Education regional collaboratives to be established this year
Agreement with COSLA means regional collaborative bodies can be established before legislation, John Swinney announced
John Swinney - Scottish Parliament
New regional collaboratives to "drive improvements" in schools will be set up before the end of the year, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has told MSPs.
In a statement in the Scottish Parliament, the Education Secretary said the new collaborative bodies between councils and inspection body Education Scotland will have improvement plans in place by January 2018.
The primary function of the new bodies will be to “share expertise, innovation and best practice”, he said.
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The new structure will also feature an increase in the number of inspections of schools, with inspectors making more frequent visits as part of the regional improvement work.
The reforms had been opposed by councils umbrella body COSLA after accusations they represented a government “power grab”, but a breakthrough agreement last week means they can now proceed with “pace and focus” Swinney said.
The agreement means the reform will not need to wait for legislation, he added.
“We now have an agreed way forward on school education that will see all parts of the system – the Scottish Government, local councils and national agencies – pulling in the same direction,” he said.
“We are working together to support our schools to raise standards, close the attainment gap and help every child reach their full potential. That’s good news for teachers and great news for Scotland’s young people.”
The leaders of the new bodies will be jointly selected by the chief inspector of education and the member local authorities.
Education Scotland announced it would deploy staff to work more closely with teachers. The number of inspections will increase from 180 to 250 per year from April.
Graeme Logan, Interim Chief Inspector of Education added: “For us to achieve our national endeavour of excellence and equity, we need the new Education Scotland to be supporting teachers and driving improvement in education for all learners across Scotland.”
Scottish Conservative education spokesperson Liz Smith called for Education Scotland to be split into two bodies as it currently acts as “judge and jury” in its twin functions in curriculum development and inspections.
Labour’s education spokesperson Iain Gray raised reports in the Times Education Supplement that Education Scotland had deleted inspection reports from before 2008, an act he described as “bureaucratic vandalism”.
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