A teaching union is demanding that teachers are freed from administrative tasks in Scotland, following the exodus of school support staff.
The so-called “Annex E” policy was agreed as part of the 2001 McCrone deal, designed to bring Scottish teachers’ pay in line with that of other professionals.
It listed the jobs that Scottish teachers should not have to do – from filing and photocopying to inputting assessment data.
However, it was dropped back in 2014 as part of the pay deal at the same time as councils “stripped back support staff”, says the NASUWT Scotland teaching union
Jane Peckham, the union’s national official for Scotland, is now calling for it to be reinstated and for teachers to get the support they need.
A Tes Scotland investigation last year revealed that since 2007 there had been significant falls in school-based support staff, including administrative and clerical staff (down by 20 per cent) and additional support needs (ASN) auxiliary or care assistants ( down by 9 per cent).
Speaking at a conference in Edinburgh today looking at the big issues facing Scottish education, including teacher workload, Ms Peckham said: “The best resource we have for raising attainment and addressing the attainment gap is teachers, but if they are not free to do that core role of teaching because they are busy with administration and clerical work like inputting data that’s a real risk.
“A teacher taking in the dinner money or doing the photocopying – how does that raise attainment?”
Teachers 'shouldn't have to cover colleagues' classes'
Ms Peckham also called for the practice of teachers covering absent colleagues' classes to end and for the Scottish government to survey teachers about their workload.
“The only time teachers are ever asked to record their working hours is if unions ask them to,” she said.
“We need to end the practice of teachers covering for absent colleagues. Teachers are having to do it more and more, and it masks the teacher shortage. We need to get to the point where absence cover is done by supply teachers not by teachers covering in areas other than their own subject specialism, because that’s not benefiting the pupils, and it’s using up time that could be devoted to development.”
The EIS teaching union said that Annex E had been removed but it had been replaced by a stronger statement that went further than the “limited list of Annex E”.
A Scottish government spokesperson said: “We listen to teachers and have made clear our commitment to reduce workload. Because of this, we have already undertaken a range of actions to help clarify and simplify the curriculum framework and to remove unnecessary bureaucracy.
"Our education reforms are also focused on giving schools and headteachers more power and money to raise standards and close the attainment gap, which will provide extra help for teachers in the classroom, create opportunities for professional development and give parents and pupils a stronger voice.”