Final opportunity for parents to influence primary changes

Focus soon to return on key changes proposed for rural primary schools

MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP arrangements in Moray’s rural primary schools will again become the focus of attention in the Council Chamber next week.

A report is to be considered at the Children & Young People’s Services Committee on March 2, focusing on consultations over plans that are aimed at easing recruitment issues in smaller rural schools.

Currently Head Teacher posts are shared at Tomintoul/Glenlivet, Inveravon/Knockando and Portknockie/Portgordon primary schools. If the plans being laid the local authority go ahead then a further 16 schools throughout the region will also share these posts

While the consultation period has now ended, parents are reminded that they still have the option of making their views known directly to members of the committee by emailing them following the publication of papers for the March meeting – these are likely to be released this week.

Opinion over the move is likely to be split – although supporters can point to a successful trial, saying that it shows increased attractiveness that the larger posts and new vacancies would create.  Laurence Finlay, who is the corporate director for education and social care, said when the issue was first raised in June last year: “It can prove very difficult to recruit Head Teachers to small rural schools and even to slightly larger schools for a variety of reasons.

“The draft policy aspires to create a more attractive and progressive career pathway for aspiring school leaders, which may alleviate some of our current recruitment challenges at senior management level.”

Information obtained by insideMoray indicates that another new paired school, Newmill and Botriphnie, has actually resulted in increased applications for a post that previously struggled to attract interest for the individual schools.

However, parents remain concerned about the community role that local head teachers have in the smaller schools – with their full-time presence allowing for invaluable relationship building with pupils, availability for school events and ability to cover teaching when required.

Parents are also expressing concerns over losing good head teachers already in place if current school heads are forced to reapply for their jobs prior to vacancies naturally becoming vacant.

Moray council are still working on a new Future Schools Policy of which this proposal plays a part – their final decision is scheduled to take effect from August 2016.

The 16 Schools that would be paired under the new arrangements: