Teacher backlash as job-sizing hits home

27th June 2003 at 01:00
THE impact of the job-sizing exercise on promoted posts finally hit home this week as nearly 16,000 staff were told what they were worth, sparking fury as confirmation emerged that most have had their jobs downsized.

"People have effectively been told they are overpaid for the job they do," Mike Doig, president of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland, told The TES Scotland. "Although salaries will be conserved, morale is really going to take a dip. This will not provide an incentive for staff to do more. If anything, it's an incentive to do a bit less."

The HAS has demanded an immediate review of the job-sizing toolkit "before irreparable damage is done to the profession". Members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, who fear they are losing out to the primary sector, have been urged to stage a mass write-in campaign of protest to the Scottish Executive.

This leaves the Educational Institute of Scotland as chief cheerleader of the job-sizing exercise, part of the teachers' agreement. The union points out that any objective job-sizing scheme would have to remove the discrimination against the primary sector where there are just 3,800 promoted postholders - one for every 110 pupils. There are 12,000 posts in secondary schools - one for every 27 pupils.

But the exercise has been labelled "a complete disaster" by Rory Mackenzie, head of Balerno High in Edinburgh, who chairs the city's secondary heads group. "Since the results arrived in schools on Friday, the feeling among principal teachers and senior managers has ranged from disillusionment to anger," he said. "Staff feel really insulted and salary conservation is only some consolation."

Like the HAS, Mr Mackenzie is turning his fire on the job-sizing approach devised by PricewaterhouseCoopers. "Most headteachers felt that the job-sizing exercise was very badly managed from the very start. The national negotiators and PricewaterhouseCoopers were very inflexible, the questionnaire and guidelines were appallingly badly worded and decisions regarding the downgrading of headteachers' financial responsibilities were completely unreasonable."

In his own school, the principal English and maths teachers will see their salaries rise by pound;880; all other PTs have been downsized by at least pound;1,700, while PTs of guidance will be on different scale points. The senior management team will be on salaries ranging from pound;36,660 to pound;42,000.

"This will naturally cause divisions between staff teams and it is likely that workload issues will be raised all over the place," Mr Mackenzie said.

"It is also highly likely that key staff will be seriously reviewing their willingness to take on tasks and responsibilities."

Even among primary heads, most of whom have seen salaries rise, there is confusion at what is seen as a far from transparent exercise. "We are puzzled as to how it has all been done," Kay Hall, president of the Association of Head Teachers in Scotland, said.

"This applies to the weightings that have been given for deprivation, the extent to which senior staff manage activities or delegate them and a host of other things which require considerable interpretation before salary levels can be attached to them."

Mrs Hall said that salary revisions "will be a bitter pill to swallow for staff who are working as hard as they believe they can".

Mr Doig said: "The job-sizing exercise has devalued the jobs that a lot of people do. We need to get away from the idea that you can capture the broad sweep of staff duties in a single set of criteria that will suit all circumstances."

BITTER PILL

Three principal teachers in one Edinburgh secondary have seen the pay for their posts cut by pound;3,000 and one by pound;4,000. The salaries for two heads, one with a roll of around 300 and another of 800, have emerged the same at pound;56,000.

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