'If we want to reap the benefits we must make the investment'
THE McCrone inquiry's report on the teaching profession believes it has come up with a package that will make teaching more attractive, improve standards, modernise the profession and benefit the economy.
It declares firmly that its recommendations should be accepted as a whole and funded by the Scottish Executive. The committee has accepted that local authorities cannot afford to foot the bill.
The additional costs, which will boost the annual salary bill by pound;190 million by the time the new structures are in place in 2005, are amply justified, the report states. "If we are to reap the benefits of a first-class education service, we must make the necessary investment now," it adds.
An academic study commissioned by the inquiry reported that, while earnings have grown unevenly (largely due to periodic committees of inquiry followed by pay erosion), salaries "have on average been moving towards the upper end of the distribution of earnings". It recognises, however, that the period chosen for comparison can affect the result.
Unexpectedly, the committee has recommended both a continuation of national pay bargaining and an independent review body.
Leader, page 14
DETAIL THAT WILL COST MINISTERS MILLIONS
Pay and costs
As we revealed last week, the committee suggests a starting salary of pound;17,425 for all graduate entrants instead of pound;15,249, phased in over two years. The first rises of between 8 per cent and 12 per cent are to be paid next April. The 10-point "maingrade" salary scale would be replaced by eight increments from April 2002, reaching pound;26,650 at the maximum unpromoted point compared with pound;23,313 at present.
Principal teachers would be retained because of their "key role" and would be paid on a roll-related, three-point scale from pound;30,750 to pound;35,875. Some assistant principal teachers will be on this grade and PTs could also be deployed in primary schools. Not all departments may need them, but decisions should be taken locally.
A new depute head grade would include assistant heads and range from pound;30,750 to pound;45,100 in both primary and secondary schools. Pay distinctions between the two sectors would similarly disappear for heads who would be paid on a nine-point scale depending on size of school, from pound;36,900 to pound;63,038.
There would also be other costs but these are not at all clear. The sums required to support a key proposal to create "chartered" and "advanced chartered" teachers, for example, will depend on take-up. Chartered status, seen as an incentive for teachers to stay in the classroom rather than being forced to opt into management, would be open to all experienced teachers who can demonstrate "high standards of teaching and professionalism". Introducing the post will cost pound;750,000 a year for every 1,000 teachers who complete career reviews successfully.
Senior teachers and assistant principal teachers would be assimilated on to this additional scale in 2002. Chartered teachers would go through a performance bar to reach a salary of pound;29,725 after four years, although a "fast track" could be operated in the early years for those on the top of the basic scale who have already undertaken "significant amounts" of continuous professional development (CPD).
Advanced chartered staff, earning as much as or more than principal teachers following a more demanding four-year programme which will be subject to external assessment of their teaching, would rise to pound;34,850 on a four-point scale.
The average increases over two years represent between 14 per cent and 19 per cent for class teachers over and above their normal annual increments, 13.5 per cent for senior teachers and assistant principal teachers, between 12 per cent and 23 per cent for principal teachers, and at least 8 per cent for senior management. Chartered teachers would be able to earn 27 per cent beyond the existing maximum pay for unpromoted teachers, and advanced chartered teachers 49 per cent more.
Further costs emerge from the recommendation for another 1,000 primary classroom assistants beyond the 5,000 total for all schools planned by the Scottish Executive. This would add an extra pound;11 million to the bill. An uncosted amount is also set against other "para-professionals" for S1 and S2 in particular to help with subjects such as art and design, home economics and information technology.
The committee, clearly persuaded that teachers need more time to teach and management more time to manage teaching, has also recommended the creation of senior administrative posts at a cost of pound;33 million a year. It envisages one "bursar" for every school with more than 500 pupils and one for every five smaller schools.
Unknown costs will also be incurred from the report's emphasis on headteacher flexibility to make special payments, of up to pound;1,000, for staff doing specific time-limited tasks such as a curricular review. There should also be discretion at school level for "modest additional payments" for teachers undertaking duties beyond their normal responsibilities.
Core issues such as pay, main duties, overall working time, sickness and maternity leave and discipline should remain subject to national negotiations. Other matters should be decided at local level. The committee has bought the local authorities' argument that the present "yellow book" of agreed conditions is "prescriptive and has totally failed to limit workload pressures".
The report sets out teachers' duties along familiar lines but states: "All teachers should have the right to expect an enabling framework of resources, organisation, time management, strategic planning, consultation, personnel and professional support, high-quality CPD and support from parents."
The committee commissioned academic research on teacher workload which concluded that "reported weekly hours worked by teachers (including all forms of overtime) are not high relative to those reported in other occupations". Teachers appear to work "significantly fewer hours" than elsewhere in the UK, although the study did not look at variance between different groups. It did, however, confirm a survey of members by the Educational Institute of Scotland which reported that teachers worked 42 hours a week.
McCrone none the less suggests that the Executive should ensure new initiatives are introduced only after proper consultation with teachers and evaluated for their effects on workload. The report recommends a "bureaucracy audit" on schools by independent consultants.
The 35-hour contractual working week should remain, the report states. This should consist of 30 hours for teaching, preparation and correction, with five hours for "collective activities" to be agreed by the staff and led by the headteacher. Primary and secondary class contact should be brought into line, although this would require extra primary teachers including specialists.
The inquiry also recommends that teachers should lose a week's holiday to limit their "disruptive" absences from class for in-service and other activities. This would provide 10 days for CPD so teachers "invest more of their own time in developing their skills and competences". A reduction in the pupil year would be unacceptable to parents, the report states.
There should be no change to class sizes, since any reduction would be at the expense of other recommendations which are considered more important. But the report recommends that the Executive should commission research into the relationship between class size and educational attainment.
The report wants changes to come into effect on April 1, 2002.
The committee supports the continuation of collective national bargaining on pay, supplemented by local negotiation. It believes there is no need for agreements to be statutory, as with the current Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee, which the Government is to abolish. Employment law should provide sufficient safeguards against breaches in agreements, the report states.
It suggests an independent review body should look at both pay and conditions every three years, to ensure in particular that pay levels do not fall behind.
* The Executive should review initial training to ensure students are well grounded in pupil management, in putting the theories of teaching and learning into practice and in other new needs such as the impact of new technologies and the teaching of modern languages in primary schools. Teacher education institution (TEl) staff should be required to spend periodic spells in schools.
* Local authorities should offer probationers at least a full year of stable employment, involving a strictly limited number of placements, rather than using them for intermittent supply.
* Temporary contracts for fully qualified teachers should be strictly limited to circumstances such as absence cover.
* CPD courses should be accredited nationally and local authorities should review their effectiveness locally. Every teacher should have an individual CPD plan agreed once a year.
* Sabbaticals should be introduced, perhaps in the form of a term's break for every 10 years of teaching.
* There should be a one-off early retirement scheme funded by the Government as has happened in other public sectors. In the longer term, teachers should consider paying more into their pension fund to finance earlier retirement.
* Increased demands from social inclusion policies should be adequately resourced, including staffing levels.
* Supply cover should be reviewed by the Executive, including the use of "standing teams" of permanent peripatetic teachers.
* Widespread use of temporary contracts concerned the committee but the report believes the requirement in the scheme of conditions of service for such teachers to transfer to the permanent staff is ineffective and should be deleted. The use of temporary contracts should be limited to the strict minimum.
* Universal review procedures should be introduced immediately. National standards on teacher capability should be agreed and guidance issued on their use. A new framework for disciplinary procedures should also be put in place.