By AUSLAN CRAMB
Headmasters should have more power, and schools should be allowed to be different, after decades of reforms that have failed disadvantaged children, according to a critical report on Scotland’s schools.
It warns that Scottish education is no longer world-beating and advocates a move away from a uniform approach towards greater diversity, with more decision-making at a local level and less council control.
The Commission on School Reform found that an estimated one in five school leavers had few or no qualifications, and poor skills in basic literacy and numeracy.
It wants schools that are enthusiastic about change to be allowed to progress more quickly to become “ambassadors” for schools adopting reforms at a slower pace.
It also wants senior staff to be able to take decisions and control budgets, and suggests that in many cases councils are too involved in day-to-day management.
Decisions should be tailored to the needs of the children in each case, instead of conforming to an across-the-board policy. That might mean recruiting talented teachers to work in deprived areas by offering financial incentives.