Moray Council wants to use parent power to drive up standards in the region’s schools.
A radical new action plan to improve pupils’ performances includes urging mums and dads to take basic steps to help their youngsters achieve their potential.
They will be asked to ensure their children are punctual, prepared for lessons and smartly dressed as part of a scheme aimed at getting Moray pupils to emulate their peers at Scotland’s top performing schools.
The Raising Attainment Strategy is likely to be approved by the local authority’s children and young people’s services committee today.
Less than 75% of pupils in Moray go on to sit Highers after S4, with just 17% achieving at least one Advanced Higher.
The figures place the region just above the national average, but the council hopes the guidelines in the new strategy will become the foundation for schools, young people, parents and staff to raise attainment and achievement.
Last night, local councillors welcomed the potential of the new plan on paper, but warned that a proactive effort was required by parents, pupils and teachers to allow Moray’s schools to match the best in Scotland.
Local authority leader Councillor Allan Wright, said the gap to the high fliers elsewhere in the country was not currently being closed, and more had to be done to address that.
He said: “We have never had anything like this before, but it illustrates an awareness that although we are doing better, other areas of Scotland are doing better faster.
“At best we in Moray are generally performing at just above average, but we are capable of so much more.
“The gap between us and other authorities is not getting closer, and, while there may be those who say that we are strong on strategy and short on activity, having a sound strategy – which I believe this is going to be – gives us a clear direction of travel from which to move forward.”
The new report focuses on specific areas such as developing leadership and increasing pupils’ own aspirations, and says that parents should be “ambitious to achieve excellence for their children”.
Forres Independent councillor George Alexander said parents played the most important role in setting high standards for their children.
He said: “I’m hopeful, and I would be disappointed if it is not effective.
“Coming up with the strategy is one thing, but putting it into practice is quite another.
“I am particularly interested in the expectations for parents and carers because there are three key players in improving school attainment, learners, teachers and the parents and carers – by far and away the most important one of the three.
“I was a maths teacher for 22 years, and I had to keep a permanent stock of pencils because of the number of pupils who would come to school without them.
“If parents ensure that their children are punctual, follow the dress code and come to school prepared it will make a huge difference.”