Friday, 13 February 2009

Budget 2: Education 'efficiency savings'

This subject gave us the biggest load of contacts this budget. In the event, the administration did not accept the proposed 2% 'efficiency saving' on devolved school management (DSM). Indeed, last year's decision to reduce DSM budgetsby 1.5% was not wholly continued into this year with a token additional amount devoted to DSM.
Both Labour and Conservatives on the council proposed not to continue the 1.5% reduction imposed last year. Unlike Labour our restoration was because we believe in devolving responsibility (and accountability) and we believe head teachers can take on more responsibility in the education of our children. But we want the increased responsibility of head teachers to be matched a reduction in central control and oversight. A key problem in education in Scotland is that it is over managed and over inspected.
(There is a real question about the efficiency of public administration. The Scottish Government assumes Councils will make 2% efficiency savings - but 'allows them to retain the savings'. With rather breathtaking inefficiency this 'efficiency saving' is applied effectively across the board - with the assumption that all areas are equally inefficient when, of course, they are not. All the angst within parent councils and school managements could have been avoided if the decision not to accept the 2% 'efficiency saving' had been made earlier.

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