Excellent inspection report for Balgay Hill Nursery School

It was very pleasing, earlier this week, to be advised of the excellent inspection report for Balgay Hill Nursery School, undertaken by Education Scotland.
 
The evaluations and key strengths outlined in the report highlight the very positive experience children receive at Balgay Hill Nursery School:

Key strengths of the school

  • Children are actively engaged and motivated in their learning.
  • Staff provide a nurturing, caring and welcoming learning environment.
  • Inclusive ethos in supporting children and their families.
  • Transition arrangements for children transferring to P1.
  • Effective leadership of the headteacher.
More detail of the inspection report can be read here.    Congratulations go to Mrs Cowan, Head Teacher, and her team, for such an excellent outcome.
 
You can read more about the work of the Friends of Balgay Hill Nursery School here.
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Parking and pupil safety at the West End Nursery and Primaries Campus

West End Nursery & Primaries Campus entrance area
I have previously raised, at the City Council School Parking and Pupil Safety Working Group – and elsewhere – constituent concerns about road safety at the West End campus (St Joseph’s PS; Victoria Park PS; Balgay Hill Nursery School).  
 
I recently asked the council’s Head of Transportation for an update on proposed actions and he has advised:
 
“The main areas of concern were around the Glenagnes Road entrances (to the school and car park) with parents accessing and thus mixing with the pupils as they were leaving the school and using the staff car park.  
 
The options to be looked at included changes to the access to both the school service road and car park with the use of barriers (automatic and linked to school office), these are triggered by authorised fob holders or by pushing an intercom.  In addition it was agreed that the school keep clear markings may need to be revised as some parents / carers thought it was ok to stop in the gap in the markings at the service road entrance.
The items above will be looked at during this FY and we will then see if they can implemented this FY or early into FY14/15, budgets dependant.
In general we observed the majority of pupils walking and those collecting by car using the park and stride facilities away from the school.  However there were a small proportion undertaking inappropriate driving behaviour.”

Pupil safety outside Dundee schools

This afternoon, I took part in the latest meeting of the City Council’s working group tackling school parking and pupil safety outside schools across the city.
 
I took the opportunity to again raise my concerns and those of constituents about road safety in the vicinity of the West End schools’ campus – Balgay Hill Nursery School, Victoria Park Primary School and St Joseph’s Primary School.    The concerns include some drivers driving into the school campus area (instead of parking on-street) against school advice and some inappropriate on-street parking including drop off and pick up of pupils on Blackness Road.
 
I am pleased to advise that, after hearing my concerns, the council’s Chief Executive proposed a site visit to the schools to look at the issues and agree steps to tackle them.   This will take place before the end of term later this month.
 
It should be stressed that the vast majority of parents and carers drop off their children appropriately and with care and respect for others, but any remaining safety concerns must be tackled.
 
I also spoke about the situation outside St John’s High School and was assured that a meeting with the school will take place next term to discuss any parking and safety issues.

West End Schools’ Campus Official Opening

This morning, along with many other guests, I had the pleasure of attending the West End Schools’ Campus Official Opening at the magnificent new home for Balgay Hill Nursery School, St Joseph’s Primary School and Victoria Park Primary School.
 
The musical and dance contributions by the pupils were excellent and it was a thoroughly enjoyable morning.   Here’s a couple of photographs from a most memorable and enjoyable event:
A welcome from pupils from all three schools
The talented choir that contains pupils from all years from all three schools

A great success for the Balgay Hill Nursery School Parents’ Group

At lunchtime today, I had the pleasure of saying a few words of welcome and thank you to the huge turnout of parents and pupils of Balgay Hill Nursery School as they met up at Victoria Park to set off on their sponsored walk round Balgay Park and Hill to raise funds for outdoor play equipment at the school.
 
It was great to see such a large group of children, mums, dads, other family members and friends take part and our thanks go to all and in particular to Sharon and her colleagues on the Parents’ Group and to Mrs Cowan, Head Teacher.
Ready for the sponsored walk start!

Continued concern over parking at West End schools campus

Since the opening of the West End schools campus at Glenagnes Road/Blackness Road last year (the home of St Joseph’s Primary School, Balgay Hill Nursery School and Victoria Park Primary School), I have raised concerns about pupil and parking safety around the schools’ site.
 
Recently, the situation appeared to have improved, but yesterday – as reported in tonight’s Evening Telegraph – there were real concerns about the situation.   I had a long conversation last night with our local community police officer about the situation and have made some suggestions this morning to the Director of Education and the Head of Transportation at the City Council as follows:
 
*A minority of drivers ignoring the schools’ advice not to enter the school site by car to collect pupils.   I think the time has come to consider a controlled barrier at the entrance to stop unauthorised entry.
*Some pupils leaving via the vehicle access road and not via the pedestrian entrance/exit.    This needs to be addressed.
*Outside the school grounds, parking on zig zags, yellow lines and right on the corner of Glenagnes Road/Street, blocking Glenagnes Street completely.    There is a clear role for parking enforcement staff to effectively tackle this.
 
I had a very prompt response this morning from the Director of Education and I am anxious to see progress to ensure pupil safety.