Let's put it to the vote

19th January 2001 at 00:00
Last summer Raymond Ross asked staff at Raigmore Primary in Inverness and Hillhead High in Glasgow what they thought of the McCrone report's recommendations on teachers' pay and conditions. This week he went back to find out what they think of the Scottish Executive's offer and found big divisions between primary and secondary schools


* All teachers to get a minimum salary increase of 23.1 per cent by August 2003

* Teachers can move beyond main-grade scale but remain dedicated classroom teachers by acquiring chartered teacher status through extra qualifications

* A 35-hour week to include protected preparation and correction time

* More than 4,000 additional teachers to help reduce class contact to 22.5 hours per week

* 3,500 additional support staff to reduce administrative workload

* By August 2003 all promoted staff to be placed on a new scale through a 'job sizing' agreement. Those in post by March 31, 2001 to be protected by existing conservation arrangements

* Additional commitments to continuing professional development to be agreed at school level

* A new winding down scheme for those approaching retirement

* Probationary period reduced to one year but all probationers guaranteed a one-year full-time training contract from August 2002

* New arrangements to permit negotiations at national and local level


Alan Graham Class teacher Raigmore Primary, Inverness Current pay pound;17,532 August 2003 pay pound;23,997 Vote: YES

"If we vote to accept this offer (which I will) the students in our care will be the main beneficiaries. That makes it desirable.

"The pay increase is substantial and is what the profession deserves. But it is also long overdue.

"When the final details of the continuing professional development modules are unveiled, I believe many teachers will take the oportunity to develop their practice. I am hoping to improve my practice and this way I will be rewarded for my endeavour. This will lead to more job satisfaction while deepening my knowledge of teaching and learning.

"Combined with the advent of more support staff, it will mean a more rewarding classroom experience for teachers and pupils.

"The offer is a giant step in the right direction. The profession as a whole should accept it."

Margaret McLeod Senior teacher Raigmore Primary, Inverness Current pay pound;25,413 August 2003 pay pound;31,299 Vote: YES

"I will vote yes after a loud gasp at the most significant set of proposals to be accepted in my working career. It's a good-for-everybody package which encourages a professional approach to teaching along with lucrative benefits.

"I was concerned about senior teachers disappearing, but I can't quibble with the more than generous offer of being placed half way up the scale of chartered teacher. That's a real incentive to pursue the new course, especially as you get paid as you go.

"The new working conditions will be received gladly by teachers of good practice.

"Thanks to McCrone we can expect to shed some of the administrative workload, work together with a bigger team, plan and work at our 'promoted status' while remaining in the same post and, for my age group, wind down towards retirement in a sensible way.

"I'm sorry that I've only got 10 years of teaching left. However, a new regime is about to come in with immediate benefits and I'm looking forward to working in an enhanced environment."

Andy Fraser Depute headteacher Raigmore Primary, Inverness Current pay pound;29,568 August 2003 pay pound;36,411 Vote: YES

"I'm very excited by this package and will vote yes. I'm surprised that almost all of McCrone has been taken on board and am particularly pleased that the issue of probationer contracts has at last been addressed. A guaranteed contract will be of immense benefit to young teachers as they move from training college to the classroom.

"The salary proposals will go a long way to attracting and retaining graduates in the profession and the chartered teacher scheme is a rewarding structure recognising quality and commitment in the classroom. This intiative is to be applauded.

"I feel the offer is a positive and radical step forward for the teaching profession in Scotland."

Moira Leslie Headteacher Raigmore Primary, Inverness Current pay pound;33,015 August 2003 pay pound;40,656 Vote: YES

"I believe this represents a very good deal for the primary sector and I'll be voting yes. The offer seems to contain most of McCrone's recommendations and promises the funding to implement them.

"In particular, I welcome the guarantee of a full-time training contract for probationers, although if it is reduced to one year the training element must be of a very high standard. I also commend the introduction of the continuing professional development programme and the additional qualification route for chartered teachers.

"Allowing talented and committed teachers to stay in the class while rewarding them, it also promotes a consistent quality of professional development across the whole of Scotland.

"Although the details of how the reduction in class contact time and job sizing methodology are not yet clear, these moves towards equalisation with the secondary sector are long overdue.

"On a personal level I stand to gain from the revised pay scales but more importantly the profession stands to gain from real investment for the future."


Kirsty Ross Music teacher Hillhead High School, Glasgow Current pay pound;17,532 August 2003 pay pound;23,997 Vote: YES

"As an EIS member I will vote to accept the package. The money is fine and the 35-hour week is not a problem, especially if it is not the local authority who are dictating how the 'extra' hours are to be spent but that it will be decided at school level. We are all doing these hours anyway.

"With the school orchestras I am doing one hour after school four days a week and I hope this proposal will just formalise that arrangement.

"As someone not long out of probation, I think the proposed one year full-time contract for probationers is good, preventing new teachers being shifted about all the time.

"The starting salary increase is very welcome and will make a huge difference, bringing in more graduates than before. My contemporaries, at the end of their probationary period, are generally surprised and happy - surprised that the package has not been cherry-picked to death and has come through reasonably intact.

"I am attracted by the chartered teacher proposals and will probably go for that at some time, as I want to stay in my subject.

"My first reaction was a tentative smile. That's now broadening into a grin."

Catriona Ness Assistant principal teacher of modern languages Hillhead High School, Glasgow Current salary pound;25,413 August 2003 pay pound;31,299 Vote: DON'T KNOW

"I don't know how I'll vote yet as there are too many grey areas, especially concerning my APT status. When this post goes, who will be responsible for these duties? My salary and professional development depend on questions yet to be answered.

"Chartered teachers concern me. Is the qualification going to be based on theory or classroom practice? I'm looking to gain further promotion but I don't know whether to apply for chartered status or not.

"The improvement in conditions for probationers will mean a more stable and supported first year, which will keep more in the profession and probably attract more.

"The salary increase may sound wonderful but if increases remain low for the next 20 years, we might well have traded conditions for not very much.

"We have come further than I thought and I'm genuinely surprised at the progress that has been made, but where the money is going to come from still troubles me. It's unexpected that this money is being invested in schools but I'm still suspicious.

"It's the career structure and the conditions, especially the conditions, that people are asking about. There's a lot we still need to know."

Larry Flanagan Principal teacher of English Hillhead High School, Glasgow Current pay pound;29,808 August 2003 pay pound;36,705 Vote: YES?

"I'm the chair of the Glasgow EIS and I think I'm moving towards an acceptance of the offer, but I'm most concerned about professional autonomy rather than just the 'extra' hours we all work anyway.

"The proposal doesn't seem prescriptive about how a teacher's time is spent but a lot still has to be worked out between local authorities and unions. The question remains: will teachers be consulted properly? We will need genuine agreement.

"It's probably as good a deal as the negotiations were going to produce. It's a framework to create a new wave of teachers rather than one aimed at the existing cohort.

"I'm happier with the chartered teacher proposals now than the two stages first proposed by McCrone, but at the moment local authorities could not deliver the quality of courses needed.

"Most folks' reaction so far has been pretty low key. We're still waiting on the detail.

"The next couple of weeks will see a debate on conditions bearing in mind that the proposed 35 hours have little bearing on reality when most teachers are already working 42 hours a week.

"It's that which should really be recognised - a recognition of what goes on outwith the classroom in order to deliver the service."

Peter Maclaren Assistant headteacher Hillhead High School, Glasgow Current pay pound;33,708 August 2003 pay pound;41,508 Vote: DON'T KNOW

"I don't know how I'll vote yet as key areas, such as the management of 'extra' time, are still clouded in mystery.

"I'm in at 7.30am and I'm not the first one. I work 40 hours in school alone. Teachers need time to do their own jobs and these 'extra' hours should not be used for class teachers to service department heads whose time is spent servicing senior management whose time is spent servicing the local authority. That is the way inset time and planned activity time has been traditionally used in the past. We need guaranteed time to service the teachers' and the pupils' agenda.

"The list of salaries shows an overlap between the top principal teachers and lower assistant headteachers when there should actually be a differential maintained here.

"I don't think anybody is going to take the winding down option to become a supply teacher.

"The creation of 4,000 new teachers might be easier said than done. We send 40 pupils into higher education per year and in the last seven years I've known only two who have definitely opted for teaching, though I'm pleased at the new deal for probationers.

"We have lived through Houghton, Clegg and Main and this is as much a catching up exercise as a generous offer. The media, the authorities and the politicians are all starry-eyed about 'professionalism' but the nitty-gritty has still to be worked out between teachers and local authorities. A lot of problems will not be worked out until after the deal has been accepted, it seems.

"It's the conditions that matter to most teachers and the devil is in the detail."

Keith Morley Depute headteacher Hillhead High School, Glasgow Current pay pound;38,688 August 2003 pay pound;47,640 Vote: DON'T KNOW

"I'll want to see more details before deciding how to vote in the EIS ballot. The status of depute head is still not clear. They want to reduce the number and levels of promoted posts but there will always have to be a distinctive role for deputising, especially as heads are called out of school more and more for meetings and so on.

"Job sizing may differentiate between AHTs, perhaps a designated senior depute, not just for cover, but the head should have a designated depute he can confide in so that functions can be carried out if heshe is not available. This has not been adequately addressed.

"The increase in salary is welcome and the winding down idea for older teachers might be fine in theory, but it depends on how it will work in practice. It seems to apply more to unpromoted staff, but how many will welcome the idea of being used for general cover in their authority's schools, as the proposals seem to suggest?

"Chartered teachers are intended for the chalk face, but will they not have to take on certain management responsibilities? The trend has always been that if you're paid more, then more management type responsibilities are given to you whether as an exemplar, a mentor or a trainer of other teachers.

"The one year in one school for probationers is much better. But what happens after that? More job opportunities are needed, or they might just go back to supply after that year.

"Overall I'm satisfied that there has been an outcome after all these years of discussion, but I'm still apprehensive. The jury is still out. But then there is no other show in town."

Ken Cunningham Headteacher Hillhead High School, Glasgow Current pay pound;50,184 August 2003 pay pound;61,797 Vote: YES

"I think the Headteachers Association Scotland has been listened to and I'd vote yes if I was voting. The salaries enhancement recognises the tasks of teachers and should encourage new graduates. The recognition of a need for a bursar of sorts indicates an understanding of management workload but we need to see how the job sizing works.

"I'd like to see a senior deputy post recognised and there's a similar lack of clarity regarding principal and chartered teacher functions and responsibilities.

"The 35-hour continuing professional development looks effective on the surface but there is an inference that teachers haven't been working these hours anyway. Most do a lot more. The success of the continuing professional development proposals will depend on the quality of provision available.

"I'm concerned about the list of duties (in the appendix) which they say teachers shouldn't be doing, suchas supervising at lunch and break times. I think we need extra support here, yes, but these duties actually help a great deal with the ethos of a school.

"I hope staff costs (salaries) are not taken from elsewhere like resources and I don't think the winding down to a supply teacher function seems attractive at that stage in your career. The proposed starting level salaries are an improvement but I think they should have been higher.

"As for chartered teachers, from a management view there is a lack of clarity. What's the basis for the qualification? Who awards? The process will have to be transparent and fair. We need to know more.

"I welcome the proposals, while a lot has yet to be discussed. And I have to say the job won't get easier."

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