Downsized and badly devalued

25th July 2003 at 01:00
Unfortunately, but perhaps predictably, both Ronnie Smith and Peter Peacock seem to miss the point in terms of their response to the reactions of promoted staff in secondary schools to the results of the job-sizing exercise (TESS, July 11).

When more than 70 per cent of teachers voted for the national agreement, most of them did so following strong advice from the Educational Institute of Scotland. In terms of the details, implications and consequences of job-sizing, we did not know the details. Who did?

What we did was to put our trust in our unions' national negotiators on the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers. No one in secondary schools predicted that the weighting would be so heavily in favour of the primary sector or schools with a high free meal entitlement.

Even though teachers all over Scotland were taken aback by the poor quality of the job-sizing form and the less than helpful guidance notes, nobody expected the glaring inconsistencies that have emerged between authorities, between schools and even within schools. Ronnie Smith can come and talk to my principal teachers and deputes whose posts have been downsized and explain to them that they have not been "devalued."

Regardless of salary conservation, I can assure him that they do feel devalued, and in terms of the EIS, very badly let down.

Guidance staff in schools across Edinburgh have been placed on lower points on the new scale than their subject counterparts. What should they infer from this?

With the exception of two subject principal teachers, all other principal teachers in my school have been downsized to a salary lower than that of a chartered teacher. What effect will this have on future recruitment to key middle management posts?

My senior management team have all been sized to different points ranging from pound;36,600 to pound;42,699. How do we rotate or revise remits in this situation?

What is particularly sad is that most other aspects of the national agreement were in my view bringing about very positive and welcome improvements in our schools.

Yes Minister, we all knew that job-sizing "was part of the deal", but what was not expected was a poorly thought out, very costly exercise which has led to the majority of promoted teachers in secondary schools feeling devalued and demotivated.

While salary conservation means that most teachers will not lose out financially, we should be very concerned about the effects of the job-sizing exercise on teacher morale and consequently on the teaching and learning process for our pupils.

Ronnie Smith and Peter Peacock should make a priority of visiting some secondary schools in August and then they might realise that remedial action is urgently required before this unfortunate situation goes beyond repair.

Rory Mackenzie


Balerno High


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