Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Time for change?

Issue 1 - March 2005

SHA's membership has grown and diversified so that now less than one-third are secondary heads prompting a need for changes.

Council met on 3-4 February at Puckrup Hall near Tewkesbury.

Name change

Following a lively debate at the November meeting, in February Council voted in favour of consulting all members on whether the SHA name should be changed.

It was agreed that the case for name change has become strong enough to warrant wide-spread consultation.

SHA's membership has grown and diversified so that now less than one-third are secondary heads - the solid majority are assistant and deputy heads. Neither does the name reflect members in colleges and the independent sector.

Council agreed that the name 'Secondary Heads Association' fails to recognise the importance of the team leadership, which on average includes four deputy and assistant heads.

It also inhibits recruitment of new leadership team members such as bursars.

Council will discuss the result of the consultation at the June meeting. If members support the change, Council will determine one or more possible new names.

A further consultative ballot will be held to decide on a recommended new name that will be put to a general meeting of the association. Only a general meeting can change the constitution.

All members are receiving a letter and response form in March. We encourage all members to respond - it's important that the outcome reflects majority opinion. The consultation ends on 3 May.

Three possible alternative names have been short listed so far, and members are encouraged to offer additional suggestions.

Manifesto

Council approved SHA's Manifesto for Secondary Schools and Colleges, after some amendments to the final draft. It goes out to all members, as well as key figures in the DfES and Parliament, in March.

This is an important document for SHA in that it sets out our priorities for the next five years. We hope that the post-election government will be even more predisposed to adopt SHA's proposals and policies than the previous one has been.

As an overview, the manifesto seeks:

  • a robust reward and professional development structure for school leaders which attracts the best people and reflects their increasing responsibilities

  • an adequately funded workforce remodelling programme that motivates all staff and augments teachers' professional status

  • a coherent, planned education system that gives schools and colleges a high degree of autonomy within a framework of collaboration

  • implementation of the 'new relationship with schools', in both schools and colleges, to reduce bureaucracy and provide intelligent accountability

  • an activity-led funding formula that provides adequate and equitable funding to all schools and colleges

  • adoption of the Tomlinson report, especially an overarching diploma, a stronger vocational course structure and a broader curriculum

  • a post-qualification application process (PQA) for higher education

  • sufficient support and resources for inclusion

  • a clearly defined role for local authorities to commission and enable education, not to provide or control it

UPS 3 funding

Funding Committee

Council still has major concerns about the distribution system for the upper pay spine (UPS 3), which has resulted in significant variations throughout the country.

Committee members have been asked to return questionnaires regarding their own funding situation to the Funding Committee in order to get a clearer 'big picture' of UPS 3 funding. The committee has been asked by the DfES to present the results of the survey.

Implementation Review Unit

Council member Chris Nicholls, also chair of the Implementation Review Unit (IRU), reported that there are serious concerns about the potential bureaucracy of Every Child Matters and the New Relationship with Schools.

There is a risk of schools having of sharper accountability but with none of the paperwork being streamlined. The IRU has produced a list of items it wants to see removed and initial responses from the DfES have been reassuring. However, there is concern that the DfES will not be able to deliver.

Three-year budgets

Funding Committee

SHA's funding consultant, Lindsey Wharmby reported to Council on her discussions with the DfES on three-year budgets.

The department has taken on board SHA's recommendation to give schools estimated budgets, rather than rigidly fixed budgets for the duration of the three years.

Schools will be presented with a fixed budget for the first year, a predicted amount for the second year and estimated for year three.

Because schools are dealing with variable costs from year to year, such as rising or falling rolls, locked-in budgets can actually be detrimental. Fixed budgets are only effective when all other costs are fixed as well.

SHA has been lobbying the House of Lords on ring-fenced school budgets, which are included in the Education Bill now being considered by Parliament.

The guaranteed minimum increase to the standards fund in 2005-06 is four per cent for all schools - in some LEAs schools will get up to seven per cent. Schools should make sure their LEA is passing on the minimum increase. If not, they are urged to contact SHA.

Staff restructuring

Funding Committee

Council is aware that there are serious concerns among members about timescales and associated costs for staff restructuring. All schools must have their new structure agreed by 31 December.

However, SHA believes this is a real opportunity for school leaders to create the structure they want for the future. Guidance from Stephen Szemerenyi, SHA's pay and conditions consultant, to members is not to implement changes until May when the regulations are in place.

Many members are concerned that the cost to move to TLRs will be significant in the short term. Stephen, said there are ways to accomplish this with no extra cost.

Examples put forward by the Funding Committee have already shown a wide variety of options. Members have agreed to put their initial models on the SHA website for other members to adapt. An alert will go in the email newsletter when they are available.

RIG (the Rewards and Incentives Group) will hold up to six regional conferences in order to clarify the situation and allay concerns.

PPA and invigilation: With regard to PPA time, members were urged not give in to pressure in their school forums to allocate more money to primaries. There is money already in the system to deal with PPA in primary. School forums need to recognise that schools will have to budget more for invigilation.

School leaders' workload: Council also expressed serious reservations about the impact of remodelling and restructuring on school leaders' work-life balance. School leaders have seen their own workload increase as they have improved that of their colleagues.

Governing bodies, which are responsible for monitoring and curbing heads' workload, have not been overwhelmingly successful in this respect.

RIG has submitted evidence for a pay increase and SHA agreed it will campaign for a larger-than-average pay rise for senior leaders in order to compensate for the increasing workload.

One council member added the health warning: "More pay does nothing to deal with the effect of more workload. But it helps!"

School Self Evaluation

Professional Committee

Anne Welsh, SHA past president, is leading SHA's work on the development of school self evaluation models. These models will be published later in the year.

All SHA members are advised to register on Ofsted Direct in order to keep up to date with the forthcoming changes in the inspection framework and the self evaluation form (SEF) that Ofsted inspectors will be using.

Every Child Matters

Public and Parliamentary Committee

The committee put forward its policy paper on Every Child Matters, which was approved and is going to members in the March mailing.

The greatest concerns are on funding and bureaucracy. Resources have been earmarked for health and social care but not for schools. It needs to be made clear who is paying for increased services.

The committee also raised practical considerations. For example, there are several inspection bodies that cover the various services and that could possibly inspect schools. A lot of clarification is still needed.

SHA will raise Council's concerns with the DfES.

Council is SHA's policy-making body, consisting of about 70 elected representatives from district and national level. It meets four times a year, for two days, to debate issues and vote on future SHA policy. There are five council committees that work on behalf on SHA members: funding, professional, education, public and parliamentary, and deputy and assistant heads.

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