Wise up on school shake-up plans

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Communities are being urged to wise up on cluster plans for schools by checking out a new website.

WISE4All.co.uk has been by developed by a lobby group on Mull wanting to reach  communities across the whole of Argyll and Bute to get them talking and pass on information needed to shape informed views on the education service’s shake-up plans.

Proposals would see clusters  rolled out across the whole of Argyll and Bute after starting  first in Dunoon, Bute and Kintyre as early adopters. In Kintyre one executive headteacher would oversee a combined roll of 885 youngsters in one secondary and six primary schools.

‘Education is everybody’s business’ says the group urging people to watch out for the opportunity to have their say.

‘Care about the future of education? Concerned about the replacement of headteachers in almost all schools to one executive headteacher plus deputes or principal teachers in clusters of schools which could have as many as 1,450 pupils? Then keep an eye open for the opportunity to have your say.

‘Proposed changes could disrupt the close contact currently enjoyed by parents and young learners with their school leaders. And with their teachers and other classroom staff, who could be moved from one school to another either on a temporary basis to provide cover or on a longer term basis.

‘We know young learners need certainty and stability. Improvements to education need to ensure that they get what they need,’ added a WISE4All spokesperson.

After representations from parents across the authority area, the council agreed extensive consultations would be carried out over its plans to group schools into clusters led by an Executive Headteacher.

The council has published a programme of community involvement on those proposals, scheduled to happen from this month to January, and says its findings and refined proposals will be presented in May 2022.

Parents of school age learners can discuss the council’s proposals with their school’s parent council or headteacher now. Anyone who does not have a child at school can also keep up to date with the latest at WISE4all.co.uk.

WISE4All’s concerns include changes could make it difficult to recruit committed teachers and could destroy schools’ individuality.

‘The educational rationale given for this radical change is weak. There are already well established ways to bring school staff together to share ideas, to plan learning
resources, to moderate youngster’s achievements and to learn together. Transition from primary to secondary education is already well planned.

‘Why destroy the diversity which makes space for creative and innovative developments in schools? Concentrating power in Executive Heads does not empower individual schools. This is not the time for a factory model of education with staff and children reduced to commodities.

‘We know young learners need certainty and stability. Improvements to education need to ensure that they get what they need,’ said the WISE4All spokesperson.

Photograph in March 2020 dated folder (50_c12dalintober01) Dalintober Primary School.