Edinburgh officials pull their socks up

28th January 2000 at 00:00
THE education department in Edinburgh needs to buck up its financial systems and create link officers for each school and community centre, its first self-evaluation has revealed. Staff have given the department a vote of confidence, despite some reservations.

With the Scottish Executive poised to hand HM Inspectors a role in assessing councils, the city has stolen a lead by conducting its own survey. It seconded Mike Hay, head of Tynecastle High, to conduct the review.

Roy Jobson, director of education, said: "We expect rigorous self-evaluation from our schools and centres and it was time we applied the same principles. This self-evaluation provides us with an essential baseline from whic we can take clear and deliberate steps towards continuous improvement."

The problems in finance were more to do with systems than people, he suggested. Staff complained about a lack of financial management support and accurate data. "System overload" was another worry and Mr Hay notes: "The suggestion of a weekly 'weighing' of correspondence was not altogether flippant."

A considerable number of staff in schools and the department could not actually state any of the council's aims for education, while many were concerned about the department's response to pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties. "Serious concerns" were raised about buildings maintenance and cleaning.

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