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West Barns Primary School
Forthview, West Barns, EH42 1TZ, UK Dunbar
+44 (0)1368 863209

West Barns Primary School


The present school building came into use in 1972 and serves West Barns village and its surrounding area including Belhaven, Tynefield and into the Lammermuir Hills up to the Halls, with many pupils coming from the nearby town of Dunbar.

The school building overlooks the John Muir Country Park and the Firth of Forth.

The building is on three floors; the lower ground floor housing P1-P3 in two classrooms; the ground floor containing the administration offices, staffroom, the school hall/dining area and adjoining resource area, with stage, and kitchen; the upper floor caters for P4-P7 in two classrooms, with a computer suite between.

The Nursery is housed in a separate building to the rear of the main school

The school is set in a large grass play area, with its own seven-a-side football pitch, and a tarmac netball pitch.

West Barns School is co-educational and non-denominational providing education for children from approximately three to twelve years old.  At the present time there are 93 pupils in four composite classes i.e. P1/2, P2/3, P4/5/6, P6/7, with 16 children in the Nursery Pre-School, and 6 three year olds.

When year groups are required to be split, as in the case of e.g. P3/4 and P4/5/6, it is the policy of the school to do so by age, the older children join the year ahead, and the younger pupils join the year behind, but as in all classes, the pupils are taught at the level of attainment they have reached.



  • to promote the highest standards of achievement, through programmes which enable all pupils to realise their full potential as individuals, and  to develop the values needed to become full members of society;
  • to provide equality of opportunity for all pupils, regardless of gender, racial or cultural background, by identifying and removing barriers to achievement, and programmes which are appropriate to the needs of the pupils; 
  • to maintain and improve the quality of educational experiences for pupils through a programme of continuing professional development for all staff.   
  •  to provide a broad education through a balanced curriculum covering essential learning areas with high levels of competence in basic literacy and numeracy, social subjects, science and technology;
  • to provide a sound foundation in the early years for future learning and achievement through programmes which include support for parents in their vital role as their child’s first teacher;
  • to encourage pupils to become independent and life-long learners by providing programmes which will develop the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to be successful in the modern, ever-changing world;
  • to ensure good health in all pupils through strategies which promote physical, and mental well being and self-esteem;


Curriculum and Assessment

The areas in the primary school curriculum are: Language, Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Expressive Arts, Religious and Moral Education, Personal and Social Development, as well as extra-curricular and recreational activities.

Learning in the school is based on a range of strategies, including investigating, problem-solving and discussion, in addition to the exposition by the teacher (or "direct teaching methods") and often involves activities using a wide variety of materials.  Each child will be assessed to determine his or her level of work.  Group and individual methods will form the basis of the teaching in order that the curriculum can be tailored as far as possible to fit the needs of the child.

Development Planning

Each year the school produces a Development Plan which details areas of development within the school curriculum.

For session 2005/6 the main priorities are to:

  • To review the existing programme for Science and produce a new programme which is consistent with 5-14 Guidelines and has flexibility to cater for composite classes;
  • To become an Eco-School;
  • To examine programmes of study, 5-14 Guidelines and planning in order to establish, where possible, cross-curricular links;
  • To participate in ELC Race Equality and Additional Support for Learning training;


The development of each child's language is pursued through an integrated programme of language work involving listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Early reading material is based on the child's own natural language, progressing through a graded reading programme.

To this is linked the child's writing combined with speaking and listening.  Later on the child pursues his/her reading through appropriate fiction and non-fiction material.  He/she also learns skills of comprehension and reference to help him/her understand more of what he/she reads and to assist him/her in finding information.  Along with reading will develop the necessary knowledge and skills of spelling, punctuation, language structure, and handwriting, each at a level appropriate to the child's needs.

Writing will form an important part of this development and the child will follow a programme which will start with simple stories, scribed by the teacher, and move on through different and more complex forms of writing activities.

Much emphasis will be laid on speaking and listening with a programme which will include such activities as discussion and Drama.


In West Barns School mathematics is viewed as a problem-solving activity supported by a body of knowledge, which will enable our pupils to understand the world about them, and equip them with the mathematical knowledge and understanding, and numerical skills which they will require in life and for future studies.

We aim to offer all our pupils, from the most able to the least, a mathematics curriculum which is stimulating, challenging, progressive, relevant and enjoyable.

As in other aspects of the curriculum, Mathematics follows the 5-14 guidelines to set its attainment outcomes which are reached through a structured course which includes opportunities for discussion between the pupil and teacher, and among pupils themselves; appropriate practical work; practice and consolidation of fundamental skills and routines; problem solving; the use of calculators and computers; investigational work, and the application of mathematics to everyday situations.

In order to take account of the differences in ability and attainment which can exist among children of the same age, efforts are made to match the pace and level of work to suit individual children.

Targets for Language and Mathematics

Literacy and Numeracy have been designated by the Scottish Office and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate as curriculum areas in which attainment has to be improved within schools.  To that end they have initiated Target Setting for Language (Reading & Writing) and Mathematics.

Performance in National Tests is tracked within the school using a database and there is a good level of dialogue between Head Teacher, Principal Teacher and class teachers about the progress of the pupils.

Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies sets out to develop in the child an awareness and understanding of his/her environment in terms of himself/herself, the part he/she plays, can and will play as a member of society.

The work, which the child will undertake, is split into the five components of Science, Social Subjects, Technology, Health Education and Information Technology, which is balanced to give historical, geographical and scientific perspectives.

Much of the work which is done is based on first-hand experience, involves activity and experiment, and is designed to promote understanding rather than merely remembering.

Expressive Arts

The term Expressive Arts covers the areas of Art, Drama, Music and Physical Education.

Mostly these subjects are catered for by the class teacher, but we have at the moment visiting specialists in Music, Physical Education and Brass Instruction, and each session there will be swimming instruction for children in P4 at Dunbar Leisure Pool under the guidance of a swimming instructor.

The purpose of the Expressive Arts is to further the child's knowledge or skills in each of the main areas, but much of the work will be integrated into other areas of the curriculum e.g. scenery, costume, music, dance for a Drama production; puppets or gymnastics or music within a language theme.

Art includes drawing, painting, work with clay, printing, model making, etc.

Drama will include voice production, body movement, use of space, mime, role-play, etc.

Throughout school children are given opportunities in public performance.

Religious, Social and Moral Education

In Religious Education we aim to help the child develop fully as an individual; to be aware of the significance of religion to the individual and to society, and to have some knowledge and understanding of some of the religious beliefs and practices which they will encounter during their lives, e.g. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.

By the end of their primary schooling we hope that our pupils will have a framework which will help them appreciate what religion is, and some understanding of what it involves.

During Religious Education, and in other areas of the school curriculum, we have the opportunity to explore with the child the different attitudes, standards and values which they themselves hold, and are held by others.

Our school chaplain is a regular visitor to the school and visits the classrooms to talk to the children as well as taking some assemblies throughout the session.

At no time do we expect a commitment from any child, and parents are free to withdraw their children from religious and moral education, and religious observance if they so wish.

Multicultural Education

As the society in which our children are growing up in is increasingly multicultural, we endeavour to give them some awareness and appreciation of the enrichment of the culture and traditions of British society introduced by the many different nationalities who have settled in the United Kingdom.

Our aim is to foster and encourage positive attitudes and good relations between people of differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and to actively discourage negative and adverse attitudes and activities.  


West Barns Primary School has aims which we hope reflect the ethos of the school. These aims are primarily focused on children's learning within a broad and balanced curriculum. 

The environment of the school, which is secure and happy, is intended to provide opportunities for each child which allows them  to perform to the best of their abilities; where their attainment can be maximized; where their learning experience is of the highest quality regardless of gender, or social or cultural background; where they can learn to understand and care for their personal and wider environment, and they are helped towards understanding and accepting responsibility for their own actions; where children are helped to meet any challenge confidently whether it be physical, intellectual, emotional or practical. 

We also aim to involve the local community in the life of the school, and the staff and pupils in the life of the community.

We hope that our website reflects the ethos of the school and that in its pages visitors are able to see the aims of the school in action.

Each child has an individual space on the site where work which they have selected can be displayed. Our older pupils will have designed their own pages and be responsible for their content.

Our Junior Road Safety Officers have their own pages, as have the Conflict Council, the School Council and the Parent Teacher Association. The school  newsletters are published in the News section.

Local Community organizations such as the Community Council, the West Barns Playgroup, the Gala Committee, and hopefully many more, will have their own space within our site where they can publicize their activities and report to a wider audience.

As a means of extending our pupils' knowledge and horizons many have pen pals in various schools in other parts of the world such as  Smolensk ( Ukraine ), Berlin ( Germany ) and  Lake Wilcox ( Canada ), and we are happy to hear from any visitors to our website.

We can be reached at :

David Wharton

Head teacher

primary schools in Dunbar, secondary schools in Dunbar, schools in Dunbar

Editorial office:
tel. + 48 (094)