Learning stars welcome Deputy First Minister to Riccarton Early Childhood Centre

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP, has paid a special visit to Riccarton Early Childhood Centre in Kilmarnock to personally acknowledge the outstanding inspection report from Education Scotland inspectors.

Late in 2018, Riccarton Early Childhood Centre scored a perfect ‘Excellent’ across all four quality indicators, becoming the first educational establishment in Scotland to achieve the perfect results across all educational sectors under the current inspection framework.

The indicators and scores were:

  • Leadership of change: Excellent
  • Learning, assessment and teaching: Excellent
  • Securing children’s progress: Excellent
  • Ensuring wellbeing, equality and inclusion: Excellent

In the report, Education Scotland specifically praises the ‘inspirational and outstanding leadership’ of head teacher, Teresa Porter, who ‘drives forward continual improvement’ setting ‘high expectations and ambition for all, which makes a significant difference to the lives of children and families.’

The report also highlights the dedication and enthusiasm of all practitioners who: ‘create a warm, nurturing ethos. Working together as a strong, professional team, they provide rich and very high quality learning experiences across the curriculum.’

Welcoming Mr Swinney and Education Scotland’s Chief Inspector Gayle Gorman, Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “We were absolutely thrilled by the Education Scotland report and the positive, encouraging comments being made about the ECC, the staff and our pupils.

“We are fully committed to offering every child and young person in East Ayrshire the best possible education, blending skills and experiences to give  them the best possible opportunity to succeed.”

Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning added: “Our children, parents and staff at Riccarton Early Childhood Centre make a phenomenal team and the report is a direct reflection of their hard work and commitment.

“Our team and the children they teach and care for richly deserve this landmark recognition and it is fantastic to see it being acknowledged at the highest possible level.”

Education Scotland’s Chief Inspector Gayle Gorman said: “It’s a pleasure to be able to visit today to witness the outstanding early learning childcare experience that Riccarton Early Childhood Centre offers children and their families.

“I’d like to particularly acknowledge head teacher Teresa Porter for encouraging staff to take responsibility as ‘champions’ to drive forward specific areas for development such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) approaches to learning.

“This has resulted in children being highly motivated and excited by the wide range of high quality, stimulating and challenging learning experiences.”

Mr Swinney said: ”I was very keen, having read the inspection report, to understand exactly what is driving the excellent practice going on at the Riccarton Early Childhood Centre.

“It’s been fantastic to see this wonderful, nurturing and inclusive environment in which young people are able to thrive in great surroundings with great indoor and outdoor facilities, but also developing in an environment where their needs are being supported directly by members of staff and they are being challenged in the process.

“What’s also been very clear to me is the extent of community involvement in the Centre and the way in which that has been undertaken to make sure it is an integral part of the community, central to transforming the lives of children and young people in this area.”

Linda McAulay-Griffiths, East Ayrshire Council’s Head of Education concluded: “Our Education Service is dedicated to ensuring that every child and young person has access to a high quality education, plus the skills and experiences they need to help them achieve success in school, life and in work.

“That commitment is embodied in the ethos of all our educational establishments in East Ayrshire and I’d like to congratulate every child, parent and member of staff member at Riccarton Early Childhood Centre, who have all played their part in this stunning report from Education Scotland.”