Councils slam big brother role for Scottish Office

19th February 1999 at 00:00
LABOUR COUNCILS are vigorously campaigning against Government moves to allow HMI to judge their performance on education. They claim inspectors have no experience of managing large corporate departments.

Their latest broadside comes in advice to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities' Education and Cultural Services Forum in Dundee today (Friday).

Cosla concedes external validation has a role but questions if the Inspectorate "as presently constituted" has the appropriate experience. "In addition, it would be entirely inappropriate for HMI to judge performance based on whether or not particular advice was heeded, rather than whether or not practice was effective."

Authorities believe their independence would be threatened by central intervention, outlined in the recent education White Paper. Council leaders also question whether it makes sense to introduce the action plan approach adopted south of the border to tackle underperforming schools in disadvantaged areas.

Proposals to raise teaching standards and modernise pay and conditions are welcomed, as is a strengthened role for the General Teaching Council in acting on incompetent staff. But councils want to erode the GTC's dominance by serving teachers.

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