
This situation is no different than an inner city school where drugs, crime and absenteeism are all prevalant. Some children see past this and go on to achieve great things.

Anonymous said...

Let the pupils talk! If there is a walkout I hope it makes headline news all over the UK and elsewhere.

The council is avoiding addressing the serious problems that are raised and so is the Head Teacher, unfortunately. Denial and avoidance seem to be the order of the day. Blatant refusal to discuss valid issues is unacceptable.

Working together is what those affected want but 'working together' means the school and council working with parents and pupils (and teachers) to make things better.....

This is NOT happening despite constant efforts by parents and pupils.

The children are the future generation,...if they dont get a decent education how can they be equipped for the future?

The council is failing the school. In the meantime pupils lives and futures are on the line.

Is a public protest/walkout is the only way to get the problem of the school highlighted so that external interest can help positive change occur? Will this be in time to help the pupils who are preparing to write their exams?

The constant and deliberate delaying tactics of the Council have ensured that the problems drag on and drag on.

It would be so easy to solve very many of the serious issues but the delaying tactics don't go unnoticed for what they are.

Look at http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/services/education.asp?servicename=Education%20and%20learning&snlid=3378

It states under Education and Learning - Our aim is to provide a continuously improving, inclusive, first class education service.

We aim at providing equal access and opportunity for all learners and appreciate the value and uniqueness of the physical and cultural environment of the Western Isles.

Ag amas air adhartas - aiming for advancement.

Yet this is clearly NOT the case with this school.

Anonymous said...

look at http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/education/schools/barra.asp

It clearly shows that Craigston school is still an alternative option for school....

CnES is NOT very up todate are they!

It also seems that they dont care much for a school that is so much in the news as they have not even updated the Head Teacher details, nor does the school even have a website.

Barra Schools Details

Barra Schools Sgoiltean Bharraigh Roll

Sgoil Bagh a Chaisteil
Bagh a Chaisteil
Eilean Bharraigh
HS9 5XD 170 Primary
Gaelic Medium
Secondary Acting Head Teacher: Annag Maclean
Tel. No.: (01871) 810 471
Fax no.: (01871) 810 102
castlebay-school@cne-siar.gov.uk

Craigston School
Craigston
Isle of Barra
HS9 5XS Sgoil Bhaile na Creige
Baile na Creige
Eilean Bharraigh
HS9 5XS 10 Primary Jean Campbell
Tel. No.: (01871) 810 581
Fax no.: (01871) 810 753
craigston-school@cne-siar.gov.uk

Eoligarry School
Eoligarry
Isle of Barra
HS9 5TD Sgoil Eoligearraidh
Eoligearraidh
Eilean Bharraigh
HS9 5TD 25 Primary Mary F Macneil
Tel. No.: (01871) 890 222
Fax no. (01871) 890 287
eoligarry-school@cne-siar.gov.uk

Anonymous said...

Well Captain Swing on the subject of censorship this site is now blocked at Castlebay School.

Anonymous said...

On the back page of the HMIE report is says:

The HMIE has responsibilities to evaluate the quality of pre-school education.........

This is a topic that is not even been touched on i.e. the problems being experienced by pre-school pupils and parents are currently just unbelievable. Parents have been highlighting this for months and been trying to get some commitment from council staff - yet it is continually squashed ans sidelined.

What are the problems in the Pre-school? This is something that needs to be highlighted!

Also unbelievable is the manner in which the council are 'dealing with the pre-school issue or rather NOT dealing with it'.

Sadly the HMIE report on the school neglected to include these details - on the rather large amount of controversial issues and how the pupils and parents are struggling to get adequate pre-school provision.

The amount of solutions parents have come up with in trying to work together with the Head Teacher and Council are MANY i.e working together to find a solution - yet they have all be rejected by council employees!

Repeatedly parents are told that Castlebay is a 3-18 year school - i.e. when it is convenient for the Council to use this definition as an excuse BUT when it is relevant to refer to the school as such then this definition of 3-18 years is thrown out the window by the council.

Typical of the double standards of council employees and yet another example of how 'deviously' the education department employees deal with issues.

NOTE: the HMIE report refers to the school incorrectly as 5-18 years school and a quote from the HMIE Report:

"The school provides education for children from 5 - 18 years".

The HMIE report goes further to state that "the management of the the local pre-school provision is not the focus of the report".

Yet there are SEVERE problems with the pre-school provision - so the fact that it is not included makes the HMIE report seem to INCORRECTLY show less problems.

Is this intentional!

The HMIE report is also written in such a way as to reflect the situation is the most moderate terms possible, in a obscure sort of way.

The official definitions/word scale to describe HMIE judgments of "excellent - unsatisfactory" have not even been used in this report on Castlebay School. Why is that?

With "unsatisfactory" actually meaning "major weakness" - it is rather pathetic to notice that the HMIE report only mentions that, for example:

The needs of those studying English at the secondary stages are NOT being met effectively - THIS SHOULD actually READ that English Provision is a MAJOR WEAKNESS (i.e. Unsatisfactory) and the council should deal with a solution according i.w. with immediate effect!

The HMIE also fails to mention that there are currently 4 teachers being paid for english provision or the reasons for this.

- 1 permanent teacher is on full pay but has not been teaching for several months - why is this ?(Inquiries by parents have been met with refusal to answer or excuses that vary from time to time)

- a note came home in the secondary pupil school bags saying that the other permanent english teacher was being restricted to S1 etc. No explanation. Why is this?

- a retired teacher has been sourced to teach very limited hours to pupils, who are preparing for their final exams, with no explanation. Is this an acceptable solution?

- a supply teacher is also involved in this.

4 salaries for 1 position and the reasons being kept secret! This is for ENGLISH!!!

This wasted money that could be used for the good of the school and pupils, all being wasted due to secret agendas, hidden reasons, lack of planning etc.

Throughout this English provision debacle, NO consultation has taken place with parents and explanations are refused by council employees.

Yet there this is only ONE of the serious issues in the school.

Anonymous said...

It seems clear that the standards and education provision at the school are so bad that the HMIE cannot even write their report using their word scales.

Parents want change - positive change - in time to help their children, who are preparing for final exams.

Years have gone by with out effective reaction of the council to the HMIE report. The HMIE report suggests improvements but nothing is done to make things better for the pupils.

The situations are far worse that the HMIE even hints at.

It is well known that council employees had a great deal of time to arrange for the HMIE report to be watered down so that it appears to be what it is, a wishy washy cover-up.

How many additional years need to go by, how many down played HMIE reports, for a drastic positive change to be made in the school?

How many pupils lives are being affected by this disgrace.

What do past pupils have to say? Let the stories of what is actually going on in the school come out of the woodwork!

When will the council sit up and take notice and stop ignoring parents and pupils over serious issues.

When will the council stop trying to divide and conquer parents and stop trying their ineffective and long-winded excuses that are inteneded to baffle and silence parents BUT DONT!

When will the council take notice of what parents and pupils are saying.

When will the council find effective and workable solutions?

When will the council actually start consulting with parents like they are actually required to according to the "Parental Involvement Act 2006" - and stop ignoring parents and pupils over valid and serious issues.

Anonymous said...

12.03 Agreed that we don't always get the best in life or what we want but are you suggesting that people on these islands should just lie down in the face of mediocrity, when solutions can and should be found. Running this island is not rocket science...

Anonymous said...

2:10pm
No I am not suggesting that you should just lie down and accept what is happening, quite the opposite actually, but why don't the parents take a positive stand. Instead of criticising the school and the teachers why not show them how it should be done? If the children are that motivated then set up out of hours activities, run by parents, for the children to attend. Reading, creative writing, drama group, discussion groups - the options are endless and the children will excel. I am sure that many parents in Barra have untapped skills that they can pass onto the youngsters.

Anonymous said...

Last years CnES Press Release: Feb 2009

http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/press/090224.asp

Chair of Education and Children’s Services, Cllr. Morag Munro, said:

“I welcome this assessment by HMIe that the school is making good progress following the report of January 2008. It is a tribute to the hard work of the Headteacher, her acting management team, staff, parents and pupils with support and guidance from the Education Department”

I see someone on this blog comments, said in response to Cllr. Morag Munro response to this year's HMIE report i.e. 2010 :

"What does Cllr. Morag Munro know about what goes on here".

Clearly Cllr. Morag Munro is making comments about something she knows or cares very little about??

Parents and pupils have been going to the press about the school for years, the council just keep at their alleged neglect.

What is actually going on at the school?

Are the School Mgt. team trying very hard? (They might be... but is the council supporting them and the school?)

Are all the teachers absolutely fabulous? (Some teachers are very good, the rest....??)

Does the school have a medical room? (NO - how curious..)

Is the base area just fantastic (Or is it unacceptable to pupils as it is now "in the passage")?

Is the pre-school a superb facility with lots of space for all the children on Barra (or are they being crammed into a room and others told there is no space)

Is the recruitment process speedy and well planned (again, NO...little to no forward planning and recruitment takes about a year to get a new teacher..)

Does the school mgt. team or council consult with parents (NO, they dont....)

the list goes on...

Anonymous said...

210pm Excuse us but why should parents have to show the school and teachers how its done? They should KNOW and get paid to do it.

Parents could do this after school, you say, but the kids already are in school from 9am - after 3pm. They need their own spare time too and they do sport.

Parents also work!

Yes parents can educate their children BUT this is what the school is for. School should run to a minimum standard.

Parents could take over the running of the school and DO IN SOME CASES!!

At this school though there are teachers who are paid to do this. If they cant or wont do it, there are other teachers on the island who can teach these kids as well.

Others who are willing and able to teach the children BUT are not given the opportunity because favoritism helps unsuitable candidates get and keep jobs.

If parents have to take responsibility for educating their children, it means the education system has failed.

Then why are those involved in education being a paid salaries if they are not doing their jobs?

Parents teaching their children, is called home schooling and is very successful BUT this is a first world country and education is something that is provided.

There are many very acceptable schools across Scotland BUT the Western Isles Council is failing miserably in keeping parents and pupils happy, right across the Isles - why is that??

They are closing schools, cutting budgets, not recruiting quality teachers...

Anonymous said...

My child has just told me that this blog is now censored.

Well done CNES, you sure know how to stamp out dissent. Whose bright idea was this, KIM-IL-CHISHOLM, or the Phantom Director of lack luster Education.

Where do I live, I'm sure it's a democracy. It doesn't feel like it.

Why do we have Councillors? Or do we have Councillors?

For sake of these islands
GET SOME BALLS, LISTEN TO THE PARENTS, SPEAK OUT OR AT LEAST SHOW THAT YOU ARE ALIVE.

GO ON TRY IT, YOU MIGHT LIKE THE FEELING, TRY BEING USEFUL. PERHAPS YOU DO CARE!

Anonymous said...

3:50pm
Yes, teachers do get paid to do the job and yes, they should do it well but we all know that they aren't 100% perfect and particularly in a place like Barra where the choice isn't there.
Stop being a whingeing parent who blames everyone else and take some responsibility. If you have the time to post on this blog at 3:50pm in the afternoon then you have the time to do some extra curricular work with your child(ren) if you care and want them to succeed.

Anonymous said...

3:50pm Why do you say particularly in a place like Barra.

All children have the right to the same education within Scotland. You are showing prejudice.

Its an inappropriate statement to call ALL the parents at Castlebay School, whingeing parents, considering the dire circumstances.

These are not the comments of one parent or one pupil.

Are you a parent/teacher of the school?

You admit the quality of teaching lacks and suggest parents helping the school, yet parents have offered to help, want to help and have been pushed away.

Anonymous said...

The Comhairle now have a "child-centred" policy in place, which is not to be regarded as tokenistic, but a genuine attempt to listen to the views of young people, particularly about contemporary issues of concern to them. This policy became manifest recently when a group of YP met with councillors in Chambers. This is a positive move.

Here we have a number of historic and present-day issues of major concern to the pupils at Castlebay School (and their parents). I suggest the elected members now sitting on the Education and Children Services C'ttee meet with a representative group of children and parents at Castlebay school at the very earliest... and jointly agree an agenda and action plan, in consultation with parents and teachers. This should not be stage managed, but should focus on some of the genuine areas of concern expressed in the above blog comments. Only by listening and communicating can a sensible consensus and way forward be jointly agreed.

Young people should have their views respected and listened to, and be invited to contribute to a forward planning agenda. In my experience, young people will rise to the challenge and come up with very sensible solutions, many of which will not have been considered by adults.

Teaching staff have personal and professional standards of accountability and I'm sure most teachers at this school wish to strive for the highest level of achievement possible - if not, they should move on (or be disciplined). Competency levels of teachers are now being much more closely scrutinised in a number of authorities.

Censorship - driving the problems "underground" is definitely not a mature response. Let this blog run freely to its own conclusion, and even go further ... invite more young people from Castlebay School to participate. Set aside time each day in the school to encourage participation ... responsible ... seeking solutions ...respecting views as they are expressed ... enabling feed-back ... YOU MAY BE SURPRISED WITH THE OUTCOMES!

Anonymous said...

11.02 I think we have the opportunity here for a valuable learning experience, and a chance to see how willing the Comhairle is to engage directly and profitably with constituents in a very public forum.

Anonymous said...

Good grief. Educational standards at Castlebay School are again officially plummeting, nothing was done to address the findings of the last two dreadful HMIe reports, some subjects are not being taught adequately, teachers are not properly qualified and acting very unprofessionally (according to multiple sources) and the Director of Education is just "too busy" to take calls.
Yet, unbelievably, our council firmly sticks its head in the sand and like James Callaghan asks: "Crisis? What crisis?"
Enough is enough. If the chairwoman of the education committee and the director are not on the plane this week, instead of listening to the overpaid sycophants who tell them what they want to hear, there will be a large-scale protest.
First Castlebay. Then Edinburgh. No point wasting time with Stornoway. They're all useless up there. They are just not bothered.

Anonymous said...

get a room, everyone connected to this mess get a room. Stand up and debate in a proper fashion. Posting anonymously if it really concerns you is cowardly. Arange a meeting and thrash it out face to face otherwise your wasting your time. Joe Bloggs and Donald Duck wont help you. Granted, its got you the attention thus far but step it up to the next level.

Anonymous said...

"first Castlebay, then Edinburgh......then we take Berlin!!.what emotional, juvenile rubbish!...Get on with your work!

Anonymous said...

Dear 7:06 PM hypocrite. Posting anonymously, when you live in a small, inter-connected, and highly related community, and essential services for you and your family largely depend on a small number of your neighbours, is NOT cowardly. The only two other options in many (not all) circumstances are:

1. Post with your name on it, and you and your family suffer the repercussions. And you quickly find you are on your own, as people who should be supporting you turn out to be the real cowards.

Been there.

2. Don't post at all and put up with an unfair, immoral or illegal situation.

If a parent or child stuck their name to a posting, do you think there wouldn't be repercussions the next day in Castlebay school? Really?

Captain sensible said...

whats this I hear about a petition signed by the kid for a walk out. Is this legal,surely they are minors and can't walk out. Where do they stand legally? can they or not?

Anonymous said...

Dear Captain sensible,

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, preventing the kids from walking out? Legality of these actions? dangerous ground your walking on, preventing freedom of speech and movement.......last time I looked we were not in China or Burma, yet we may as well be with this tin pot regime.

VoiceoftheMysterons said...

I'm not a parent with children in Castlebay School, nor am I a teacher there but I do know that there are some good, hardworking teachers there who are doing their very best in very difficult circumstances. Admitedly they are in a minority but their efforts should be acknowledged otherwise there is a danger that their morale will be lowered by all the criticism of the school as a whole.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent, lets remember difficult circumstances are not the fault of the pupils and their efforts should be commended in an establishment that has come under such scrutiny. One can only expect the morale of pupils to be exceptionally low. On reflection of comments.

Anonymous said...

Hi 12.44 on your comments.! Tell me who's to blame then, don't think its the kids or the parents, that only leaves ????, work it out for yourself!!!!!!!

VoiceoftheMysterons said...

Who is to blame? CNES for not having rigorous procedures for identifying poor teaching and management. CNES for appointing as head of an "all through" school someone who only a short time before that was a primary class teacher and then part of the management team criticised in the first report. Those teachers who do not do everything in their power to ensure that pupils get the best education they can. Who's not to blame? The children and young people. Some teachers who as I said earlier are working hard under very difficult circumstances.

Anonymous said...

CNES knew about this problem a long time ago. The school is where CNES's incompetence is most visible. Strong leadership is absent in both CNES and the school, however the school is where it is on public display. Personalities within CNES have lied, denied and fudged issues for a long time and this has all been recorded in various minutes. If there is one thing the parents in Barra have learned it has been to record every communication with CNES and this is what will prove to the general public the total incompetence of those in charge of Education within the Western Isles.

Anonymous said...

QUOTE VoiceoftheMysterons said.
".....some good, hardworking teachers there who are doing their very best in very difficult circumstances"

What difficult circumstances.....?

Is that an admission that there are very bad problems in the school?

Perhaps think rather of the pupils who are trying to get educated under very difficult circumstances.

The teachers are getting paid to teach, that is their job. Should they get patted on the back for doing their job?

The complaints pupils are making and parents are highlighting, are the struggles the pupils are having with lack of teaching in certain crucial subjects, and other problems.

To sideline this and shift concern to some poor teachers who are doing their job is a very sad excuse - failing to acknowledge the issues the pupils writing their exams are facing.

Anonymous said...

From sccyp publication:

"Participants not Pawns" -

"Most of all, asking children and young people about what they know, what they feel and what they recommend is an opportunity for
adults to learn more about what decision is most likely to be the right one. Treating this consultation process as a chance to both learn from pupils’ insights and to exhibit
respect for them is better adult behaviour than treating it merely as a legal obligation to
be completed perfunctorily."

Article 12 UN CRC -

A child who is capable of
forming his or her own views
[has] the right to express those
views freely in all matters
affecting the child.

The Commissioner’s key statutory function is to promote and safeguard the rights of
children and young people, by

(a) promoting awareness and
understanding of the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child(UNCRC)

(b) reviewing law, policy and practice that pertains to children and young people

(c) promoting best practice by service providers

(d) undertaking or commissioning and publishing research on matters that are relevant to children and young people.

In exercising the office’s functions, The Commissioner has to have regard to the rights of children and young people enshrined in the UNCRC and promote equal opportunities. The Commissioner further has a duty to encourage the involvement of children and young people
in its work.

Anonymous said...

Our HT is meant to care more about the school and our kids than anyone - why then does she interrupt such an important meeting on at least 4 occasions to make herself a coffee, leaving the room while people are expressing their opinions and feelings - does anyone else not find that wrong??? none of us want to spend 3 hrs in meetings after a long days work but we do because we care!

Anonymous said...

After reading all these comments I suggest the council urgently get an independant body into the school to monitor and give all management and staff refresher training.

My only worry with this blog is that you have had it for new blood! Best try and upskill the teachers you have and get the school some reputation back!

Your council better move quick!

Anonymous said...

Council moving quickly? As if! They have had years to move on this. Its time to look elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I agree with previous blog. Classic downward spiral of low morale of teachers, dissatisfied parents, confirmed by evidence of three poor HMIe inspections, and lastly but more importantly children themselves feeling exposed and vulnerable in the face of continuing and rising adverse publicity. Feelings of hopelessness - where do we go from here? Bigger shovels required to get out of a deeper hole? NO - a helping hand, some understanding, some empathy, some concrete action ...an honest acknowledgement of the problems ... maybe even an overdue APOLOGY from the Director and Chair of C'ttee.

But, please, a sense of optimism needs to be imparted that things can now only get better.

How does a school management team begin to intervene in such circumstances? How does the CnES Education & Children's Services Dept respond? Parents' reactions, at time irrational and understandably very angry, but now expecting some sign of positive intervention and change, and evidence of LEADERSHIP. Children require an outlet for their feelings and concerns, but they also require some indicator that "the people that matter" ie CnES are LISTENING and doing SOMETHING.

Perhaps external mge't need to go AWOL from Stornoway (an alien planet) for a few weeks/months and get first hand experience themselves of the problems in Barra at Castlebay School. Either (i) support existing mge't team and help them implement changes, or (ii) replace them asap.

An injection of new resources will be required ... including some new teaching staff with a good track record (incentives required) to give present pupils at Castlebay some confidence that they will have some chance in forthcoming prelims/SQA exams, and some of the less able and struggling existing staff regrettably but necessarily placed on "gardening leave", or whatever (redeployment, early retirement, refresher training).

Once improvements begin to have an impact, confidence will be restored, success will be noted and morale will be lifted. Self-fulfilling prophecies of failure, low self-esteem, poor teaching standards and indifferent leadership can and must be overcome.

OUR CHILDREN DESERVE BETTER, IT IS THEIR RIGHT

Anonymous said...

5.23pm Thank you.
'The only way is up' I thought that several years ago when the first HMIe report was issued.

The only way up will be when CNes accepts outside help for a service that they cannot currently manage to deliver.

We need a big helping hand to get out of this mess indeed and a new management team with a better head of childrens services (or whatever the ever changing job description is these days)and Director of Education, whom has not even contacted the parents. NOTHING!

Where are our councillors, our Mp's? Will no one will speak up for these children except the parents.

We have no faith left in the current CNes education Dept.

Anonymous said...

So, what was the outcome of the meeting with Bernard Chisholm? Was there a walk out yesterday at the school? Do we get to know or do we need a FOISA request to find out?

Anonymous said...

There was a unanimous vote of NO CONFIDENCE in the education department by all parents present at the meeting on Wednesday night.

This is a very strong statement from the Parent Forum, who were unable to get answers in many cases nor effective response from the representative of the Education Dept. to act in time to help the pupils this year with their issues.

The Director of Education did not even appear to find Castlebay School issues important enough to attend the meeting herself. Yet she was in Uist during the day and could easily have caught the ferry to Barra to make the 8pm meeting.

The Director of Education has made no response to parents nor did she has made a response to the concerned pupil/s who contacted her. Not even the courtesy of a return phone call!

Is this acceptable?

A call was made by parents present at the meeting with Bernard Chisholm for another external council to step in and take over the education department in order to actually help pupils and teachers of the school.

Will any effective changes be made to those pupils preparing for exams and remedy the current situation in certain subjects, or will the relevant staff only be recruited in the long distant future.

The council does not even appear to have effective plans in place for filling effectively vacant posts for the next academic year coming up very soon.

Anonymous said...

http://www.hebridesnews.co.uk/castlebay_censorship_17310.html

Totalitarian tactics in Castlebay censorship 17/3/10


Sirs

Its rather like living in a totally socialist / facist state to see the line taken by CNES in regard to protest from Castlebay school.

When has free speech been banned ? The way government is supposed to work is that the government - national and local - work for the people and not the other way round.

So, get it right, and listen for a change. Don’t dictate. For the Barra folk, I hope you get the support you deserve on both the school and the hospital issues. Keep the pressure on.

Anonymous said...

Is this not a desperate cry for help?

Why are the children being neglected by all these Goverment Departments?

Yes we have no faith in the Cnes role to deliver education and services.

The Director of Education and her Head of Services/Schools should take up 'gardening posts' and hang their heads in shame.

WOULD YOU BELIEVE THEM?

Anonymous said...

As a pupil in the school i understand how terrible and stupid the rules really are. We are told which toilets we can and can't use but yet we still aren't taught enough to pass our exams. Why o why isn't anything being done about our school?!

Anonymous said...

Truly pathetic, the bunch of you. No doubt there are 'issues' but to crank them up to comparisons with totalitarian regimes, fascism (even with correct spelling), and the like just shows how much a little local problem can be hyped up for some community excitement. Can't you just get another dram and shut up?

Anonymous said...

It's been said before, for different reasons, but there are advantages in splitting up the Western Isles. Harris and Lewis can be part of the Highlands region (this will strengthen the Gaelic aspects, as they can be merged more with those in the Highlands), and the Uists and Barra can be part of Argyle and Bute. The council in Stornoway have proved themselves in many ways to be too corrupt in running these islands, with too much self-serving and nepotism. Furthermore, repeatedly, the council is Stornoway and Lewis-centric (the Nicolson would not have been reduced to the sub-educational standard of Castlebay). Culturally, the north and south of the Western Isles are different anyway e.g. things are open in the south on a Sunday, but not in the north.

It's time - overdue - to divorce this ill-fitting, and unsuited, pair of islands. Removing the self-serving council in Stornoway, and merging both into larger mainland councils, will reduce corruption and unacceptable standards on the islands. You only have to look at the long-running saga of Castlebay school to see that the current council set-up DOES NOT work, and HAS NOT worked for many years.

Abolish Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Anonymous said...

That is truly the best option. I hadn't thought of that!

ABOLISH COMHAIRLE NAN EILEAN SIAR FOREVER !!

We then may have a school worthy of the title 'school'.

This problem has been escalating for years. It is so bad that the Parent Council and some senior managers wish a full inspection just to know exactly what we are facing.

We have been blackmailed by the school and the CNES over, do not let the press know or no teacher will apply for the posts. (Not that they are ever advertised anyway), don't grumble too much as we will be closed down to a 4th year school, teachers may leave.....etc

Our young adults have left to go to colleges as in Anniesland, Cardonald, Reid Kerr etc. Do children elsewhere have to leave home at 16 for a secondary school education?

Why do we pay our council tax here in the CNES when they do not deliver on education of an acceptable level?

What about the taxes we pay to the goverment? We would like to see value for money at least!

katy mary handbags said...

I am no fan of the comhairle, most days I end up frothing at the mouth and over come with rage, due to hearing of another monstrous balls up by oor boys in the big grey house.

However, 10:09, splitting up the western isles- get a bloody grip! You make it sound as if there is not a word of gaelic spoken south of Leverburugh, quite the opposite as I am sure many our southern islanders will concur.

Don't make the mistake of using the sunday issue as a north/south boundary, we've plenty in common with uibhsteachs and barrachs, not just the fondness for a dram or 14. If you think for a moment Highlands council or Argyle n Bute would want anything to do with us, ha!

They would care even less for the Islands, we'd be the first to suffer cutbacks or shortages. "oh them out on the islands, ach just nod your head and agree then ignore them, they don't mean shit. The place will be all second homes for old yorkshire folk in 15yrs anyway"

It is true we have a bunch of douch bags for councillors (maybe not all, but most are fence sitting, lying arseholes afraid to voice their own opinion for the fear of losing a vote) but show me a UK council that isn't full of clueless twerps. Buy Private eye magazine and skip to the rotten burughs page, makes our bunch seem almost acceptable (very occasionally). You wonder have we a hope as a country.

Good luck to the parents and kids of Barra, I am but a humble worker who has no idea how that mess will come good. However as long as there is back slapping, and smoothing over to avoid open air conflict, there'll be problems. You need a principal that is not afraid to kick arse. Bring in SUPERNANNY!

Anonymous said...

“For some of the pupils this will be their eighth inspection during the 11 years of their education in schools managed by Western Isles Council."

Shameful.

Agree with 10:09 PM;

Corruption nan Eilean Siar should be disbanded or at the very least seriously down-sized.

Too many snouts with too many troughs to give a damn about ordinary people in the Western Isles.

Sack the lot of them!

Anonymous said...

10.09 That is the most sensible suggestion that I have heard for a very, very long time.
There are many people South of the 'dividing line' that think that the Council has two standards; one for Lewis and Harris and one for the rest of the Long Island. It is also true that most think of the Council as nepotistic and less than transparent in its dealings. I for one have evidence of a contractor having been told he had the job some weeks before the decision was supposedly made at local level.

Further, those that think the Council can do no ill and that this is simply a 'storm in teacup' raised about by moaning Barra folk have a long hard look at what the Council has done in regards to the Health Board,their attempts at dealing with recycling and alternative energy. Most councilors are employed above their capacity and it shows.

Anonymous said...

On hearing that this was said I thought someone was listening to the children at last.

"The Education Department is not fit for purpose"
Cllr Manford
Parent Council
Tuesday 16th March 2010

No point saying it if you won't take some action, why can't you tell the world?.....

Anonymous said...

10.09 pm
Fully agree. Just remember the halcyon days when the local government structure was just that, tied into Ross & Cromarty for the north, Invernesshire for the south. Boy, what great education we had then! Everyone was shipped away in their early teens to benefit from mainland education. God, I wish we could get back to that.

Anonymous said...

RE - 6.29

Jim Callaghan never said 'Crisis? What crisis?' That was a Tory invention of the time.

There is a great deal more, too, about all this that is pure invention. Some verges on hysteria. (An English teacher forgot her pen? A Headteacher went to steel herself with a cup of coffee? Suddenly all Barra's ailments will be cured if it becomes part of Argyll? I don't imagine that part of the world will be queuing wanting to manage another set of islands. They have enough of them to look after as it is...)

There is no doubt some kernel of truth in the fact that Stornoway ignores problems in the south till they become overwhelming. Perhaps though, too, places like Harris and Barra are too small to have six year schools and it was a mistake agreeing to them in the first place. Perhaps you need to have 300+ pupils to make them sustainable.

Just a thought ...

Anonymous said...

A "helping hand" and a listening ear for children and young people can be sought from the following source:

Welcome to the website (www.sccyp.org.uk) of Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People (SCCYP).

SCCYP promotes and safeguards the rights of children and young people living in Scotland. Tam Baillie, Scotland's Commissioner, is here to make sure all children have their rights respected. Tam and his team are always looking for feedback, so please contact us, to tell us about the issues that are important to you.

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People


85 Holyrood Road
Edinburgh
EH8 8AU


Telephone:
0131 558 3733

Young Person's Freephone:
0800 019 1179

Fax:
0131 556 3378

Constructive and positive comment and criticism pertaining to issues raised in this blog will I'm sure be of some interest to Tam - you will be guaranteed a response and good advice about how to take your issues forward, on an individual or collective basis. Nothing to be lost ... a lot to be gained.

Anonymous said...

Chucking our lot in with anyone else apart from Stornoway and Lewis seems sensible. There can't be a bigger failure than our kids failing to be taught in schools. Barra and the Uists need a council that doesn't abandon them.

Anonymous said...

Here's another "helping hand" for the pupils of Castlebay School:

SCCYP - To contact us please fill in the form below. Alternatively email us at

info@sccyp.org.uk

How are your copy/paste skills? This could be a lengthy e-mail to the Commissioner.

Anonymous said...

Some people on this blog are indeed very young or have short memories! There have always been problems in that school - I put three kids through it and had nothing but problems. I had three headteachers, not the current head, and I found they all had strengths and weaknesses (which we all must remember we have) but found that it was actually the non-teaching staff and a small number of the teachers who cast a spell over the school.

Some of you will rush on this blog and say that this maybe the case but it is worse now than it was back then - RUBBISH!!! Imagine getting a phone call from the school to say that the school is closing as there has been a small fire caused by the drunk head teacher! The home economics class that never happened with any of my children because the teacher was off sick and no cover was provided - kids running wild in the class! The list goes on - no history teachers, kids sitting in guidance receiving very little of it as they were playing hangman ........

Complain - we complained until we were blue in the face!

I laugh at comments criticising the rules of the school - the lack of discipline, I'm afraid, is part of the problem!

What is the answer? We are dealing with a small community school here which should be in harmony! There is too much bitching and back biting going on not just in the school but in the community which is having a negative effect on our children!

New council, walk outs, SAVE OUR CHILDREN - now come on! Dramatics was always a good island trait! New teachers, large shovels - where are these new teachers going to come from? Is there someone on this blog with super powers? Nobody wants to touch the school! FACT! I agree with comment 8:28 - get an independant body in there who can refresh the teachers and management team! Get them in for as long as needed. Set up consultation groups with parents, pupils and community members! Get the school back into the community. Once this is all done and if there are still failings - then sack those responsible in the school! Don't give out more golden handshakes!

As for the council - keep battling and keep the education department on the shake - this is the root of the problem and it always has been!

Good luck! :-)

Captain sensible said...

Where are all the other parents that have something to complain about, why aren't you'se at the parent meetings. You don't have to speak just come and support us or are you too scared??? Don't be cowards.

Anonymous said...

Who is to say that we haven't approached the school/education department directly?!

Some of us do not want to be part of this public, and at times personal, mud slinging!

Anonymous said...

There are a number of things that are disturbing about this debate.

1) The tendency for those in the north to say 'It's only Barra. What do you expect?'

2) The opposite tendency in Barra. These problems have, as some have noted, gone on for 20 years.

Does their community not bear any responsibility for the state of affairs that we have seen? What is it about the people there that they have not arrived at any solution themselves? It can't all be someone else's fault!

Anonymous said...

6.33 The parents in Barra have been trying for many years, however in this Country if you have no political clout you get nowhere. Our own so called politicians have behaved just as politicians elsewhere, balancing on the fence too scared to rock the boat and totally incapable of firm decisive action.
It may be worth remembering also, that our sitting Mp was previously employed by CNES as a teacher and more than one or two folk have suggested that he dare not upset CNES as he may well be looking for his old job back soon!

Anonymous said...

Re - 8.52

I don't think that's fair. It's not just on Castlebay School that the MP's been silent!

He has rarely expressed an opinion on anything that's directly relevant to the job he's been elected to do.

When it comes to a rug in a British Embassy, he's very different.

That's much more important! We hear his voice then!

Anonymous said...

Re - 6.33 pm.

Been thinking ...

The MP comes from the island. So does one of the more prominent councillors.

How much 'political clout' does one community need? Surely you have a responsibility to hold both these individuals politically responsible.

And if they fail to meet their responsibilities, surely there's one thing you can do ...

Anonymous said...

I am a pupil of Castlebay school (sadly) i am very concerned about the lack of learning in the English department..(what kind of teacher vanish-ment into thin air) an old English teacher vanish-ment after being call incompetent, also our old head teacher dissapeared without a proper explanation to the children. At lunch they care more for the curtains than they do in the classroom.

Today (26/3/10) i took part in a staged walk out in this school to show our concern for classes. a group of 20 of us went outside and stayed close to the school as the head teacher and depute came over after a while and said 'we have noticed you are not in class....we are asking you to come back, and whoever wants to come back stand up now' no one went back for 2 hours when they asked parents that live near the house to come in and 'deal with us' what a joke, coming back in to the school you get snide comments from the office staff and dirty looks from a man who just appeared to 'help the school' who is he? what is he helping? one of the biggest thing lacking is communication and lack of professionalism.

this school makes me ashamed but i can see how it may improve! And all they need to do is LISTEN!!!!

Anonymous said...

STOP PRESS

"--- should stop dithering, show some leadership and make the correct decision. The ------community have been more patient and understanding with foibles of the --- and it's apparatus"

"I am very dissapointed that this ------------ has not done what it promised"

Who's the Right Honorable Brendan MP talking about.....Castlebay school at last......or more impotantly for his community BBC Alba on Freeview.....
you all know really, why would he take an interest in his school.

Anonymous said...

PUPIL POWER! Castlebay pupil:

"...this school makes me ashamed but i can see how it may improve! And all they need to do is LISTEN!!!!"

Response to pupils:

Children and young people at Castlebay School seem to have been badly let down, kept in the dark, and treated like "pawns", and not allowed to participate in any discussion about the deep-seated problems coming out in these posts above.

This is in direct contradiction of all our knowledge and values about the needs of children as they grow older and approach adulthood, and in breach of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Today's children are tomorrow's adults! Will they be bitter, angry and resentful as a result of poor teaching and inferior educational achievement at Castlebay School?

The secondment of Dep Head from Lionacleit (I assume) is a step in the right direction, and he should be given time to assess/evaluate the problems and to set up some dialogue with the pupils ... "listening", empathising, communicating and jointly agreeing a plan of action and providing regular feed-back on progress. Starting with the children and young people is a GOOD PLACE TO START!

Teaching staff (public servants) need a "vote of confidence" and a quick re-evaluation of what is being done well (and not all is bad), and then joint agreement for tackling areas of weakness. Do the EIS have a locus here, exhibiting strong leadership and commitment to teaching standards at the highest level?

Priority seems to be required in the teaching of English, and preparing the present cohort of pupils for SQA exams. New staff will be required and pupils should be reassured before the Easter break that new staff will in post on their return from hols. Additional tutoring should be on offer for those pupils suffering from "teaching deficits". Some pupils will be extremely anxious approaching examinations, as a direct result of this very public humiliation and HMIe 3rd Inspection report.

What seems to be important can be summarised:
(i) Evidence that all responsible adults are listening intently to pupils and giving feed-back on a regular basis (School's Council?);
(ii) Confirmation by the teaching hierarchy that "all is not well" but that appropriate action is now being taken - evidence of this now in place with external support now visible in the school - let's give this some time to have an impact;
(iii) The Stornoway/Barra schism needs to be healed. Evidence of this healing process is urgently required. Over to the key players here, already identified as the Director of Education and Chair of the Education and Children's Services C'ttee. Defending the indefensible is not helpful;
(iv) Political comment - perhaps the timing is wrong, a few weeks before a General Election - not an obvious vote-winner (this may explain the deafening silence);
(v) Parents are exhibiting different emotions and views, understandably, dependent on their respective involvement with their own children, past and present pupils at Castlebay. Confidence can soon be restored, if evidence becomes apparent of action being taken. This process has clearly commenced. Patience is required from all parents, and more importantly support and guidance to their children.
(vi) Parent/School links are vital and may require some remedial, short-term, re-establishment of positive working relationships, in the interests of all pupils. I implore all concerned to be committed to this.
(vii) Censorship of pupils views. This blog has provided a therapeutic outlet for many pupils' and parents' views...in the absence of any other medium. A re-think is required - blocking access is of limited value, without putting something else in place. The Comhairle have a web site ... do you get my drift?

UNITED WE STAND ...

AS ONE PUPIL HAS BOLDLY PROCLAIMED:

"...THE BIGGEST THING LACKING IS PROFESSIONALISM AND LACK OF COMMUNICATION...".

THIS IS A SAD INDICTMENT

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, i feel the problems at Castlebay are linked to geography. It's very remote and the allowances paid for this don't make it financially viable for anyone who needs to maintain regular contact with the mainland. Personally, I quite fancy the art teacher job that's just been advertised, but as a primary teacher, reckon I wouldn't be eligible. Maybe with the new curriculum, teachers qualified outwith a specific subject, who want to teach in the school and in barra, could be appointed? I believe half the battle seems to be recruiting motivated enthusiastic staff. An art teacher I may not be, however, I have an good level of artistic skill myself, and the enthusaism to live and work in this community. A more open minded, liberal approach to recruitment is required, in my opinion. The situation sounds terrible for the pupils, and I would persoannly be ashamed if any of my pupils or their parents felt this way.

Anonymous said...

Barra parents have recommended Castlebay pupils make contact with Scotland's Children's Commissioner, Tam Baillie (also the Education Secretary at Holyrood Mike Russell MSP, who has Uist connections).

The SCCYP recognises and promotes the rights of Children and Young People on its web page:

"Recognising the rights of children and young people in Scotland and around the world has never been more important. They are enshrined in international law through the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Commissioner for Children and Young People promotes and safeguards these rights in Scotland.

Tam Baillie, Scotland’s current Commissioner, does this by:

promoting awareness and understanding of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC);
reviewing law, policy and practice that is relevant to children and young people;
promoting best practice by service providers; and
undertaking or commissioning and publishing research on matters that are relevant to children and young people.
In short, his job is to ensure that Scotland becomes a country where all children and young people:

Understand their rights
Experience their rights
Exercise their rights…
… every single day of their lives

A pupil at Castlebay school has written in this Blog:

"...this school makes me ashamed but i can see how it may improve! And all they need to do is LISTEN!!!!"

Is this too much to ask? Perhaps by listening and involving pupils much more, a great deal can be achieved ... together ... listening and communicating (Barra gaelic or Lewis gaelic, what does it matter!).

Anonymous said...

When will people realise that the driving force behind this mass outrage about our school has been fabricated and nurtured and kept going in order to facilitate personal and political agendas. Yes, our school does have staffing problems and only time can resolve that one. Is our school the worst school on the islands? I think you will find it is not. How do the exam results of our children compare to the national average? I think you will find that it is performing reasonably well there too.
This parent council, and the last one that resigned en-mass, are still being driven along by the 4 individuals whispering in the ears of the parents, you know who you are! and I suspect, many others on the island know who you are too, who have nothing but personal and political goals to achieve. NOTHING to do with our kids education at all. You should be ashamed of yourselves (the 4 whisperers) for being so corrupt as to publicly attack the school because you dont like the HM, or the last HM, come to think of it, the last HM prior to that too. You should be discusted by yourselves for telling the world via your doom hyped press releases that the school is dreadful so that your political handlers can use this negativity to score points against those 2 Barra men in strong political positions at the moment in the hope of gaining more votes at the ballot box. I for one hope that your scheming does not work and you find yourselves running for cover after the elections. Then again, cowards that you are, you hide behind other unsuspecting people (new incomers that put their names to your words)so that you can slope off and leave them isolated when your plotting is called out). Has it not occurred to other sensible parents that this staffing problem should be kept as an inhouse problem so as not to damage any other of the good elements that island life brings? Do you really think that Cnes will bow to the shouting of this parent Council given that should they do so, it would open up the floodgates to every other school parent council on the isles to act noisily and beligerently? There is no way on earth they will. Then there is the human nature side to consider. When a child continues to shout and stomp its feet because it is not getting what it wants the normal reaction would be to ignore it until it learns that shouting gets nowhere or the child gets a smacked backside and sent to its room. Either way it does not get what it wants. This parent council WILL only get what it wants when it purges itself of the whisperers, stops the open public shouting and then is allowed to focus on where it can HELP the school and all its staff get through its problems. Support, understanding that some issues are for the management and Cnes to resolve and trust is what our school needs to help it. The last thing it needs is malicious people with axes to grind leading a parent council deluded about its standing in the great educational scheme of things.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3.45pm

There are three kinds of people in this world;
those that make things happen,
those that watch things happen
and those who don't know what's happening.

Please don't insult the the pupils, parents, staff and HMIe who have "real and valid concerns" about the future of our childrens education.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3.45pm

Please

What you don't see with your eyes, don't witness with your mouth

there is more to life than politics, a moral obligation to our childrens future is more important.

If representatives listened then maybe people wouldn't have to shout so loudly in order for problems to be noticed. Then maybe problems wouldn't develop to the ridiculous stage that they've become at Castlebay School.
To ignore is to neglect your role in the community.

Some issues have no division, local and "incomer" have children and have the same valid concerns, to think otherwise is to segregate the value of a parent's right to take an interest in their children's future.

Petty politics and mudslinging, does you a dis-service, i was a doubter, but the facts are plain this community school needs help and needs it fast to bring it back into this community. Direct your energy at the Cohmairle who have led us into this deplorable situation, not those who say enough is enough and offer solutions.

Anonymous said...

3.45pm???
I am not sure if you are a parent or not but I AM a parent and feel more than qualified to speak out (for the first time) to support my children and the Parent Council of Castlebay school. Not only are the Parent Council doing a great job and highlighting the problems of Castlebay school (all for nothing - no big fat pay Cheque!!) but they are supporting the majority of the parents. Where are the parents who are supporting the council? Where are the elected councilor or MP of Barra? Do not insult me by making sweeping statements about what is happening in Castlebay school when you are clearly not coming to any of the meeting - that just makes you look stupid!!

Anonymous said...

to 3.42,
Thankfully someone speaking out at last but there is only the 3 whisperers and 1 of them has a long CV of closing schools and anythings else she touches.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent in Castlebay scool and over the past few days have been heartened to hear of the progress made with the director of education.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed when I saw negative comments back on this wonderful blog today.
I find it really upsetting that people think that parents care more about politics than children and have to hazard a guess that this said individual is not a parent.
As for the last comment why do you not just name the alleged 4th whisperer as you seem to know an awful lot more than a mere, concernerned parent as myself.

Anonymous said...

1202am.
Why on earth would I come along to these parent council meetings when they are clearly all about personal attacks? I do not wish to act in such a way nor do I want to be represented in such a way. You must be on the parent council as your reaction was to protect it and then suggest I am an idiot. I should not have expected anything else really.

Angry Barra Parent said...

REPLY to 3.45
As a parent I have not, nor will I ever be a member of the Parent Council as it is just not my thing, but I do respect and support the effort they are doing to improve Castlebay school, god bless them. The place is an absolute shambles and so is the Education department in Stornoway.
I can only summise that you are either a very good friend of the HM or family and obviously have no children in secondary. The thing is, she is not the only problem, wake up and smell the coffee. You are such an ostrich, there must be a sandpit close to your house so why not go and do what ostriches do best. I have already commented on this blog and will continue to do so until castlebay School gets sorted out(think I'll be here for a while). I think you are bewildered about the so called 4 whisperers?. I know for a fact of at least 12 parents that have commented on this blog and off their own backs,not prompted or listened to anyone else, but by the fact that their kids have been let down by castlebay school and CNES. I think you should go and bark up onother tree, cause you are definately barking up the wrong one here. By the way the elected members will definately NOT be elected in the next election, SNP what a joke.(by the way I was a staunch SNP all my life but no more) I will vote for Christian party this year and watch the result.

Anonymous said...

3.45

You are not alone in the wilderness. Take comfort from those that have seen a vocal and abusive minority of parents claiming to represent the community but are for perfectly legitimate reasons not prepared to put their head above the parapet.

It is all too easy to blame the council, teaching staff, and politicians without looking too closely at the track record of behavior of some of the parents and pupils.

In many respects the issues with the school reflect the way in which a vocal minority can skew the perception which non islanders may have of any local organisation if it were subjected to the same level of biased scrutiny.

The school, and the community, has many strengths and will no doubt weather the current furore; lets learn from the past and not live in it.

Anonymous said...

Reply to 3.45
WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON. If you don't think there is a problem with Castlebay school them you are an ostrich, go and bury your head in the sand, as for the 2 barra men in politics what have they done for the island??? Bugger all!!!! thats what. They are to blame for the mess up there, they put someone who has'nt got a clue in chage of the school, think its time you went to live on Mars and take CNES with you>

Anonymous said...

"Western Isles Young Persons' Joint Liaison Committee" (JLC)

On the theme of involving children and young people in the islands (and especially Barra) in constructive dialogue with the Comhairle about contemporary matters and issues of concern (eg Castlebay School), I suggest this item be placed on the JLC Agenda for their next meeting. More info on this newly formed liaison group:

"A new era in young people’s participation in the democratic process is underway with the first ever meeting of the Western Isles Young Persons’ Joint Liaison Committee. The Committee agreed that Catriona Stewart would be Chairman and James Buckley would be Vice-Chair. The Young Persons’ Joint Liaison Committee has sixteen members (eight young people and eight elected Members of the Comhairle).

The establishment of the JLC is seen by the Comhairle as a first step to more meaningful engagement with Young People to inform Comhairle decision making and policy making.

The Committee’s remit is to act as a forum to undertake consultations with and ascertain the views of young people in na h-Eileanan an Iar; to present proposals for the development of initiatives of interest to young people in na h-Eileanan an Iar for consideration by the Comhairle; and to consider and to make recommendations on matters relating to the funding of such initiatives, the encouragement of participation, the training of youth leaders, outdoor education and community education in na h-Eileanan an Iar.

The two representatives from Barra were Bonnie MacNeil and Simon Muir. The next meeting is due to be held in Uist after Easter.

May I suggest that the YP from Castlebay School who have been using this blog to register their strong protest (responsibly, in my view), should ensure that the two Barra YP's reps on this newly-formed JLC are properly briefed before the next meeting, being held in the Uists.

Anonymous said...

1150pm,
I can only reiterate that your first paragraph is written as it is because the Parent Council told you it is that way, unless you are 1 of the whisperers.
As for any connection to the HM? well i am not family and nor do i consider her a friend (very clever of you to try to distance her from the community by suggesting that only family or friends would support her) but i do respect her for having the "balls" to try and correct years of damage previously done and even more credit must go to her for being thick skinned enough to put up with what you and your colleagues throw at her. Incidentally, Since when did you or anyone else on the PC become qualified to question her credentials? Next you will be suggesting that doctors, nurses, police, firemen, army and civil servants need to convince a biased community based interview panel of their abilities prior to their employ. Ridiculous.

Nice touch to finish on you political stance though! Ms Grant would be proud! I like the way you left the reader with your true reason for replying. Since when has labour been spelt C H R I S T I A N?

1245pm
Thank you.

745pm
Attack! Attack! Attack! Insult me all you want but here is hoping that you made sure there was plenty of room at Lioniclete because that is where you and your handlers are are taking us.

I am a parent and I believe that Castlebay School has a very good chance of turning round the years of damage done to it. Furthermore, I am prepared to give the present management time to do just that. I am sensible enough to know that some of the inherent problems that the new HM inherited simply cannot be erased in a day or even a month and that I, as a parent MUST trust that the current staff at the school want the best for our children. Do the HMIe in their last report condemn the school or do they suggest it is moving in the right direction compared to the first report a few years ago? You need to read the whole report to get that and to me it reads that it is, not what your beloved
PC tell you, which is concocted from abstract extracts they dug out.

Finally I need to finish with Annonymous 1030pm who I will refer to as confusious.
He say...
there are 3 kinds of people.....

those that make things happen.
those that watch things happen.
those that dont know whats happening.

1.WELL! yes those that make things happen are truly working their little socks off to generate as much negativity as possible.

2.Everyone likes to watch a good scandal!

3. This PC DONT know what is happening as they are blinded by the venom of their personal grudges. Lioniclete, here we come!

I was told to not bury my head like an osterich and smell the coffee! Seems to me that me and 1245 are having a cup whilst looking at a multitude of headless backsides pointing at the sky.

Captain Sensible said...

It is pointless everyone slagging off the parents and children in Castlebay school or whisperers if there are such people, in my view all who have real concerns have been very vocal, and quite rightly so. The problems have not been highlighted or caused by the parents or children. The HMIe team have highlighted the faults that have been discovered so far, and that is their job. End of story!!!!!

Judy Rapoport said...

As a retired teacher with 25 years experience in senior posts I have followed this blog with interest, some sadness, some dismay and some disgust. However the vitriolic, vindictive anonymous contribution of 3.45 p.m. has made me submit an entry in my own name. I have no axe to grind: I have no children in the school; I do not know any of the teachers professionally, and only socially in passing. But I do have experience of small secondary schools, and of working in a school with a serious management problem. I will also own up to having coached two bright young people about five years ago who wished to improve their grades in one of the most essential exams, and was horrified that even two weeks before the exam they had not yet completed the syllabus. Why?

Small schools in isolated locations present their own problems. No doubt so does teaching and living in the same small community. But we are not talking about an inner city school with large classes of poorly motivated pupils.

In-service training is invaluable, both in-house to look at issues within the school, but also, subject based training. To get away from one’s own school, and meet up with other teachers with the same specialist subject is energising, and teachers can return to their school with renewed vigour. No doubt getting away from Barra for training must be much more difficult than less isolated areas.

Having been a teacher/governor for many years and sat on many interview panels, I have found the interview process for head teacher of the all-age Castlebay School incomprehensible. I realise that education north and south of the border are run independently and some procedures will not be the same. However I was used to headship interviews where the governing body interviewed the first ‘short list’ of candidates and shortened the list; then heads of the various education departments and the chair of governors interviewed the revised list at County Hall. I understand the interview panel for the most recent appointment of head teacher at Castlebay School consisted of four councillors, two parent council members and one education office official in an advisory capacity. Is this normal Scotland wide practice, or Western Isles practice, or just good enough for Barra? Then the head teacher appointed had neither secondary school training nor experience. Is this normal practice in Scotland or normal for the Western Isles or just good enough for Barra? Again I have no axe to grind: I just do not understand the logic.

Isn’t it clear that parents and pupils have valid concerns about the education being provided? Does anybody really think that given time, the problems will be resolved in-house? And how long must the current pupils wait? Are ‘We’re not the worst school in the islands’ or ‘ Do our results compare to the national average?’ appropriate yardsticks to measure achievement? Is that all ‘anonymous 3.45 p.m.’ expects the pupils to achieve? Is that good enough for Barra’s children? Isn’t it reasonable to expect results from the Barra schools to be above the national average?

Congratulations to the parents who have got the problems into the national arena. Nobody gets that involved for fun or devilment, but out of real concern for their children’s future and long term, the island’s future. It’s sad that they had to go to these lengths to be heard.

My mother had to go away from Barra to boarding school in 1932 to continue her secondary education. Is this what Barra’s young people are going have to do again?

Will the articles in the press stop teachers from applying for posts in Castlebay? I doubt it. With some imaginative, aggressive and prominent advertising of posts nationally, hopefully vacant posts will be quickly filled.

Let’s hope rapid and sustained positive intervention from an outside source can restore the morale of all involved and that something good for the pupils, teachers, parents and the whole community comes out this mess.

And what is it to do with me? Shouldn’t education concern everybody in a community?

Scott said...

Here was me thinking that most of the people on Barra were called McNeill and not anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Reply to 12.45
correct me if i'm wrong but I did'nt see any parents or kids being blamed in the HMIe report. The parents are'nt teaching the kids, but maybe they should, they might get a decent education!, like Mr Low. What a fool he was'nt!!!!!!!!!!.

Anonymous said...

Judy Rapoport,
Thank you so very much for your reasonable, considered and knowledgeable contribution. As a parent who is not on the parent council, has no local allegiances and is led blindly by no one, I currently fear greatly for my children's future education on Barra. The stark evidence is there for everyone to see in the repeated HMIe reports and, locally, from ongoing information flowing from the school
To those who have no agenda other the actual education of children on Barra and a desire to see some of the loveliest, brightest children you could imagine being treated equally and respectfully regardless of their abilities and being given every opportunity to achieve all that they can, it has been obvious for some time that CNES do not have the expertise, perspective or desire to turn the school around.
There is a simple non-controversial and proven solution: bring in outside education management expertise and give Barra children, parents, teachers and the whole community the school they all deserve.
Imagine the easily achievable headline: “Remarkable turnaround in less than a year: Barra school excels in all areas”.

Calum crofter said...

Reply to 8.58. This is what we've been telling the CNEs, it will not take much to turn the school around. bring in an independent (NOT FROM CNEs)someone who will sort the place out, our kids are too precious to ignore or let down, they deserve the same education as anybody else. I look forward to the good headlines. CASTLEBAY COMMUNITY SCHOOL, PROBLEM SOLVED. hows that for a headline. come on CNEs you can do it, don't let us down again.

Anonymous said...

to 8.58 & Calum Crofter 11.10,
Do you both really condone undermining the entire Castlebay School Management team BEFORE they have a fair crack at the whip? Lets just remember for a second that there is not just the 1 person running the School. I seem to recall that there was only positive vibes when it was announced that S.Foreman was to be the deputy head, and I did not hear any negative rumblings when C. Henderson was drafted onto the management team either so why is it now that they should all be told to take a back seat while CNeS rustle up a superteacher that is going to come in and magically sort everything out at the school within 12 months! Cant you see that the suggestion of external help is driven by people who dislike A MacLean so much that they (and sadly you) are ignoring the abilities and damaging the morale I might add, of the other staff in management.
I hate the situation at the school. I too have kids there and I dont want them to suffer educationally however, I am also a realist. I have had plenty of experience in dealings with CNeS and in every other walk of life they are slow to react and will consider every conceivable option before committing to anything. More often than not they do exactly the opposite to what you want them to do because, and only because, you (or the school in this instance) are a very small minority and it would not benefit the community as a whole (their community is the entire Western Isles population) to invest so much time and effort into you when more impact per pound spent can be achieved elsewhere. I suspect they will ride out this situation and quieten the PC every so often by throwing them a bone by giving them a bit of attention now and then but behind the scenes I suspect that they are working with the present management to try and get some positive things happening. This is happening but so many parants dont appear to acknowledge anything positive because it flies in the face of their determination to get A. MacLean out. We should be supporting the current management team not knocking it. Here is a headline to be proud of..."Local teacher steps up to save local kids future education"

Anonymous said...

To 1.01pm, this is and has never been a witch hunt or 'whispering campaign' as you suggest; it has on the other hand been about the abject failure of CNES to deal with issues as they developed within the school. To suggest otherwise is to attempt to deflect and personalise the whole issue. Let me say that again: the issue is with CNES!

My children have been to several other schools in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland so I have some understanding of how things happen elsewhere. Therefore when I see how little useful and meaningful support Castlebay school have received from CNES it leaves me to question the competence of CNES to deal with Education.

As for the concern being as issue with a small minority of parents, I suggest you spend some time talking to them, I certainly have and those that show an interest have expressed their horror at the level of education. This from a school that has a pupil teacher ratio similar to a fee paying school! One of my children having sat a particular exam came home saying that the questions in one section meant nothing to her. On going through her work it was discovered that the teacher had 'missed' this section of the curriculum! That is, in my opinion professional incompetence. In any other profession questions would be asked and an attempt would be made to deal with the issue. In this case the school and CNES denied it could possibly happen. If you do not want to see a problem, you don't and this is why the school is now in the mess its in.

Just a final thought; if the PC had not started to make a fuss where do you think the school would be at the next HMIe visit? Might I suggest, pretty well where it has been for the last few years and politics aside that is unfair on the children.

Anonymous said...

Blogger @ 1.01 the only thing being undermined that really counts is the ongoing failed education of children year after year after year.

No professional educator and no-one with the best interests of children at heart could reasonably object to external expert advice on how to turn around a situation of crisis in a school – for that is what it is. That expert advice is not available locally and too many failed years have passed letting down children to continue to gamble with their education.

Staff within the school who have the interests of children’s education and who are achieving at the required level obviously have nothing to fear from outside expertise. Those who perhaps are not achieving can only benefit from external expert advice and guidance. Thus, the school wins, the teachers win, the school’s management win, the community wins and crucially, fundamentally the children win. No-one loses; it is a significant no-brainer!

The point you make about CNES is rather confused, when the reality is rather simple: at a senior managerial level they are inept and disinterested in matters that affect Barra. Close examination of how they have all but ignored the problems in the school at officer and member level evidences this.

Please try and remember it’s the children’s education that matters first, second and last.

Calum Crofter said...

With all the comment on this blog, why have'nt the Council done anything yet to help? I believe Mr chishom has cancelled his trip to Barra yet AGAIN, wonder why? This problem is far bigger than the local management can deal with or sort out,it far beyond thier capabilities, Surely their job is to teach the kids not solve the problems caused by the council and councillors. Why are'nt they getting support from CNeS. This just proves that the CNeS are incompetent and do not care about Barra kids, all they are interested are shutting schools. WATCH OUT EOLIGARRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

having just read the WHFP today, i'm saddened and angered to see that yet again our councillors seem to pretending that castlebay school has very few problems.
If these so called representatives actually took an interest then maybe they would take the education committee on a field trip to Barra and ask those who have flagged up the issues, what they are and think about resolving them.
Just seems like the same old players, stuck in their same old ways. what a poor lot they are in sandwick road.
SHAMEFUL BUNCH OF USELESS GOOD FOR NOTHINGS.

Anonymous said...

Hurray !!! We've actually got the CNeS on the run. I think they have finally realised that they have messed up with Castlebay school. I think the next few weeks are going to be very interesting. Look out for resignations or payoffs!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Does the CNeS know that our head teacher was AWOL in Oban at the dancing competition until tomorrow.
Pity castlebay school was not a dancing school, if it was all pupils would have top marks. I see there is stil RETIRED primary teachers going in there, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOVERNMENT POLICY REGARDING PROBATIONER TEACHERS GETTING FIRST SHOUT, CNeS must have lost that piece of legislation. Me thinks its time to get the lawyers in and sort this mess onca and for all, as for the last blogger 12.17 I think it high hopes. Would be nice though it were true!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW COUNCILLORS AND ELECTED MEMBERS.

Anonymous said...

Castlebay school

12 sit English Higher
10 fail
2 pass

Education the CNES way

LIFE CHANGING

Anonymous said...

10:28 If right, then those results are highly disturbing and the school has, well, failed.

Are there any links to any online official resources that give these results?

Anonymous said...

Its not disturbing, its disgusting and shames the whole islands.