THE McCrone agreement states that there will be significant investment in additional support staff. The sub-group which negotiated this area recognised the important contribution made in schools by the whole range of non-teaching staff.
It was agreed that in order to recruit and retain high calibre support staff, an attractive package of salary and conditions would be required. The 3,500 new posts were fully costed at pound;52.5million, an average of pound;15,000 per full-time equivalent post.
That money is part of the total McCrone funding package, agreed to by the Scottish Executive, and will find its way into council budgets as part of the overall settlement. While Nei Munro may be correct (TESS, January 19) in speculating on recruitment problems in burgeoning Edinburgh, there should be little difficulty in attracting applicants throughout the rest of Scotland, if councils honour the agreement and ensure that these are attractive and well paid posts.
The commitment to additional support staff in the deal may not, in the short term, attract the same level of interest afforded to other parts of the package, but will be crucial hereafter in addressing teacher workload as well as to the concepts of cultural change in schools and re-professionalisation.
John Patton Ex-presidentEducational Institute of Scotland Edinburgh