Heads 'were sold short'

14th November 2003 at 00:00
Job-sizing has been a personal disaster for many heads and deputes and a collective disaster for teaching, Mike Doig, president of the Headteachers'

Association of Scotland, yesterday (Thursday) told his association's annual conference in St Andrews.

Secondary heads continue to complain bitterly about the outcome of the national job-sizing exercise and are demanding a review of the toolkit for determining the salaries of promoted postholders. But they seem to have little chance of success.

In an unusually blunt and pessimistic message, Mr Doig, head of Bearsden Academy, feared job-sizing could negate much good work in schools in recent years. Highlighting the "absurdities", he said a number of senior managers will receive a negative pay rise after the three-year salary conservation is removed for staff who recently took up post. One head is due to be paid less than his depute.

Mr Doig said: "What turns these absurdities into personal disasters for some of our members are the implications for the postholders, in terms of their future salary and pension, their self-esteem and their relationship to their peers.

"On the other hand, the disaster is for the very future of our profession in terms of recruitment to management and leadership posts as they fall vacant. In recent years, there has been anecdotal evidence of fewer applications for senior management posts, a trend that can only be accelerated by the devaluation of their worth."

Mr Doig asked: "Who in their right mind would want to forgo the relative comfort of a conserved principal teacher's post in favour of a depute's job, dealing with the discipline of maybe a couple of hundred S3-S4 pupils for a few pounds more a week - after 40 per cent tax?"

He believed heads' ability to manage and lead has been significantly compromised because of the exercise and the decisions of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers where heads are treated as "peripheral" members.

Commenting on an HAS job-sizing survey, Mr Doig said the original "measurements" are already a year out of date and there is still no recognition that the exercise was fundamentally flawed in the first place.

The findings reveal deep misgivings among heads and deputes with 84 per cent saying the job-sizing form took little account of time spent on discipline, additional support needs responsibilities, new community school work, public private partnership (PPP) management, strategic leadership and multi-sectoral campuses.

Some accuse the process of being rushed and "fixed to achieve predetermined outcomes". Advice was not consistent within and between authorities.

Others report a "total lack of transparency". Only 2 per cent of those who responded to the survey said job-sizing had a positive effect on the school. Heads say there will be little interest in applying for acting posts or promoted posts in small schools and that pay anomalies will undermine morale.

Mr Doig called for a revised toolkit which would be far clearer about the allocation of points and their weightings. He wants it to recognise the full range of senior management tasks and to restore proper differentials.

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