'Generous' Edinburgh asks for a day less

Parents would say teachers were enjoying "another day off" if Edinburgh asked for the full two extra days for Higher Still training, the city's education convener says. The council is applying to the Scottish Office for only two half-days, incensing teachers.

Elizabeth Maginnis insisted time for Higher Still training and development could be found within the asymmetric week that allows schools half-day closures on Fridays to free teachers from class contact and is unique to the former Lothian authorities.

"We have staff in schools for half a day a week without pupils and it does seem perfectly possible to use these extra half-days. I think we are being extremely generous asking for the extra day," Mrs Maginnis said.

George Rubienski, a secondary depute head who represents teachers on the city's education committee, lodged a strong protest. As a staff development co-ordinator, he said he would find it difficult to identify where the extra time could be found and existing commitments could start to unravel.

"I do not believe we are better prepared than other authorities," Mr Rubienski said.

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