Teacher co-ops at risk

18th April 1997 at 01:00
David Henderson reports from Aberdeen on the British Council's conference on rural and remote schools.

Budget cuts threaten to undermine an innovative approach to staff development in a rural area.

Chris Shirley, quality standards manager in Argyll and Bute, said that extra management time for seven staff and curriculum development co-operatives had been "drastically reduced" following a cut of Pounds 1.7 million in the council's Pounds 45 million education budget.

Mr Shirley said the co-ops were an attempt to end the isolation of small rural schools and support teachers' professional interests. Each cluster school contributes an element of its budget to a common pool and each headteacher takes over a specific curriculum area.

Martin Mulholland, information technology support officer in Argyll and Bute, said the co-ops helped teachers share the burden of curriculum development and work towards a common curriculum.

The council had begun its innovative approach to IT, "an essential management skill", in 1991 by installing Apple Macs in every school and had moved on to setting up video conferencing in half the primaries and a third of secondaries. Phones and faxes have been established in classrooms and all schools are now "on-line" and linked by e-mail.

Mr Mulholland said that the results of a study by the SCRE would confirm improved interaction between primaries and increased collaborative working. Specialist itinerant teachers were able to use the video conferencing facilities to reach more schools.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


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, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order today