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E a s t Du n b a rto n s h ire Co u n c il
F o l l o w - u p In s p e c t i o n R e p o r t
M a y 20 0 3
Contents
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Page
Introduction
i
1.
The aims, nature and scope of the inspection
1
2.
Changes in the Education Service operational
context
1
3.
Continuous Improvement
3
4.
Progress towards the main points for action
5
5.
Conclusions
20
Introduction
The education functions of each local authority in
Scotland will be inspected between 2000 and
2005. Section 9 of the Standards in Scotland’s
Schools etc. Act 2000 charges HM Inspectorate of
Education, on behalf of the Scottish Ministers, to
provide an external evaluation of the effectiveness
of the local authority in its quality assurance of
educational provision within the Council and of its
support to schools in improving quality.
Inspections are conducted within a published
framework of quality indicators (Quality
Management in Education) which embody the
Government’s policy on Best Value.
Each inspection is planned and implemented in
partnership with Audit Scotland on behalf of the
Accounts Commission for Scotland. Audit
Scotland is a statutory body set up in April 2000,
under the Public Finance and Accountability
(Scotland) Act 2000. It provides services to the
Accounts Commission and the Auditor General
for Scotland. Together they ensure that the
Scottish Executive and public sector bodies in
Scotland are held to account for the proper,
efficient and effective use of public funds.
The external auditor member of the inspection
team carries out a performance management and
planning (PMP) audit of the education functions
of the authority. The inspection team also
includes an Associate Assessor who is a senior
member of staff currently serving in another
Scottish local authority.
All inspections of the education functions of
educational authorities are followed up by
inspection teams, normally around two years from
the date of the original published inspection report.
_______________________________
East Dunbartonshire Council
Follow-up Inspection Report
1. The aims, nature and scope of the inspection
The education functions of East Dunbartonshire Council
were inspected during the period October to
November 2000 as part of a national inspection
programme of all education authorities in Scotland over a
five-year period.
The local authority prepared and made public an Action
Plan in March 2001, indicating how it would address the
main points for action identified in the original HMIE
inspection report published in February 2001.
An interim visit by an inspection team was carried out in
March 2002 and a letter evaluating progress made in
implementing the Action Plan published.
An inspection team revisited the authority in
February 2003 to assess progress made in continuous
improvement and in meeting the main points for action in
the initial report.
2. Changes in Education Service operational context
Since the initial inspection of the education functions of
East Dunbartonshire Council in October to
November 2000 there had been significant changes
within the Education Service.
Following a review just prior to the initial inspection, a
Community Services Department had been agreed and
the Strategic Director – Community had just taken up
1
post. The Strategic Director has overall responsibility for
Education, Social Work, Housing and Cultural Services.
Since the inspection the officer structure and personnel
within education to support her had been finalised. At the
time of this inspection all officer posts had been filled,
though two post-holders were still to take up their duties.
Within the Strategic Directorate - Community there were
now six Heads of Service. One of these was the Head of
Education who had overall operational responsibility for
the day-to-day management of education in the Council.
The cross-cutting structure of the Community Services
Department provided support for education through the
services of the Head of Operational Support, the Head of
Performance and Development and the Head of Social
Inclusion and Community Development.
The Head of Education was supported by two Education
Officers who had been in post for about one year. One
was responsible for support for pupils and the other had
responsibility for quality assurance and quality
development. Three new Senior Education Quality and
Development Officers (SEQDOs) each had responsibility
for a geographical area. They were supported by a team
of Education Quality and Development Officers
(EQDOs). A number of the EQDOs had recently taken
up post following approval by the Council to increase the
number of permanent posts in quality assurance. The
SEQDOs and the EQDOs reported to one of the
Education Officers. The Education Service had
introduced a very helpful mentoring and monitoring
system to support new officers in the service. This
included regular training events to focus on quality
assurance and one-to-one mentoring for each officer with
a senior member of the team. This programme had
resulted in better training for EQDOs, particularly in the
area of quality assurance.
2
The Corporate Development Plan had been revised and
there were now four strategic aims for the Council:
•
building a safe and attractive environment;
•
promoting access to learning opportunities;
•
supporting elderly and vulnerable people; and
•
investing in organisational capacity.
The aims of the Education Service had been revised in
line with these corporate aims.
3. Continuous Improvement
Since the inspection report was published in
February 2001, the education authority had shown that it
had developed a much improved capacity to continue to
improve its overall effectiveness.
The integrated structure for the Community Services
Department, introduced at the time of the initial
inspection, was now leading to better joint working
across services within the Council and with other services
outwith, including health services and the police.
Significant effort had gone into planning for integrated
children’s services and had led to a more effective
structure for supporting children and families.
Progress had been made towards meeting objectives
related to the National Priorities in Education. Work in
pre-five establishments and in the early years of primary
schools had focussed on improving learning and teaching
in reading and mathematics. Specialist provision to meet
special educational needs had been reviewed and
extended. Flexibility in the curriculum was being
actively encouraged and the Council was preparing
support to schools to help them review their curriculum
3
arrangements. As a result pupils were being given
support to access a more appropriate curriculum to meet
their needs.
Good support had been provided by the authority to
schools which had been inspected by HMIE. This had
led to continued improvements in learning and teaching
and attainment in those schools.
The Education Service had responded very effectively to
the introduction of new arrangements for probationer
teachers. It provided a very good training programme for
the 43 probationer teachers currently deployed in East
Dunbartonshire schools. The programme had been
carefully designed to complement the support that the
probationers were given in schools. Probationer teachers
showed high levels of enthusiasm and expressed
considerable appreciation of the support and training
which they received in order to develop their professional
skills.
Attainment of pupils in the Council had continued to be
significantly above the national average. National Test
results since 2000 showed that the percentage of primary
school pupils who had attained appropriate 5-141 levels
for their stage had increased in reading, writing and
mathematics. In all three areas performance was above
that achieved by comparator authorities and well above
that achieved nationally. Improvement had been
particularly significant in reading and writing. In
secondary schools attainment at 5-14 had improved in
reading, writing and mathematics, although not to the
same extent as in primary schools. Performance was now
well above the national average and above that of
comparator authorities in all three areas.
Overall, there had been improvement in attainment in
National Qualifications. Between 2000 and 2002, from a
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Level A by end P3. Level B by end P4. Level C by end P6. Level D by end P7.
Level E by end S2.
very high position, the percentage of the S4 roll who
gained awards at Level 32 or better had remained steady,
whilst those who attained at Levels 4 and 5 had improved
slightly. At all levels performance was above the average
for comparator authorities and well above the national
average. This was most marked in attainment at Level 5.
Attainment at Level 6 or better remained well above
average and above the average for comparator authorities.
However, from 2000 to 2002 the percentage of the S4 roll
who gained three or more awards at Level 6 had declined
by 2% compared to a national decline of 1%. Those who
gained five or more awards at Level 6 had also declined
slightly while comparator authorities and the national
average had risen slightly.
Whilst pupil performance was well above the national
average, performance needed to be sustained. The
Council was now in a better position to track attainment
and target performance and this should now be further
focussed to maintain further improvement.
4. Progress towards the main points for action
The initial inspection report published in February 2001
identified six main points for action. This section
evaluates the progress the authority has made with each
of the main action points and the resulting improvements
for pupils and other stakeholders.
2
Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF) levels. 7: CSYS at A-C.
6: Higher at A-C. 5: Intermediate 2 at A-C; Standard Grade at 1-2. 4: Intermediate 1
at A-C; Standard Grade at 3-4. 3: Access 3 Cluster; Standard Grade at 5-6
5
4.1 Senior officers should work in partnership
with key stakeholders to establish a vision,
values and aims for education which link to a
corporate vision and goals.
Overall, the Council had made very good progress in
establishing its vision, values and aims for the Education
Service.
Significant efforts had been made to involve key
stakeholders in developing statements of vision and
values. The involvement of senior staff from schools and
parents representatives in developing the vision and
values statements had helped to share key messages and
to ensure ownership of the overall direction for the
Education Service. Headteachers now were clearer about
the Council’s expectations and this had begun to
influence their planning in schools.
The steps taken by senior officers and Elected Members
to publicise the vision and values statements through both
printed material and local seminars had been very
positive.
Staff in school now had significantly raised awareness
about the direction and values for education in the
Council. The vision and values for the Education Service
were now widely known and understood by stakeholders.
The work undertaken in developing the direction for
education by the Strategic Director - Community and the
Senior Management Team had done much to establish
clearer leadership and had promoted more effective
working between senior officers, staff in schools and
parents.
More recently a set of aims had been developed for the
Education Service. Parents and senior staff from schools
had been involved in establishing the aims which were
clearly linked to the corporate aims of the Council and to
the National Priorities in Education. The aims were
6
appropriate and comprehensive. They had been
disseminated to headteachers and to parents’
representatives. The Council needed to continue to share
these aims more widely to ensure that all stakeholders,
including staff in schools and all parents, were aware of
the aims and the implications for the delivery of the
service.
The vision, values and aims had been effectively linked
to service planning and to the helpful framework for
policy development.
4.2 As a matter of high priority, senior officers
should work with headteachers to agree mutual
roles and expectations. In particular, roles and
expectations in consultation, communication
and in respect of quality assurance and quality
development should be agreed.
The Education Service had made very good progress with
this main point for action.
Senior officers had involved headteachers, together with
other key stakeholders, in preparing and implementing
the Action Plan to address the recommendations of the
inspection report. Extensive consultation and
communication at all stages had been features of this
work. Headteachers and support service managers had
increased opportunities to contribute to the
decision-making processes. Considerable improvements
in consultation and communication had helped to
improve relationships and establish a climate of trust
between the authority and staff in its schools.
A policy framework had been established for the
Education Service to ensure greater clarity and
consistency in strategic policy formulation. This very
useful document set out the key areas of strategic policy
for education, core components for inclusion when
formulating policy and arrangements for dissemination
7
and implementation. It also made provision for review of
policies and the overall framework. A very good range of
policies was now in place.
A policy for Consultation and Communication had been
approved by the Education and Cultural Services
Committee in January 2002. It included the roles and
responsibilities for senior officers, headteachers and other
senior staff. The responsibilities of headteachers and
support service managers were made clear. Each school
or support service team were required to submit a
statement on their arrangements for consultation. The
procedures and protocols contained within this policy
were now well-established.
A core policy on quality assurance had been presented to
the Education and Cultural Services Committee in
March 2002. It had set out clear expectations in respect
of quality assurance and quality development. Following
further extensive consultation, this core policy had been
supplemented with guidance on arrangements for annual
and triennial review visits to schools and support services
and on collecting evidence through self-evaluation. The
Education Service had also prepared a revised policy on
professional review and development for teachers. It
included arrangements for professional review of
headteachers and Support Service Managers. This very
good set of key documents stated clearly the roles and
expectations of all staff in relation to quality assurance
and quality improvement. Following a formal launch of
these policies, the Education Service had given high
priority to ensuring their effective implementation,
including training for staff at all levels. A calendar of
events which related to aspects of quality assurance and a
programme for annual and triennial visits had been
prepared. These visits built on the previous programme
of quality visits and had been operating since
December 2002. The Education Service planned to carry
out professional reviews of all headteachers and support
service managers by June 2003.
8
Very clear definition of roles and responsibilities was
now a key feature of all policies. Through review visits
and other contacts with schools, senior officers were
placing increasing emphasis on monitoring the
implementation of the Council’s policies and ensuring
that all relevant staff were aware of their responsibilities.
Headteachers were now much clearer about their roles
and duties in developing and improving the quality of
education in their schools.
4.3 The authority should review the deployment
of staff and resources to quality assurance and
quality development so that local and national
priorities can be addressed effectively and
sustained.
The authority’s recent decisive actions had resulted in
good progress being made with this main point for action.
The authority had made very good progress in developing
and establishing a quality assurance structure to ensure
continuous improvement in schools. Good progress had
been made in deploying staff to support and challenge
schools and services. The authority should now
implement its plans to include all EQDOs so that
effectiveness and sustainability can be ensured.
The core quality assurance framework had been
completed and re-launched and plans made to ensure its
full implementation. Quality visits to schools, focussed
on school improvement, had been firmly established and
good procedures had been put in place to record the
outcomes of visits. A policy on collecting evidence
through self-evaluation, including arrangements for
monitoring learning and teaching, had been agreed. The
policy on professional review and development had also
been approved.
The authority had made a significant investment and
commitment in recruiting a new Education Quality and
9
Development Team. Under the leadership of an
Education Officer, a team of three Senior EQDOs and
11 EQDOs had been appointed on a permanent basis to
provide support and challenge to schools. Roles, remits
and expectations of the team had been carefully
considered and allocated.
Following a review of the first year of the new structure,
the responsibility for the Education Quality and
Development function had been given to the Head of
Education. This decision had provided clarity of roles
and an impetus to address this main point for action
purposefully. The Head of Education was providing
strong leadership and direction in this area. The
Education Service now had an effective Senior
Management Team with a good focus on quality
development. The Head of Education had made clear the
importance of quality assurance through his personal
involvement in headteacher and triennial school reviews.
The authority had put in place some very useful
procedures for development planning and standards and
quality reporting.
Good support was provided to schools involved in HMIE
inspections. The Council was to be commended for the
progress it had made in ensuring that Support Services
were also fully involved in the quality framework. Senior
EQDOs had been given a key link role with schools on a
geographical basis. Steps should now be taken to extend
the quality assurance framework to pre-school providers
working in partnership with the Council.
The Head of Education, the two Education Officers and
Senior EQDOs were responsible for taking forward the
quality assurance framework. They carried out annual
visits, headteacher reviews, prepared reports on schools
to be inspected by HMIE and approved school
development plans and standards and quality reports.
10
EQDOs had begun to support schools as part of their
strategic remits and to take part in quality assurance
activities. However, the pattern of visits throughout the
year needed to focus on the quality assurance agenda as
they had not yet provided sufficient support and
challenge to schools throughout the improvement cycle.
The authority had good mechanisms for recording visits
to schools and for approving development plans. Some
use had been made of performance information to
identify and tackle underachievement. However, it was
not yet sufficiently clear what action would be taken to
address unsatisfactory progress.
The authority had demonstrated a clear commitment in
addressing this main point for action vigorously in recent
months. Whilst good progress had been made the impact
was yet to be confirmed. There was now a need to ensure
that the good momentum is carried through to impact
more clearly on school improvement and is sustained
over time.
4.4 Open and transparent procedures for
consultation and communication with
stakeholders over strategies, plans, and
allocation of resources and budgets, along with
means of public performance reporting, should
be developed.
Overall, very good progress had been made with this
main point for action.
Systematic and comprehensive approaches to
consultation were now strong features of the work of the
Education Service. The policy for consultation and
communication was well established. The extensive
consultation and communication related to the tasks of
the working groups set up to address the education
authority’s Action Plan had helped to establish the
principles on which this policy was based. Well1
1
organised seminars were held for headteachers to enable
them to be actively involved in commenting on and
finalising draft policies.
Consultation now involved school and support services
staff, School Boards and parents, Elected Members,
Teachers’ Association Representatives and other
departments within the Council. In addition, almost all
schools now had Pupil Councils. The well-established
School Board Forum, which was linked to the Council’s
committee structure, was a notable example of good
practice. A recent review had considered steps to further
formalise and extend the role of this Forum.
The Strategic Director, Heads of Service and officers
arranged and attended meetings of headteachers and
support service managers regularly to present and discuss
information and policies on key aspects of the work of
the Education Service. As well as the programme of
meetings of headteachers and Support Service Managers,
the Head of Education had introduced regular liaison
meetings with representative groups to facilitate effective
discussion of specific issues and help set agendas for
headteacher meetings. More recently, a Strategic
Management Co-ordinating Group (SMCG) had been
established to co-ordinate the development of and
consultation on key documents and policies. The Group
also sought to raise awareness of the operation of the
Education Service within the corporate activities of the
Council. A very useful index of policies, guidelines and
plans had been prepared to help direct and support the
development of quality provision throughout all
educational establishments.
A calendar of meetings had been published and the use of
a standard agenda format had been extended. Very good
work had been done to use ICT to support and facilitate
communication. All schools were linked to the Council’s
network and e-mail was used increasingly to circulate
agendas, policies and other key documents. Key
12
materials were placed on the authority’s website to make
them more readily accessible to staff and parents. The
recently introduced informative, well-presented
newsletter for staff and School Boards helped to
disseminate information and good practice. A directory
for the Education Service and comprehensive information
on staff involvement in working groups at departmental,
authority and national level provided readily accessible
information for all staff on roles and responsibilities
across the Education Service.
There had been considerable improvements in
communication between senior officers and headteachers.
The Education Service Plan had been updated and
reported on through the Council’s structures, and
information on progress had been reported to Committee.
The updated plan had been issued to all headteachers and
Support Service Managers, School Boards and Teachers’
Association Representatives. Clearer information was
provided on the allocation of resources. Consultation and
communication processes with key stakeholders now
included regular updates on the development and
monitoring of the revenue budget and the Council’s
budget process in general.
Good progress had been made in Public Performance
Reporting. As part of the corporate process, the
Education Service had contributed to Public Performance
Reports issued to all households in January and
November 2002. All schools were producing their own
standards and quality reports and the first Standards and
Quality Report for the Education Service was ready to be
distributed. It included identification of strengths in key
areas as well as aspects for development. Elected
Members were given detailed information on attainment.
Presentations from headteachers, and sometimes pupils,
on school standards and quality reports and examples of
good practice were now features of reports to Elected
Members at Committee meetings.
1
3
The Education Service had made considerable
improvements in consultation and communication. As a
result of these positive steps stakeholders, including staff
in schools and parents, had been able to impact on the
policies and direction of the Education Service. Much
clearer communication to schools had resulted in greater
consistency and the sharing of good practice.
4.5 Systematic Service Planning for the
education service, linked to local and national
priorities, with clear objectives and success
criteria, and including strategic use of Best
Value reviews should be introduced and
implemented.
Good progress had been made towards meeting this main
point for action.
A clear planning cycle had been introduced which
integrated well with the corporate council planning cycle,
school planning, budget planning and the publication of
standards and quality reports.
An Education Service Plan for 2002-2004 had been
developed as part of the Strategic Directorate Community Plan, 2002-2004. The format of the plan
followed corporate guidance, but the section on service
objectives and targets had helpfully been customised to
meet the needs of the Education Service. The plan
included a statement of the vision and aims of the service
and an outline of the context and in which it worked. The
content of the plan clearly reflected national and local
priorities. There were clear links between the Education
Service Plan and the key themes in the Community Plan
and the strategic aims in the Corporate Development
Plan.
There was a separate section in the Education Service
Plan on the implementation of Best Value reviews. The
main section in the plan clearly outlined service
14
objectives and targets. The useful template linked each
target to National Priorities, corporate priorities and
quality indicators in Quality Management in Education
(QMIE)3. Targets, tasks and timescales were identified
clearly. A good start had been made to set resource
implications against each target. For each priority a
budget source and proposed allocation of funds over the
next two financial years had been identified. Criteria for
measuring success in achieving objectives and
arrangements for monitoring and evaluating progress
were stated. There was still scope to express success
criteria in more measurable terms. In line with the
planning cycle, a comprehensive six-month monitoring
review of progress on implementing the Service Plan was
reported to the Council.
A second statement of improvement objectives for
2002-2005 had been developed and issued. This
provided an agenda for improvement through clear
objectives and specific performance targets related to
National Priorities in Education and Council aims. It
provided a useful context and direction for schools when
developing plans for improvement. A highly evaluative
progress report on the first statement of improvement
objectives had been published in January 2003. This was
based on an analysis of data associated with each
performance measure, outcomes from school selfevaluation, school standards and quality reports and staff
discussion. Overall, it provided evidence of good and
some very good progress made towards meeting
objectives related to the National Priorities.
The Education Service was currently developing a draft
up-date of the Service Plan for 2003-2004.
Commendably, the service was integrating the Service
Plan with the Statement of Improvement Objectives into a
single coherent Service Improvement Plan. The draft
continued to use the corporate planning format and the
3
Quality Management in Education (HM Inspectors of Schools, 2000) is a framework
of self-evaluation for Local Authority Education Departments.
1
5
template for the section on service objectives and targets.
Priorities and targets for improvement were set within the
framework of the National Priorities in Education.
Whilst the identification of priorities and targets had been
based on a wide range of reviews, the draft plan required
a clearer statement on the processes of audit used to
identify priorities for improvement. The plan should also
identify more clearly where objectives will be met in joint
working with other Council services and partners, and
which had key responsibility.
Best Value reviews had been used to improve service
provision for children and families. The Education
Service had been involved in strategic reviews including,
services for older people, ICT and resource generation.
Operational service activities including community
transport, absence management and speech and language
therapy had been reviewed. As a result of the Community
Transport Review, better use had been made of transport
for children with special educational needs. Revised
contracts had provided better quality of provision,
including seatbelts for children, and improved value for
money. Further improvements in the quality of transport
were planned over the next year. Following the review of
the Speech and Language Therapy Service a helpful
information booklet had been produced for parents and
schools, and training and aspects of delivery of the
service improved. Following the review of employee
absence management policy and procedures, Maximising
Attendance, had been developed and a training
programme provided for all staff. There was a need to
develop a more strategic approach to the longer term
planning of Best Value reviews and to integrate them
more into planning processes and documentation.
Overall, sound approaches to planning for improvement
which met the corporate requirements, but retained
flexibility to meet the particular needs of the service and
respond to national developments, had been introduced
successfully. The Council had set out more clearly the
16
direction for improvement for schools and this was now
beginning to impact on school development planning.
The Service was now in a better position to measure the
impact of its plans on the experience of children and
young people.
4.6 In continuing to improve resource and
financial management, the authority should
ensure: that strategic planning and budgetary
processes are linked; that three-year planning is
developed to enable longer-term decisions to be
taken, that the capital plan is revised in line with
strategic objectives and options for alternative
sources of finance to improve accommodation
standards are explored; that a comprehensive
financial monitoring report is developed that can
be used by the Educational Management Team
to examine spending to date, slippages,
variances and actions to be taken; and that the
basis for cross-charges is clearly explained and
agreed by all parties.
Overall, the Council had made good progress in
implementing the recommendations for resource and
financial management.
Three-year budgeting and service planning had been
successfully implemented. A good start had been made
in linking strategic planning and budgetary processes by
costing service plans. There was clear recognition of the
need to cost priorities and a good understanding that this
process would assist the service in prioritising the use of
resources and identifying areas where further funding was
required. The Education Service Plan for 2002-2004 had
identified the budget source and allocated resources
against the majority of service objectives. More clarity
should be provided on how resources are used and
re-allocated as part of the six month progress report on
the Service Plan. There were clear links between the
Service Plan and other planning documents.
1
7
A three-year capital plan had been compiled by the
Capital Development Group based on capital bids
submitted by all Council services. The Capital
Monitoring Group was responsible for monitoring the
plan. A very good framework had been put in place to
ensure that agreed projects link with one of a number of
specified strategic criteria. A more recent development
also required bids to link with the Service Plan.
Headteachers and School Boards were individually
informed if their school was the subject of a successful
bid in addition to the general circulation of the Capital
Plan and monitoring reports.
The Council had made very good progress in exploring
Private Public Partnership (PPP) approaches to financing
capital expenditure for school buildings. A Best Value
review of different models of funding had been carried
out. In February 2002, the Council approved a
joint-venture approach. In October 2002, the Council
submitted its Outline Business Case to the Scottish
Executive and, at the time of the inspection, was awaiting
notification of the outcome. In preparing the Outline
Business Case, a full condition survey of school buildings
and review of school roll forecasts had been carried out.
Clear, agreed criteria had been established to identify
schools for inclusion in the scheme. The results of the
condition survey should also greatly assist the Council in
re-directing resources to those schools outwith the
scheme. A Project Manager had been appointed to take
the PPP scheme forward and a consultation strategy for
the scheme had been submitted to the Council in
April 2003.
Elected Members were informed formally of the financial
position, generally on a six weekly cycle, through joint
reports by the Strategic Director and the Assistant Chief
Executive. The reporting format had recently been
revised to show the financial information for the
Community Directorate within one report. As this report
was submitted to two service committees, Elected
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Members were advised of the relevant sections for their
committee. Reports showed actual service expenditure
against budgeted figures with calculated variances, year
end anticipated variances and appropriate explanations.
A useful section in the main body of the report
highlighted areas of concern.
The Community Directorate Senior Management Team
included financial issues as a standing item on their
regular agendas. The audit trail could, however, be
improved through clear minuting of management team
decisions and points for action arising from discussion of
financial monitoring reports.
The Council’s Financial Regulations had been revised
and promoted through a series of presentations. A review
of the Devolved School Management scheme had been
completed and revised regulations issued in
February 2003. The Council was piloting a school
co-ordinator scheme to support school management
including resources and finance. The process had yet to
be evaluated and a formal job description agreed. Plans
were in place, however, to appoint nine co-ordinators
during the next financial year.
There had been some progress in developing Service
Level Agreements (SLA) for support services following
consultation with headteachers. A useful SLA for
property repairs and maintenance had been implemented
in August 2002. While still at an early stage, there were
indications of improvements in the repairs service. A
facilities management pilot project had been set up to
streamline the operation of the various building support
services such as cleaning, catering and maintenance and
was nearing completion. Following positive feedback in
the pilot the Council planned to roll out the scheme more
widely by August 2003. This service will provide
schools with one point of contact to ensure that support
services are provided more effectively.
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A Human Resources SLA had been drafted for
implementation in April 2003. Headteachers had
identified recruitment and staffing issues as areas where
they required more clarity on procedures. There was a
need to improve communication between senior
managers in schools and Human Resource staff. The
SLA had the potential to improve service provision but it
needed to be progressed with more urgency. Agreements
for other support services such as Finance, ICT and Legal
Services were also scheduled to be in place from
April 2003.
The operation of SLAs was at a fairly early stage of
implementation and should be reviewed over time to
ensure increased transparency in cost and quality of the
central services provided.
The authority had taken significant steps towards
improving budgetary processes and the use of resources.
Whilst still at the early stages of impacting on schools the
measures taken to date had the potential to improve the
running of schools and to deliver a programme of
improvement for school buildings.
5. Conclusions
Since the inspection report was published in
February 2001 the authority had undertaken significant
change and had made good progress in supporting
improvement in its schools. This improvement had been
slow to start but had, after some restructuring and
recruitment of new staff, begun to gather pace. The
Education Service was now in a much better position to
deliver its objectives. There was good evidence that the
authority was improving in its capacity to manage change
and to ensure continuous improvements in schools.
A clear vision, values and aims for the education service
had been established and was well-understood by staff in
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schools and parents. The roles and responsibilities of
Council officers and headteachers in the quality assurance
of the service were clearer. The Council now had a
greater capacity to promote continuous improvement in
the Education Service. Approaches to quality assurance,
including both challenge and support for schools, had
been developed and school review visits were now
carried out regularly. There was now a need to further
develop the role of officers in ensuring continuous
improvement in schools.
The Council had developed a systematic approach to
consultation and communication with stakeholders who
were now able to influence the direction and outcomes
for the education service. Planning for improvements in
the Education Service was more detailed and provided a
good framework for meeting the National Priorities in
Education.
The development of better approaches to resource and
financial management had begun to impact positively on
services provided to schools. These new approaches
needed to be kept under review to ensure that they were
leading to service improvement.
Staff in schools and parents now had much greater
opportunities to influence the direction of the education
service and to comment on the effectiveness of the
service as a whole. Senior officers had clear expectations
of continuous improvement in schools. The quality
assurance systems that had recently been established had
the potential to support improvement in pupil
achievement across East Dunbartonshire schools.
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As a result of the overall good progress made by the
authority, HMIE will make no further inspection visits in
connection with this inspection. The District Inspector
will follow-through with the Council on the areas for
further development outlined in this report.
Ian Gamble
HM Chief Inspector
Quality, Standards and Audit Division
May 2003
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How can you contact us?
Copies of this report have been sent to the headteacher
and school staff, the Director of Education, local
councillors and appropriate Members of the Scottish
Parliament. Subject to availability, further copies may be
obtained free of charge from the address below or by
telephoning: 0131 244 0746. Copies are also available on
our website: www.hmie.gov.uk
Should you wish to comment on or make a complaint
about any aspect of the inspection or about this report,
you should write in the first instance to Ian Gamble,
HMCI at:
HM Inspectorate of Education
Quality, Standards and Audit Division
1-B95
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ
A copy of our complaints procedure is available from that
office and on our website.
If you are still dissatisfied, you can contact the Scottish
Public Services Ombudsman directly or through your
member of the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Public
Services Ombudsman is fully independent and has
powers to investigate complaints about Government
Departments and Agencies. She will not normally
consider your complaint before the HMIE complaints
procedure has been used. Instead, she will usually ask
you to give us the chance to put matters right if we can.
Complaints to Scottish Public Services Ombudsman must
be submitted within 12 months of the date of publication
of this report.
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The Ombudsman can be contacted at:
Professor Alice Brown
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
23 Walker Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7HX
Telephone number: 0870 011 5378
e-mail: [email protected]
More information about the Ombudsman’s office can be
obtained from the website:
www.ombudsmanscotland.org.uk
Crown Copyright 2003
HM Inspectorate of Education
This report may be reproduced in whole or in part, except
for commercial purposes or in connection with a
prospectus or advertisement, provided that the source and
date thereof are stated.
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