A pay and conditions deal for teachers in Scotland has been reached, ensuring a modest rise in salaries and the promise of a crackdown on mounting workloads.
After a fraught nine-month process, teachers are to receive a 1.5 per cent pay rise backdated to 1 April, plus a 1 per cent increase for 2016-17. In a separate development, the Scottish government is extending until 2017 its edict that teacher numbers must not drop.
Leaders of local authorities’ body Cosla proposed the deal at a meeting last Friday. Teaching unions, which met on Tuesday, have accepted the offer but view it as a pragmatic move in straitened times rather than a cause for celebration.
The agreement addresses workload – one of teachers’ biggest headaches in recent times – by placing an explicit responsibility on schools to tackle the issue and reduce bureaucracy.
For supply teachers, however, the future remains unclear, although a commitment has been made to reopen discussions over their terms and conditions by the end of the year.
The EIS will now ballot members and recommend that they accept the deal, with industrial action a possibility if they do not.
General secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Clearly, the pay element of this offer is disappointing and falls short of EIS aspirations. The continued austerity measures of the UK government have created a situation where an offer of 2.5 per cent over two years is the most that Cosla, as the employers’ side, was prepared to offer.
He added, however, that there were “more positive developments which establish the basis for a potentially workable agreement”: a commitment to address supply issues; an agreed set of principles and action on teacher workload; and, “crucially”, a separate commitment from the Scottish government on maintaining teacher numbers in the second year of the deal.
Seamus Searson, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, said that attainment was rising despite the huge demands of implementing new S4-6 qualifications, so it was “disappointing that the value of teachers is not properly recognised”.
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