Labour must end the last government's practice of scapegoating teachers and invest in education, Bill Guthrie told delegates in his presidential address. "I get heartily sick of the double standards of political parties claiming that their priorities are education, education, education. They must back these assertions with money, money, money," Mr Guthrie said.
Subject choices had been restricted because of the squeeze on staffing and new initiatives could not be implemented to teachers' satisfaction. It was teachers who had brought about the improvement in examination results over the past decade, not politicians.
Mr Guthrie urged the Government not to implement Higher Still if the necessary resources were not available. "What we have had up till now has been Higher Still blood pressure, Higher Still workload, Higher Still stress, Higher Still early retirals, Higher Still class sizes, Higher Still indiscipline, Higher Still budget cuts and Higher Still credit taken by politicians for improvements in the system."
David Eaglesham, giving his first general secretary's report, warned the Government not to tamper with the structure of promoted posts in secondary and transfer any savings to primary.
"The key concept is improvement not redistribution," Mr Eaglesham said. There was attempts to take the structure apart piecemeal, authority by authority. "This is the classic recipe for disaster, the death of a thousand cuts. "
He warned: "For too long the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has complained that teachers will not discuss future changes, that the Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee is ineffective on these issues. The reality is that many issues fall outwith the remit of the SJNC, rather than being blocked by it."