Des McNulty: Putting a Scots stamp on education reform – News –


Des McNulty: Putting a Scots stamp on education reform – News –

The Scottish Govt. are so concerned with Independence that they have failed to address concerns over school governance.  A parliamentary committee investigated the issues of how schools should be managed and held accountable in session 2009-10, but subsequent events have pushed this down the priority list.  In my experience as a Headteacher, the quality of management and support at local authority level can make a massive, often underestimated, difference to the effectiveness of a school.  Obviously this matters a lot in important areas of educational policy (such as partnership planning across the local area to develop positive progression routes for those leaving school at 16) and school funding (where there continue to be unacceptably high variations across the different authorities).   However it also matters a lot in service support areas such as HR policy, finance systems and IT systems.  Individualising school governance, as in the English Academy system, inevitably advantages the ‘haves’, and disadvantages the ‘have nots’ as research in England demonstrates.  Scotland should not go down this road.  There is a need for a higher level of governance than the school to enhance strategic educational planning, to challenge and support schools, to offer quality professional development, to even out disadvantage, to stabilize budgets over a longer term.  32 local authorities, with Chief Executives who often see education as a cuckoo in the nest, have very uneven capacity and even more uneven quality in the leadership and management of school education.   Des McNulty is right that reform is overdue but there is little prospect of it receiving the attention it deserves this side of the referendum.


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