Labour Councillors on the Moray Council have identified a number of key failings with respect to education attainment and school buildings, and are calling for immediate action as a matter of priority. At today’s meeting of the Moray Council’s Education, Children’s and Leisure Services Committee, Councillor Sandy Keith raised his concerns regarding attainment in Moray’s schools.
Commenting after today’s meeting, Councillor 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 in 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. For example, the percentage of senior phase pupils gaining 5 or more awards at Level 6 increased to 33%, behind the national average of 41%, ranking Moray 27th whilst the rates for Numeracy across P1, P4 and P7 reached 68% ranking Moray 29 out of 32 councils.
“We need to catch up with other areas and officers have assured the committee that work is on-going to address the situation. I hope that these strategies bear fruit and I will be monitoring progress in the years to come.”
In the same meeting, Labour Councillor Ben Williams pressed officers on a report on education resources with respect to the school estate. In the meeting, Councillor Williams asked:
“There was a target set out by Moray Council for 60.9% of our schools to receive a grade B or better. The Scottish average is 90%. Our schools are in a position not unlike Dundee FC, where even in the best-case scenario, our ambition is 30 points below the national average. Yet we still fell short of this target, with 56.6% of our schools receiving a grade B or higher. So, my question is: when should we be aiming to meet or come close to the Scottish average?”
In response to this question, the Council’s Deputy Chief Executive, Mrs Denise Whitworth, stated that it would be “decades” before Moray’s school estate was up to the national average.
Commenting on the response from the Deputy Chief Executive, Councillor Williams said:
“While we all know of the years of neglect we’ve seen in our school estate, that it will take decades to just get up to the national average is nothing short of shocking.”