Just say no, harassed heads are told

11th November 2005 at 00:00
Primary heads have been urged to copy their pupils and say, "ahm no daein'

it!", when it comes to implementing parts of the teachers' agreement.

Gordon Smith, president of the Association of Head Teachers in Scotland, yesterday (Thursday), told the its annual conference that, for the past three years, he and other nursery, special and primary heads have been excluded from the decision-making process.

Mr Smith said it was often only through headteachers' goodwill that major parts of the national agreement had worked.

He said that the provision of non-class contact time in primary schools had left headteachers taking two assemblies a week so teachers could have preparation, liaison and marking time. "The arrangement is a good deal for classroom teachers but shouldn't add to our workload or reduce pupils'

education by 2.5 hours per week," he said.

Mr Smith also hit out at the job-sizing toolkit which he said was distorting career progress and pay differentials to such an extent that it was impacting on the recruitment of primary headteachers.

Despite his pessimism, Mr Smith urged his colleagues to move away from being victims and become equal participants in the educational debate. The AHTS practical vision for the future included class sizes of 20 in areas of deprivation; each learning community or community school to have its own sports club; every school to have a home-school worker; initial teacher training to include specialisms and a minimum of two years' professional training; and more adequate resourcing for schools to cope with inclusion.

Mr Smith repeated the association's argument that the one-year PGDE course is inadequate and there is a need for a high-quality probationary year with trained, motivated and paid mentors.

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