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Higher reforms at risk

Higher Still planners have been told "at every opportunity" about the threats to curricular reform at a time of cuts across school budgets, Bill Walker, an assistant headteacher in Inverness, told delegates. Mr Walker, a member of the Higher Still strategy group, declared: "It is being said loud and clear by many people on the committees."

The conference backed a plea by Ian Cochrane, Falkirk, for local authorities not to co-operate until funding is available. Mr Cochrane said: "Higher Still should not become cheaper still. If the local authority is not given sufficient funding for training, it must stress it cannot and will not implement curriculum developments."

* Teacher earnings have fallen back by a factor of a quarter compared with other similar professionals, Colin Wood, Falkirk, said. A new chemistry teacher on Pounds 13,605 would be paid Pounds 17,000 for a job in industry, with Pounds 1,000 for removal expenses and a Pounds 1,000 interest-free loan.

A chemistry teacher aged 32 earned on average Pounds 20,000, against Pounds 23,000 for all chemists and Pounds 28,000 in the upper quarter of earnings. At age 47, a chemistry teacher earned Pounds 26,000 against Pounds 33,000 in industry and Pounds 43,000 in the upper quarter.

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