School inspectors have praised staff at St Mark's Primary in Irvine for their dedication in supporting children and families facing financial difficulties.

It was one of a number of strengths highlighted in a report released today following a visit by Education Scotland inspectors in December last year.

However, the comments also included a number of areas of improvement for the Irvine school.

The inspection report, issued today, said key strengths of the school included: 

St Mark's vision, values and aims, underpinned by the Gospel values, support a positive climate for learning. Children benefit from nurturing and mutually respectful relationships with staff.

The headteacher and staff’s dedication to supporting children and families experiencing financial barriers. They adopt approaches which help children to feel ready and better able to learn and maintain the dignity of families.

Staff work with partners effectively to offer children a range of achievements and learning opportunities. These help children to develop important skills.

However, the following areas for improvement were identified and discussed with the headteacher and a representative from North Ayrshire Council: 

Staff should develop a shared understanding of high-quality learning and teaching to help improve the consistency of learners’ experiences and support children’s progress in learning as a result.

Teachers should continue to develop their use of assessments to measure children’s progress and identify their next steps in learning. They should work together and with colleagues from other schools to regularly review and apply national standards confidently.

Senior leaders and teachers should continue to raise attainment in literacy and numeracy across the school.

The inspectors concluded: "We are confident that the school has the capacity to continue to improve and so we will make no more visits in connection with this inspection.

"North Ayrshire Council will inform parents/carers about the school’s progress as part of its arrangements for reporting on the quality of its schools."