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Dundee freezes primary PT posts as cash runs out

No Dundee primary teachers will be appointed as principal teachers for the foreseeable future because the city says that it cannot afford them.

The new post in primaries was one of the key parts of the national teachers' agreement and seen as a step towards raising professionalism and improving pupils' educational experience.

But despite agreement earlier this year between the local negotiating committee for teachers and the city council on the allocation of the new posts, Dundee said that its settlement from the Scottish Executive for 2005-08 left it unable to implement the agreement.

The authority is understood to have been hit disproportionately by falling school rolls. It had also hoped to implement a new management structure in secondaries, but that too has been mothballed.

While some neighbouring local associations of the Educational Institute of Scotland have looked with envy at Dundee's secondary sector because of their own unhappy experiences with post restructuring, Dundee officials are angry and frustrated at the failure to introduce new structures to primaries.

Graeme Campbell, EIS area officer, described the situation as "regrettable, to put it mildly".

"I think it is to the detriment of our schools and it has been made all the harder, given that the primary PT posts had been recognised in an agreed report," Mr Campbell said.

He added: "If this position continues, then there would be concern that qualified and experienced primary teachers may well be attracted elsewhere, if and when posts are advertised."

The local association still had concerns about the effect of the structure for secondary posts the council had wanted to introduce.

Phase one of the primary post restructuring has ensured that all primary schools have both a headteacher and depute who are non class-committed.

Phase two was to have been the appointment of principal teachers.

A spokesman for the city confirmed that funding was behind the decision to freeze the appointment of primary PTs. "We have had discussions with the local union representatives. As a result of these, proposals are being worked up and are in place to provide PT posts when funding is available,"

he said.

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