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Call to cut number of council education directors

CALLS have been made to slash the number of managers running schools in a bid to save money.

A motion to the annual conference of the NASUWT teaching union says cutting the number of directors who head up council education departments would not be to the detriment of pupils.

There are 32 directors of education across Scotland - one for each council area - who can command salaries in excess of £100,000.

However, while some areas, such as Glasgow, are responsible for nearly 65,000 pupils, others such as Clackmannanshire and Inverclyde have fewer than 10,000 pupils.

There are particular issues where councils are close to one another or share a common geographical history such as Midlothian and East Lothian, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire and North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire.

The motion from the Dumfries and Galloway branch of the NASUWT calls on the union's executive council to campaign for a rationalisation of directors of education across the 32 education authorities in Scotland.

Set to be discussed at the union's annual conference in Edinburgh today, it suggests the move is of particular relevance because "spending cuts threaten the existence of school services".

Scott Anderson, assistant secretary of the Dumfries and Galloway local association and the union's new Scottish vice- president, said that between 1974 and the 1990s Scotland had just 14 councils.

He said: "Did we need to more than double the number?

"I don't think there has been any improvement in quality that can be put down to increasing the number of directors of education.

"I have been teaching for more than 20 years and I have experienced cutbacks in resources, staffing and pay and conditions every year to the point where there is nothing left to cut back on.

"At the moment, we are experiencing cuts to the number of head teachers in Dumfries and Galloway and the same is happening in the Scottish Borders and other rural areas.

"If we are at the point where we are making cutbacks to the senior management teams in schools then why do we still have so many directors of education with their deputes?"

Mr Anderson said he did not want to see Scotland follow the example of England or Wales where schools have been taken out of the control of councils.

But he added: "It is time to reorganise the way councils manage schools in Scotland to make it more efficient."

The conference will also hear calls for the union to demand an investigation into the "shambolic implementation" of new National Qualifications by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The roll-out of the Nationals, which replaced Standard Grades this summer, has been criticised by teachers for being confusing and bureaucratic.

The motion from the NASUWT's West Lothian branch said the implementation was "under-resourced and under pressure" and had "badly let down the teaching profession of Scotland with careless and complex bureaucracy to the possible detriment of candidates across Scotland".

The Association of Directors of Education Scotland was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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