Partnership and School Management Arrangements
School partnerships are where our smaller schools share resources, experiences and are managed by the same Headteacher. Over the next few months, we will be reviewing school partnerships in Dumfries and Galloway.
In 2013 our Council agreed to partner our small schools with at least one other school. This has proven to be very successful which has ensured parity across schools. The creation of partnering our smaller schools has provided the opportunity for schools to learn from each other irrespective of size and widened pupil experiences. Schools have been able to combine resources and staff skills to ensure the best outcomes for all young people. It has ensured Headteachers are non-class committed in order to manage increased workload and to be more focussed on strategic managers.
Communities in Dumfries and Galloway continue to change. There are different working patterns, people have moved in and out of communities and this has led to some of our communities growing and some getting smaller, and this is impacting on the rolls in some of our schools. In recent years we have seen a decline in our pupil population across the region. Most of our schools have less children attending. This has led to some of our smallest schools closing due to there being very few or no pupils attending them.
We need to make sure that we are able to adapt to the changes that happen to our schools. We do this by monitoring our school rolls and the impact that fluctuations have on how they are run. We have looked again at our partnering arrangements and our Education & Learning Committee has agreed to a set of principles which mean that we now have to review current arrangements. The principles that are agreed are:
- The roll of each school (including nursery roll, where applicable) should not exceed 100 and a school should be removed from a partnership management arrangement if their roll consistently exceeds 100;
- All Headteachers should not have a permanent class commitment;
- Any new or revised management arrangements should seek to minimise requirements for traveling significant distances (over 20 miles);
- Any new or revised management arrangements should seek to involve the shortest distances possible;
- A trigger with one school may have wider reaching consequences due to a need to provide the best long-term solution instead of a temporary arrangement;
- All primary school partnership management arrangements should be limited to two schools only; and
- There is no requirement to limit management arrangements to one secondary cluster if that is to the detriment of one of the other principles, and they will take precedence over the principle of keeping schools within.
What does this mean for my school?
For some of our schools, we need to make changes to the current management arrangements:
- Some schools which were previously partnered may no longer be partnered.
- Some schools who weren't partnered will now be partnered with another school.
- Some schools who were in a three-way partnership may now be moving to a two-way partnership.
- And some current partnership schools may have a new partner.
What will this mean for my child?
The changes in management arrangements will have no negative impact upon the learning and teaching experience of your child. The school's Headteacher will have more time to dedicate to the management of the schools in their charge. The change is solely aimed at improving the experiences of all our children, regardless of the size and location of their school.
What happens next?
Over the remainder of this school session, if your school is affected by a change in management arrangements, more detailed information will be shared with you in due course. As a number of schools will be affected, it is difficult to predict exactly when this will be. We will ensure we engage as early as possible with you to make sure that you are kept fully informed.