Headteacher defends stance which lead to inspection comments

Headteacher Viki Cameron said staffing levels and recruitment challenges had reached crisis point in Aberdeenshire
Headteacher Viki Cameron said staffing levels and recruitment challenges had reached crisis point in Aberdeenshire

A headteacher who went back into the classroom to provide her pupils with a full-time learning experience – even though it triggered a poor inspection report – said she would do it all over again.

Port Erroll School’s Viki Cameron made the comment as she addressed a meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan Area Committee on a range of improvements now being undertaken.
She said staffing levels and recruitment challenges facing not only her school but schools across Aberdeenshire and, in particular the Peterhead area, had reached “crisis point”.
These, she said, had combined to prompt the issues when Education Scotland inspectors re-visited the school last year.
In a candid and open account of the inspection, Ms Cameron said that had the three-man inspection team visited just a few months earlier, there would not have been an issue.
As it was, faced with a staffing shortage largely down to retirals, the headteacher set aside her administrative duties to focus on the education of her young students.
Councillors had been advised of a number of urgent measures put in place to tackle the issues raised by inspectors who claimed “insufficient progress” had been made since an inspection dating back to 2016.
The council says the school is now working in partnership with its attainment officers to develop a ”robust monitoring and tracking system” which will ensure progression in learning based upon a wide range of evidence and includes target setting which is aspirational.
Working parties are also being formed with the parent and pupil body and a greater focus placed on self-evaluation.
Ms Cameron assured councillors that she was now working three days a week on her statutory headteacher duties and that the school was working closely with the attainment officers to make the required changes.
Councillors rallied behind the headteacher, with chair Norman Smith echoing the thoughts of many when he urged Ms Cameron to contact the committee if she needed further help and support.