Change is ahead for Argyll schools

Argyll and Bute Council

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Big changes lie ahead for classrooms across Argyll and Bute in a bid to improve ways of schools working and secure pupils a top education.

Today, Thursday June 10, members of Argyll and Bute’s Community Services Committee are being asked to agree and note a number of recommendations as part of a transformation programme.

Changes would see some schools lose their own individual headteachers – instead clusters of schools, covering ages three to 18, would work working together as a virtual  campus under an executive headship.

Members will hear that each school would still keep its own identity  including its name, uniform, plans, handbook buts its values and  ethos would be shared cluster-wide.

In Argyll, 48 schools are listed as remote or very remote rural, schools’ locations would be a dominant factor in grouping clusters.

The council’s annual teacher employee costs are just over £50 million, under changes staff would be part of the new clusters and not part of a school which means they could be moved around to provide cover. Educational resources would also be bought and shared across the cluster to get best value.

The council’s intention is to phase in the cluster model, starting first in  Kintyre, Bute and Dunoon.

Committee members are also being asked to note ongoing work to increase the use of digital technologies to provide learners with a flexible and modern education experience.

Members will hear work is continuing to develop shared senior timetables  to phase in during the 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 academic years.

Officers are also asking for the committee’s agreement not to introduce an  asymmetric school week structure, various start and finish times with some longer days and some shorter days,  but to revisit it at a later stage.

Extensive stakeholder consultation will be needed to take forward a number of the recommendations.

New ways of schools making extra income were also identified in the report. Committee members were asked to agree to an outdoor market being piloted at Lochgilphead Joint Campus in early summer and agree that arrangements are made to pilot the commercial use of Oban High School car park.

Agreement is also being sought from the committee that all Argyll and Bute schools proactively seek to save energy.

It is also being recommended that schools are encouraged to keep using pupil artwork and photography to raise their own funds.