A damning report has slammed the quality of leadership and support for young people at Forres Academy as “weak”.
The Moray school has received the lowest grade possible in three out of four criteria following an inspection by Education Scotland in January.
While inspectors praised the way members of staff work to help pupils feel “included and valued”, they identified a number of areas that are in urgent need of improvement.
These include the lack of consistent leadership that focuses on better outcomes for learners, as well as meeting the needs of individual pupils.
The reports has also highlighted there is a wide range of clubs and activities at the school, which has had helped children develop various skills for life and work.
However, the watchdog has criticised the teaching system, saying staff should become better at tracking pupils’ progress and work harder to make lessons more engaging.
What does Forres Academy need to improve?
The report reflects on observations by Education Scotland, as well as feedback from parents and pupils about their personal experience.
Inspectors gathered views from 556 pupils in S1-S6, who shared their opinion about a range of matters at the school – including safety, learning and support.
While nearly 52% of those who took part in the questionnaire said they think staff are good at helping them to feel safe at school, more than 24% disagreed.
In addition to more than 14% who “strongly disagreed”, about 23% of all participants also said they “disagree” that the school deals well with any bullying.
However, 41% feel the school is helping them become more confident and 59% are happy with the range of activities and opportunities on offer.
Meanwhile, 37% of the 236 parents that were approached said they feel they don’t receive helpful and regular feedback about their child’s learning and development.
Education Scotland identified the following areas for improvement, which have been discussed with the headteacher and a representative from Moray Council.
- Improve the strategic leadership of change and improvement across all areas of the school.
- Improve the quality of learning, teaching and assessment. Teachers should focus on meeting the needs of individual learners.
- Improve approaches to supporting young people’s learning and wellbeing. This
includes the planning and review of supports for learning.
- Improve attainment for young people from S1 to S6. Teachers should track progress at all stages and make sure learner’s progress is understood by young people and their parents.
Education Scotland will make a return visit within the next 12 months for a further inspection to see whether any significant progress has been made.
Focus on improved outcomes for young people
Moray Council’s head of education Vivienne Cross said all highlighted faults had been discussed with staff and they remain committed to deliver better education to pupils.
She said: “The inspection report sets out the improvement agenda which the school, supported by the central education team, is committed to delivering.
“Senior leaders and the wider staff team are focused on ensuring improved outcomes for all young people across the whole school community, including positive post-school destinations.
“National attainment measures for 2021/2022 show over 98% of Forres Academy’s school leavers moved on to a positive post-school destination which was above national and Moray averages.
“Recruitment of staff for the session ahead is progressing well, with appointments to the Maths department and to provide additional leadership capacity which will support improvement work to progress at pace.”