Head teachers ‘must not become business managers’ warns SPTC
Parents' body raises concerns over changes to school funding
Children at primary school - Barry Batchelor/PA
New financial powers being handed to the head teachers of schools must not distract them from their responsibilities to lead learning, a parent group has warned.
In its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on school funding, the Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) raised concerns over plans to devolve more budgetary responsibilities to head teachers.
“Head teachers should not become accountants or business managers, but be the leaders of learning in their school,” said SPTC executive director Eileen Prior.
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The response is based on a survey of parents carried out by the charity, which revealed concerns head teachers might not currently have the necessary skills to manage budgets.
In January the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in Scotland also expressed "significant concerns” over the capacity of schools to cope with new financial powers.
Teaching unions have also questioned the capacity in schools to deal with the changes.
The SPTC submission said: “SPTC believes this will require support from local authorities and in-school business managers as well as extensive training for head teachers on their new role. Employment of business managers should be resourced from additional funding, not from funds for classroom teachers or teaching resources”
Parent councils and parent teacher associations, which make up the membership of the SPTC, have also warned money raised by them is increasingly used on core school costs like stocking and refurbishing libraries and study materials.
This gives unfair advantage to schools in more prosperous areas which benefit from greater parent donations, the SPTC said.
“When schools in areas affected by poverty may struggle to raise a few hundred pounds each year, we believe the use of parent-raised money to fund basic school expenditure is absolutely counter to the principles of equity in education,” said Prior.
“SPTC would therefore argue that parent-raised funds must not be used for essentials in schools. This requires schools to be adequately funded and clear direction given to both school leaders and parent groups about the use of funds.”
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