Comings, goings and lots of change, yet...

13th June 2003 at 01:00
The next stage in the post-McCrone procedures is the appointment of staff to new posts and changes to existing posts.

An internal notice which arrived electronically at the beginning of the month indicates North Lanarkshire has vacancies in the secondary sector for 10 deputes, 25 subject principal teachers and 29 pupil support posts. After the usual two weeks to submit applications and headteacher reports, a meeting will be held to arrange a short-leet, with interviews to follow in the last week of term.

Kilsyth Academy's share of this glut of posts is a principal teacher of science and six PTs of pupil support. Our pre-McCrone guidance structure was one PT of guidance (who retires this summer) and six assistant PTs, whose posts finish this term.

Many candidates will apply for more than one post, especially in the area of pupil support, and so the last week of term could be exceedingly busy for them as well as the interviewing teams. I look forward to an invigorating time to select the best for each post.

Added to this, we have four unpromoted posts to appoint, plus a senior technician and a senior janitor.

The results of the job-sizing questionnaire are due to be issued towards the end of the month. Rumours indicate that many secondary posts, including heads, deputes and many principal teachers, will be effectively downgraded by the exercise. I am sure none of my secondary colleagues begrudges the extra share of resources going to primary staff but this will be a blow to morale.

This will be combined with the continuing unhappiness of our 15 APTs and four senior teachers whose jobs have disappeared. The conservation of salary is seen as a token and does not compare with the loss of status for people who have dedicated their working life to subject teaching or guidance.

Many of the PT posts in the new structure are fairly similar to those in the previous structure although, applying Annex B of the post-McCrone agreement, whole school duties may be included in subject remits. The procedure for transferring from an existing post is not yet clear but the alternatives seem to be a competitive interview or "matching-in". Neither arrangement is meeting much favour with the PT cohort and their morale is also affected adversely.

Our three assistant headteacher posts change to depute posts with a similar remit to before. Our arrangements have been to change headship team remits annually on a progressive basis to allow each person to gain expertise in a wide variety of aspects of school management. By chance, some remits are heavier in terms of job-sizing than others. This could mean deputes being allocated different salaries. The consequence will be a further change to remits for next session to even out these differences.

The fact that the job-sizing tool kit measures only particular aspects of a job simply complicates matters. All other promoted posts will also need to be job-sized again for next year to decide the salary grading.

This is my last column for TES Scotland. I hope readers have managed to recognise some of the situations I have highlighted over the past few months and can detect similarities with the situation in their own school.

I have not set out to offend anyone, but I seem to have done so. Apologies, then, to Heads Together, that magnificent resource which allows headteachers to communicate confidentially online. Apologies, too, to HM Inspectorate of Education, which seems to feature regularly in my articles.

It seems only yesterday that we had our inspection and I wait confidently for the next one in about 2006. Regular readers will remember I retire in 2005 and I am sure my successor will have managed to whip Kilsyth Academy into shape by that time.

My first column, last August, complained about priorities and requirements for development planning, standards and quality reports and so on. None of these have gone away but we can now add job-sizing as a regular task.


John Mitchell is headteacher of Kilsyth Academy, North Lanarkshire

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