John Swinney: New regional education bodies to operate by end of year

CREDIT: This story was first seen on BBC

New regional bodies to help improve schools should be up and running within months, the Scottish government has announced, BBC reports.

Education Secretary John Swinney told Holyrood a deal had been reached with councils over the so-called “improvement collaboratives”.

The six new boards will be expected to help share good practice across council boundaries.

Some local authorities had feared they would lose power to the boards.

The government reached a deal last week with council body Cosla over just what powers the “improvement collaboratives” will have.

Mr Swinney told MSPs: “I can tell parliament today that the Regional Collaboratives will be up and running this year, supporting our schools and teachers, with pace and focus.

“We now have an agreed way forward on school education that will see all parts of the system – the Scottish Government, local councils and national agencies – pulling in the same direction.

“We are working together to support our schools to raise standards, close the attainment gap and help every child reach their full potential. That’s good news for teachers and great news for Scotland’s young people.”

They will include representatives from councils and the national agency Education Scotland.

Regional improvement leads will be appointed in each region by the end of October, and each “collaborative” will have a detailed improvement plan in place by next January 2018.

The leads will be selected jointly by the local authorities that make up the collaborative and the chief inspector of education.

The initiative forms part of a broader government plan for a shake-up in school governance.

It aims to give as much power as possible to individual heads and schools to help empower them to do what they think is right to raise attainment.

The government hopes to close the performance gap between children from relatively rich and poor backgrounds and drive up standards across the board.

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Local authorities are fiercely protective of their traditional role in the education system.

Some had feared the collaboratives – or regional boards as they had originally been described – would suck up powers from individual councils.

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