Directors urge revamp of pay and duties

22nd April 2011 at 01:00
Education leaders want heads deployed on rolling contracts

The challenge to teachers' current pay and conditions is revealed today with the publication of calls to the McCormac review to introduce one-off payments to those who take on additional responsibility and the termination of the right to work "at a time and place of the teacher's own choosing" during non class-contact hours.

The Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) also calls for headteachers to be deployed flexibly on rolling contracts, instead of being attached permanently to a single school.

And a system of additional allowances - temporary, transferable and renewable - for commissioned development tasks could replace the chartered teacher scheme, suggests ADES.

The chartered teacher programme was "a good concept" which was "poorly constructed" and failed to reward good practice and good practitioners, says general secretary John Stodter.

"There are examples of chartered teachers having to work under a support and challenge regime from their managers because of a lack of competence, which demonstrates the flaws of the current gatekeeping and quality assurance arrangements for entry into the scheme," he says.

"We have seen little or no significant impact on learning and teaching quality across the system."

Where there is evidence of enhanced practice by chartered teachers, this has not been systematically utilised to support children's learning and staff development across the school or area, he adds.

The CT scheme should be radically reconfigured or scrapped in favour of one that directly links quality in practice and performance to continuing shared practice and leadership in "the" classroom; not in "their" classroom, says ADES.

The education directors' submission focuses on the need for teachers to be more flexible and professional in their approach. "We wish an end to the 1970s approaches to negotiations on teachers' employment and an introduction of a 21st-century approach based on young people's needs," says Mr Stodter.

Given the size of the teacher workforce, ADES thinks it inevitable that the teacher pay bill will be reduced to allow future budgets to be balanced. Instead of "squeezing more hours out of the existing groups", they want class-size and teacher-number targets abandoned - and only teachers of the "highest calibre" retained.

"Part of this approach to reducing numbers would involve a ring-fenced `spend to save' fund which would offer teachers an opportunity to leave the profession with an overall saving to the pay bill," says ADES.

`DISBAND CHARTERED TEACHER SCHEME'

School Leaders Scotland (SLS), in its submission, also calls for the disbandment of the chartered teacher scheme, saying it has been variable in its uptake and impact, and cannot be afforded in the current economic climate.

For all teachers, it wants the "putative 35 working hours per week" to be removed, as the vast majority cannot deliver the job in that time anyway. It has, it says, allowed a small minority to be "clock-watchers"; and in the current situation, the system is "definitely creaking with a combination of reduced staffing, limited managementleadership time and burgeoning responsibilities".

But SLS makes a plea to the McCormac review not to destabilise the teaching profession: "We must be careful to ensure any subsequent changes are viewed as fair and likely to bring significant benefit to our young people and the well-being of the staff who care for them."

It is, it adds, "no easy task."

elizabeth.buie@tes.co.uk.

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