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Single size doesn't fit all

Shelagh Rae, director of education and leisure services in Renfrewshire and a member of the community schools steering group, said that local authorities had to display vision and commitment and be prepared to "let go".

Mrs Rae said: "We have also got to be clear about what our expectations are.

"What we must not do is to create the impression that one size fits all. We have to allow and empower headteachers, teachers and other staff at local level to think what are the right solutions for them and their communities.

Sure, we have to monitor what they do, but it is not an Identikit."

Mrs Rae pointed to curricular structures in secondary schools as an area of difficulty and made a plea for personal learning plans (PLPs), which the evaluation report described as having had "a generally low impact", to be made more teacher-friendly.

"For God's sake don't let PLPs become more bureaucratic," she said. "They are important in tracking and monitoring pupil progress but let's work together to help teachers do it in a way that they don't feel is burdensome.

"The structural barriers in secondary schools get in the way of taking a holistic view of the needs of children and families. There will be subjects whatever way we structure the curriculum, but we have got to have people who are looking at children in the round.

"All staff need to have this holistic view, and guidance, learning support and behavioural support should not be fragmented as they are all about additional support needs."

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