Looking at Post-McCrone Management Structures in Scottish Schools

Activity: Disseminating Research Presentation


Conference presentation at Scottish Educational Research Association annual conference


Middle management structures have altered within Scottish secondary schools since the late 1990’s. Increasingly the traditional model of departments based around subject disciplines has been replaced by groupings of subjects (faculties). Pivotal to this development was the Scottish government’s 2001 ‘McCrone Report’ which advocated enhanced professional autonomy to teachers and the devolution of school management to local authorities. In this paper the rationale and extent of this is considered as well as extant literature on this development and secondary school management. We conducted a mixed methods national survey in late 2021 which elicited 1,282 responses. This online survey (which was distributed via social media networks and professional association email) elicited responses from representatives of all subject specialisms and management positions in Scottish secondary schools. Secondary staff commented on the efficacy of middle managements structures using quantitative 5-point LIKERT scales, indicating how faculties and single departments are viewed (from 1 Very Positively to 5 Very Negatively). In this paper we will focus on the quantitative responses of the 808 participants who have experience of working both within faculty and principal teacher (subject) models of management, who can offer a comparative analysis. Their quantitative judgements about the efficacy of these systems are offered in terms of 18 questions which include areas such as promotion prospects, behaviour management, student mentoring, subject support, interdisciplinarity, attainment, staff well-being, etc. The evidence shows that faculties compare unfavourably in the majority of responses, and that even in areas central to the rationale for the creation of faculties (such as interdisciplinarity and quality assurance) the evidence is, at best, mixed.
Period23 Nov 2022
Event titleScottish Educational Research Association: Annual Conference 2022
Event typeConference
LocationAyr, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Middle management
  • Faculties
  • McCrone