'We need business managers in each and every school'

A litany of admin tasks is distracting headteachers from their real priorities, says primary heads' rep Tim Wallace

Henry Hepburn

'We need business managers in each and every school'

Primary headteachers are being landed with a litany of  extra tasks that distract from learning and teaching, a national school leaders' body has said.

That led to a call for a business manager in every Scottish primary school, to relieve heads of administrative tasks that would have been performed by local authorities in times when budgets were not as stretched as they are in 2019.

Tim Wallace, outgoing president of primary school leaders' body AHDS, said: "As local authorities are continuing to look to make budget cuts, more central roles are simply being delegated to us in schools.

"These are mostly business-management tasks like finance, recruitment, absence management, facilities management, freedom-of-information requests, health and safety – and the list goes on and on.

"These tasks take up a great deal of our time. However, they have very little to do with learning and teaching."

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Mr Wallace spoke at the recent annual conference of the AHDS in Glasgow, where he referred back to a speech earlier in the day by education secretary John Swinney, who had talked up the importance of outstanding school leadership.

Mr Wallace said: "This isn't about leadership, this is about management, and therefore  if we're going to be a truly empowered system, to keep the focus on learning and teaching, we need to see business managers in each and every school."

He received a round of applause when he said that primary school leaders must be treated on a par with secondary school leaders.

"We welcome the role of empowered school leaders whose key business is leading learning and teaching," said Mr Wallace. "However, for this to be a reality we've always said that we need greater resources.

"We must have fair funding in our schools, including the levelling up of our management teams to the same levels as secondary colleagues."

Mr Wallace spoke days after the AHDS's equivalent body in the secondary sector, School Leaders Scotland, heard a leadership expert at its annual conference in St Andrews say that "I don't think it's right that headteachers should be working so incredibly hard".

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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