Directors of education met in Dunblane last weekend for their first conference since reorganisation
It is no longer tenable for "15-16 teachers from 15-16 departments" to deliver effective learning and teaching in secondaries, Brian Boyd, associate director of the Quality in Education Centre at Strathclyde University, told the directors in a set-piece debate on future staffing structures.
The current secondary structure was "incredibly bureaucratic and incredibly hierarchical" and needed radical reform, Dr Boyd said, and had been established to counter problems that were 35 years old.
Primary schools were more positive in their ethos, and had fewer layers of management. "There is some message in there about the structure of secondary schools that seems to get in the way of teachers feeling optimistic about how successful young people can be as learners. Part of that is to do with openness, participation and collegiality," Dr Boyd said.
Continuity between primary and secondary was damaged by "boundary maintenance" in secondaries where teachers did not trust the judgment of primary colleagues. "This is part and parcel of the status differential," he said.
Dr Boyd said he favoured teams of teachers rather than departments. Teams might have specific remits and look at aspects of learning and teaching. Dr Boyd suggested several staffing models, including cluster arrangements which would be helpful for 5-14 progress and a flatter management structure.
He also floated the idea of a re-examination of resources between primary and secondary. The present focus on early intervention was no more than "tinkering".