Primaries set to make up ground on senior posts

11th April 2003 at 01:00
PARITY between primaries and secondaries will be a key aim of revised management structures in East Renfrewshire, councillors heard last week.

At present, 45 per cent of posts in secondary are promoted as opposed to only 16 per cent in primaries. That will shortly change to 33 per cent and 25 per cent.

Each primary will have a non-class committed headteacher and a number of deputy heads and principal teachers, determined by a banding formula based on size of school. Deputes and principals will have a class commitment and five half-days and two half-days respectively for management duties.

The authority's three largest primary schools will qualify for three deputes and five principals each, with a combined management time that equates to 3.78 full-time teaching staff.

There will be changes to the method of calculating overall staffing with the complement based in future on an agreed number of classes, rather than on pupil roll.

John Wilson, the authority's director of education, said that a "clear and defined staffing structure" would give greater stability. "Small changes in the school roll will no longer mean changes in the number of staff as the number of classes will remain the same, and increased stability for staff because we have guaranteed a certain number of managers with definite management time," Mr Wilson said.

The new structures for secondary are proving more contentious with the plan to establish three categories of principal teacher - curriculum, pastoral support and development - described by Alan Munro, the teachers'

representative on the education committee, as "radical and overhasty". The proposal for PT development was "vague".

Mr Munro said that doing away with subject principals might damage subjects. "Strategic leaders may not have the detailed knowledge of what they are supposed to be leading," he ventured.

Most contentious of all, said the Educational Institute of Scotland spokesman, was the possibility that unpromoted teachers would be asked to take on pastoral duties which exceeded those detailed in the post-McCrone agreement.

* Most probationer teachers in Moray will be forced to look elsewhere for permanent posts. The council is also unable to offer its planned 33 places for the next intake in August. Only six or seven primary places will be available and not the 17 the Scottish Executive has targeted.

Senior council officials regret that the newly qualified teachers (NQTs) will be driven out. "In the primary sector, this is due in the main to the combination of falling school rolls resulting in compulsory transfers of otherwise surplus staff and a number of staff currently temporary, who have gained permanent rights," they point out.

In the secondary sector, the number of vacant posts does not match the number of probationers who are likely to reach the full standard for registration in August.

* Perth and Kinross will within a year appoint principal teachers to all primaries with more than 50 pupils and those with a roll up to 220 that currently do not have a second management post. In the first phase from August, the 10 largest primaries will benefit. Over two years, around 30 PT posts will be established.

* Aberdeen has warned of "significant structural change" in schools and agreed to phase in post-McCrone reforms over the next three years. Many jobs done by senior managers could be tackled by support staff, it says.

That would release managers to focus on their key duties and find time to monitor classroom practice.

* Highland is dodging the wrangle over the future of guidance in secondary and easing the post-McCrone transition by creating one-year "support for pupil" posts. The authority hopes to extend the role of the posts to include more extensive inter-agency working.

A paper which was agreed by the local negotiating committee points out that although the 2001 national agreement makes no specific recommendations on support for pupils, "it will have a major influence on management structures, including former guidance structures, which support pupils in secondary schools".

A clear distinction will have to be made between management responsibilities and other duties, the paper concedes.

TACT IS THE WATCHWORD

Ministers and councils are to use their Tact (Teachers' Agreement Communications Team) in selling and explaining the post-McCrone agreement.

A five-strong team, based at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, will ensure the centrepiece development is implemented across the country.

Co-ordinator Roddy Macdonald, a Scottish Executive official, is supported by Richard Wheater from Cosla and part-time by Ken Corsar, former education director in Glasgow, and Bob Cook, head of resource development in West Dunbartonshire.

Graham Thomson, headteacher at Alford Academy in Aberdeenshire, has been seconded full-time.

The team is backed by an advisory committee.

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