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Protest over Scots pay

TEACHERS IN Scotland would have to trade conditions for a pay deal worth on average only some 11.5 per cent over three years, Ian Elfick, incoming Scottish chairman, told the PAT conference on Tuesday.

Mr Elfick, headteacher of Graysmill Special School, Edinburgh, said it was hardly surprising unions had rejected the employers' offer and sought further negotiations.

He described the proposed deal as "full work now, but a phased pay award" which would lead to an increase in contractural duties for an award that did little to regain the relative salary position of teachers. Only new entrants to the profession would benefit substantially.

The award was unlikely to improve the status of teachers and attract the best recruits into the profession, or compensate for the loss of conditions.

Mr Elfick told delegates employers wanted 70 hours added to the teacher year to meet the social inclusion agenda, achieved either through a longer working week or through a reduction in holidays.

The extra hours would be used for out of school programmes, homework clubs and holiday activities.

Mr Elfick said he backed the social inclusion agenda but teachers were already stretched. "This is presented as though teachers are just sitting around waiting for something to fill up their time. The reality is that teachers are already overburdened, already working excessive hours to manage the existing workload for the benefit of pupils.

"There is evidence that the average teacher already works a 55 hour week, an unrecognised and unpaid 20 hours a week beyond their contract. Whether this figure is accurate or not, no one, not even the employers or the Government believes that the teachers' working week is represented by their minimum contractural obligations."

Mr Elfick added: "The other difficulty is that we are unable to see why it is expected that teachers should do this. What is proposed is not core teaching activities, it cannot be.

"The contractural limits and agreements appear not to apply. If it is not teaching, surely there are other groups of people who would be as suitable and who should be involved."

The PAT was open to change and prepared to examine alternative models but raising standards applied equally to the regard in which teachers are held, Mr Elfick warned.

"What we seek is not teacher bashing, but the resources, including the salaries, that will allow teachers to use their professionalism effectively," he said.

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