The Telegraph reports that Scotland’s education establishment has declared war on John Swinney’s plan to give headteachers extensive new powers by arguing it could mean creeping privatisation and the end of comprehensive schooling.
In what appeared to be a coordinated attack, trade unions and Scotland’s councils issued a series of dire warnings about the overhaul, alleging that headteachers could become personally liable for compensation claims involving their schools.
Local authorities insisted they must remain the “final arbiter” of how schools operate and warned Mr Swinney’s plan risked increasing the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, went even further by claiming that more school autonomy could mean the beginning of the end of comprehensive system.
Mr Swinney promised to consider their concerns but refused to back down. The row broke out as Jim McColl, one of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs, said that around a third of the teenagers enrolled in a special college he has set up have a “literacy age” of only six or seven.
The submission argued that the consultation paper did not show how increasing headteachers’ powers would boost attainment and Mr Swinney’s plan was based on them displaying “heroic leadership” that would be hard to sustain if they moved on.
It also warned heads could become “legally liable” for decisions around hiring and firing staff, raising the possibility of them being “pursued by litigation.”
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