Advisers hit by a 'hurricane'

1st March 1996 at 00:00
Advisers meeting for their annual conference in Dundee today (Friday) will be told that "any posts not anchored down are being swept away in the hurricane" of local government reform.

The warning from Frank Cooney, president of the Association of Educational Advisers in Scotland, comes on the back of news that Moray Council will have no advisory service. Highland Council has axed 40 per cent of its support service. Seven advisory and seven administrative posts are to go, at a saving of Pounds 250,000.

Margaret Howe, education convener in Moray, said the authority could not afford to fund an advisory service and that schools would be encouraged to buy in support.

Mr Cooney told The TES Scotland that advisers faced a major challenge to retain the concept of the service. "It is ironic at this time of resurgence of advisory support in England and Wales - Bedfordshire has restored the title of adviser - that the sun is setting for many of our colleagues in the new authorities," he said.

"Schools and teachers will still need curriculum and staff development support and the most effective way is through those who know the culture of the schools, their strengths, weaknesses and potential. If you go for external suppliers, they will not have that knowledge."

Mr Cooney, an adviser in Grampian, questioned whether outside advisers would offer the "pastoral" support traditionally provided.

Elsewhere, Glasgow City Council is to set up a unified support service with a core team of 24 advisers, carrying out the dual role of monitoring and support. This reverses Strathclyde's previous policy of keeping the two roles separate.

North Lanarkshire, the third largest education authority, is to establish a quality development unit which Douglas Gilchrist, education vice-convener, says will be "more supportive and positive" than Strathclyde's quality assurance unit. Other neighbouring authorities might buy in services, Mr Gilchrist suggested.

Borders and Fife have structures that remain relatively unchanged.

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