Motivation: over to you

7th October 2005 at 01:00
MSPs on the parliamentary education committee will not make firm recommendations following their inquiry into pupil motivation.

Instead, the committee's report will raise the issues of pupil motivation discussed at the inquiry and highlight a number of "challenging questions" which will be aired at a conference in January.

The final draft of the report was discussed at a meeting of the committee last week when it was decided to make minor amendments before publishing the document. Kenneth Mackintosh, Labour MSP for Eastwood, said he was concerned that the report ended a "bit lamely" without any conclusions, although he accepted the aim was to encourage contributors to participate.

Iain Smith, the committee's new convener and Liberal Democrat list MSP for North East Fiffe, said the report would be issued as part of the ongoing discussion about pupil motivation.

The proposed half-day conference will involve committee members, witnesses who gave evidence to the inquiry and an educational psychologist who gave advice to members and teachers. Teachers and pupils from the schools visited in the inquiry will also be invited to participate.

The draft report emphasises that Scottish pupils, teachers and schools perform well in international comparisons and that standards continue to rise. However, it notes that there appears to be a significant group who are not being motivated and engaged.

The conference will address the role of leadership in setting a school's ethos, action to maximise levels of motivation among teachers and the challenges presented by the transition from primary and secondary schools.

Opinions will be sought on any further steps that can be taken to enhance the status of vocational courses and on how parents and the wider community can be better engaged in developing a sense of ownership of a school.

The draft report notes that the geographical pattern of unauthorised absence, regarded as an indication of poor motivation, is highly variable.

The proportion of pupils with less than 75 per cent attendance ranges from 9.2 per cent of pupils in Glasgow to 1.6 per cent in Orkney.

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