How sustainable is the new Dundee Education Department structure?

Laurie Bidwell

15 September 2011

The revised blueprint for the management of the Education Department was considered by the Policy and Resources Committee of the Council on Monday 12 September.

Significantly, it's another vital set of issues about schooling in Dundee that will bypass the Education Committee of the Council.

What are we to make of the new Education Department structure?

At first glance it is clear that many posts have been lost by the non replacement of staff granted early retirement over the last year or two.

This approach to the management of change seems to be characterized by shaking the education tree and seeing what falls off; then reorganizing around those posts and people you have left.

The recent crop of education cuts has been focused mainly on reducing posts in the management of schools and the Education Department, particularly 'depute head teachers', 'directorate' and 'improvement and education officers'.

We have been warned that the Council's anticipated budget reduction for 2012/13 will be £10 million.

When Labour led the coalition that ran the council up to April 2009, we protected Education from the full force of budgetary reductions.

Judging by the SNP's apportionment of cuts this year, and the Education Department's share of the overall council budget, up to £5 million more may be removed from the Education Department's budget next financial year.

It's difficult not to conclude that next time more teachers and other front line staff will have to go.

So this new structure, for the Education Department, may unfortunately be short lived. I fear that the attrition of cuts, year after year, will turn the management of education into last man or woman standing.

This hardly inspires confidence we are really changing for the future.

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