SCHOOLS from across Scotland are improving pupil inclusion, equality and well being thanks to a model pioneered by Auchinleck Academy.

The school was rated very good in January 2017 – the first in Scotland – and Education Scotland have now used Auchinleck as a case study to help improve schools across Scotland.

We sat down with head teacher Martin Robertson and depute head Carolyn Devine, both passionate and proud of what they have achieved, to find

out what’s been happening.

“There has always been a knowledge nationally that well being is a high priority and it’s a real strength of what we do as a school,” Martin said.

“The inspection basically identified that one of the key strengths of the school was our work on inclusion, equality and well being.

“We were rated as very good in that area and we were the first school in Scotland to be rated under the new inspection system as very good.

“One of the things we did was that we basically changed the way we work with young people.

“We don’t have a discipline behaviour policy anymore. We’ve got a relationships framework and we are always focusing on working on respectful relationships across the school.

“That makes a difference to how young people view their time at school and how they feel included and how they are helped to improve in attainment, attendance and the stuff that goes with it.”

“It wasn’t a big sudden change, it was a gradual process,” Carolyn added.

“We recognise that in order to achieve their potential, young people have to feel supported and respected and included in the school.

“Good relationships with teachers can impact on a young person’s well being and their attitude towards and their experience of school.

“We were looking at our approach and moved away from punishing young people to looking at how we can support them.

“Behaviour, at times, is an additional support need rather than something to be punished for.

“All behaviour is communication so we try and look for what the reasons are behind the behaviour and what the young person is trying to tell us with their behaviour.

“Continually punishing and excluding young people is not leading to any kind of long term change because they just repeat the same type of behaviour again and again and again because they are not learning from it.”

In part two in next weeks Chronicle, Mr Robertson and Mrs Devine discuss how they have been working with Cumnock Academy

ahead of the schools’ merger and how the pupils have taken to the new framework.