No risk in management restructure

23rd May 2003 at 01:00
Peter Wright's letter last week, "Totalitarianism of the curriculum managers", not only betrays his own long-standing antipathy to any change, it also seeks to blame headteachers for events brought about by the McCrone agreement, which his association signed up to.

The "delayering" he refers to is presumably the abolition of assistant principal teacher, senior teacher and assistant headteacher posts, and is exclusively the result of McCrone, not the result of actions by heads - it surely can't refer to PT posts, since some secondaries will end up with more than 30 and have two (or more) in one subject. If recruitment difficulties arise, as he suggests, then the agreement is to blame - and yet McCrone allows teachers, for the first time ever, to rise to management level salaries, without leaving the classroom and taking on management remits. Isn't that something his association has argued for years?

On top of this, the plea to con-tinue with the current line management system at department level, while also appealing for a culture of collegiality, is a startling contradiction. However, it is what Mr Wright doesn't say that is interesting - that the "risk" run by the headteacher of Ross High is nothing of the sort, since the structure is identical to that adopted by Mr Wright's own authority, West Lothian, which will have over 30 PTs Curriculum in post by August, in a restructuring accepted by the associations in that authority, and which was used partly as a model by Meldrum Academy which featured in the ScotlandPlus section in the same TESS issue.

Ross High has, for a year, pilo-ted the beginnings of "collegiate" working with the total co-operation and professionalism of all concerned. Peer observation, self-analysis and sharing of "good practice" (within and across subject areas) have become the norm.

In the transition from now to the future (for Ross High is not a new school and has, like most, a structure containing many conserved PTs) the positions, skills and talents of all staff in the school will continue to be respected and nurtured to bring about wider discussions on the curriculum, enhanced learning programmes and a greater diversity of provision.

"Damaging and narrowing the curriculum"? - the opposite!

Helen O'Rawe Headteacher, Ross High East Lothian

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