Softly, softly for first five years

12th January 2001 at 00:00
Neil Munro reports on the tortured negotiations that produced one false dawn after another before ministers, local authorities and the unions were finally able to co-operate for 'the good of the pupils'

The draft agreement on teachers' pay and conditions, A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century, will take five years to implement if the entire package is finally approved by ministers and the national implementation group. The potential for it unravelling, as unions, local authorities and ministers lock horns over funding, had not entirely disappeared in mid-week.

The group, which is chaired by Jack McConnell, the Education Minister, has already agreed a complex series of interlocking proposals on everything except pay increases and how they are to be staged in 2002 and 2003.

Covering career structure, conditions of service, supporting the profession and future negotiating machinery, the details of the agreement are substantially the same as revealed in The TES Scotland on December 1.

Although a contractual 35-hour week for all teachers will be established from August, there will be transitional arrangements until 2006 to allow class contact time to be reduced to 22.5 hours in primary (currently 25), secondary and special schools. The Executive estimates that 3,000 extra teachers will have to be found to fulfil this obligation.

During the transitional period teacher time will be protected to allow them to spend at least a third of it on preparation and correction. They can choose where to work, provided they are not required to be at school and provided they notify their managers. The implementation group expects that this process will be completed by August 2006 when the only stipulation in contracts will be the 22.5 hours spent teaching within the total week of 35 hours; the protected time will then end.

The new 22-member Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), which will replace the existing statutory body, will be charged with ensuring that this is proceeding satisfactorily. The three sides representing unions, local authorities and the Scottish Executive will have to agree a series of "objective conditions" before ratifying the contractual changes.

These are: * Sufficient teachers in place to equalise class contact time.

* The establishment of new negotiating machinery at local authority and school levels.

* Local monitoring procedures.

* The result of a workload survey.

* A joint audit of working arrangements "to assess the wider cultural climate in schools".

The creation of a new set of core and non-core negotiating matters will limit the extent of national bargaining in the SNCT, a long-standing demand of the employers. Local machinery will be responsible for all non-core areas, 15 of which are listed in the draft agreement including absence cover, disciplinary procedures and staff development.

Local agreements will have to be reported to the SNCT, but for information only. The national committee will review the balance between national and local bargaining by August 2004.

Another major exercise in the wake of any settlement will be a "job sizing" analysis of principal teachers, depute heads and heads so they are not paid simply according to size of school. These posts will be salaried in line with this approach from April 2003, taking account of rolls, management responsibilities, role in policy-making, the amount of external liaison, and involvement in whole-school activities.

The exercise will be subject to local agreement, carried out by trained staff including union representatives and done "in a fair and transparent way".


Four new grades of class teacher, chartered teacher, principal techer and senior management will be introduced from April. Chartered teachers, who could be paid pound;6,000 more than an unpromoted teacher, will progress through their grade by qualifications not performance pay.


Teachers will be expected to spend the balance of their time between the 22.5 hours of class contact and a 35-hour contractual week on activities such as preparation and correction, parent meetings, staff meetings, formal assessment, preparing reports and records, curriculum development, forward planning, continuing professional development, additional supervised pupil activity and career review and development.

The use of this time will be another of the matters which must be subject to agreement between teachers and school managements.

An additional 35 hours, or less than an hour a week, is be spent on continuous professional development, which could include attendance at nationally accredited courses. An annual CPD plan must be agreed with each teacher's immediate superior but a full commitment is not expected until August 2003 to ensure quality courses are available.

The draft suggests that CPD should be a condition of service for all teachers and a possible route to becoming a chartered teacher. But local authorities will be expected to offer a wide range of CPD opportunities. A national register of providers could be endorsed by Learndirect Scotland.

There is to be a national code of practice governing the use of temporary contracts in schools.


Teachers are to be allowed to "wind down", working part-time for five years before retirement while preserving full pension rights. This is seen as a cheaper option than an early retirement package but it will require legislation.

Salary conservation will continue for promoted staff in post at the end of March, but will be limited to three years' cash conservation for those appointed thereafter whose salary levels have been downgraded.


The agreement calls for a review of initial teacher education. The probationary period should be reduced from two years to one and all probationers should be guaranteed a one-year training contract.

Teachers should be backed up by a 10 per cent increase in the number of support workers, the equivalent of 3,500 staff. They may be bursars, administrators and ICT specialists.

Classroom assistants are to be introduced into secondary schools, beginning with a three-year pilot in S1 and S2 as suggested by the McCrone inquiry.

But its suggestion of another 1,000 classroom assistants in primary schools in addition to the 5,000 planned by the Government, costing another pound;11 million, is dropped.


2001 * phase one of the salary increases, likely to be around 10 per cent (April 1).

* introduction of 35-hour week for all teachers (August 1).

* introduction of additional 35 hours a year for continuous professional development (August 1).

* introduction of the new career structure (August 1).

* start of transitional arrangements towards 22.5 hours teaching time (August 1).

2002 * local negotiating committees of teachers set up and formal recognition procedures signed (no later than April 1).

2003 * completion of "job sizing" for promoted staff (no later than April 1).

* teachers expected to meet fully the extra 35 hours a year for continuous professional development (August 1).

2004 * completion of stage two of transition to 22.5 hours class contact (August 1).

* national review of local and national bargaining (April-August).

2006 * Completion of stages three and four of transition to new class contact arrangements (no earlier than August 1).

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