The model seeks to find a way in which public services can actually have a greater impact by focusing upon the things that will actually lead to a return on social investment. The tendency in education has often been to focus on outputs or activity and to only try to work out the outcome – or success criteria – at the end of the planning process, i.e. there are a legion of initievies and activities which have been implemented in Scottish education which have not had any discernible positive impact.
The model flips this on its head by forcing the service to consider the impact that we wish to have as the starting point for action. I’ve explored this in a number of previous posts but this week we sent out our Service Improvement Framework which schools will use to guide their activity for the coming year.
The Framework tries to make a link with the Council’s corporate plan and priorities but the pages which schools will undoubtedly focus upon are pages 8 and 9 – which set out the outcomes which we will use to judge the level of return we are getting from the investment in education in East Lothian, i.e. £75 million.
Borrowing from the Scottish Government’s concordat with Local Authorities we intend to give much greater flexibility to schools and clusters as to how they will go about achieving these outcomes – what works in one school or community won’t necessarily work in another school or community.
I know how positively I would have responded to such an approach, or as one head teacher said to me this week – “trust us and we’ll do the business”.