Over the last few weeks I’ve been continuing to exploring the concept of school based management.
Some authorities in Scotland have implemented the concept of Learning Communities based around the secondary school and the local primary schools, Glasgow runs New Learning Communities, Falkirk has Integrated learning communities and South Lanarkshire has Learning Communities.
Each of these schemes has very positive features, most notably in relation to the integration of other services to support vulnerable children and to co-ordinate developments across local schools.
However, there would appear to be scope to develop these schemes by exploring further devolution of budgetary control and employment of staff within the community of schools.
I haven’t been able to find many international examples of such a development aside from on in Madagascar which might suggest that such a idea is not that practical but in the interests promoting a dialectic of possible worlds I thought I might take the Learning Community concept and extend it to community-based management of schools.
Would it be possible for a local authority to establish a concordat with a group of local primary schools and their associated secondary school and devolve all budgets to a Learning Community Board of Management?
A Head Teacher from the schools would take on the position of Chief Operating Officer. The Board of Management would have representatives from the parents, staff, local community, elected members, health service, police, community learning and social services.
The biggest problem I see with this idea is the fear from some schools that they get subsumed within a larger community and lose their identity. Yet the potential for every member of staff being employed by the Learning Community and the possibility of using the collective resources in much more coherent manner than at present might allow real progresss to made on promoting education as a true progression from 3-18 and the associated ownership of the school and the wider educational agenda by the local community.