John Swinney announces new powers for schools

John Swinney
John Swinney
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Schools are to be handed sweeping new powers under a major reform of Scotland’s education system which aims to empower teachers and involve parents in their children’s studies.

Education Secretary John Swinney has launched a review into the way schools are run which will works on the principle that decisions are to be devolved to school level.

Picture: TSPL

Picture: TSPL

Announcing his proposal at Holyrood Mr Swinney ruled out the introduction of grammar schools, privately-run academies or a return to academic selection.

A key part of the reforms will be the introduction of new educational regions, designed to support collaboration across schools and share best practice.

Mr Swinney’s proposals will set the Scottish Government on a collision course with local authorities, many of whom feel the plans will undermine their traditional roles as education providers.

The review will work on the presumption that power should be handed to schools, but will also look at areas where collaboration can work and which roles should be fulfilled by outside bodies.

For example, the SQA will maintain its role as an external examiner while school inspections will still be the responsibility of Education Scotland, which incorporates HM Inspectorate of Schools.

Mr Swinney said: “Our guiding principle for the way our schools are run is simple. Decisions should be taken at school level. That will be our presumption and we will place it at the heart of this review.

“This is a vision of empowerment and devolution. We will empower our teachers and our early years workers to make the best decisions for our young people. We will place them at the heart of a system that makes decisions about children’s learning within the schools themselves, supported by parents and the local community.

“We will introduce new educational regions to share good practice, ensure best value, build capacity and deliver the best outcomes for children and young people. We will never go down the divisive academy model. And there will be no return to selection or Grammar schools.

“Our reform will be based on evidence of what works. The evidence shows that systematic collaborative engagement at every level of education is what builds capacity and delivers the best outcomes for children and young people.

“I plan to spend a significant amount of time over the next three months talking and listening to teachers, children and young people, practitioners and partners about how education in Scotland is run. I want to hear views from communities in every part of Scotland.”

Mr Swinney added: “Reviewing the way our schools are run is a crucial part of this government’s defining mission to deliver excellence and equity across Scotland’s education system.”