Exercising power of the purse strings

27th April 2001 at 01:00
No teacher will be surprised by the Aberdeen secondary heads' discovery (TESS, April 20) that devolved management isn't devolved at all. The local authority continues to hold the power.

That is not surprising. No organisation willingly surrenders its position, least of all one which is the paymaster. So education authorities will continue to hold the reins, especially over quality assurance, the topic on which the Aberdeen research centred. In many councils we will still have the absurdity of schools being subject to local authority inspections as well as those of the HMI - talk about a waste of public money.

The problem for classroom teachers is that although the authority keeps control, many headteachers act as if management has indeed been devol-ved, to them. So we get the worst of both worlds, and the idea that all staff share in management is a joke. It's still top down, the only doubt being where the "top" is located.

In last week's TES Scotland Brian Boyd stated that schools now have an opportunity to be creative, innovative and flexible. Chance would be a fine thing: those in control do not want that kind of devolution either. So no likely change there either.

Alan Davidson Clarkston, Glasgow

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