6. Future plans
Engaging with schools was a key priority for regional stakeholders, with many focusing on enhanced communication and engagement as part of their phase two work.
School staff felt it was important to continue raising awareness of the RIC among all school staff and make sure that school staff had the capacity to engage in joint working, both through resources and smart use of technology to reduce travel time and costs.
Some headteachers were excited that there was huge potential for joint working and sharing practice through the RIC. However, some cautioned that it was important to understand that changes are not going to be instant.
RICs were also planning to further develop their governance arrangements, for example through developing mechanisms for sharing costs and resources effectively, and widening membership to include a wider range of partners.
Regional stakeholders indicated that longer term, their vision largely remained as set out in their phase one RIC plans. Overall, there remained a focus on creating spaces to innovate, share practice and learn, in an empowered environment.
6.1 This chapter explores views on future plans and long term aims for the RICs, from the perspective of schools, regional and national stakeholders.
Plans for engaging with schools
6.2 Regional and national stakeholders identified engaging with schools as a key priority for the near future. Many highlighted that enhanced communication and engagement plans were being developed as part of the phase two RIC planning process. This involved engaging with school staff at all levels, as well as others including pupils, parents and wider community stakeholders.
6.3 Some regional stakeholders highlighted that as part of this, they were exploring online and digital solutions to enable schools to come together and share practice in an efficient and useful manner.
"Digital media needs to be harnessed to deliver smart solutions that can deliver real impact in the classroom."
6.4 These approaches fit well with the priorities of school staff, who were keen that RICs continued to engage them. Many school staff felt that it was important to focus on small bursts of snappy information which is clear and relevant for school staff, to avoid communication being overwhelming. Many suggested that it would be useful to develop online spaces for RICs and use technology to link people together, such as GLOW, social media or short video clips.
6.5 While some felt that it was the role of the headteacher to filter information to other school staff as relevant, others felt that school staff beyond headteachers should be involved in RIC events and networking. A few school staff felt it was important to give the message that everybody doesn't need to get involved in everything, and schools can pick and choose what they participate in. A few felt there was a need for more consultations to get staff views. Overall there was agreement that there needed to be clear benefits for staff, with meaningful and relevant opportunities before too much information about the RIC was disseminated.
6.6 Some headteachers were excited that there was huge potential for joint working and sharing practice through the RIC. However, some cautioned that it was important for national politicians to understand that changes are not going to be instant, and need time to bed in.
"Anything new introduced to schools needs time and consistency."
"It is such an innovative and forward thinking approach. Long may it continue."
Strengthening RIC governance
6.7 Priorities for developing governance arrangements varied between RICs. Priorities included:
- developing mechanisms for sharing costs and staff resources effectively;
- strengthening governance through more formal structures;
- exploring arrangements if partners disagree, or do not attend;
- developing data sharing agreements; and
- widening membership to include a wider range of partners.
6.8 National stakeholders largely felt that the priorities for developing governance arrangements were all different and should be led by the RICs themselves. One national stakeholder was interested to see how effective RIC structures would be when it came to managing funding.
Longer term aims
6.9 National stakeholders generally felt that future priorities should be set by those involved in RICs, with additionality being different for each RIC.
6.10 Regional stakeholders indicated that longer term, their vision largely remained as set out in their phase one RIC plans. Some indicated that consultation, engagement and data use between phase one and phase two plans has deepened their understanding of the priorities, and increased their commitment to focus on these areas. A few regional stakeholders indicated that consultation and joint working had identified new workstreams.
6.11 Overall, there remained a focus on creating spaces to innovate, share practice and learn, in an empowered environment. The focus was on taking activity from early planning and development stages through to delivery, getting into schools and classrooms across the region.
"We need to use the scale of the RIC to have more impact and develop work at a faster pace."
"The key thing is to keep collaboration going and deepen it. We need to work out what works, and share this across councils and schools so that we can improve attainment."
6.12 Some regional stakeholders hoped that over time they would achieve more clarity on the role of the RIC, as a space to develop ideas, and the role of the local authority.
6.13 Some regional stakeholders felt that there was great potential for further activity at regional level, as joint working arrangements developed and strengthened. A few suggested that there could be opportunities for collaboration between RICs, to share learning between regions in the future and build expertise to drive innovative future approaches.
"Some of the things where we could have the greatest success and innovation can be achieved regionally."
Email: Keith Dryburgh