More decision-making powers than ever before are now in the hands of schools due to a landmark agreement reached with local authorities.
Changes to create an education system which puts teachers, parents and communities in the driving seat have been implemented, including:
Publication of a Headteachers’ Charter to ensure schools have decision-making powers over learning and teaching, the curriculum, staffing and budgets
Devolved School Management Guidelines for local authorities to enhance and improve the management of resources
Additional funding from the SNP Government of £5 million and focused support from Education Scotland to further develop the role Regional Improvement Collaboratives play in delivering approaches to improving outcomes for children and young people
Creation of a comprehensive plan to increase engagement with parents and carers in their children’s education
Other reforms include establishing new career pathways for teachers and the provision of enhanced professional learning for headteachers. At the same time, steps are being taken to identify the support required for a wider range of education practitioners such as school librarians and college lecturers.
Education Secretary and Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP updated the Scottish Parliament on this progress and confirmed that, accordingly, the SNP Government will not be introducing an Education Bill.
Mr Swinney said:
“Fast-tracking our education reforms gives schools and teachers more control, more quickly than could be achieved through legislation and it is clear to me we have achieved this. Already we are empowering schools through the Scottish Attainment Challenge and headteachers are seeing real results in closing the poverty related gap in attainment and wellbeing.
“We want to continue building on this progress to ensure headteachers and schools have the autonomy and flexibility to make decisions that affect their learners wherever possible.
“Our work throughout the year, in partnership with local government, teacher representatives and the wider education sector, has already made significant progress and I can confirm that, as a result of our successful collaborative approach, I will not introduce an Education Bill.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“I welcome this move, which is the latest in the wide range of measures the SNP Government continues to take to improve the achievements, happiness and wellbeing of pupils across North Ayrshire and Scotland – and they have proven to be effective.
“Recently figures show that the percentage of school leavers in North Ayrshire in a positive destination has steadily increased from 84.8% in 2009/10 to 93.7% in 2017/18. Furthermore, since 2015/16 North Ayrshire Council has been allocated over £30 million of funding from the Attainment Scotland Fund. That includes more than £16 million through the Challenge Authority Programme and approximately £4.4 million Pupil Equity Funding in each of the past two years.
“In May, another £5,789,762 was allocated to help North Ayrshire Council achieve even further improvements.
“Only a few days ago, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP announced that children and families will benefit from £3 million in funding to deliver community-based out-of-school care.
“The new Access to Childcare Fund will provide equal opportunities for children to benefit from play-based experiences which can often be out of reach for families on low incomes.
“Now further powers are being brought closer into communities to help parents and teachers have a bigger impact on shaping pupils’ lives and that is another very positive development.”
A document providing an update on the progress of the SNP Government’s programme of education reform has been published.