EMPOWERING SCHOOLS: A CONSULTATION ON THE AIMS OF THE NEW EDUCATION BILL
The new Education Bill will go to Parliament by June 2018. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on what should be in the Bill. Following is a summary and the points that we would really like to hear from you on. Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with comments on any ( or all!) of the questions).
What will change under the proposals?
Regional Improvement Collaboratives
The new Regional Improvement Collaboratives aim to support teachers and headteachers in meeting the needs they have identified for their school, by allowing the sharing of resources and best practice.
They involve local authority staff working together in 6 regions, with staff from other local authorities and from Education Scotland and other sources. They are not new public bodies and are not an additional layer of government. Local authorities may no longer be required to develop separate improvement plans as these will be developed at a Regional level (accountable to the Collaborative lead and the Chief Inspector of Education Scotland).
Q1. Do you feel that your school will be able to feed your views up to the Regional Collaborative?
Q2. Do you feel that your collaborative will be responsive to your school/ families needs?
Q3. How often do you think the collaboratives should publish their plans? And report on them?
A Headteachers’ Charter will give headteachers rights and responsibilities to make decisions on curriculum, improvement, staffing and funding. Headteachers’ will have responsibility to:
- choose their team and decide on a management structure.
- work with other schools and partners on curriculum design and improving learning and teaching, in line with the national CfE framework.
- involve pupils, parents and staff in the life of the school and in key decisions which affect them
- continue to consider the importance of reducing unequal outcomes for pupils from poorer backgrounds.
- decide improvement priorities for their school (in consultation with their school community).
Local authorities will continue to be the employer of teaching and non-teaching staff within the school (including the headteacher) and the provider of HR support. They will continue to be responsible for ensuring provision of specialist services as well as expenditure on school buildings and transport.
Q4. Are you supportive of your Headteacher:
(a) setting the curriculum in your school?
(b) choosing their own staff (as well as deciding structure of management team etc)?
(c) deciding what is required for improvement in their school?
(d) having more freedom on how funding is spent?
What do you consider the possible risks to be?
Q5. Is there anything else you think your headteacher should have more freedom in?
Q6. How could spending decisions be more transparent for the whole school community?
Q7. What training do you think Headteachers would need?
Headteachers will promote and support pupil participation in their own learning; in decisions about the life and work of the school; and their participation in the wider community. Headteachers should choose the way to achieve this that they think best fits the needs of their school and its learners.
Q8. Do you agree that pupil views should be taken into account?
Q9. (a) Are you supportive of a duty on Parent Council to seek the views of pupils?
(b) What do you think the best way to do this would be and what support would the parent council need?
Q10. Do you think a general duty will work or does the duty need to be more specific e.g. pupil councils?
Parents & Community
Stronger collaboration between headteachers and parents will be encouraged.
The National Parent Forum of Scotland reviewed the existing legal duties and said they should be clearer and stronger. The proposed improvements are:
- Headteachers should work in a collaborative way with their Parent Council, instead of informing and consulting. This should cover school policies, school improvement and the design of the curriculum.
- Headteachers will have a duty to communicate and work with all parents of children at their school, not just those on the Parent Council.
- The legal definition of parental involvement will be updated so that it covers all aspects of parental involvement and engagement, including learning outside of school.
- Local authorities must have clear and measurable objectives for parental involvement, which will be reviewed at least every three years.
- Some of the parental involvement requirements will apply to early learning and childcare settings, not just to schools.
Parent Councils should aim to reflect the diversity of the school community and actively promote contact with pupils.
Q11. How would you like to see Parental Involvement / engagement measured in your school / local authority / region?
Q12. Are you supportive of Parent Councils having more influence over:
(a) school policies
(b) school improvement
(c) design of the curriculum?
What training and support would be appropriate?
Q13. Heads will have a duty to ‘collaborate’ with parents. This is key to the consultation. What is meaningful collaboration? What does that mean to you? What would work?
Q14. Which aspects of the Act do you think would be appropriate for early learning settings?
(a) What do you think a reasonable and appropriate equalities duty would be for a parent council? What is a realistic expectation for the volunteers on the parent council?
(b) Do you think it is correct the duty is on the Parent Council and not the Headteacher?
(c) How could the school support you to fulfil this duty?
Q16. Do you think Parent Councils should be able to be involved in the employment of temporary senior staff such as an acting HT who could be in post for a significant length of time (as they are with permanent)?
Q17. What do you think is appropriate funding for Parent Councils from the local authority?
Q18. In what ways could your school help your Parent Council to communicate with the parent forum?