Growing unease over the future structure of teaching and management in secondary schools may well leave the spats over probationer teachers looking like little local difficulties. Argyll and Bute's draconian proposals to cut the number of promoted posts by almost a half may be the first to run into resistance from the unions, but it is unlikely to be the last. We should remember, of course, that - pace Captain Mainwaring's cry of "don't they know there's a war on?" - there's an election coming.
Politics aside, there are serious issues that will not readily go away, not least because they are surrounded by suspicion. The shake-up of promoted posts is not just a matter of arid technicalities: it touches on deeply held convictions. Many teachers believe the ambition is simply to save money and to use the agreement as a cloak to mount an assault on subject departments. Some in the education authorities and the Scottish Executive feel this is an ideal opportunity for schools to become cross-curricular and end the turf wars between subjects.
The teachers' agreement simply demands a reduction in the layers of management in secondary schools which is actually being achieved by the abolition of assistant principal teachers, senior teachers and assistant heads. It is therefore pertinent for the management of Dunbar Grammar to ask this week (Platform, page 21): who is going to deliver change if the principal teachers are going to be culled?