It's the size of the job that matters not the department

29th November 2002 at 00:00
What Archie Ferguson really seems to be saying in his letter on job sizing (TESS, November 8) is that he thinks (or hopes?) that principal teachers of smaller subject departments will be taken down a few pegs in the pay stakes compared to those of bigger subject departments.

He supports his case by pointing out the greater number of staff and pupils for which principal teachers of bigger departments are responsible. But this is offset to some extent by the greater load of development work which falls on the heads of PTs of smaller departments who do not have so many departmental colleagues with whom to share the tasks. With differentiation in S1-S2, three levels at Standard grade and anything from one to six levels at Higher Still, this can, to say the least, be a substantial burden.

He draws parallels with other professions which use workload measurements in terms of client numbers or caseloads. But why not extend the job-sizing exercise to all teaching posts since there is a considerable variation between teachers in terms of number and size of classes?

Such an approach has, in the past, been quite rightly rejected - as epitomised by the adoption of a common salary scale for primary and secondary teachers (sometimes the past got it right). Job-sizing is likely to prove not so much "a nettle (which) requires to be grasped", as he would have it, but more of a poisoned chalice.

As with McCrone's lack of foresight on the guidance issue, it is likely to lead to resentment, loss of motivation and the job just not getting done with anything like the same degree of commitment as at present.

Duncan Toms PT history, Bearsden Academy Morven Road, Bearsden

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