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Peacock presses Moray

The Education Minister has taken the rare, but not unprecedented, step of calling in education authority officials to discuss their "poor" HMI report.

Peter Peacock met representatives from Moray Council this week to satisfy himself that their action plan was a serious attempt to remedy a string of imperfections identified by inspectors. The authority earned two goods, eight fairs and one unsatisfactory in the different categories of performance.

Mr Peacock, who has cast doubt on the ability of very small councils to be effective, said after the meeting he had been given assurances that the council was taking action. But he has asked for further reassurances, in writing, that the action plan will be streamlined to target key areas.

The minister also wants monitoring arrangements to check on progress, hard indicators of success and a firm focus on management. He says that, if satisfied with these reassurances, he will not need to become involved again until the follow-up inspection in nine months' time.

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