'Sounding board' for classroom teachers

A FORUM for unpromoted teachers is being set up in a pioneering move by South Ayrshire that is designed to give them greater "ownership" of national and local developments.

A report to the council's education committee yesterday (Thursday) says the forum will be "a useful sounding board to gauge classroom teachers' reactions to new educational initiatives". Every such national initiative, it says, has been subject to "strenuous criticism by teachers on grounds of phasing and resourcing".

Mike McCabe, director of education, told The TES Scotland that the new forum was part of the council's consultative agenda which already gave scope for parents' and pupils' views.

"Unpromoted teachers will have the opportunity to comment on the fine detail at an early stage of how we go about implementing national policy or our own proposals," Mr McCabe said.

One teacher from each of the council's nine school clusters will participate in the forum, and will serve for only three to six months to allow for a regular change of representatives. "That will mean that no well known personalities will emerge," Mr McCabe said.

He saw the forum working in partnership with the arrangements for union representation. As well as giving teachers more understanding of how policy is implemented and a greater sense of ownership, it would allow them to express their own ideas for areas such as in-service training.

Mr McCabe said that the initiative arose following visits he had made to schools and in response to many requests from teachers.

Leader, page 16

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