Published: 27/06/2014 13:00 - Updated: 27/06/2014 11:43

Growing pressure for Moray primary heads

Elgin South councillor John Divers
Elgin South councillor John Divers

LARGER primary schools are facing serious managerial issues, an Elgin councillor has said.

Head teachers will have to deal with greater pressures following the decision to axe principal teachers on top of growing school rolls.

John Divers, Labour councillor, raised the issue at this week’s meeting of Moray Council’s children and young people’s committee.

Primaries including Greenwards in Elgin and Keith have more than 320 pupils, while New Elgin has a roll of 464, putting it on a par with Keith Grammar, Milne’s High and Speyside High.

The Independent/Conservative administration budget, passed in February last year by 13 votes to nine with three abstentions, included the proposal to cut principal teacher posts in primary schools.

It also saw 24 classroom assistant jobs go.

The Labour group put forward an alternative budget to save the posts, but that was rejected.

Principal teachers had been responsible for implementing the new Curriculum for Excellence.

The situation in primary schools is being exacerbated because the number of deputy heads allowed is capped at two no matter how many children attend.

Councillor Divers said: "I saw the head teacher of New Elgin leaving the school at 5pm on Sunday.

"There is something going wrong here and it needs to be looked into."

Laurence Findlay, head of schools and curriculum development, himself told a primary head teacher to go home after finding the person at work after 9pm.

He said the issue would be brought before the council’s corporate management team after the summer recess.

After the meeting, Councillor Divers said: "People talk about GIRFEC (getting it right for every child). We need a serious look at what’s happening in our schools.

"I raised this at last year’s budget, that this decision was going to cause a problem.

"When you have heads and deputy heads regularly working to seven, eight and nine o’clock at night that causes stress and sickness that leads to additional expense.

"This is our children’s education we’re talking about."

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