Empowerment, leadership and collaboration are key for schools, headteachers and local authorities to maximise their potential in coming years – that’s the recommendation from the School Empowerment Working Group in new support materials.
materials, released for all in the education system today (Thursday, February 7), highlight that mutually supportive, respectful relationships will make the most of collaborative efforts.
According to the guidance in the agreed drafts, there are three key areas to focus on: taking the lead in learning and teaching; empowering the learning community; and ensuring the best use of each school’s resources.
But this guidance is just the first step in an ongoing suite of support, guidance and advice reaching parents, support staff, teachers, local and national government as well as partners and stakeholders.
The Headteacher’s charter’s release comes during a visit from the International Council of Education Advisers who have previously hailed Scotland’s commitment to collaboration within education as ‘impressive’
It also follows a report into Regional Improvement Collaboratives which highlights that overall Scottish school staff are very positive about the idea of learning from one another and welcome the opportunity to network, build skills and develop teaching practice.
Gayle Gorman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector and chair of the steering group, said: “These materials have one simple aim – to let the best people at each level deliver the best results for learners. Progress towards empowerment should enable the system to be more responsive, decisive and agile when meeting individual and local needs.
“At the heart of this system’s change is the development of teacher agency and professional voice; and ensuring that professional leadership and reflective practice are key drivers for Scottish education. Successfully taking forward such an empowerment agenda will require universal engagement.
“Empowerment recognises that all parts of the system – including teachers, learners, parents and carers, support staff and stakeholders - have a role in delivering an empowered system for all of our young people.
“An empowered system will grow stronger and more confident when we work in partnership to achieve it. As we move forward with the charter and later stages of subsequent support plans we should see improvement at all levels of the system.
“Through collaboration, everyone should feel far more invested in the education system, parents and learners, teachers, school leaders and local authorities.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “These publications are the product of collaboration in action and I am grateful to all who have been involved in their production. They demonstrate a strong shared commitment to headteacher and school empowerment and an ambition to ensure decisions about the day to day life of a school are taken at a local level.”
Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of the EIS said: "The empowering schools agenda creates a real opportunity for professional voice and agency to be made central and critical to how our school system works.
“This extends from formal leadership posts, which are clearly of major importance, to leadership at all levels. As ever, the litmus test for any change is how it impacts on practice in the classroom. The EIS is keen to work with partners to deliver opportunity and improvement through a refreshed practitioner led system.”
Kenneth Muir, Chief Executive, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), said: “Partnerships are increasingly driving change in education. For example, GTCS works with partners across the system to deliver Professional Update; the Student Placement System; MyProfessionalLearning and other professional learning services to teachers.
“There is no doubt that partnership is key to empowering schools and we look forward to ensuring the services of GTCS further support headteachers to play a full role in this important work.”
Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson, said: “To ensure all of our children and young people get the best from their education, effective partnership between local authorities, schools, parents and children is crucial. We know collaboration is taking place at local and regional levels across Scotland - the Charter and related documents, builds on and consolidates those partnerships.”
Jim Thewliss, General Secretary of School Leaders Scotland, said: “The recommendations of the Working Group, by emphasising the powerful impact which can be achieved through a collaborative approach to supporting learners at the point of delivery, will further empower schools to meet the needs and aspirations of young people. School Leaders welcome the recommendations as an opportunity build on, and draw from, what is identified as the best in leadership practice in Scottish schools.”
The charter and support material can be found on 'An Empowered System' page (https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/an-empowered-system). Schools will be receiving letters in the coming days informing them of the charter and how they can develop it for themselves.
For further information please contact:Craig McGill, interim Head of Communications, 07976 022 879
Martin Osler, GTCS Director of Corporate Services, 0131 314 6041,
Martin.Osler@gtcs.org.ukLesley Warren, EIS Campaigns, Policy and Research Assistant,
firstname.lastname@example.orgJenny Scott, Scottish Government Senior Media Manager, 0131 244 2939,
Jenny.Scott@gov.scotNicola Dickie, Chief Officer – Children and Young People,
email@example.com, 0131 474 9308
According to the charter, in an empowered system, headteachers should lead learning communities to determine the most appropriate approach in the following key areas:
In relation to leading learning and teaching, headteachers should:
In relation to empowering the learning community, headteachers should:
In relation to making best use of the school’s resources, headteachers should:
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