Shifting sands

29th August 2003 at 01:00
The McCrone deal now seems only able to muster public support from a pair of strange bedfellows, the Scottish Executive and Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland.

The anomalous results of the job-sizing exercise, may not be the final nail in the coffin, but the agreement was fundamentally flawed from the outset. It was long on rhetoric and intention, but short on detail and funding.

As "a quick fix" to buy peace at the chalk-face it left too much to future determination. Not enough i's were dotted and t's crossed. Only now are the full implications becoming painfully obvious to many of those who initially signed up to the package, after a honeymoon period when both employers and teachers clutched at straws and read into it whatever they wished.

Having promised funding it did not have, the Scottish Executive was bound to find efficiency savings sooner rather than later. The secondary promoted post structure was an obvious target, especially since it was often a counter to the aspirations of ambitious managers.

Rather than simplify structures, new artificial ceilings have been created.

The fund-it-yourself route to chartered teacher status is an example of this, although it has helped the GTC cement its bureaucratic control over the profession. With enhanced patronage, thinking professionalism is increasingly marginalised.

With a track record of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, it is hardly surprising that the EIS was anxious to sidestep any threat to its hegemony which unsuccessful industrial action would inevitably bring.

Far from being a dream ticket, McCrone is a liaison of convenience founded on shifting sands.

Colin Wakeling

Old Stage Road

Fountainhall, Galashiels

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