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Time to dump Directors of Education?

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by getactive, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. As always these are my personal thoughts.

    If you believe politicians of all varieties there isn't enough money for education and their have to be savings. If that is true then why are there no plans to review the concept of Directors of Education and their underlings?

    Directors are very expensive. They cost around £100,000 (x 32) each and surely this is the time to think about putting that type of money to better use at the front line. If the logic from the current Scottish Government is one Chief Constable - to save money I presume - then is there not a parallel, which would save far more money - in education?

    £3M pounds worth of extra teachers or even jotters seems to me to be far more use to pupils at these difficult times than 32 very highly paid managers, who never see a classroom, at least not as a place of work.

    If you consider the theory of Curriculum for Excellence (ignoring whether it is worth a candle) then it is to give teachers greater freedom and flexibility in the way they work with their pupils, then you must question whether these 32 central administrators have outlived their usefulness. On the other hand if you look at the reality of CfE when all the real development work is left with teachers then I think you have to conclude that Directors and central support staff have been left, or possibly opted, out of the CfE workload loop. Either way I think you have to ask whether CfE is the death sentence for Directors.

    One final question. If you are a teacher or pupil would you notice if the Director's post didn't exist tomorrow?

    Thoughts?

    As always, never anonymous, Ian McCrone
     
  2. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    It's always been thus, well in the last 15 years anyway. My son was not allowed to take a chemistry book home to revise for SG, the school could only afford one between two and if the teacher (PT) allowed books home, he reckoned most pupils would lose them, deface them or bin them so books remained in school. Of course, teacher pointed out we could buy said book but son asked us not to as he would be laughed at for being a swot. Directors will always be with us and money will always be spent on certain regions only.
    never met a Director of Ed in my life before and would not know one if I fell over one!
    My thoughts........[​IMG]
     
  3. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    And, of course, we have already been there with Regionalisation and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, implemented in 1975.
    Yes, we technically had fewer Directors of Education but we also had a great many more Depute Directors, and others with creative names and remits.
    If we were to reorganise and have fewer Directors of Education, there is no guarantee that it would significantly reduce the overall administrative wage bill and it could have serious implications for local democracy.
    I suspect there is a lot more money that could be saved by reducing the unnecessary bureaucracy that is dumped on schools, and teachers, each and every day.
     
  4. I'm not sure. When the city of Aberdeen adopted its triple neighbourhood structure, devolution was at the heart of that innovation. The reverse actually occurred. Head Teachers couldn't get decisions out of local managers because no one would accept responsibility and teachers couldn't really tell you who the director of education really was as he/she had been transmogriphied into some remote bureaucrat with an endless title.
    By contrast, the former Grampian Region covered a pretty large domain with one Director and a few key deputes with very clear job remits. Everyone knew who was who and where to address specific problems.
    Doubtless, education has become more complex in the interim, but the tools to manage it like computers etc. have also become more sopisticated. There certainly is no excuse for the shambles which Aberdeen became.
     
  5. ScotSEN

    ScotSEN Senior commenter

    I would have to agree with grunwald. Aberdeen city still in a mess as a result of the triple neighbourhhood thing but at least the Director does make decisions - her answers not always what we want though although some have been OK
    Might be more worthwhile to get rid of the tier of managers who stand between her and the schools.
     
  6. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Which is what I was suggesting.
    However, if you live in Aberdeen and your Director of Education is based in Dundee, there is no guarantee that you will either save money or get a better service.
    Of course you could amalgamate the Education Department and part of Social Work and call it Children and Families.
    The Director and other senior staff get substantial salary increases for their additional responsibilities and, in theory, it is supposed to ensure 'working together' is more effective and beneficial for everyone involved.
    However, it doesn't necessarily work out that way in practice.
    In one LA that went down this road, HTs complained they were over-managed and children's social workers found they were spending more and more of their time stuck behind computer screens rather than actually working with children and families.
    Any restructuring of education, and children's services, needs careful consideration.
     
  7. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter

    Which would you rather have? 32 Directors of Education or 100+ teachers?
    No lessons will be taught by the 32! The 100+ are value for money in my opinion.
     
  8. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Well, I suppose you could remove education from LA control altogether and then there would be no need to have any centrally based staff or education offices. That would save quite a bit.
    Then you could do away with HMIe and Learning & Teaching Scotland (or are they now called Learning Scotland?) and save even more money.
    For that matter, do schools really need any staff who don't actually teach, well apart from the ones who support teachers, take care of the administration and make sure everyone receives their payslip at the end of the month?
    Ah, but hold on a minute, this is beginning to sound a bit like Michael Gove's idea of 'Free Schools'.
    Perhaps when they relocate 'Waterloo Road' to Scotland we'll see if it can actually work - well, at least on the TV set of Brigadoon Academy. [​IMG]
     
  9. Directors of Education, yes, need checked and balanced. So too do advisory services, Peripatetic Support Workers and 'Joint Assessment Team Leaders, who are all to be found in my LA and seem to consist mainly of women who turn up at meetings, do a 'Princess Di' nod at your woes then disappear. Collectively we have come to refer to them as UBICs (Useless B*****ds In Cars) with tales of, for example, many of them telling our school that they are in High School 'A' on a visit while High School 'A' are told by the UBIC that they are in our school. they become slippery characters because they themselves have no regular contact with their own line managers. One of them, a man, retired, came back to our place as a supply teacher and had clearly lost any in-class technique - he hadn't taught a class in fifteen years while being paid twice the salary of a class teacher and telling them what to do.
    Cynicism? Well, I confess it is, but it is based on truth. And, yes, here are two Directors/Advisors out of my ten years of teaching that I can safely say were impressive, helpful, hard working, empathetic and inspirational. I think that I was lucky there, though.
    Most UBICs are friends of friends who help each other up the ladder, are briefed in what nuggets of politically fashionable advice to give and do very little other than that. If not culled they need more stringent checks and visible signs of results they have had impact upon.


     

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