Feeling the McCormac squeeze

30th September 2011 at 01:00

As a teacher in my 37th year of teaching it depresses me that McCormac appears to have been sucked in by the anti-education, anti- teacher, cost-cutting agenda.

We all recall the Cosla mantra in its McCormac submission - "the primary role of a teacher should not be to teach children". McCormac, if he is allowed to, would speedily deliver that agenda by eliminating specific duties from our conditions of service, and scrapping any notion of duties which a teacher would not be expected to do (Annex E).

McCormac would give Cosla what they asked for - the primary role of a teacher would not be to teach children, it would become just about anything the employer wanted.

The only difference between McCormac's report and Cosla's submission is that McCormac is more subtle, but they add up to the same thing.

Perhaps Professor McCormac can clarify whether I will need to buy my own mop to clean the school, and, if I do, whether it is tax-deductible? Make no mistake, there will be nothing off limits for a teacher if McCormac gets his way.

On salaries, he identifies a range of cost-cutting and salary-capping measures, all of which add up to a "teacher tax", a special premium we would pay for the privilege of being a teacher while our employers tear up the modern, forward-looking conditions of service that brought 10 years of improvement (according to the Scottish Government) and stability to Scotland's education system.

There is already a two-year pay freeze in place. Inflation is running at around 5 per cent per year. Yet McCormac says that

teacher salaries are acceptable, so the pay freeze may well continue indefinitely and teachers will see their standard of living systematically eroded year on year.

The so-called flexible week Gerry McCormac has in mind is inflexible. It is fixed to save money by eliminating supply work, to the determent of both teaching and learning. Teachers in work would be forced to work longer and unpredictable hours while others with little (supply) work would get less work, and income, or none at all.

McCormac wants to scrap the opportunity for teachers to progress their career and salary through chartered teacher without having to go into management.

Although it isn't his initiative, teachers face a 3.2 per cent rise in pension contributions as part of the "teacher tax" and that has to be taken into account when you look at just how unacceptable McCormac is on salaries.

As a teacher, it seems to me he wants to tear up my conditions of service and make me pay, in real terms, year on year for everything that is wrong with the economy.

It's hard to see any fairness in McCormac, although I am sure Cosla must be delighted with his work.

Ian McCrone, Hollows Avenue, Paisley.

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