Boardroom beckons for headteachers

23rd May 2003 at 01:00
HEADTEACHERS should regard themselves as chief executives and school boards should be the company directors. Both should embrace big business and encourage "a culture of philanthropy", according to Judith McClure, head of the independent St George's School for Girls in Edinburgh.

Dr McClure, who chairs a national subgroup on continuing professional development and is a prominent member of the secondary heads' association, said her remarks should not be interpreted as a challenge to the state system.

But she maintains that heads need more power, a view that will play well with Scottish Executive ministers. "I am not talking about about headteachers as isolated figures running an independent company, but, yes, I think it's right to regard them as chief executives leading a school and that includes being in charge of the facilities and the staffing," she states in a personal contribution to the Scottish Executive's consultation on CPD for educational leaders.

Each school should have a constant programme of improvement which allows for small capital projects and major building works. The current public private partnerhip (PPP) initiative is said to be too limited.

Dr McClure added: "The total refurbishment of some schools does not allow all schools to flourish. A new look at the management of capital expenditure at local authority level could empower all headteachers to get to grips with the changes that will be required in their own schools."

She believes that each school should be able to develop according to its development plan. "This is not political. I'm not a politician. It's about empowering headteachers to do the best for their school, for the education of their pupils," she says.

Dr McClure believes schools cannot develop a distinctive ethos and respond to their pupils without the headteacher's ability to shape their future.

In a further development, she maintains that a modern education service must explore "methods of funding beyond national taxation".

ScotlandPlus, page 6

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