Ministers stand by job-sizing results

22nd August 2003 at 01:00
GROWING controversy over the job-sizing exercise took a new twist this week with the release of figures showing that half of the 13,000 promoted staff in all schools have had their posts downgraded and their salaries conserved.

An analysis of the results, seen by The TES Scotland, shows that a further 40 per cent will receive salary increases, backdated to August 1, while 10 per cent will face minimal salary shifts of less than pound;250.

The report, by the Teachers' Agreement Communications (TAC) team set up to monitor the agreement by the Scottish Executive and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, shows that salaries for nine out of 10 posts have moved by just 10 per cent upwards or downwards.

But the figures sparked a new row with the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association which claimed that, based on figures from consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers, 71 per cent of primary promoted posts won higher pay while 68 per cent of secondary posts were downgraded. A 10 per cent reduction for a teacher on a pound;40,000 salary would mean a post losing pound;4,000 - equivalent to three salary points.

David Eaglesham, the SSTA's general secretary, said: "This is another example of spin and calls into question the role of the TAC team. It appears to be a bunch of apologists for the Executive."

The Executive, which is providing pound;27 million over three years to cover job-sizing costs, was standing its ground this week. In interviews with The TES Scotland, officials said all parties to the teachers' agreement were united that the present "archaic" system had to go.

They insisted that the toolkit devised by consultants from PricewaterhouseCoopers had been consistent in the way it had produced similar job scores for equivalent duties. It was also important that new job values were "equality-proof" to ward off claims from senior primary management.

Cosla's spokesperson-designate on education (page seven) admits the authorities will have to respond to critics of the exercise, including influential headteachers. But Ewan Aitken told The TES Scotland: "We will not be unpicking it."

Mr Aitken, who is executive member for education on Edinburgh City Council, said: "It was a huge challenge to change the whole way jobs are assessed and we were never going to get it entirely right first time - but we had to start somewhere.

"So we will have to go through it again to look at some of the anomalies and see where there are fundamental flaws as opposed to matters of misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Every anecdote doesn't require a change of policy, but it does require a response."

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