Union warns against transferring more powers to headteachers

Union warns against transferring more powers to headteachers

Handing more powers to head teachers will add to their bureaucratic burden and exacerbate a “growing recruitment crisis” in the profession, a union has said.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) said councils should instead take back some of the duties that have been devolved to schools in recent years.

The union was responding to a consultation on possible changes to the way schools are governed.

The Scottish Government intends to devolve more powers to head teachers and is also looking at creating new regional education boards to work across council areas.

The SSTA called for a “process of review” followed by improvements rather than “major structural change”, which it said would only divert resources away from the main challenge of closing the attainment gap.

It also argued against the devolution of powers and the creation of new education regions.

Its submission to the Government's consultation said: “As there is a growing recruitment crisis for head teacher and deputy posts, further devolving of powers to head teachers is another burden on those professionals and will merely exacerbate this situation.

“In some respects, this step would be regarded as adding to bureaucracy rather than improving education outcomes for children and young people.

“The priority should be to identify those tasks that can be taken away from teachers and head teachers, and undertaken more efficiently by those more suitable and qualified within the local authority.”

The submission continued: “Creating new education regions would just create more bureaucracy.

“This would undermine the role of the local authority by putting additional unwanted pressure, responsibility and bureaucracy on teachers and head teachers in schools.”

SSTA general secretary Seamus Searson also argued the consultation did not contain the necessary level of detail on the roles and responsibilities of the various bodies within the education sector to allow for a fully-informed response.

“It would be unwise to make crucial decisions on the future of education based on the responses from such a consultation,” he said.

The school governance proposals have received a mixed response.

In contrast to the SSTA, the Commission on School Reform, set up by think-tank Reform Scotland, last week suggested head teachers should get greater powers, including in key areas such as budgets and staffing.

“Empowering schools is the single most effective way of challenging the current culture of conformity and compliance in Scottish education, and encouraging in its place a culture of innovation and improvement,”  it said in its submission.

Related Articles

comments powered by Disqus