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Fine in principle, but must be just as good in practice

Judith Gillespie appears to be unaware of some of the points that have led to complaints about the job-sizing exercise (TESS, August 8).

First, not all promoted staff will end up receiving the 23 per cent award under the teachers' agreement. Although we will all enjoy the full award in the short term, following job-sizing all teachers promoted after April 1, 2001 will see their salary cut from August 1, 2006, if their job has been sized "below" the salary level it cur-rently has. In my case, the salary cut is around 14.5 per cent.

Second, the salary conservation agreement means that those promoted before April 1, 2001 will retain the salary level they currently have, regardless of the salary point their post has been awarded in the job-sizing exercise.

This could result in large discrepancies between the levels of salary of people doing the same, or broadly similar jobs. In my case, there will be a difference of over pound;5,000 between my salary and that of other principal teachers of guidance in my school.

Third, for those of us who have seen our posts downgraded in salary terms, there is no way in which we can improve our position by additional training and qualifications. We are barred from receiving any financial benefit from such personal development.

This option is open to unpromoted teachers who follow the chartered teacher route. In future, the chartered teacher route will be far more attractive, both from a workload and a financial point of view, than many of the "downsized" promoted posts, where recruitment could be a serious issue.

Fourth, there seem to be variations, some quite startling, in the "points" awarded for the same promoted posts. These discrepancies seem to be evident in all promoted posts and can arise within authorities and between authorities. My post has been awarded point l or point 2 in my school, and point 6 in a school in Edinburgh.

Finally, there is, at this point in time, no way of challenging what might appear to be an error in the job-sizing exercise and no way of making comparisons between similar posts throughout the country to explain why such discrepancies are occurring.

Transparency in the job-sizing exercise is vital - and has been noticeably lacking. Allowing staff to know the "ratings" given to factors such as size of school, deprivation, contact with external agencies, development tasks, whole-school responsibilities, the actual job you do and your caseload should make it easy to see just how fair and equitable the job-sizing exercise has been.

Only then can the idea of job sizing - an excellent idea in principle - be seen also as an excellent idea in practice.

Christine Murray

Principal teacher of guidance

Reed Crescent, Laurencekirk

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