The total cost of better schools:
COST = Prevention + Inspection + Rework + Failure + Waste + Stress
The focus in this aspect of achieving quality is:
Prevention in schools includes all aspects of planning, preparation, resourcing, scheduling, as well as enlisting the support of parents and particularly the active participation the students themselves. Prevention answers two key questions:
Responses to these questions at each step of the process:
Freely available information, a matching culture, purposes, vision, values and an understanding of processes (how things happen) as a basis for shared responsibility are keys to ensuring all participants are able to contribute to prevention of their own failure and the failure of others.
Information makes people responsible in ways that
roles and rules never can.
Rework increases costs and hence alters the cost:benefit ratio of education. Rework in schools is largely associated with the cost of reteaching those students who have not learnt at their first opportunity and with teaching students what they already know. Attempting to teach students things for which they are not ready is a common cause of the need for rework.
Learning by individual students is the central performance item. The students themselves have the greatest capacity to improve their performance, hence the critical information is the information they receive. If they can generate or acquire information about their learning achievements then so much the better!!
There is more to do than could possibly be done. Failure at one stage introduces greater variation for staff and students at a subsequent stage and therefore reduces what might otherwise be possible. Failure of children to learn and thrive should be seen as a personal crisis. Most schools are much more orderly and supportive than the world in general. While other factors impact on the lives of individuals failure in school is a strong indicator of subsequent failure.
Implication: economical quality is achieved by:
Action: Change from problem solving to improving processes. This will lead to improved quality and less rework and thus release resources for other important purposes.
Warning: Cost cutting is usually more apparent than real. In reality there is
On the other hand cost savings can be real when rework and waste are reduced. Similarly some organisational culture and managerial systems can reduce costs by reducing the need for supervision and inspection. This means having a clear focus on improvement rather than change.
Cost cutting is not the same as cost saving. Education typically comprises a range of services that to a greater or lesser extent are intended to meet the needs of learners. When there is 'cost cutting' in education the most likely outcome is that services will be lost and the cost will been transferred to those most in need of the service. If the service is not lost the cost is simply transferred to those providing the service as extra work. Costs may also be added to other parts of our community such as:
The alternative is to