Radical plan for primary education clears its first hurdle

COUNCILLORS HAVE BACKED plans to drastically reshape the way teaching is managed in Moray’s 45 primary schools.

The plan will see a total of 12 schools ‘pairing’ their head teacher – with all post holders being released from classroom duties to allow them to concentrate fully on administering their schools.

Members of the children and young people’s services committee were told on Wednesday by Chairwoman Cllr Anne Skene that over half of the region’s primary schools were managed by head teachers with classroom commitments – making their posts “increasingly difficult to fill”.

She said: “This plan offers a new and progressive approach to management and leadership arrangements in our primary schools.”

Presenting the new plans, which are designed to help alleviate Moray’s teacher recruitment crisis, the corporate director of education, Laurence Findlay, said that there may be fears that some head teacher pairings would be seen as “a pairing too far”. However, Mr Findlay stressed that in such events amendments could be made.

He said: “This draft policy aspires to create a more attractive and progressive carer pathway for aspiring school leaders which may alleviate some of our current recruitment challenges at senior management level.”

The plan was backed by the committee – although Councillor Allan Wright cautioned: “I think this is a well thought out and progressive plan – but there could be a perception that a small school might be under threat if paired with a large school.”

While there would be fewer head teachers under the plan it will lead to an increase in the number of principal and deputy head teachers. It is hoped that the new system will be rolled out in time for the 2016/17 school year – but only after it has cleared Full Council and consultations have taken place.