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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 19:23 GMT
Education authority reform calls
Pupils in class
The manifesto says schools should be governed by larger boards
Headteachers are calling on the Scottish Executive to replace Scotland's education authorities.

In a radical new document, the Headteachers' Association of Scotland (HAS) says the country's schools should be run by larger area boards.

Currently, schools are run by the 32 local authorities.

The councils' umbrella group Cosla dismissed the idea, but Education Minister Hugh Henry said he would consider the radical proposals.

HAS has launched its manifesto in the run-up to the Scottish parliamentary election.

The union says there should be around eight boards, similar to the police or fire service.

Earlier this month, the then Education Minister Peter Peacock said he did not think 32 education authorities were sustainable.

Bill McGregor
It would seem to us a much more logical approach to have a smaller number of larger education authorities
Bill McGregor
HAS general secretary

The union's general secretary Bill McGregor said the system spread money and talent too thinly.

Mr McGregor said: "In the current situation of financial stringency we believe some authorities, quite frankly, are too small and it would seem to us a much more logical approach to have a smaller number of larger education authorities.

"It is very difficult in some authorities to achieve the quality of control and quality assurance given their current financial positions.

"A larger organisation will be much better able to draw a larger pool of talent to ensure that accountability in Scottish education is in fact met."

'Less scrutiny'

Mr McGregor said their proposed boards would still have local councillors, parents and school leaders as representatives.

The manifesto also addressed school funding and staffing.

Charlie Gray, education spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), said HAS was only interested in its members.

"Based on their manifesto this appears to mean less scrutiny, less democracy and less accountability," he said.

"On the up side for heads, if HAS get their way, they will have to work less and will earn more, and they will operate more distantly from the communities that their schools serve."

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