COUNCILLORS wanted to ensure there was “no blame culture” in the Wee County over a “disappointing” report from school inspectors.

As previously highlighted, St Serf’s Primary School was rated “weak” across three out of four areas following a visit from Education Scotland earlier this year.

Clackmannanshire Council’s People Committee last week debated the report and heard a two-year action plan is already being implemented to address issues raised by inspectors.

Coalsnaughton Primary’s Colleen ClarkBurns was brought in as interim head and is said to be instilling greater discipline.

It was revealed at the meeting that the unfavourable report came as no surprise, a senior officer explaining additional support had been provided to the school since August last year, months before the inspection.

They added the visit “came quicker than we would have liked”.

However, the chamber also heard there was no backlash from parents and the interim head was praised for starting to make changes in a short period of time.

At the same time, the nursery class attached to the school was at least “satisfactory” if not “good” across all areas.

Councillor George Matchett, however, said he “did not see [the negative report] coming” having thought St Serf’s was “absolutely brilliant” when he visited before.

He explained that “without drilling down” people would have thought it was “one of the happiest schools”.

Indeed, the letter to parents from inspectors highlighted some strengths, including “articulate, friendly children who are respectful towards each other and proud of their school”.

However, they said there was a need “for stronger strategic leadership” and to improve attainment with better assessments.

Cllr Matchett added: “Maybe I should have been more alert.”

He went on to say there was a need to ensure there is “no blame culture” over the report, adding there was now an effective plan to address problems and wished all involved the best.

The Labour stalwart’s sentiment was echoed around the chamber, committee chair Cllr Graham Lindsay adding there was “no sugar coating” the fact the outcome of the report was “not good enough”.

He went on to extend the committee’s support to educators as they take the action plan forward.

The convener and SNP administration spokesman for education later told the Advertiser: “There’s no getting away from what’s in the report – the staff can’t get away from that; the parents can’t get away from that; and the education team can’t get away from that.

“The key now is what next and I’m pleased that the action plan, and it’s quite a detailed action plan, is now in place.”

He added: “We should praise Colleen [ClarkBurns] because she has made a marked difference.

“Not just in the way the school is looking at the minute, but certainly in the behaviour of the children, the discipline that’s already being instilled and I know staff are buying into her new approach.”