Teachers work 400 unpaid hours extra

15th May 2009 at 01:00
Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association will claim

Teachers are being "bullied" into doing extra-curricular activities or Easter revision classes, the president of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association will claim today.

Ann Ballinger, who steps down as president of Scotland's second-largest teaching union this weekend, but becomes its new general secretary next month, also claims that teachers are increasingly working more than 60 hours a week just to complete tasks they had been assigned - well beyond the 35-hour contractual week - and they are, therefore, subsidising the education budget to the tune of 400 unpaid hours every year.

Ms Ballinger will tell the SSTA's annual conference in Peebles that teachers are being told that undertaking extra duties is essential if they want promotion - or that "competent teachers have no problems participating in out-of-hours events". She adds: "The insinuation here is too obvious to mention. No matter how exhausted they are, these teachers believe they have no choice. Others report that they participate solely to support colleagues who `have to offer revision classes every day because parents are demanding extra support and the headteacher says I have to improve departmental statistics'."

It was therefore no surprise that, faced with a new initiative such as A Curriculum for Excellence, teachers responded by wondering "how many extra hours will be squeezed out of us this time?"

Had they been furnished with a list of teachers involved in the preparation of the new curriculum, SSTA members would have been much more confident about its appropriateness, Ms Ballinger argues.

"As it stands, we have outcomes and experiences which are little improvement on those we criticised previously - a lost opportunity to build on the expertise readily available in Scottish schools."

Ms Ballinger suggests that teachers nominate their best colleagues to write outcomes and experiences and develop new exam structures. Newly- qualified teachers could cover their secondment. This, she proposes, would not only reduce experienced teachers' hours to their proper level, but allow new teachers to work in their chosen profession instead of "claiming Jobseeker's Allowance."

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