Education chiefs eye up school 'faculty model' in bid to cut costs

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EDUCATION bosses are looking to introduce a "faculty model" to high schools in a bid to reduce the number of promoted teaching posts by having fewer department heads.

City education leader Marilyne MacLaren claims having too many principal teachers does not make good "financial sense". Her comments come amid a breakdown in discussions between headteachers and education bosses over proposals to reduce the amount of management in high schools. Secondary headteachers are refusing to take part in any future discussions over budget cuts until the education director listens to their views.

The heads of the Capital's 23 high schools have taken the "unanimous decision" to halt their co-operation until Gillian Tee has a meeting with them and agrees a "strategic engagement process" that takes full account of their views.

The headteachers called an emergency meeting at the end of last week over the council's plans to cut the number of bursar and business manager posts by having only one per school and to cut the number of deputy heads in schools.

They said the move would have a "damaging impact to learning and teaching, attainment and staff morale".

But Cllr MacLaren said the current school management structure does not "make any kind of sense".

She said that the option of introducing a "faculty model" with principal teachers taking charge of a whole department instead of individual subjects is being investigated. She said: "We have got justification for why we might consider taking promoted posts and reducing the amount of deputes.

"Some schools in the city have already gone to a faculty model and we have had no reports of adverse effects.

"Most local authorities have gone to the faculty model rather than having promoted posts for every single subject."

In a joint letter sent to education bosses on Thursday, the secondary headteachers argued strongly against council proposals over the management structure.

It said: "The removal of depute headteachers and large numbers of principal teachers from our schools in what is a completely unrealistic timescale and under the guise of restructuring to better deliver new curriculum structures is totally disingenuous.

"The current proposals are untenable and will seriously damage and diminish our service. It is particularly worrying that such drastic proposals are being considered."