Schools consultation on proposed changes is extended again

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The public consultation on proposed changes to education in Argyll and Bute has been extended again, until Thursday March 31.

A consultation of pupils across the region on the Empowering our Educators project plans is set to begin after the February half-term break.

A further report published by the authority claims some head teachers have said they spend 70 per cent of their week teaching.

The proposals involve school clusters being created, with an executive head overseeing each cluster. Each school would have a head of school. The council insists the clusters have not been decided.

Teaching unions have previously expressed fears that the plans will cut the number of head teachers in Argyll and Bute from 84 to 14.

The further extension of the consultation means that it will now close after the next meeting of the council’s community services committee, which is on Thursday March 10. It had initially been due to finish on Friday February 4 before this latest extension.

A new frequently asked questions (FAQ) document said: ‘The voice of our children is our highest priority.

‘We have been working with groups of children and young people to create the materials that schools will use for the pupil consultation which begins following the February half-term break. We very much look forward to hearing the opinions of our children and young people.

‘Teaching head teachers have told us they are spending up to 70 per cent of their week teaching. This means that they do not have the capacity to focus on the strategic leadership of the school, developing the curriculum and learning about what works well elsewhere.

‘Although non-teaching, the heads of school will still maintain a presence in classrooms in order to drive forward quality assurance and school improvement, and to maintain close relationships with their teaching staff and learners.

‘This model is designed to give our teachers, focused time to teach, and leaders, focused time to lead.

‘This model has been developed by educationalists in Argyll and Bute. It is essential that the principles of the model were as fully developed as possible to enable meaningful consultation before presenting to our stakeholders.

‘Individual school collectives have not been pre-decided. Local communities and their school will be consulted in depth before those decisions are made.’

On the possibility of heads of school being on the same level as a depute head teacher, the report added: ‘On the SNCT (Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers) salary templates head teacher and depute head teachers are on the same salary grades.

‘Argyll and Bute Council determines the salary for leadership posts using the national job-sizing toolkit. Part of that calculation relates to the size of the school roll.

‘It is not unusual for a depute head teacher of a large school to be paid higher than the head teacher of a smaller school. In Argyll and Bute job-sizing is approved by the trade unions.’

The full new FAQ document can be found at empoweringoureducators.co.uk