A north-east education boss has told of her “passion” to “improve” the system for children.
Vivienne Cross is the head of education for Moray Council. She has been speaking about the strengths and challenges for the local authority.
The 59-year-old had been in her post since September 2015 and was educated at Buckie High School before moving onto Robert Gordon University.
She started her teaching career almost 40 years ago at Lossiemouth High School.
Vivienne, who comes from Buckie, admits she fell into teaching after not being sure what to do after leaving school.
She said: “Like a lot of people I was not sure what you want to do when I was at school.
“I had an ambition to do law but ended up doing a business studies degree.
“Everyday we get up to improve education for Moray’s children. It has always been a passion for me.”
Staff and teachers are committed
Vivienne said one of the strengths of the current education set up in Moray is the team and a group of teachers “committed” to the job as well as the region.
She said: “Because we are a small local authority there is really good collaboration.
“We work very closely with head teachers and we have really good relationships.
“There is a clear plan and we have a lot of committed staff who are committed to Moray. We have a lot of dedicated people.
“It is good to see a lot of progress from people who start as class teachers and then go on to be head teachers.
“We also have good partnerships with the police, social work, colleges and other local authorities which make up the northern alliance.”
Attainment figures: ‘Always room for improvement’
Vivienne said that improving attainment in Moray’s schools is something she is keen to do as well as tackle any mental health issues among pupils.
Official figures show that 93.1% of those who left Moray schools went into jobs, further training or education in 2019-20, which is slightly below the Scottish average of 93.3%.
She added: “There is always room for improvement. We know attainment is not where it should be and we are seeing an increase in mental health issues.”
Covid has been a ‘huge journey’
One of the biggest challenges to hit education across the world not just is in Moray is the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The entire region alongside Glasgow is currently subject to level three restrictions due to a spike in cases.
Vivienne said that the coronavirus crisis has meant teaching staff have been on a “huge journey” having not stopped working.
She said some staff are “shattered” but said they have carried on to educate children despite that.
Vivienne said: “We have been on a huge journey. I would say people have come to the fore during this.
“When everyone was being told to stay at home our staff when in teaching the children of key workers.
“A lot of our people are absolutely shattered but we’ve continued to provide a service.”