Highland Council welcomes next steps in education reform
Highland Council has always been committed to the empowerment of schools and the communities that they serve. Accordingly, the Council welcomes the announcement, by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, about next steps in education reform.
The strategic goals of the Council involve putting our communities at the heart of the design and delivery of services. The Council supports children to learn and thrive by delivering a whole system approach, that encourages talent, but also protects the more vulnerable including closing the attainment gap for disadvantaged groups.
These are the principles that lie at the heart of the Deputy First Minister’s announcement, to continue to drive forward the collaboration between central and local government, to ensure excellence and equity for all of our children in a highly performing education system.
Chair of Highland Council’s Care, Learning and Housing Committee Cllr Andrew Baxter said: “I believe that Mr Swinney’s announcement is in line with the Council’s strategic goals, and reflects the best practice in the management of schools and education that already exists in our authority. The Council lobbied on the basis that new legislation was not required to achieve the improvements that local and national government agree about. We are pleased that Mr Swinney has decided against the unpalatable aspects in the initial proposals, and that he remains committed to taking forward a range of measures through collaboration, with appropriate decision making at authority and school level.”
Highland Council has been one of the eight local authorities to the fore of developments in education reform, through the establishment of a regional alliance across the north of Scotland. The announcement endorses that approach, which now needs to be in place across the rest of Scotland.
Councillor Baxter added: “Mr Swinney has recognised that further progress on education reform can be made most quickly through partnership between central and local government. That is the view I put to him, and I am very pleased that this is how we will be progressing. I also welcome the new funding to support improvement in schools, and to help close the attainment gap for looked after children. These are all very positive steps.”