INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL
Mount Pleasant Primary School was built in 1966. The situation of the school is a very pleasant one overlooking Thurso River and the Harbour. There are magnificent views of the Pentland Firth, the Orkney Islands and the Old Man of Hoy, Thurso East and Thurso Castle and much of the town of Thurso.
The school is fortunate in having good-sized classrooms, a large assembly hall with stage, a gymnasium, a library, a music room and a Parents’ Room. Within the main building we also have a Nursery and a Special Educational Needs Unit. The building by the main gate houses a Gaelic Medium Nursery. There is a generous tarmac area around the school and a large grass area with two junior size football pitches and general play areas.
At present there are 156 mainstream pupils, 5 pupils in the Special Educational Needs Unit, 18 four year old and 25 three year old Nursery pupils.
The four year old Nursery operates five mornings per week and the three year old Nursery is available for five afternoon sessions. Nursery brochures are available from the school office on request.
Enrolment for Primary 1 usually takes place at the beginning of February each year and is publicised in the local press. To enrol at any other time of year, please contact the school to arrange an appointment with the Head Teacher. Primary one pupils starting in August attend for mornings only for a period of four weeks to allow them a ’settling in’ period.
P7 pupils transfer to Thurso High School. The High School is supplied with relevant information about each pupil’s progress, along with any other information, which may help to ease the transition from primary to secondary education. During June of each year pupils are issued with a Thurso High School Guide and there are opportunities for both pupils and parents to visit the High School.
At Mount Pleasant Primary School we aim to plan and deliver a broad and balanced curriculum within the Scottish 5-14 guidelines, which will ensure our children achieve their full potential. In all classes children are taught using a variety of teaching methods, in small groups, individually or as a whole class depending on the activity or on the needs of the children involved.
Language is essentially a skill of communicating. The importance of talking and listening, as well as reading and writing, is emphasised within our language work across the curriculum.
Reading and writing skills are developed from the needs of the young children to the more sophisticated skills such as reporting, information gathering, writing composition etc. In order that children acquire fluency and confidence they are taught specific skills in spelling, grammar and punctuation and their vocabulary is enriched through exposure to a variety of genre, drama and discussion.
The reading, writing and language schemes in use in the school are: -
Reading – Upper Stages – Collins Pathways
- Lower Stages – Oxford Reading Tree
Writing - All Stages – North Lanarkshire Writing Scheme
Language - Nelson Skills, Grammar and Spelling
The mathematics activities within the school fall into four key areas: -
Problem solving and enquiry
Number, money and measurement
Shape, position and movement
Pupils study these aspects at a level appropriate to their own stage of development. The main teaching resource used is Scottish Heinemann Mathematics. This scheme of work is supplemented where necessary by a range of support materials. Strong emphasis is placed on mental agility and Mount Pleasant has adopted the Highland Council’s approach to Mental Maths.
Mount Pleasant was one of the first schools to join the Early Intervention Programme. The main aim of the programme is to raise the standards of literacy and numeracy in young children. In working towards meeting this aim, children in the Early Stages have in addition to the class teacher, a support for learning teacher and a classroom assistant in each class. Classroom assistants receive ongoing training in approaches to literacy and numeracy and work to a specific remit under the guidance of the class teacher. As part of the development of the programme, classes in the Upper Stages also receive support from classroom assistants.
This area of the curriculum covers a wide variety of subjects: -
Social Subjects (History and Geography)
Information and Communication Technology
We plan to provide a progressive development of knowledge, skills and understanding of the world in which we live by building on the child’s own experiences.
RELIGIOUS AND MORAL EDUCATION
Religious and Moral Education is taught throughout the school based on the relevant 5-14 guidelines. It comprises the study of Christianity, other world religions and social and moral issues.
An assembly is held fortnightly throughout the session and the School Chaplain visits individual classrooms to meet pupils on a more informal basis.
Parents may have their children withdrawn from religious education and assemblies if they so wish.
Two members of staff, Mrs Griffiths and Mrs Firth, have completed training in the teaching of French. French is taught in Primaries 6 and 7. There is a balance of speaking, listening, reading and writing activities. The main resource used to teach French is Collins Primary French. This scheme was chosen in agreement with the local High School staff.
Music, Physical Education and Art are taught by both the class teacher and specialist teachers, who visit the school during blocks of time throughout the year. In addition to the music taught by the specialist teacher, there is also provision for piping instruction, woodwind and brass. P3-7 receive swimming instruction from members of the Swimming Pool staff.
SUPPORT FOR LEARNING
Many children display signs of difficulties at some stage in their schooling. For some these difficulties are mild, or restricted to one small area of development. For others, the difficulties can be complex and of a more serious nature.
Most difficulties will be identified, initially, by the class teacher, who will discuss these with the Support for Learning teacher and programme of work will be decided upon as well as a timescale for review. As part of this programme, the child or group may receive additional input from a member of the Support for Learning team. Should the problem continue for longer than anticipated, parents will be informed and advised as to how they may be able to support their child.
If it is found that considerable differentiation of the class work is required, an Individualised Educational Programme may be drawn up for a child. All those involved will take part in the consultation process.
Support for Learning is for all pupils, and children who excel in some way are just as likely to receive input from the Support for Learning team.
The type and level of support will vary according to the individual but will normally be carried out within the classroom, unless there is a specific reason why this would be inappropriate.
A system of continuous assessment is employed in Mount Pleasant. Class teachers keep individual, group and class records as a result of their observations and assessment of class work.
The school follows the Guidelines on National Testing. Children are tested in Mathematics, Reading and Writing when appropriate.
If a child does not pass a test, further work will be done at that level. The child will then be retested using a different test at that level.
As a general guide, the stages when pupils are expected to reach the different levels are listed below.
Level A should be attainable in the course of P1 - P3 by almost all pupils.
Level B should be attainable by some pupils in P3, or even earlier, but certainly by most in P4.
Level C should be attainable in the course of P4 - P6 by most pupils.
Level D should be attainable by some pupils in P5 - P6, or even earlier, but certainly by most in P7.
Level E should be attainable by some pupils in P7/S1, but certainly by most in S2.
Level F should be attainable in part by some pupils, and completed by a few in the course of P7 – S2.
Pupils' progress is reported to parents in May in a written report. Parents' Evenings are usually held in November and May when verbal reports are given and work can be examined and discussed in detail. Parents who are concerned about their child's progress at other times may contact the school to discuss the matter with staff.
STANDARDS IN EDUCATION
As part of a government initiative to raise standards, schools have been asked to set target levels for improvements in Reading, Writing and Mathematics attainment. The table in Appendix 1 provides this information.