How many hours are in a week?
His initial report, subsequently turned into a national agreement seven months later, argued that measures such as extra support staff would alleviate the burdens on teachers. But it was accepted that "like other professional people, teachers will probably always work beyond the hours stated in their contracts".
Evidence from Moray Council (page one) appears to confirm that view.
Teachers say they are "conditioned" to working beyond their contracted hours and most do whatever they can to get the job done to the best of their abilities. Before the deal, the extra hours could have been regarded as unpaid overtime. Now, it could be argued, higher salaries are part of a professional career structure in which teachers determine the hours they work over the prescribed limit. That is surely to their credit and a reflection of the professionalism demanded by the agreement.
But "35 hours" was also used as a means to limit workload. Union studies showed teachers working on average 42 hours - behind teachers in England - so a contractural position of 35 seemed a reasonable position. The limit was to be a buttress against headteachers unfairly demanding more of their staff. That point is still to be proved.
Further hard evidence on working hours will emerge in the joint HMI and Audit Scotland inquiry into the post-McCrone deal but Moray's findings highlight that one important aspect has not changed: workload is still pressing. There may be more support staff and teachers in schools but curriculum and political pressures are intensifying. Perhaps there is no golden solution after all.