Calls for probe on senior posts

20th May 2005 at 01:00
Last week's warning from the Educational Institute of Scotland that the management structures being imposed on secondary schools were damaging curricular development and leaving new teachers unsupported found an echo among SSTA members.

The association backed a motion calling on the inspectorate to investigate the consequences of promoted post restructuring and report its findings publicly.

Graham Souter, Aberdeenshire, asked: "Who is going to support students and probationers?"

Mr Souter said: "Someone has to make a judgment: is this student up to it or is this probationer up to it or not? It should be someone with intimate knowledge of what they are talking about."

There had been suggestions that chartered teachers might fill the gaps left in the new structures for supporting students and probationers, he said.

But so far very few teachers had reached chartered status and they would not be there in sufficient numbers for some time.

Elaine Henderson, Aberdeenshire, said that some teachers felt so strongly about the new faculty heads, or "super PTs", that they were prepared to move school in order to work for a head of department in their own subject.

Mike Nash, Angus, agreed: "There is strong evidence of staff bailing out to authorities where there is no restructuring." HMIE was already analysing the impact of new management structures as part of its review of the implementation of the teachers' agreement.

John McGinnes, a probationer teacher of technological studies from East Dunbartonshire, said that he was about to join a school where the faculty head was a home economist.

"I will be a one-person department. I will have no other support from other technical teachers and I will have no experienced technical teacher to speak to about problems during the day," Mr McGinnes said.

"This situation will not help my development or the department's development or the school's curricular development - and it will certainly not help the children's educational development."

Delegates also passed a motion calling for an immediate and comprehensive review of the job-sizing toolkit by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

George Sturrock, Dundee, told the conference that some faculty heads now earned more than deputy headteachers and guidance teachers were underpaid.

The toolkit was driving management structures, because headteachers were "running posts through the toolkit to see how much it will cost them". Mr Sturrock repeated the SSTA's criticisms of the toolkit for its cost to the SNCT of pound;1 million, distortions and lack of transparency.

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