Councillors will this week consider three reports that could mark the beginning of widespread changes to education in Moray.
Wednesday’s meeting of the Children and Young People’s Services Committee will look at proposals dealing with management restructuring in the region’s secondary schools, management and leadership arrangements for primary schools, and preparations for consultation on rezoning of Elgin primaries.
In a report prepared by Lindsay Stanley, the council’s business support team manager, Councillors will be reminded that roles associated with Principal Teachers have “changed vastly over the last 40 years”, adding that “a much greater emphasis is now being required in terms of leadership and management of curriculum development and learning and teaching, as well as staff and resource management”.
The report adds: “Present arrangements in Moray’s schools do not provide sufficient time to carry out many of the wide and varied duties required of a Principal Teacher.”
If given the go-ahead the paper promises that “a review of management structures and arrangements in secondary schools will consider the arrangements at middle and senior management levels and will consider how Moray’s schools can be most efficiently and effectively managed and led in the future.”
Primary School Leadership
In a separate paper, Laurence Findlay, the Corporate Director of Education and Social Care, invites the committee to consider management and leadership arrangements at all primary schools.
The request is that draft management plans be prepared for a future committee proposing changes to primary school management, using a newly remodelled “Linear Formula” that would apply to schools of 145 pupils or over.
A “paired leadership” system is proposed along the lines already operating in Moray at Knockando/Inveravon, Tomintoul/Glenlivet and Portgordon/Portknockie schools.
Mr Findlay says in the report: “A formal partnership of schools under a partner Head Teacher will enhance the efficient sustainability of some smaller schools. Pupils will experience enhanced learning and teaching and curricular opportunities within the context of Curriculum for Excellence which they may otherwise not have had access to. “
Adding that the model would also ensure Head Teachers are focusing on improving the quality of educational provision across their schools, the paper says that potentially, workload should be reduced.
Mr Findlay adds: “Head Teachers will have sufficient time to focus on quality assurance, improvement planning and the implementation of the Named Person legislation which would be denied to them as class committed Head Teachers.
“Parents will appreciate the fact that they are more readily able to make an appointment to see a non-teaching Head Teacher than may be the case with a teaching one, meaning issues and concerns can be dealt with in as timely a manner as possible.”
Rezoning in Elgin
A third report by Senior Education Advisor Paul Watson outlines a consultation process to be undertaken that will invite views on primary school zoning in Elgin, for which key principles had already been agreed by the committee at their meeting on February 4.
For such changes to be acted upon a minimum consultation period of 30 days needs to be provided. This will be carried out between April 13 and May 29, with Mr Watson adding: “It is expected that, allowing for Education Scotland to report on the proposals and an analysis of the consultation responses by Moray Council officers, a consultation report will be published in the autumn of 2015.
“This should allow the Committee to take a final decision on the proposals on 9 December 2015.”
Statutory consultees will include parents and carers of those pupils who will be affected by zoning changes or those likely to become pupils in the next two years. Provisional dates for consultations are being recommended for April 13 (at Bishopmill), April 16 (New Elgin and Ashgrove Hall) and on April 27 at Elgin Town Hall.