In this, the third of my exploration of alternative provision, I'm going to focus on Resource Provision.
Included within this category are:
As has become clear from the previous posts (see
Educational Provision and
Administrative Provision) it isn't as simple as delegating all the resources to schools unless they are going to pick up the additional obligations that currently reside with the education authority. The problem with a simplistic form of delegation is the potential for schools to avoid some of the obligations which face the authority. Nevertheless, for the purposes of this exercise, I will explore what it might mean to delegate all resources directly to schools.
If all money which is currently contained within an education authority budget was delegated to schools the central service could no longer operate. In this scenario the authority would delegate the responsibility for their obligations directly to the schools. It would be up to individual schools to satisfy all the requirements of the Standards in Scotlands Schools Act 2000 and other relevant legislation.
The problem which might face the authority is that it would have no means to ensure consistency of standards and any means to improve standards (both issues which I will explore in my next post).
Yet how do independent schools manage to maintain quality of provision? (well the reality is that they don't) there are a number of schools in the independent sector which have closed in the last ten years – that is not an alternative for the only school situated within a community)
The second area of delegation is in relation to property. The money currently used to maintain schools would be delegated to the headteacher to commission local trades to complete required work. The problem here might be in relation to capital expenditure such as school extensions or even new schools.
The third area is in relation to all budgets relating to personnel. All employees would be directly employed by the school where they work. All personnel issues would be dealt with at that level. Employees would no longer work for the council. Local negotiation would take place at school level and agreements would not operate across the council.
I should mention at this stage that there is is another budget which is currently held at the centre in East lothian i.e. ICT. Over 1,000,000 GBP is used to facilitate ICT across all our schools. This sum would have to be broken down to a school level for individual HTs being responsible for the hardware and software they put in place.
There would, undoubtedly, be a significant sum of money delegated to schools which is curently held in the centre – I look forward to hearing how HTs would like to accept this responsibility and how it might impact upon education.