Staff room critics vent their spleen online

22nd August 2003 at 01:00
The online staffroom forum run by The TES Scotland has been enlivened by a string of robust comments on the job-sizing exercise. They are dominated by complaints that insufficient information has been provided about how the job scores were arrived at.

"My main argument is with the seriously flawed toolkit, in which PricewaterhouseCoopers show such confidence that they refuse to reveal how it works," one teacher says. "Surely they must accept that there can be errors in any process? How then can these be discovered if the procedure is a secret and there is no right of appeal?"

A typical comment is: "One of my complaints is the total lack of information about what did, or did not, count in the eventual allocation of points for promoted posts."

"It is impossible to check the accuracy of the process," another says.

"When will the toolkit be made public so that we can all see openly how the exercise was carried out? I am sure there is some aspect of employment law which is broken here."

There is evidence of a primary-secondary split, although critical remarks from the secondary sector are usually prefaced by a sentiment along the lines of "some of my best friends are primary teachers".

"While I certainly do not begrudge my primary colleagues a pay rise, I find it hard to believe that for years they have been grossly underpaid while we in the secondary sector have been vastly overpaid," one contributor says.

A secondary teacher who suggests he might, with retraining, be able to teach infants but doubts whether an infant teacher could teach Higher maths receives a stern rebuke from a secondary colleague who chastises "the kind of prejudice and totally unwarranted air of superiority which emanate from all too many a secondary school staffroom".

The alleged inconsistencies in the toolkit are pounced on by many, particularly the impact on guidance. "If you are seeking promotion, then for goodness sake don't get involved in pastoral care since that involves dealing with children and so carries less remuneration and status than PTs curriculum," one says. "Job-sizing has given rise to the 'my role is more important than yours' argument," a guidance teacher suggests.

The Educational Institute of Scotland, a staunch defender of the exercise, comes in for stinging criticism. "The EIS must hang its head in shame," one contributor declares.

"I have personally had enough of the EIS," a member says. "The conduct of the EIS has been deplorable throughout," says another.

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