School budgets could be handed straight to headteachers in future and “bypass” local councils as part of a shake-up of the education system, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has confirmed.
The education secretary has made it clear that there may be decisions taken by councils at the moment which will in future be taken by schools headteachers.
He set out plans in Parliament which will include flagship plans for new regional boards.
It comes as a group of councils chiefs warned that the policy will be a “disaster” and is part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing “war” with local authorities.
Mr Swinney said yesterday the plans could see a diminution in the control which councils currently yield
“There may be some decisions that are taken by local authorities that are taken by schools instead,” he said.
“For example, if further financial flexibility is devolved to schools and they are able to take decisions about the way resources are used within schools then conceivably some of those decisions will have been taken by local authorities.”
Asked if this could mean money going direct to schools and ”bypassing local authorities”, the minister said this was possible.
“That’s entirely conceivable that that’s what would happen, because it would give the schools the ability to take decisions that relate directly to the educational opportunities for young people within Scotland.
The cabinet secretary cited the example of a school which has taken action to help new pupils who have problems with their vocabulary.
“The school has taken a decision within the resources available to them to bring a speech therapist into the school and have that speech therapist available – not referral away – but in the classroom, all the time, helping young people to overcome the challenges they face in their vocabulary,” he said.
But it came as Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing warned at the weekend that the review will “wreck efforts to negate Nicola Sturgeon’s appalling record on literacy and numeracy” and also undermine efforts to tackle the attainment gap.