Grumbles worst among PTs

Principal teachers are the most disgruntled group of staff in West Lothian, according to a Stirling University study.

Researchers looking into the council's post-McCrone restructuring say that PTs record the lowest rating for job satisfaction among any group of primary and secondary teachers. Peter Wright, local secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, commented: "No surprises there then."

A case study school reveals tensions between the new PTs (curriculum) and those PTs (subject) who are still in post. The workload of the new PTs with broader remits has increased significantly.

Mr Wright says the survey confirms that "the chickens are coming home to roost". One concern already noted is the loss of career prospects among senior staff and class teachers.

Fewer than one in three West Lothian staff (30 per cent) bothered to reply to a questionnaire. Secondary teachers were particularly under-represented.

But the researchers conclude that "overall, there is a favourable climate in the schools towards organisational learning and sharing ideas about best practice". They maintain that the authority's reforms, under the banner "Succeeding Together", have made "a good start".

They qualify their statement by stressing that the majority of staff have had few opportunities to share best practice with other schools and that teachers in secondaries are less inclined towards change.

"Class teachers in secondary schools feel relatively uninvolved in evidence-based debates about changing school practices to improve pupil learning," they say.

Heads and deputes are most positive about the reforms and believe they have had the chance to develop professionally and share ideas with colleagues.

"For Succeeding Together to work," the researchers continue, "it is essential that there should be open debate involving all staff about how things could be improved in the school."

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