Finger on the pulse in Moray

David Henderson

One in four secondary staff in Moray believes their school's performance is worse than a year ago. But primary teachers are far more positive, according to an opinion poll for the council.

A stakeholder survey, which covered primary and secondary teachers, pupils and parents, found that two out of three secondary teachers (66 per cent) rate their school as good, but only four out of 10 (40 per cent) say it has improved over the past year. Twenty-five per cent say it is worse, largely because of classroom indiscipline.

Pupils themselves rank discipline issues higher than peers across Scotland.

Perhaps surprisingly, secondary pupils, staff and parents all accept that the authority does not do well in exam performance. Analysts say that Moray pupils "display attitudes and priorities which suggest that they tend to have lower levels of expectation than the national average".

In contrast, eight out of 10 primary teachers categorise their school as strong and more than two out of three (67 per cent) believe it has improved over the past year. Fewer than one in 10 (8 per cent) think the performance of their school is worse.

Secondary staff complain that they are not appreciated and do not receive the support they should from line managers and the respect they expect from pupils. Their top priority is an improvement in discipline.

Primary teachers are least happy with support from line managers, liaison with feeder schools and the vision of the headteacher. Their chief priority is the improvement of school facilities.

On the plus side, secondary teachers are happiest with professional development opportunities, the homework completion policy and the appearance of the school. They believe they deliver well in social health education and in building confidence and are satisfied with levels of homework.

Colleagues in primary are happiest with pupils' respect for staff and others, the homework completion policy and pupil grouping or setting.

In a bond of unity, primary pupils, staff and parents all agree that the biggest improvement the authority could make is in the standard of school facilities. In secondary, teachers and parents agree that discipline is the number one issue.

Pupils are not entirely convinced their schools are getting better. Only 57.3 per cent think they have improved in the past year, while 17 per cent think their school's performance is worse. Yet 83 per cent think that the people in charge of running the school do a good job and 91 per cent agree that teachers encourage them to do their best. An almost similar number (89 per cent) agree the school teaches them the difference between right and wrong.

More than one in three (35 per cent) say that bullying will not stop if they report it to a teacher.

Parents of primary children rate their schools highly, with 82 per cent saying they have "an exceptionally high overall performance". They are happiest with the quality of teaching, how staff build confidence and the happy environment for children. They are unhappy with levels of out of school activities, the use of testing and measures to control bullying.

Nineteen per cent of secondary parents say their school's control of bullying is poor or very poor. But 72 per cent believe their school is doing a good job.

Leader 22

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