Provisional deal struck on work conditions

15th February 2013 at 00:00
But unions and employers fail to agree on pay increase and supply staff

A provisional deal on teachers' working conditions, offering more flexible arrangements for non-contact time and scope to introduce more temporary posts, has been thrashed out by the three sides involved in the McCormac negotiations.

But unions and their employers have not yet reached agreement on a pay increase across the board or a better deal for short-term supply teachers, whose pay was halved in the last teachers' agreement, two years ago.

Another major change to the current agreement - and one that will be harder for union negotiators to sell to their members - is a proposal to replace Annex E of the teachers' agreement, which lists tasks that should not routinely be carried out by teachers, with a professional statement reflecting the "climate of collegiality" that should underpin working conditions.

Provided it is endorsed by teachers, it will now state that: "Teachers will not be expected to undertake the duties generally undertaken by administrative and support staff, but will work cooperatively with all staff to ensure an appropriate distribution of workload."

Any teacher aggrieved by regular, inappropriate demands on hisher time would be expected to use the grievance procedure agreed through the local negotiating committee for teachers and could thereafter lodge an appeal with the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

The draft package of proposals, prepared by the tripartite SNCT, which has been seen by TESS, will now be discussed by the various union committees.

Drew Morrice, joint secretary for the teachers' side on the SNCT, said: "The SNCT has gone as far as it could with internal discussions and recognises that respective organisations will have their internal processes. The EIS has a commitment to ballot, so it is a matter of seeing what comes through these processes and recommendations."

The main sticking points appear to be Cosla's refusal so far to budge from its pay offer of 1 per cent and to meet the teacher unions' demands for an improved pay deal for short-term supply teachers.

As expected, the draft agreement confirms the end of the chartered teacher scheme, allowing those who have either completed or partially completed the programme to keep their pay increases in return for an enhanced contribution to school or community life.

Probationers' hours will not be changed, despite proposals by the McCormac committee that they should be, although there may be some flexibility built in for development needs.

McCormac also wanted headteachers to have more freedom to make temporary promotions. The draft agreement offers some scope for this, but only as long as such promotions are fixed in time, advertised, and do not cut across schools' promoted post structures.

Class contact time arrangements, currently organised weekly, could in future be operated over a four-weekly period, subject to local agreement being reached. One source described this particular relaxation of the regulations as allowing "managed flexibility".


The list of administrative and other non-teaching tasks, which should not routinely be carried out by teachers, includes:

  • Supervision of pupils within school grounds, in dining andor recreation areas during school hours but outwith scheduled teacher class contact time;
  • Collection of school meals money and issue of tickets;
  • Collectioncollation of data for the school meals service;
  • Documenting and maintaining pupil disciplinary records;
  • Reception and telephonist duties;
  • First aid and administration of medication;
  • Administration and documentation relating to school visitswork experiencevisiting groups;
  • Non-professional aspects of school reporting procedures, photocopying, filing etc;
  • Inputting of assessment data;
  • Organising and obtaining supply cover.
    • Photo credit: Getty

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today