We began this book by emphasising the importance of resources as the means by which we transform hopes and aspirations for children’s education into daily experiences of teaching and learning. The delegation to schools of responsibility for the management of those resources is viewed by the government as a key element in its ‘overall policy to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools’ (DES, 1988) and it has been the purpose of this book to describe, analyse and explain the attributes of good practice in that delegation. It has done so on the basis of practice in 18 secondary schools identified for us by HMI as likely examples of good practice. Good practice should not be confused with the ideal. We do not suggest, and no more would those whom we met in the schools, that these schools cannot improve or develop the way they use their responsibilities. They do, however, provide examples which assist our understanding of resource management and from which we can learn. In this chapter, our intention is to consider what can be learnt from these schools in a discussion which is organised around those organisational attributes we believe must be added to effective schools to make them cost-effective.
The accounts of delegation in the 15 schools and the three case study schools show the many ways in which all 18 have used their delegated powers, whether under local management or grant maintained status. Developments have occurred in relation to teaching and support staff, school administration, the environment, the use of space and expenditure on curriculum materials. In responding to this new environment, we draw particular attention to the use made of external support. We need not repeat the examples cited earlier but observe the enthusiasm with which schools have used their powers to direct resources into those areas which they had identified as priorities.
These changes reflect a readiness to employ and deploy people and