educationeducation Improving Scottish What proposals require consultation? discontinue permanently a school (this includes special schools and nursery schools) or a stage of education in a school (this includes years in a secondary school or a special class in a mainstream school or where the council proposes to discontinue Gaelic medium provision) establish a new school or stage of education in a school relocate a school or nursery class vary the catchment area or modify the guidelines for placing requests for a school vary the arrangements for the transfer of pupils from a primary school to a secondary school change the school commencement date of a primary school vary arrangements for the constitution of a special class in a school other than a special school discontinue arrangements for the provision of transport by the council for pupils attending a denominational school change a denominational school into a non-denominational school discontinue a further education centre which is managed by the council.
educationeducation Improving Scottish What about HMIE involvement? The Act requires HMIE involvement in the case of every proposal requiring consultation. HMIE should attend, where possible, the public meeting. At the end of the consultation period the council has to provide HMIE with a copy of the proposal paper, copies of the written representations, a summary of oral representations made at the public meeting and any other related documentation. HMIE considers the educational aspects of a councils proposal and will, in most cases, include visits to schools covered by the proposal. HMIE finalises a report within a maximum of three weeks, although this can be extended by agreement between the council and HMIE, and send it to the council. Ministers may seek advice from HMIE with regard to call-in decisions. The role of HMIE within the call-in process is to provide such advice as is appropriate on the basis that this advice is given on a case-by-case basis. HMIE is not required to produce another report.
educationeducation Improving Scottish What happens first? The council has to: prepare a proposal paper, including an educational benefits statement and other required information publish the proposal paper, advertise the fact and notify HMIE and mandatory consultees give the relevant mandatory consultees notice of the proposal set the closing date of the consultation that must be a minimum of six weeks, including at least 30 days of term time if known at the time, give advance notice of the date, time and venue of the public meeting to relevant consultees and HMIE investigate and decide what, if any, action is required where an inaccuracy or an omission in the proposal paper is alleged or discovered conclude the consultation, after a minimum of six weeks at the end of the consultation, provide HMIE with a copy of the proposal paper, copies of the written representations, a summary of oral representations made at the public meeting and any other related documentation
educationeducation Improving Scottish What should be in a proposal paper? A proposal paper should contain the following: details of the proposal proposed date for implementation the educational benefits statement other appropriate supporting evidence or information a summary of the consultation process, and for rural school closure proposals, details of the councils assessment of the three factors to which they must pay special regard.
educationeducation Improving Scottish What should an educational benefits statement take account of? The educational benefits statement should set out the councils assessment of the likely educational benefits that it believes will result from the proposal. The council should set out its assessment of the effects of the proposal on:- the pupils of any affected school(s), other users of the school(s), children who would be likely to become pupils at the school(s) within two years of the publication of the proposal paper, other pupils in the council area. The statement should include an analysis of the following: any other likely effects of the proposal; how the council intends to minimise or avoid any adverse effects that may arise from the proposal; and benefits which the council believes will result from implementation of the proposal, and the councils reasons for coming to these beliefs.
educationeducation Improving Scottish What should an educational benefits statement consider? how a proposal will improve the quality of the curriculum and create a more positive environment for effective learning and teaching better matched to the needs of learners the ways in which the proposal could improve the depth, breadth, coherence, relevance, challenge and enjoyment provided by the curriculum the ways in which the proposal may create opportunities for greater personalisation and choice in learning and improved progression to enhance childrens experiences the impact of the proposal on the overall morale and ethos of the school, including the care and welfare of young people and their personal and social development how the proposal may enhance leadership financial and budgetary considerations and the impact for other young people in the authority area not attending schools directly affected by the proposal the authoritys duty to secure best value by continuous improvement in performance of the authoritys functions – Local Government in Scotland Act 2003
educationeducation Improving Scottish What about rural schools? The council needs to take account of three further factors. These are:- any viable alternatives to closure – (These must be explored by the council before it proceeds to consult on closure.) the likely effect on the local community with regard to sustainability and on the communitys subsequent access to or curtailed access to the buildings, grounds and facilities if the school were to close, and the likely effect of different travelling arrangements on the environment and on pupils and other school users occasioned by the closure.
educationeducation Improving Scottish What about HMIE involvement? At the end of the consultation, the council has to provide HMIE with a copy of the proposal paper, copies of the written representations, a summary of oral representations made at the public meeting and any other related documentation. HMIE has three weeks from receipt of the materials to consider the proposal, including: –the educational benefits statement –the representations received by the council –any further written representations made directly to HMIE on any educational aspect of the proposal which is considered relevant. During the first week, HMIE may visit schools covered by the proposal and meet relevant people. By the end of the second week HMIE plans to send a draft report to the Council for an accuracy check. By the end of the third week, HMIE plans to finalise its report and send it to the council. HMIE will publish its report on its website at the same time as the council publishes its consultation report.
educationeducation Improving Scottish What happens next? The council publishes a consultation report. It must contain: an explanation of how it has reviewed the proposal the HMIE report a summary of points raised during the consultation – both written and oral – and the councils response to them the substance of any alleged inaccuracies and details of the councils response and any action taken, and any omitted information. For rural school closure proposals, the council is required to explain how, in reviewing the proposal, it has applied the three factors to which they have had special regard.
educationeducation Improving Scottish When can a decision be made? The council can publish its final decision a minimum of three weeks after the publication of the consultation report. However, where the council makes a closure decision, it must notify Scottish Ministers of a closure decision within six working days of making the decision, starting with the day on which the decision is made, and send a copy of the proposal Paper to them.
educationeducation Improving Scottish When can a decision be called in? Ministers have the power to call in decisions, but only in relation to school closure decisions and only where it appears to Ministers that the authority has failed in a significant regard to comply with the Acts requirements or, in coming to its decision, has failed to take proper account of a material consideration relevant to the proposal: From receipt of the notification of the decisions and the proposal paper, Ministers have six weeks to decide whether or not to issue a call-in notice. During the first three weeks of this period, anyone is able to make representations to Ministers on whether the decision should be called-in. During this period, the council may not proceed further with the proposed closure. Ministers may come to a decision sooner than six weeks (but not before the three weeks for representations to be made to them has elapsed). Where a proposal is called-in, Scottish Ministers may refuse consent for the proposal or agree to the proposal fully or subject to conditions. Ministers may seek advice from HMIE with regard to call-in decisions. The role of HMIE within the call-in process is to provide such advice on a case-by-case basis. HMIE is not required to produce another report.
educationeducation Improving Scottish Where can you find out more? The Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act aspassed.pdfhttp://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/bills/23-Schools/b23bs3- aspassed.pdf Policy Memorandum introd-pm.pdfhttp://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/bills/23-Schools/b23s3- introd-pm.pdf Explanatory Notes, including financial memorandum introd-en.pdfhttp://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/bills/23-Schools/b23s3- introd-en.pdf Statutory Guidance changestoschoolestate/consultaionguidance