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7 November 2017, 12:32
Parents and teachers are being urged to have their say on radical reforms put forward by the Scottish Government to give more power to school headteachers.
The Education (Scotland) Bill proposes giving heads more say over key areas in their schools, including staffing, funding and how the Curriculum for Excellence is applied.
The Bill will be the "centrepiece" of the Scottish Government's legislative programme for the coming year, ministers have said.
Now Education Secretary John Swinney has launched a consultation to find out what parents, teachers and others involved in education think about the proposals.
He said he was looking forward to a "constructive, informed and, no doubt, impassioned discussion" on the changes.
The Bill sets out to give school head teachers more freedom in the choices that are made regarding the curriculum and funding at school level, as well as allowing them more power over selecting staff and the leadership team at their own school.
Meanwhile Regional Improvement Collaboratives are proposed to provide "streamlined and strengthened support to teachers, drawing on experts from local authorities and Education Scotland".
Headteachers could also be required to work together with other schools and organisations on the design of the curriculum and improving learning and teaching.
Mr Swinney formally launched the consultation during a visit to the Royal High School in Edinburgh, where he said: "Improving education and closing the attainment gap is this government's number one priority.
"Our focus is unwavering in ensuring every child, no matter their circumstances, has an equal chance to succeed.
"There is already much to be celebrated within our education system but radical reform is required to make the improvements we all want to see.
"The consultation on the Education (Scotland) Bill will ensure that everyone with an interest in how our young people learn and develop will have an opportunity to contribute to the future of education in Scotland."
He added: "The reforms to be taken forward through the bill are all based on the presumption that decisions about children's learning and school life should be taken at school level.
"This is built on strong international evidence that empowered schools and engaged parents lead to a better education. I look forward to a constructive, informed and, no doubt, impassioned discussion around these proposals in the weeks to come."