"The hard work starts now" is the common response from unions, local authorities and Government alike to clearing the first negotiating hurdle.
The initial challenge comes today (Friday) as the Educational Institute of Scotland's executive council meets to decide whether to back its salaries committee's recommendation to accept the deal in a forthcoming ballot. Leaders of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association agreed on Wednesday to urge a yes vote.
But considerable flesh has to be put on the bones of the agreement, not least the substantial effort required to recruit another 4,000 teachers by 2006 and 3,500 support staff by 2004. The consensus appears to be that it will be rather easier to achieve the target for teachers.
There is also an immense amount of work to be done before the agreement can be said to be fully in place:
* A new framework for continuous professional development which is to be compulsory by 2003.
* Drawing up criteria for becoming a chartered teacher.
* A job sizing exercise for senior promoted staff to be completed by 2003.
* A review of initial teacher education, likely to focus on content as well as provision.
* Developing a winding-down scheme to allow teachers approaching retirement to work part-time while retaining pension rights.
* Management of the new one-year probationary period.
* A new national code of practice on the use of temporary contracts.
* A workload and bureaucracy audit in schools.
* Establishment of new national, local and school bargaining machinery.
The Scottish Executive plans to launch a recruitment campaign to ensure authorities can attract the extra teachers, beginning with 500 this year. But the full 4,000 will not have to be in place until 2006.
The main requirement will be for extra primary teachers, following the cut in class contact time from 25 hours to 22.5 hours in the next five years. If a major increase in secondary teacher numbers had been necessary, the teacher education institutions (TEIs) would have struggled to meet the targets since they can barely fill existing quotas. Only 700 of the new posts will be in secondary schools.
Ivor Sutherland, registrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, welcomed the strengthend role of teacher education. It was "fortuitous" that the primary postgraduate course was greatly oversubscribed. Jordanhill, for example, had 850 such applicants for 80 places this year.
But Douglas Weir, dean of the university's education faculty, cautioned that the quality of recruits mattered as much as the quantity. Professor Weir also put in a plea for the curve of increases to be smoothed so that fluctuations from year to year did not place impossible demands on staffing and accommodation in TEIs.
The Graduate Teacher Training Registry this week reported a 10 per cent rise in applications for primary courses, but those for secondary training also went up, by 4 per cent. These are UK figures without a breakdown for Scotland.
Authorities may have considerably greater difficulty in finding support staff, mainly bursars, administrative personnel, information technology specialists and classroom assistants. Many of those, particularly in IT, can find better paid jobs elsewhere.
This is particularly true in Edinburgh which is virtually a "full employment" city. The council faces problems now recruiting secretarial and IT staff. Secondary schoos already employ bursars responsible for finance and administration on salaries ranging from just pound;17,844 to pound;19,803.
The city has been forced to pay "loyalty" bonuses of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent to retain IT staff, although that finished last October. Edinburgh employs 23 such officers, one for every secondary and its linked primaries, on salaries ranging from pound;12,780 to pound;22,290.
Jim Gibson, personnel official with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, expects councils to devise creative ways of recruiting support staff, such as giving existing staff extra duties and persuading part-timers to go full-time as well as making new appointments. The cost will be pound;92 million.
The total cost of the post-McCrone package has now risen to pound;900 million, according to the Scottish Executive. This works out at pound;170 million in the first year, pound;300 million in the second and pound;430 million in the third.
BALANCING THE GAINS AGAINST THE LOSSES
* 21.5 per cent increase, or 23 per cent compounded.
* No performance pay.
* New chartered teacher grade will allow classroom teachers to earn up to pound;6,000 more.
* Weekly class contact reduced to 22.5 hours for all teachers.
* 4,000 extra teachers by 2006.
* 3,500 new support staff by 2004.
* No loss of holiday time.
* Guarantee of continuous professional development.
* Assurance of one-year contract for probationers.
* Preservation of principal teacher posts.
* Salary conservation for existing promoted teachers.
* Winding down scheme for teachers aged over 55 with preservation of pension rights.
* A third of teachers' non class contact time to be protected for six years.
* Workload and bureaucracy audit of schools.
* Changes introduced by local consultation and negotiation.
* Unions to monitor local deals.
* National bargaining retained.
* Three-year pay deal not two.
* Full benefits delayed to 2006.
* Extra 35 hours a year to be spent on continuous professional development.
* Disappearance of senior teachers, assistant principal teachers, assistant heads.
* Size of school no longer sole factor in pay for promoted staff.
* Transfer of some national agreements to local bargaining and no statutory backing for the remainder.
* No deal on class sizes.
* 35-hour contractual week.
* Automatic time protection for specific duties goes in 2006.
* No deal so far for psychologists and advisers.
LOCAL AUTHORITY GAINS
* More flexibility in use of teacher time.
* Prescriptive rules on working time to go by 2006.
* Industrial relations stability.
* Three-year limit on cash conservation for new promoted staff when posts are affected by restructuring.
* Slimmed down management structure in schools, with five grades replacing seven.
* Scottish Executive pledge to fund fully additional costs.
* Ministerial assurances on more flexible use of excellence fund money.
* No radical overhaul of working practices.
* Councils to find around pound;42 million for pay increases in 2002 and 2003.
SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE GAINS
* Pay funding spread until April 2004.
* Potential for more flexible working practices in schools.
* Statutorily backed bargaining to disappear.
* More hands-on involvement by ministers.
* Political plaudits and classroom stability in run-up to parliamentary elections.
* Huge pound;900 million funding commitment.