Saturday, 8 December 2007

Declining school rolls and staffing

One of the challenges facing us presently as a school is how best to manage our staffing, for the benefit of all our pupils, in the context of a declining school population across the city. The summers announcements surrounding the proposed school closure programme, which ultimately collapsed in shambles, has certainly not helped.

I find it very challenging to make staffing plans for the next few years. Getting the staffing balance right is key to keeping staff morale high, maintaining our current momentum and breathing new life into fledgling initiatives that will make all the difference to developing our school further in the short, medium and long term. Staffing levels, of course, are directly related to the number of pupils on the school roll. Having a strong, thriving school is key to there being a strong community; a community to which old and young genuinely want to be part of and contribute to. It is well established that the key determinant for house prices is the quality of their local schools. There is deep irony for me in the fact that many of the schools most affected by the (aborted) plans from this summer serve areas of the city that have rising numbers of children, rather than falling, as is the case generally across Edinburgh.

In recent weeks, feedback from our 'prospective parents' has been very encouraging. The indications are that parents who were, as recently as last year, considering sending their kids to other schools in the city are now very much persuaded that Liberton High is the place to be. I am sure that our fantastic 5-14 results over the past two years, among other successes, has been key.

I would like to close this post by posing a question:

Is the parents' charter a hindrance or a help in helping Edinburgh further support its schools on their journeys to excellence for the benefit of
all of our young people?


mwalker said...

I have just discovered your blog from Don's learning log and want to comment on the disheartening job as a head teacher or principal of telling usually young teachers they haven't got a contract next year beacuse of falling student enrolments.

In Victoria, Australia schools are self managing and staffing plans and budgets attached to enrolments and are managed by principals. We are a successful school and generally have a committed parent community but until we as single sites or silos, as I call them stop competing for student enrolments against one another then we going to continue with this thankless task.

mwalker said...

PS Sorry I didn't leave my blog's address is