I MUST take issue with Neil Munro's upbeat assessment of progress in the McCrone talks (TESS, December 1). No one I have spoken to is happy with the contracted 35-hour week. Teachers are sceptical about the feasibility of preventing the time being filled with yet more underdeveloped curricular initiatives.
They do not share the apparent enthusiasm of teacher union officials and negotiators for the managerialist agenda underpinning the McCrone proposals. The money on offer amounts to no more than the shortfall in teachers' salaries as against average earnings during the nineties.
Far from enhancing professionalis, the talks are going to produce proposals for much more management control of teacher time. Pressure to develop the curriculum would constantly force teachers to spend more and more of their own time (beyond the 35 hours) doing basic preparation and marking work for classes.
New Labour is strongly represented at these talks on the Scottish Executive side, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities side and the union side. Teachers know that the spin put on the outcome is bound to reflect this.
Educational Institute of Scotland
executive council member for Dumfries and Galloway