A Scots secondary school battling staff shortages has been ordered to make improvements after being rated weak in all but one category.

Education watchdogs said leadership failings across Forres Academy on the Moray coast were "impacting on improving outcomes for young people".

A report found there had been no steady improvement in attainment over the last five years up to 2021 for the lowest attaining 20% and the middle attaining 60% of learners. 

A consistently low percentage of young people have achieved five or more qualifications at SCQF at level 3 or better over the last five years

Performance in numeracy was singled out with the school said to be performing significantly lower or much lower than comparators.

Too often, young people are required to carry out low-level tasks such as copying from the board

The report noted that there had been "ongoing absences" in the maths department.

Achievements at SCQF level 3, 4 and 6 in numeracy were significantly lower or much lower than comparator schools over the last five years.

In S4, only a few leavers achieve SCQF level 5 or better and this has been the case over the last 5 years.

READ MORE: Jenny Gilruth: SQA overhaul 'will not cause disruption'

The proportion of learners achieving an A pass in National 5 maths was also significantly lower than the average.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced plans for all pupils in England to study maths up to the age of 18 to tackle innumeracy.

He suggested the failure to consider numeracy as basic a skill as reading is costing the UK economy huge sums.

The Herald:

Staff at Forres Academy were said to be "overwhelmed" by the scale of the priorities contained within a school improvement plan.

The school was rated weak for raising attainment and achievement, leadership and inclusion and wellbeing of pupils.

It received a satisfactory rating for learning, teaching and attainment.

The non-denominational secondary school serves a community of eight associated primary schools.

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As of February 2022 13% of pupils were registered for free school meals.

In September 2021 the school reported that 43% of pupils had additional support needs.

Parents whose children have additional support needs feel they are not well included or involved in planning for supporting these needs.

The report noted that the school has experienced staffing difficulties in a number of faculties and in the senior leadership team.

The report said most lessons were "overly teacher-led" and not suited to the learning needs of individuals.

Too often, young people are required to carry out low-level tasks such as copying from the board.

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"As a result, young people are passive in their learning and become disengaged", the report said.

Only in a minority of lessons were young people "engaged actively in a range of stimulating and enjoyable learning activities" and working at a pace and level that meets their needs.

The report said the school's senior leadership team needs to have a stronger overview of how each teacher and each department supports raising attainment.

READ MORE: Teaching union's 'political football' fears as Scotland to re-join international education league tables 

The quality of written feedback to pupils was said to be too variable across the school. 

However, the school was praised for developing a tool to track, monitor and evaluate the progress of young people in the senior phase. 

The inspection team said a number of staff at Forres Academy were helping pupils feel included and valued.

Over the five-year period between 2016/17 and 2021/22, almost all young people moved into an initial positive destination, although this was significantly much lower than the comparator school for S5 leavers in three out of the five years

Moray Council’s Head of Education, Vivienne Cross, said:  “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.”

The council was praised for including young people in the Forres locality plan. One pupil is now a member of the Community Council.