Glasgow has pioneered the concept of public/private partnership in education with the largest education modernisation programme in the UK.
The scheme has resulted in 11 new-build secondary schools, seven refurbished and extended secondary schools and 11 refurbished secondary schools, all with the latest educational technology. One new nursery/primary school is included, although the main programme for reviewing and reorganising the primary school stock has still to be agreed.
The development does not stop at the gates of any one school. The facilities, especially those for technology, sport, drama and music are so extensive the next step will be to make them fully available to the community. In this, education will work closely with colleagues in other service areas of the council to ensure education becomes a truly life-long learning experience. The schools project will become a major tool in the city's attempt to regenerate itself through developing a genuine approach to life-long learning.
In Glasgow, we are piloting a new approach - the learning community. Each secondary school and its associated primary, under-fives and special schools work together to one plan, with a pooled budget, led by a principal, one of the existing head teachers chosen after interview to develop the learning community. Each learning community has a bursar and flexible administrative support staff to ensure teachers can lead the learning freed from time-consuming administration.
Considerable devolution is practised, with freedom for teachers in the learning community to develop new ways of delivering the learning and teaching process. This is provided that agreed targets and outcomes are fully met over a fixed period with continuous improvement year on year.
The learning process is not confined to schools. The education authority is redefining its role as it develops a more strategic approach, offering guidance
and leadership with a strongly devolved system based on a shared vision and professional trust. Already new ways of delivering the curriculum are being developed, with the emphasis on partnership working crossing the traditional under-fives/primary and primary/secondary demarcation
Schools have enthusiastically embraced their role as vital players in the city's regeneration programme.
Education for enterprise and work is evident in both primary and secondary sectors. New vocational schemes are being developed, brokered by the schools but using resources from outside. They involve other council departments and critically the private sector, particularly in the hospitality, leisure and tourism, and construction industries.
In construction, some of our major partners are our principal contractors for our PPP schools project. They offer apprenticeships to young people who have enjoyed an enterprising pre-apprenticeship course delivered jointly by the schools and our colleagues in building services of the council. Added valued indeed, and proof the school PPP project is about achievement and regeneration, not just bricks and mortar.