ADES plan spells anarchy

29th April 2011 at 01:00
What a disappointment that our highly paid education administrators are stuck in the past

What a disappointment that our highly paid education administrators are stuck in the past and can't see or don't want to see the progress of the past decade. Judging by last week's article, "Directors urge revamp of pay and duties", it appears that directors of education haven't seen the exam results for the past 10 years and want to destabilise Scotland's schools.

Attainment has continued to improve over the past 10 years and this has been recognised by government ministers, as the former Education Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, acknowledged in 2009 when the Scottish Qualifications Authority reported record Higher and Standard grade results.

Improvement in attainment over the past decade has been achieved with teachers' current conditions of service, set in 2001, not the anarchy the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland appears to be championing. The existing conditions allow teachers to focus on teaching and provide professionals with the responsibility to manage their time and the various demands on them in an appropriate manner.

Tearing up the 2001 agreement would put all of that at risk. If ADES asserts that it has seen little or no significant impact on learning through chartered teachers, it brings the impact and very existence of its own members into question. Does the director of education make any significant impact on learning? Would pupils notice any difference if the director didn't exist? If we traded in highly paid administrators (ie directors of education) across Scotland on over pound;100K, we could free up over pound;3 million. A small loss of admin posts could make a reasonable impact on resources or fund additional frontline jobs.

If ADES has friends in Cosla or the Government, I think they would have cringed at the reference to the 1970s. I don't know how many ADES members taught through the Seventies, but I did and I remember well every pupil in my S4 chemistry class getting three textbooks of their own. That's three more than I issue now. The 1970s has a lot more appeal than the future that Cosla envisages, but their reference is absurd as the current conditions were agreed in the 21st century, not the 1970s.

The ADES plan would replace stability with turmoil and upheaval; defined posts and clear responsibility with patronage; professionalism and responsibility with restriction and direction.

Ian McCrone, Paisley.

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