What follows will be a first cut at trying to establish a working rationale for school-based management.
The Principles of School Based Management
School- Based Management is based upon the following assumptions.
1. The school is the most effective unit of change within the educational system and is best placed to sustain improvements over time.
2. Those who work directly with pupils and students have the most informed and credible opinions about the educational arrangements that will benefit those young people.
3. It keeps the focus on learning and teaching.
4. School-Based Management puts power in the hands of those who have a significant personal stake in the well being of the school.
5. It will move resources to the point where they can be of most effect.
Changing the role of the school
The school will:
1. be responsible for delivering educational outcomes to a local community.
2. help staff and the community to understand what school-based management is and emphasise that it is a means to improving educational outcomes.
3. establish a true decision making body from those who have an active stake in its well-being, e.g. staff, parents, pupils, elected members, members of the community.
4. involve teachers and students in making substantive decisions about the curriculum and learning and teaching.
5. eventually be responsible for all management functions required to deliver the educational outcomes.
6. undertake to fully implement school-based management in a planned manner over a five-year period.
Changing the role of the Local Authority
The role envisaged for the Local Authority in School-Based Management is essentially one of commissioning educational services to a community to the local school.
Such a move from a centralised bureaucracy to a decentralised, locally accountable system will take careful planning and creative approaches to problem solving.
The Local Authority must:
1. Shift from delivering top-down mandates to encouraging bottom-up change.
2. Provide a fomula driven budget over a three-year period.
3. Set out clear outcomes which the school will be responsible for delivering – the school will be free to identify the process by which it meets these outcomes.
4. Communicate with the community about school-based management and foster shared understanding and support.
5. Decentralise the system wherever possible to allow schools to meet the needs of their communities.
6. Promote and support schools to develop different approaches to change and improvement suitable for their context.
7. Provide support for schools to make the transition to School-based Management
8. Have realistic expectations about the time required for implementation of school-based management, i.e. five years.
9. Support schools to maintain their focus upon the learning and teaching process.
10. Shift resources from the centre to schools wherever possible over a five-year period.
11. Ensure that the school meets the needs of all children.
I think this is coming together so well! The only proviso is that the ‘bottom-up’ culture extends to the small passionate communities within that school. The Local Authority can, for some teachers, be the ‘excuse’ to innovate out of the school’s box, particularly when school management exerts a certain top-down culture itself. Is there a way to consolidate the two in a manifesto like this?
It’s making good sense to me. Over time I think Ewan’s points would be overcome as there would have to be a big shift in the training for HTs in how to lead this within an establishment. I was liking the notion of 5 year contracts matching in to outcomes for HTs too – real accountability built in. I would have found that useful when an HT
I think also that changes in how HMIe inspects in future may also fit into this model and it certainly fits with what the govt seems to want in terms of being able to measure real outcomes and report on them to show impact.
The real decision making within an establishment would become real much more quickly and leadership would have to be shared on many levels. Its fascinating to see this develop in your posts
Don, why not follow your principles of school based management to their conclusion, go the whole way with decentralisation and make each and every school independent and directly funded?