Multi-establishment Leadership in Schools (North Lanarkshire Council)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 19th May 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Fulton MacGregor Fulton MacGregor Scottish National Party

5. To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with North Lanarkshire Council regarding the proposed implementation of a multi-establishment leadership model in schools. (S6O-01114)

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

The deployment of headteachers in local authority schools in Scotland is a matter that is reserved to individual councils. As part of their work to organise schools in their area in the most efficient and effective way possible, it is important that the quality of school leadership is maintained.

As such, I am keen to ensure that any proposed changes to school leadership structures are made primarily for educational reasons. I therefore asked officials to engage directly with local authorities, including North Lanarkshire Council, that are considering changes to school leadership structures, in order to understand the rationale for their proposals. My officials have engaged with officers from North Lanarkshire Council on that issue and will continue to do so as appropriate.

Photo of Fulton MacGregor Fulton MacGregor Scottish National Party

The cabinet secretary will be aware that the multi-establishment leadership model that has been proposed for Chryston primary school and Chryston high school in my constituency has been met with widespread opposition from parents and politicians. The community very much feels that the issue has not been consulted on to a significant level, and, tomorrow, the primary school will have been without a headteacher for 500 days. What further engagement should

North Lanarkshire Council have with the community before implementing such a drastic and radical change?

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

I thank Fulton MacGregor for again raising in the Parliament this issue, which is clearly a key concern for his constituents. When any change is proposed to deliver education in a different way, it is important that communities are involved throughout the process. In an empowered system, parents and carers should be involved, collaboratively, from the beginning of key policies.

In this case, North Lanarkshire Council has carried out a consultation with the affected families, and it is in the process of analysing the responses. However, I recognise Fulton MacGregor’s point that many people feel that the consultation was not sufficient. They should certainly encourage North Lanarkshire Council to be aware of their concerns, perhaps through Fulton MacGregor’s offices, to ensure that the council knows the strength of feeling on the issue from some of the affected parents.