School Vision, Values and Aims

Our School Vision and Context

Our vision for the school Balmedie School is a happy, safe, inclusive and engaging environment.

We aim to deliver high quality learning and teaching experiences including taking advantage of our unique outdoor environment. Effective self-evaluation is integral to our ongoing school improvement journey.

In partnership with pupils, parents/carers and the local community we encourage children to develop the knowledge, skills, confidence and values they will need to succeed in the modern world.


Values That Underpin Our Work

Balmedie School promotes a positive ethos with shared values across the school and community to aspire to be ‘Incredible Balmedie’.

Children are encouraged to develop their understanding of the 8 areas of Wellbeing (Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included) and are provided with opportunities/experiences to promote respect/tolerance of themselves and others in our local/wider community.


What do we aim to achieve for our children/pupils?

Children are encouraged to contribute to the life and work of the school through pupil groups, house system and interdisciplinary learning.

We celebrate a range of achievements both in the school and beyond. We encourage children to build motivation, resilience and confidence.

We aim to Get it Right for Every Child by working in partnership with staff, children, parents/carers, other agencies and our local, national and global community to deliver learning in an active, engaging and relevant way.


School Context

Balmedie School is a non-denominational school with a role of approximately 400 children in the main school and caters for up to 128 places in Balmedie Nursery and 24 places in Potterton Nursery annexe.

The school serves Balmedie, Potterton, Belhelvie, Whitecairns and the surrounding rural area.

Pupil groups contribute significantly to school life at Balmedie School. For example, we have renewed and earned our Eco Flag, continues to raise money and awareness for various charities and organisations and have enabled progress to be made as part of school improvement priority targets.

As we begin session 2020-21 there will be a focus on pupils driving change through the House Captains, Friendshippers/Buddies groups, Eco group, Health & Wellbeing group, Citizenship group and Charities group supporting our school development (and wider projects).

Effective partnership working is considered a key strength at Balmedie School. We have an elected Parent Group (Friends of Balmedie – FOBs) who have worked in partnership with the school range of school developments and fundraising projects.

The school also has well established partnerships with Child Smile (Nursery), local minister Paul McKeown, The Sand Bothy (outdoor learning links), local business (the Co-op), local library service (community and eco links), Reading Dogs (resilience support), Intervention and Prevention Teacher, Aberlour and Rainbow Rogues (pupil and family support through local resource partnership within our Ellon Cluster and Aberdeenshire area).

These partnerships have enriched curricular experiences and support class teachers to deliver learner entitlements within the Scottish Governments programme to meet the needs of learners and develop skills for life, learning and work.

Each year data outlining Curriculum for Excellence Levels (ACL) for Primary 1, Primary 4 and Primary 7 are submitted to the Scottish Government. As of March 2020 most children were on track (P1, P4 and P7) to achieve CfE levels in Listening and Talking, Reading, Writing and Numeracy as expected.


Identified Strengths of Balmedie School

• Balmedie School is a nurturing school – all pupils are looked at as individuals and programmes of support are put in place to ensure the best possible learning opportunities are provided.

• Our school has positive and expanding means of communication with our parent community. More regular opportunities are being developed through our online communicaton tools e.g. facebook page, Xpressions, school blog to ensure that parents/carers to have their say on the development of the school and all views and opinions are listened to. #wearebalmedie

• Our Early Years Educations offers a play-based curriculum. The planned approach used by our Early Years Staff is robust and allows for children to use their imagination and play related skills to develop their learning journey.

• The Senior Leadership Team is pro-active in their approach for supporting all staff with the implementation of development initiatives to move the school forward in a positive direction. Learning, teaching, planning and assessment approaches continue to be constructed through shared staff agreements. Staff are encouraged to collaborate and lead pilot projects throughout the school to ensure leadership opportunities at all levels.

• The Senior Leadership Team use data progress tracking and monitoring/teacher judgement to inform next steps as well as identify trends/patterns across the school.

• Pupil support is based on the ongoing need of the pupils/families and is reviewed termly during attainment meetings (and GIRFEC/partnership review meetings). Continuing development of support plans and growth of support partnerships ensures that support is identified and accessible.

• Pupil representation groups have been consistent and continue to contribute towards the positive ethos of our school. There is a growing pupil voice for improving our school and an emerging approach to developing young leaders of learning via pupil representation groups, collaboration opportunities, celebrating achievement and opportunities for leadership roles.


Pupil Equity Funding (PEF)

Our PEF allocation for session 2019-2020 was approximately £20,000. This was used to target supporting the gap to improve levels of pupil support, increase levels of quality participation and engagement in learning. Part of this funding was also used to support poverty proofing and respond to implications of the COVID pandemic.

Consultations and feedback on school developments, spending and funding is shared through our FOBs parent forum.