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SSTA: teachers do longer hours than before McCrone

Teachers are working harder for longer hours than they were before the McCrone review more than a decade ago, according to the first submission to the McCormac review to be made public.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association argues that "teachers are now more significantly underpaid in terms of their hourly rate" than they were prior to the McCrone review, which led to the national teachers' agreement in 2001.

And with faculty structures having reduced the number of promoted posts, the salary levels set under the teachers' agreement now represent an overall saving to employers, according to an early draft of the SSTA document, seen by TESS ahead of its formal submission next week.

SSTA general secretary Ann Ballinger wants the committee set up to review teacher employment to make the creation of meaningful working time agreements between school management and staff a priority.

"We need to tailor workload to the time available," she said.

The original agreement, A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century, had collegiate working as one of its clear objectives. But success had been "very patchy", said Ms Ballinger.

Despite its opposition to the pay-freeze and changes in working conditions currently proposed by local authority employers Cosla and the Scottish Government, the SSTA continues to argue for the retention of the current tripartite negotiating forum, the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

"It works, despite what is happening at the moment," said Ms Ballinger.

One way to ease councils' current financial straits would be to create some eight local education boards, including teacher representatives, to control Scottish education, suggests the union.

The savings from eliminating duplication of effort would, it argues, amount to more than the pound;60 million savings sought by the Government and Cosla during the recent negotiations on reductions in the teacher wage bill.

The job-sizing toolkit created under the teachers' agreement should be replaced with some form of responsibility payment which more accurately reflected pupil roll and factors such as deprivation. The current system was not an accurate measure of, for instance, guidance on teachers' responsibilities, said Ms Ballinger. "We accept we are not going to get a huge salary increase any time soon, but we want the McCormac review to recognise that ground has been lost and this has to be made up to attract entrants into the profession," she added.

"Teaching is one of the poorest-paid graduate professions there is and that has to be reflected."

The Review of Teacher Employment's call for evidence closes on 21 April, 2011. It aims to gather views on all aspects of the terms and conditions for Scotland's teachers and encourages anyone with an interest to respond. www.reviewofteacher

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