Absurdity of Cosla proposals

3rd June 2011 at 01:00

I am deeply concerned by the attitude of the employer organisation Cosla towards Scottish education (TESS, 27 May). If the proposed changes in Cosla's submission to the McCormac review were implemented, it would bring chaos to Scotland's schools and could wreck the education of thousands of children.

Cosla states clearly that the primary role of the teacher is not teaching children. Absurd? Yes. Its entire submission reads like a hare-brained experiment to turn schools into childcare facilities, instead of sites of teaching and learning.

Teachers and children are frequently let down by those who hold education's purse strings. In recent years we have seen fewer resources, fewer teachers and larger classes. Now Cosla wants to reward teachers for 10 years of stability and improvement throughout a time of cuts by increasing the school year and the teaching week, and taking control and direction away from education.

Cosla's submission isn't all depressing reading. There was a lighter moment when it bemoaned the perceived over-reliance on number counting. These are the people who seem to spend their life counting numbers of teachers to get the absolute maximum amount of time from the absolute minimum number of teachers. These are the people who gave us the 33-period, asymmetric week to make sure every teacher could be on maximum contact. And these are the people who have relentlessly pursued probationer teachers to build an ever-increased number of hours in the classroom into their contract.

For the past decade, we have seen modern conditions of service that take into account home-working, balancing work and family life and personal responsibility for teachers, which Cosla and any forward-thinking employer should embrace. If Cosla wants to do something useful, it should try to sort out the funding crisis, instead of kicking teachers and blaming someone else for financial constraints.

Ian McCrone, Hollows Avenue, Paisley.

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