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Moray pupils fall short of attainment targets, new report says

By Lewis McBlane

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MORAY performs below the average for the north of Scotland in key ways, committee meeting hears.

The Council's record for pupil attainment came under fire at a meeting last week...Picture: Daniel Forsyth
The Council's record for pupil attainment came under fire at a meeting last week...Picture: Daniel Forsyth

A new report shown to Moray Council's education, children's and leisure services committee last Wednesday (June 8) shows that Moray pupils, across a range of levels, are missing attainment targets.

The new report shows that, for secondary school leavers, the lowest 20%, the middle 60% and the highest 20% all fall short of local targets and the national average.

Labour Councillor Sandy Keith said: “Attainment in Moray’s schools needs to improve.

"We discussed a paper which outlined that, whether it is the lowest 20%, the middle 60% or the highest performing 20% of pupils, we trail our comparator councils and lag behind the Scottish average.

"Indeed, we found out that in relation to the top 20% the gap has widened and we must reverse this trend.

“Moray has improved performance compared to the previous year and that is, of course, welcome.

"However, the pace of improvement has not been enough to pull Moray out of the bottom quartile for performance in a number of indicators.

The Leaders of the new Conservative minority administration in Moray responded to the news by noting that the Council must take "big decisions" to improve attainment.

Councillor Kathleen Robertson, chairwoman of the education committee and Co Leader, said: “We have inherited a position with Moray schools sitting unsatisfactorily low in national league tables for attainment and also the school estate.

"Big decisions will need to be made.”

Fellow Co Leader Councillor Neil McLennan, vice chairman of the education committee, said: “Education is a complex beast and any solution to its problems will have many facets.

"Our first education committee showed new administration councillors asking the right questions to hold those responsible for improving education to account.

"That includes national educational improvement bodies and the Regional Improvement Collaborative.

"They need to do what they say on the tin or funds from them be given direct to local government to improve our schools.

"Too much money seems to be being spent on interesting activities which are not necessarily delivering results for Moray children.”

The officer presenting the paper to the committee, quality improvement manager Stewart McLauchlan, said attainment figures were not meaningfully behind targets in some areas.

He admitted, however, that Council staff knew how much needed done to solve other problems.

Mr McLauchlan said: "In terms of the lowest 20% and middle 60%, overall we are in line with the virtual comparator, albeit slightly below Northern Alliance authorities and Scotland too.

"The highest 20% I know is below and our schools are very aware of this which we know is an average of the local authority.

"As noted, our eight secondary school's differing performance contributes to this overall authority average.

"We do note the gaps and we are addressing them fully through our insight strategy and our curriculum strategy as well."

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