New powers for schools

Empowerment at heart of radical reforms.

Sweeping new powers for schools have been announced by Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Swinney announced reforms to put schools in charge of key decisions about a child’s education, including:

  • Responsibility for raising attainment and closing the poverty-related gap in their school
  • Choosing school staff and management structure
  • Deciding curriculum content, within a broad national framework
  • Directly controlling more school funding, with a consultation on fair funding launched today

The new powers will be guaranteed in a statutory charter for headteachers, and young people and parents will also have a stronger voice in schools. In addition, every school will have access to a ‘home to school’ link worker to support parents and families.

Schools’ lead role in the reformed system will be backed by three pillars of support:

  • Enhanced career and development opportunities for teachers, including continuing reform to Initial Teacher Education
  • New Regional Improvement Collaboratives to provide streamlined and strengthened support to teachers, including access to teams of attainment experts drawn from local authorities and Education Scotland
  • Educational support service from local councils, including payroll and HR, and democratic accountability for the number of schools in an area and the selection of headteachers

In a wide ranging statement, Mr Swinney also announced plans to reform the General Teaching Council for Scotland, bringing it together with other professional development bodies in a new Education Workforce Council for Scotland.

The DFM said:

“Improving the education and life chances of our children and young people is the defining mission of this government. While there are many strengths in Scottish education, recent PISA and literacy scores underline that we can, and we must, achieve more.

“These proposals are driven by a relentless focus on delivering improvement in Scottish education to ensure our young people have the opportunity to succeed.

“This commitment has driven the changes we have already made to education, such as the £120 million Pupil Equity Funding going directly to head teachers. That approach, of empowering schools, is at the heart of the reforms I am announcing today.

“We will reform the system so that the key decisions in a child’s education are taken by schools.

“Schools will have the freedom to make their own decisions to improve learning and teaching. Everyone else within the education system will have a collective and shared responsibility to support schools.

“We will free teachers to teach. We will put new powers in the hands of headteachers. And we will all – government, councils and public bodies – support our schools.”

A suite of additional information, including the Education Governance: Next Steps paper, has been published on the Scottish Government website.

Back to top