Don't turn schools into 'nimbies', government is warned

10th January 2017 at 10:00
Too much power for headteachers will set schools against each other, fears national agency

Devolving more power to schools runs the risk of creating a competitive environment blighted by “nimbyism”, according to a national agency.

A document released today backs moves to give headteachers greater responsibilities – but warns against the dangers of going too far and inadvertently pitting schools against each other.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) said: “In devolving more power to schools, it is suggested that there is much more likelihood of accusations of ‘nimbyism’ and promoting competition and protectionism amongst schools and that this would not be desirable if the Scottish government’s ambition is to create the most efficient education system overall."

The body, in a submission to the national school governance review, said change was needed to address “inconsistent” support for teachers and pupils around Scotland and “unjustifiable variations” between local authorities in their “willingness and ability” to meet educational requirements.

The GTCS called for heads to have “more direct ownership” over appointment and deployment of staff, as well as greater freedom in deciding how to spend money on driving up attainment.

But other responsibilities “might best not be devolved to headteachers”, including placing requests, deployment of support staff, holiday patterns and school opening hours.

At the launch of the governance review in September, education secretary John Swinney said: “Our guiding principle for the way our schools are run is simple. Decisions should be taken at school level.”

But the Scottish government has repeatedly distanced itself from education reform in England. Ministers have stressed that they do not want a return to grammar schools or to emulate the academies system, which has allowed schools south of the border to opt out of local government control while still being funded by the state.

To subscribe to TESS, click here. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here. You can also download the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. TESS magazine is available at all good newsagents.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

Comments

Related Content

Get Tes online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to Tes online and the Tes app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off Tes Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the Tes online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order today