Labour endorses school boards

30th January 1998 at 00:00
Parents are to be asked if schools boards should have a greater say in running + schools, with involvement in staffing and finance and an extension of their + veto powers.The Government's long-awaited discussion paper, issued yesterday + (Thursday), makes it clear that school boards are here to stay, with parents + remaining in the majority. Parents as Partners: Enhancing the Role of Parents + in Scottish Education says ministers wish to emphasise the wider role of + parents rather than the narrow one of school boards. Brian Wilson, the + Education Minister, has now effectively side-stepped Labour's election + commitment to set up up more broadly based school commissions. The + consultation document says this is "a matter of nomenclature and as such is a + secondary issue".Mr Wilson himself, in his introduction to the paper, prefers + to accentuate the manifesto emphasis on the fact that "every parent must be a + partner throughout the education process". He told The TES Scotland: "Our + intention is to strengthen the contribution of parents, a process in which + boards are just one part."Boards are currently restricted to approving + headteachers' per capita spending plans, taking part in the appointment of + senior managers, controlling out-of-hours lets and raising issues with their + education authority. The Government suggests heads should seek the approval of + boards for development plans, and involve them in monitoring the school's + performance in meeting targets set out under the Scottish Office's + standards-raising agenda.The document also raises the possibility that boards + might be given new financial powers. The previous government, bowing to + suspicions of boards as agents of opting out, restricted the parental veto to + approving spending on books and teaching materials. The paper suggests the + school's entire devolved budget could come under board scrutiny. It + acknowledges this "would significantly increase the board's role in the + strategic management of the school".The document sets out the arguments for and+ against board involvement in staffing, coming down on neither side, but rules + out any role "in relation to the syllabus, the content of the curriculum and + the breadth and depth of the curriculum". It does, however, suggest that boards+ might be consulted on the range of subject choices in secondary schools where + parents had "legitimate interests". Boards could also be given powers to + approve policies on discipline, attendance, bullying, school uniform and + homework. Any parent-school contracts would not be legally binding, the paper + stresses.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today