Councillor calls for action on decline in shire exam results

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AN East Garicoh councillor has called for action to help reverse falling exam results in Aberdeenshire’s schools.

Cllr Martin Ford (pictured)said that the shire’s education authority would need to keep a close eye on educational attainment in the region, after this year’s pupil attainment figures indicated a narrowing of the gap between Aberdeenshire and other local authorities in Scotland.

Commenting ahead of Thursday’s Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning meeting, Cllr Ford said that the figures bore scrutiny from local members.

He said: “In absolute terms, the Aberdeenshire attainment figures this year are mostly close to the 2011 figures and generally above the Scottish average.

“However, the 2012 attainment figures confirm a trend that was apparent last year; relative to other councils, Aberdeenshire’s position has deteriorated.

“In 2006, attainment in Aberdeenshire was well ahead of the national average and ahead of the average in similar council areas. By 2012, Aberdeenshire’s lead had reduced or disappeared.

“This trend raises important questions for Aberdeenshire Council. We need to understand why this has this happened. Since, the change in performance is a relative one, that means looking at what is going on in Aberdeenshire schools and in schools in other councils. It is unlikely there is a single cause, so isolating the reasons for the change in relative performance is going to be challenging.

“It is essential the Council does identify what is behind the trend of declining relative performance and acts on what it finds. Otherwise, if the same trend were to continue, attainment in Aberdeenshire will soon be falling behind that in similar Council areas, when only a few years ago it was well in front.”