Aberdeenshire School Help Educate Best Practice

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Alford Primary School head teacher Liz MacLeod explains to Investors in People Scotland the steps they have taken to become a high achieving school.

Alford Primary School Investors in People
Investors in People provided us with a framework for the school to address key development issues and ensured that we had effective leadership and management strategies in place.

Alford is the first primary school in Aberdeenshire to join an exclusive group of UK employers eligible to use and display the sought after “Investors in People” logo and plaque, and enjoy its benefits.

Commenting on the award, Liz MacLeod, Head Teacher said,

“I am delighted with this award. It proves what I have always felt: namely we have a really great ethos within the school and a strongly developed sense of team work.

“Investors in People provided us with a framework for the school to address key development issues, and ensured that we had effective leadership and management strategies in place. It also provided us with a focus for staff training and development.

“It was just great to hear how appreciative members of staff were about both the school and their own colleagues. It was so good to have such positive feedback.”

With regards to the process, Liz commented,

“The IIP Award was always something I was interested in. I can recall noticing that some academies in Aberdeenshire had achieved it, and thinking that it was outwith our field of management experience. A number of years ago, one of our parents, who worked in industry, gave me information about the award, but I felt it was not applicable to us.

“However, the thought never really left me, and in June of this year I made some enquiries. Ruth Oulton came out to Alford to visit me, and from this very helpful discussion I was convinced that this was the route I wanted to take.

“Ruth suggested that June Smith would be the best consultant to work with us, and she was right. June visited in early September and listened to my hopes and aspirations for the school, and examined our vision and aims; our improvement plan; and our standards and quality report. She returned shortly after to meet with me and the rest of the senior management team.

“This proved to be one of the best management meetings we had had. So often we are dragged down by the minutiae of day-to-day events, which are far from being trivial, but could often be described as merely fire-fighting. These impediments can often drain one’s energies to see the bigger picture.

“June helped us to pause, lift our vision and look beyond the horizon ……….. and we liked the view! When she left, we were ‘buzzing’ and had a new sense of energy and purpose. We looked forward to her return.”

When June came back she spent two full days in the school, interviewing a selection of all the staff. All agreed it was a pleasure to talk to her. She made it very easy for them to speak and share their thoughts.

The IIP plaque arrived in the same week as Mrs MacLeod celebrated 20 years as Head Teacher of the school. Her comments:

“It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty years. The time has simply flown. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to watch the school and the pupils grow and develop. The staff photo taken during my first year in post had less than a dozen people. There are now over forty in the school.

“Achieving the IIP Award in the same week as this anniversary was a great source of pride for all of us, and we are looking forward to our continued relationship with Investors in People, as we are in the very lucky position of getting a new school. Building work has already begun and should be completed by August 2015. Support from Investors in People will help us in the transition process and help us with the inevitable change and transformation. Exciting times ahead!”

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Kenny Pattie

Kenny Pattie
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