St. David’s is situated on the south side of Dalkeith in Kippielaw. It is a one stream co-educational Roman Catholic Primary School for children of primary school age with a catchment area that serves Dalkeith, Eskbank, King’s Lines, Danderhall, Pathhead and surrounding areas. We continue to strengthen our links with St David’s RC Church and work closely with Father Andrew Garden.
Our role currently stands at 201 across 7 classes with a number of children accessing Shared Placements. The school is in the process of extension, making space for a nursery provision and creating new learning spaces. P1-4 learners are accommodated in the main building, a purpose built, semi open plan school. This building contains four classrooms, Family Hub, Support for Learning Base, school hall and library. The new nursery (scheduled for completion October 2019) will be self-contained, benefit from a separate entrance and landscaped garden and is located within the front of this building. P5-7 learners are accommodated in the Upper School annexe, made up of three classrooms which were erected by Portakabin in 2018. Learners moved into this new building in January 2019. This has provided greater space and allowed us to improve the conditions for learning, with noise levels being reduced considerably. There are outdoor learning areas within the extensive school grounds which are utilised for both curricular and extra-curricular activities. Further work is required to landscape and maximise the use of this space.
At present, fourteen teachers provide high quality learning experiences for learners. This includes a Head Teacher, Acting Depute Head Teacher, Acting Principal Teacher, three Support for Learning teachers and visiting teachers of art and religious education. The school also benefits from visiting instructors who offer brass, woodwind and violin instruction for P6 and P7 learners and an English as an Additional Language (EAL) Assistant.
The school also employs the support of an Administrative Assistant, Office Support, four Learning Assistants, a Senior Child Care Development Worker and Breakfast Club supervisors. Cleaning and catering are contracted to the Midlothian’s catering and cleaning services. A crossing patrol operates at the entrance to the school on Lauder Road and there are various other crossing patrol points which serve the school along Lauder Road.
The levels of deprivation in our school are high with 58% of our families living in SIMD 1 – SIMD 4. 15% of children are in receipt of free school meals and clothing allowances which we recognise is not reflective of the pupil population. This is a 4% reduction from 2018/2019. We continue to promote free school meals and seek solutions to support families who are entitled to apply for these supports. At present we are in receipt of £80,400 in Pupil Equity Funding to close the poverty related attainment gap. In addition to this, St David’s Primary was also allocated £6804 to reduce the cost of the school day. The allocation of PEF funding will fall dramatically to £73,200 for session 2019/2020. Part of this money will continue to protect and minimise the cost of the school day.
St David’s has a wide range of supports available to all learners and families. The school provides an extensive range of personalised, pastoral support responsive to the needs of individuals and their families. The school has widened its partnership working through PEF. It is currently able to provide additional therapeutic services through Play Therapy Base and Home Link Family Support.
St David’s has an extensive programme of extra-curricular activities before and after school. We provide a fantastic Breakfast Club which is entirely free. This enables up to 200 pupils to receive a breakfast each week. We have further increased numbers attending the club throughout 2018/2019, resulting in almost 10,000 free breakfasts being served across the session. Active Schools provide a range of after school clubs including basketball, football and dance. We have also been able to provide a wider range of extra-curricular activities including family fitness, family yoga and Relax Kids in 2018/2019. All of these clubs have been free and accessible to all through the use of Cost of the School Day funds.
We have a strong working partnership with St David’s RC High School and feeder nurseries and provide rich opportunities to support transition from Nursery to Primary 1 and from Primary 7 to S1.
Visitors frequently comment on our happy and welcoming school and our well-mannered, engaged and enthusiastic learners. We have a strong staff team who are eager to drive improvements and improve outcomes for learners. The team are united and work well together. Leadership is promoted at every level and staff take collective responsibility for planning and evaluating the school’s progress. We have been able to enhance our staffing provision greatly through the use of PEF.
We are supported by our Parent Council who work exceptionally hard to support the school. Their efforts and contributions provide essential fundraising for school funds and assist with the development of key objectives. Some of their work this session has included delivery of Bikeability, hosting Christmas parties, part-funding the Pantomime trip, developing the school garden and supporting our eco work. We continue to work to widen participation and ensure authentic engagement for all parents/ carers to further strengthen our school community.