Last week I was contacted by several concerned parents about the paper going to the Highland Council's education committee with regards to associated school groups and cluster head-teachers. People on the north coast especially, feel that they haven't been consulted over the plans and worry that this will lead to redundancies and increased travel times getting from school to school. As we know, there can be huge distanced between schools in the Highland area so I wrote to the Director of Education. The email and the reply are below -
E-mail sent - "There are a lot of people very worried about the ASG/clustering report going to the education committee on Thursday. Parent Councils and Community Councils are telling me there has been no consultation or direct contact with them about it and no explanation.
How will they be consulted going forward, what discussions have taken place with teachers and staff and what further consultation do the service intend to carry out?"
Reply received - " I’m sure you’ll recall the development of the management of schools programme. The organisation of schools in Highland has largely been unchanged for decades – yet we have different and ever-growing demands on schools, and the present model of delivery is simply no longer fit for purpose. As you also know, the challenges of recruiting to Head Teacher posts are already severe, and these will only increase when all Head Teachers need to achieve the new qualification. Further, the concept of class committed Head Teacher is no longer supported in any of the north Scotland authorities that have become very dependent on them. The core ideas in the programme were generated in discussions with schools and other stakeholders. More recently, we have been working with parents and teachers in all of the priority ASGs. The Farr ASG has probably been consulted with the most (at Committee, it was suggested that they have been over-consulted). But there has been local disagreement, and some of the Parent Councils have been resistant to the proposals. On Thursday, members at the Education, Children & Adult Services Committee committed to the overall strategy and also agreed that we needed to re-engage with parents in the Farr ASG. We will work at that over the next few weeks"
The report can be found here (item 11) -
The webcast of the meeting can be found here -