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Guidance rejig 'not insuperable'

Difficulties with rejigging guidance systems in secondaries are "not insuperable", according to the joint Scottish Executive and local authority team set up to smooth the implementation of the post-McCrone deal.

The Teachers' Agreement Communication (TAC) team, based at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities' headquarters in Edinburgh, has unearthed different approaches to guidance but with common themes.

A survey shows "there is a clear movement within many authorities to a holistic or integrated approach to pupil support involving guidance, learning support and behaviour support", under the direction of a depute head.

"The new structure would be supported by an appropriate number of principal teachers, which would be at least the same as the number of principal teachers of guidance at present but perhaps enhanced to take account of the additional duties of a pupil support team," a briefing paper states.

Some authorities want all secondary teachers to have a pastoral and welfare role but others accept that not all are suited. Student mentors or tutors will become the first-line guidance staff in many schools "with appropriate trigger points to refer pupils where necessary on to more specialist staff".

The TAC team also highlights the role of new support staff and ICT packages in cutting the administrative workload of guidance teams. This will minimise the loss of assistant principal teacher of guidance posts, it says.

The team further reports that few authorities want to postpone new structures until the national review of guidance is completed. "The Scottish Executive has made the position clear that the guidance review is not about how guidance work is delivered but what is delivered, including the nature and purpose of guidance," it states.

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