Inspectors say Moray school is being held back by teacher crisis

Keith Grammar School
Keith Grammar School

A MORAY SECONDARY school needs additional support and more time to make improvements, according to HM Inspector of Schools following a recent visit.

Keith Grammar School was visited by Education Scotland inspectors who cited the current teacher recruitment difficulties as a factor in the school failing to make progress in raising performance and attainment levels.

Inspectors found the school to be ‘weak’ on two of the five quality indicators used to judge progress at a school – with the other three judged as being ‘satisfactory’. Improvements in performance at the school was gauged as weak as was the school curriculum.

In a letter to all parents and carers of pupils attending Keith Grammar, HM Inspector Carol McDonald said that she found most young people “enjoy learning at the school” with relationships between staff and young people positive and supporting learning. However, the report adds that pupils in the S1 to S3 group “would benefit from a more consistent approach to discussing their progress with their teachers”.

The report said: “Teachers need to encourage young people to develop their independent learning skills. Young people welcome the opportunities to give their views and would like
more responsibility to take forward initiatives in the school.”

Staffing Difficulties

Pointing to the difficulties faced by the school, Ms McDonald added: “Changes in staffing and difficulties in filling teaching posts are also slowing progress with developing the curriculum and raising attainment. The school needs to ensure that young people are developing their literacy and numeracy skills across their learning.

“The school recognises that many young people should be achieving more in school to increase their choices about their futures. Almost all young people are successful in moving on to employment, training or further learning on leaving school.”

The report concluded that further support was required for Keith Grammar to improve the areas in which it was judged to be weak, the inspector concluding: “As a result of our inspection findings we think that the school needs additional support and more time to make necessary improvements.

“Our Area Lead Officer will work with The Moray Council to build capacity for improvement, and will maintain contact to monitor progress. We will return to carry out a further inspection within 12 months of publication of this letter. We will then issue another letter to parents on the extent to which the school has improved.”

Chair of Moray Council’s children and young people’s services committee, Councillor Anne Skene, said that all efforts possible would be made to put the school back on track: “The report will be discussed in depth and improvement strategies will be developed, with support for Keith Grammar offered from Moray Council and Education Scotland.”

Moray’s problems in teacher recruitment have been well publicised and are shared with a number of Scottish local authorities.

The full inspection report can be found online at Education Scotland.