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Author of report hits out at local authorities' poor response

The author of a government report on devolved school management has launched a scathing attack on local authorities for the poor quality and brevity of their response to it.

David Cameron's review of devolved school management was published last October and the local authorities' umbrella body, Cosla, was subsequently charged with taking forward one of the main recommendations - that the 2006 regulations on DSM be revised.

Cosla accepted everything in the review that was "not radical" and went on to issue guidance that was "about the length of an article in the Evening News", said Mr Cameron, who has received the as yet unpublished document.

"The introduction is the same length as War and Peace but there is little guidance," Mr Cameron told a conference in Edinburgh for school business managers, organised by Mackay Hannah and sponsored by TESS.

Scotland had turned away from real and radical educational change despite the tough financial climate, he said. "Successful organisations are learning organisations - not organisations that identify the challenges and then shirk them."

He called on business managers to become part of the shrinking leadership teams in their schools as opposed to senior administrators. They needed to focus not on improvement, but change, he said.

A Cosla spokesman said Mr Cameron was "out of touch with the consensus on taking forward devolved school management" and accused him of jumping the gun. The new guidelines would be available before the new academic year but were not yet available in full and were still being consulted on with partners, he said.

Keir Bloomer, chair of the School Reform Commission, told school business managers that because they came from "a different world", they could offer schools a different perspective.

He saw the business manager role as matching resources to priorities - something schools were not good at.

emma.seith@tess.co.uk.

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