School Budget Consultation Feedback

Thursday 14th March 2019

Statement from Campbell Hornell, Head Teacher.

Following a period of consultation on nine recommendations identified for consideration the school is now reporting on how we plan to move forward next session. Feedback has been established from those who attended our Parent Forum on Monday 25th February, from staff within the school and also from a representative sample of students across all year groups.  All stakeholders involved had the opportunity to comment on all nine recommendations.  As we move forward there are significant changes to three of the nine recommendations (Nos 3, 4 and 7).

Recommendations and Feedback

  1.  Removal of Registration; school to begin at 8.40 with period 1;  overwhelmingly endorsed by all stakeholders.  A number of operational issues formerly undertaken during Registration will need to be worked through and undertaken in a different way.  Further consultation is required on the exact timing of the school day.  We will work towards this change coming into effect on Friday 31st May 2019.
  2.  Fewer Senior Phase sections; to allow planning but dependent on uptake;  endorsed.  Clarity will be achieved on this following Senior Phase Coursing which will begin from Monday 18th March.  It is likely that to maintain student satisfaction levels in terms of their subject choice we will allow bi-level N5/Higher or Higher/AH classes where appropriate.
  3. Removal of Senior Phase courses; N4/5/H Administration and IT, N4/5 Metalworking, N5 Practical Cake Craft, N4/5 Environmental Science, AH Geography;  concerns here were raised by a range of stakeholders advocating retention of each subject and suggesting alternatives.  As a result of our consultation we are reinstating Administration and ICT into the Senior Phase course choice process.  This will run subject to student uptake.  Students interested in AH Geography will be asked to make this known via the options process with a range of options thereafter.
  4. Fewer sections in BGEd English (1 section fewer on one ‘side’ of the timetable);  strong concerns on this proposal were raised by the parental body, reinforced by the English Team as well as other subject teams.  Student feedback showed less of a concern.  As a result of our consultation we will reinstate staffing levels in English to allow the same number of classes to run in the BGEd as in recent years.
  5. Factor in Music Tuition; costs 0.87 f.t.e.:  endorsed.  The school will work with our Music Team to agree a fair and transparent protocol around those who will undertake Music Tuition.
  6. Drama Teaching Sets in S1/2; legally can go to 33, likely to be ‘high’ 20s;  endorsed.  We will increase the size of Drama sets in the BGEd to around the mid to high 20s.
  7. Reduction in direct teaching of AH courses; all equalised at three periods of direct teaching;  conflicting, often polarised, feedback from all stakeholders.  As a result of our consultation Higher students in bi-level H/AH classes will be prioritised if those opting for the subject exceed maximum class sizes.  Students will be advised to write AH preferences on their options choice form regardless of the 12 AH courses listed in the Senior Phase booklet.  We will endeavour to make use of travel options to neighbouring schools for any student we cannot accommodate for AH within the school.  AH Mathematics will require a transition time to work towards a reduced allocation of direct teaching.  A 50% reduction from 6 period currently to 3 next session is too much.  Next session those students undertaking AH Mathematics will receive 5 periods of direct teaching.
  8. Higher threshold for minimum class size in S3 and Senior Phase electives; now indicatively 15+ for practical and 20+ for teaching in S3, t.b.c. for Senior Phase based on balancing student choice with available staffing; endorsed.  We will ensure through the Senior Phase Options process that each class/subject is looked at on a case by case basis.  Bi-level options will be explored if required and appropriate to retain the range of curricular options in the Senior Phase.
  9. Declare one teacher ‘surplus’; confidential and not identified at this stage, may be resolved ‘naturally’; endorsed.  This process requires to be clarified for the relevant team and individual by the end of March 2019.

In addition to the above a number of helpful comments, suggestions and ‘things to consider’ were made by stakeholders.  These will help us operationally to implement the savings we are required to make.

As Head Teacher, I would like to express my thanks to those who have contributed to this process.  It has been a genuine process of partnership working in a challenging context. It is a difficult time for Midlothian Council and Midlothian schools however I remain convinced that our school will continue to move forward and improve.

Campbell Hornell, 14/03/19.

 

 

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