Aberdeenshire councillors today agreed a number of key workstreams to progress with the devolution of school budgets.
As part of a national drive to empower head teachers, primary schools across the local area will have more flexibility on how budgets are used in a similar way to the way secondaries have been able to operate since April 2017.
The principles which will support head teachers and their teams in their decision-making reflect the National Improvement Framework – to ensure every young person has the same opportunity to succeed, to be fair, to ensure costs can be easily understood and explained, and to deliver value for money. Evolving national policy aims to create a culture of empowerment and collaboration.
The first workstream the local authority’s Education and Children’s Services Committee agreed to today will work to develop a professional learning and support offer to schools. Another focuses on reviewing and evaluating the processes in place for devolving budgets in the secondary school sector. The third workstream will look at the management of budgets to support children and young people with additional support needs at a cluster level. The final workstream sets out how piloting devolved budgets in primary and special schools will begin to take shape this year.
Aberdeenshire’s Education and Children’s Services Committee today also acknowledged the importance of ensuring appropriate consultation with stakeholders continues in local areas, within the evolving budget context.
Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Education and Children’s Services Committee commented: “Our aim is to provide the most effective service for pupils. Devolving budgets will help do this by ensuring spending decisions can be made in the context of local priorities.
“We are committed to ensuring each and every head teacher, along with their committed teams, across Aberdeenshire is empowered so that decisions about a child’s learning, and the budget associated with that decision-making, can be made as close to that child as possible.”
As part of the Joint Agreement at a national level, a Head Teacher’s Charter has been adopted across Scotland to enable head teachers to determine the most appropriate approach in the areas of leading learning and teaching, to empower their local learning communities and to make the best use of schools’ resources. New national guidelines on devolved school management are available at: https://www.gov.scot/policies/schools/devolved-school-management/Education Scotland’s Empowered System resources are also available at: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/an-empowered-system
Vice Chair Cllr Mark Findlater added: “There is recognition that all stakeholders, including teachers, head teachers, parents and carers, and communities must work together in a collaborative way, keeping the interest of children and young people front and centre.”