Principal teacher roles ‘outdated’, says Dundee chief education officer

Audrey May with director of children and family services, Paul Clancy.
Audrey May with director of children and family services, Paul Clancy.

Faculties are being introduced in Dundee high schools because the current principal teacher system is no longer “fit for purpose,” the local authority’s chief education officer has said.

Audrey May said ending principal teacher roles will improve outcomes for pupils in the city when the move is made in August next year.

Councillor-approved plans to create faculties in February will see principal teacher roles axed and eight new curriculum leader positions created.

Critics, including teaching unions and opposition councillors, say they do not believe the move will benefit pupils.

However, Dundee City Council chief education officer Audrey May said the move is necessary to better reflect how pupils are taught following the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence.

She said the move will bring Dundee into line with other councils in Scotland, some of which have already had faculties in their schools for a decade.

Ms May said: “It’s about raising aspirations and ambitions for our children and young people in terms of improving outcomes across the board.

“It’s looking at how the curriculum has changed so much over the past 10 years since the Curriculum for Excellence was introduced.

“It’s a completely different structure; pupils get a much broader education.

“Now the curriculum is very different. What was fit for purpose seven or eight years ago is not fit for purpose today.

“You’ve also got a whole breadth of opportunities for young people to have different learning pathways. These are not just about getting ‘x’ number of Standard Grades or Highers, it’s about opportunities to develop skills for life and work.”

She added: “It’s also about the outcomes and for every local authority that has moved to this, outcomes have improved.

“We get that people are resistant to change and change is difficult.

“There is also drift out of Dundee. We’ve lost good principal teachers who’ve gone to Fife, Angus or Perth and Kinross.

“We think Dundee’s children deserve the best teachers.”