The NASUWT has raised serious concerns about the Scottish Government’s plans to devolve further powers to headteachers, warning that without sufficient checks and balances and further investment the reforms may undermine the provision of quality education.
In its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on its Education (Scotland) Bill, the NASUWT has argued that a greater focus on cultural, rather than structural, change in schools would best support minsters’ aim to close the attainment gap and raise standards.
The Union’s raises a number of issues in its response:
- The proposals do not include any financial or policy commitments to provide enhanced career and development opportunities for teachers;
- Without significant investment these proposals can only be delivered by existing staff taking on additional work or by removing staff from front-line teaching and learning;
- Devolving greater powers to headteachers will not necessarily secure greater professional autonomy for teachers and risks leading to a ‘postcode lottery’ of provision;
- Self-evaluation must not be a mechanism for focus on a narrow set of data indicators-teachers must be provided with the autonomy to reflect and use their professional judgement to assess the needs of their pupils;
- The Government should focus on improving recruitment and retention across the country, as opposed to diluting the funds available through devolving responsibility to schools;
- Scotland must avoid repeating the mistakes of England in moving to increase autonomy for schools. The key to success will be in what system of checks and balances and reporting is established to ensure schools are spending money wisely;
- The creation of an Education Workforce Council to replace the GTCS is unnecessary and presents an opportunity for standards for entry to the teaching profession to be diluted.